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The importance of vitamins and enzymes concerning anti aging

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Old 05-18-2004, 07:36 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
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ramzey HB User
The importance of vitamins and enzymes concerning anti aging

Aging is a phenomenon which occurs in all living things.

Yet, that process occurs much too rapidly for most people in America.2 Our current stressful lifestyles, environmental pollutants and toxins, and lack of proper nutrition all combine to speed us toward early aging. Add to that the constant bombardment of free radicals and there is little wonder as to why we seem to age so quickly! Free radicals—unstable and highly reactive atoms that cause cellular damage and malfunction—are created as the result of stress, chemicals in the environment, stimulants, and countless other lifestyle factors.3 Free radicals accelerate the aging process leaving many of us tired, achy, wrinkled, and disease-prone when we should be in the prime of life.

While aging itself is not an illness, it is a process of continual degeneration that leaves in its wake weak muscles, poor vision, diminished immune function, poor skin tone, hair loss, high blood pressure, lethargy, arthritis, circulatory problems and more. Often aches and pains are considered a natural result of getting older, yet, aging is not synonymous with poor health. One can have vitality and zest for living whether 30 or 60! In fact, a healthy lifestyle and supplying the body with the proper nutrition can slow the aging process and fuel the body so it will perform even better as you age.

There is a group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes called antioxidants that help to protect the body from the formation of free radicals.4 Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can cause damage to cells, impairing the immune system and leading to infections and various degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer.5 Free radical damage is thought by scientists to be the basis for the aging process as well.

There are a number of known free radicals that occur in the body. They may be formed by exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals such as those found in cigarette smoke, overexposure to the sun’s rays, or various metabolic processes.

Free radicals are normally kept in check by the action of free radical scavengers that occur naturally in the body. These scavengers neutralize the free radicals. A certain enzyme serves this vital function. The enzyme is known as superoxide dismutase (SOD).6 The body makes this as a matter of course. This enzyme gets overburdened due to the amount of free radicals that we are exposed to. There are also a number of nutrients that act as antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and the mineral selenium. Certain herbs have antioxidant properties as well.

Although many antioxidants can be obtained from food sources such as sprouted grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, it is difficult to get enough of them from these sources to hold back the free radicals constantly being generated in our polluted environment. Most supplements contain synthetic versions of these vitamins and can actually cause harm (see vitamin section). We can minimize free radical damage by taking supplements of key nutrients in the right form.

Grape seed extract and pine bark (OPCs) are naturally occurring substances present in a variety of food and botanical sources. They are unique flavonols that have powerful antioxidant capabilities and excellent bioavailability. Clinical test suggest that OPC’s may be as much as fifty times more potent than vitamin C in terms of bioavailable antioxidant activity.7 In addition to their antioxidant activity, they strengthen and repair connective tissue, including that of the cardiovascular system. They also moderate allergic and inflammatory responses by reducing histamine production.

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