Stress comes in many forms and is something we all must deal with. Positive stress gets us moving and doing something, negative stress breaks down our bodies. Unfortunately, negative stress is what we deal with the most. Whether it is from our environments, sickness, our thoughts, or actions, stress puts such a strain on us that we start to feel the effects physically.
When the body is under stress, more free radicals are produced. Free radicals are incomplete and unstable molecules that seek to balance themselves by taking what it needs from other cells. The only thing to stop them is to give them what they need by making sure there is a balance of antioxidants to free radicals. When stress hits, more free radicals are produced by the body, so extra antioxidants can be of great value in stress relief management.
Supporting your body’s defences by getting as many different nutrients as you can from your food is very important in dealing with stress. Many times during stress we have a tendency to over-eat, under-eat, take medication, drink or any number of destructive behaviours. This taxes an already overly worked system and more problems may arise. Binging on healthy foods is okay, but bewares of over processed and heavily preserved junk that contains a lot of sugar.
Getting the basic nutrition we need is difficult today because of the way we eat. Most of the time we eat for taste, not nutrition. It has to be fast and taste the same every time. If we do eat healthy, we have to understand that the nutritional content of our foods is less than what it were 50 or even 30 years ago. Because of this, “basic nutrition” is not what it used to be; we simply cannot get it all from our food. Taking a high quality multivitamin is a good and healthy place to start but by no means the only place.
Stress can be helped by giving our bodies extra support where it needs it most. This means targeting certain areas and using supplements to fill in our dietary holes. Vitamins such as B-Complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin-A, vitamin D3, Calcium, Zinc and others support the areas stress depletes. This article is a comprehensive list of vitamins and supplements you can take to help your body fight stress. You may need them all; or you may only need to add one or two to your daily routine.
If you choose not to supplement, make sure you are getting as much nutrition as possible from what you eat, but realize you may still be deficient. And never underestimate what a consistent good night sleep can do for you. You need to allow your body time to rest and repair itself. The power of a positive attitude can go a long way to reducing stress. Sometimes you need to change the way you see things in order to live longer and healthier.
Supplements for Stress
One of the most important groups of stress fighters are the B vitamins. These water soluble vitamins help regulate metabolic function and are essential in making sure the nervous and immune systems are able to work productively. One important factor in the B vitamins is, they are depleted by stress and since our bodies cannot produce B vitamins, we must get it from our food or another source.
There are eight members of the B family all of which work together. Each helps the other do a better job. If one or another B vitamin is producing an effect you want, do not increase that single B vitamin. For best results you need increase the whole group of B vitamins. The problem is, stress depletes B vitamins, so more is needed during those times.
B vitamins are essential in the synthesis of DNA and new cells. The B vitamins (folic acid, B6, and B12) promote a healthy cardiovascular system by helping to lower homocysteine levels in the blood. B vitamins work to help metabolize energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein, it aids in the synthesis of DNA and new cells and is essential to initiate nerve transmission.
There are other things Bs are critical for like being essential for growth and development, releasing energy from our foods, regulating hormones, helping to form red blood cells, help form neurotransmitters and steroid hormones, greatly aids the immune system, is involved in cell reproduction, helps depression, and it is vital to mental health.
Symptoms of low B vitamins include increased fatigue, heightened anxiety, being overly irritable, and sickness. You can get some of your B vitamins from fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, whole grains, lentils, potatoes, chili peppers, bananas, leafy green vegetables, and fish. If you choose to supplement choose a high quality supplement like Shaklee’s B-Complex.
Vitamin C is an immune system booster and powerful antioxidant. It is important in helping our bodies deal with stress because all the functions it is vital for takes a beating when stress is involved. C is used by the body to regulate the function of the adrenal glands which produce cortisol and other stress hormones such as epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, which is a neurotransmitter. The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. Therefore it is important to include plenty of vitamin C containing foods in your daily diet.
Vitamin C is also required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
C detoxifies harmful chemicals, is essential for tissue growth, development and repair, has lowered cholesterol, aids in bone formation by helping to absorb calcium, reduces inflammation, promotes tissue repair, can lower the risk of stroke, is necessary for the formation of cartilage and collagen (the glue that holds cells together), keeps hair, skin and nails healthy, helps aid in the absorption of iron, “recharges” the fat-soluble vitamin E so it can fight another day, and helps restore stress hormones.
C could be considered our major antioxidant because it is involved in so many conditions believed to be caused by free radicals. Vitamin C helps to counter the effects of these cell-damaging molecules. Free radical toxins are formed by our bodies and are present in everyday situations. They cause deterioration of our immune system, leading to many common ailments and afflictions. In many cases, Vitamin C is made more effective when taken with other antioxidants such as vitamin E, flavonoids, and carotenoids.
Eating fresh fruits and veggies are a great way to get this vitamin, just plan on eating a lot throughout the day. Common sources include papaya, red bell peppers, tomatoes, hot green chilies, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges and all citrus fruits, strawberries, parsley, kale, mustard greens, spinach, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, winter squash, onions, oregano, garlic and certain raw organ meats such as liver and heart. Incorporating as much of these foods as you can into your diet in fresh and interesting ways will keep you in better health. Taking a high-quality vitamin C supplement is a sure way to keep up on your vitamin C.
For the most benefit take at least 500mg a day, but 10,000mg and more has been suggested and tried with no adverse side effects. Of course if you are going to take a lot of C you should spread it out through the day, too much at once can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. If you are already taking nitrate medications for heart disease, you will want to talk to your doctor about taking a lot of vitamin C, a large amount can make them less effective.
Vitamin D3 is not only an amazingly diverse and important vitamin but also a hormone. Recent research shows that vitamin D—the “sunshine vitamin”—offers a multitude of benefits including supporting healthy heart function, immune and bone health. Vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of over 2,000 genes in your body.
But, most of the people nowadays may have insufficient levels of this essential nutrient. The older you are, the more vitamin D you need. With age, your body becomes less efficient in converting vitamin D to a form it can use. People with darker skin are more susceptible to having insufficient vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is present in certain fish and fortified foods such as cow’s milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals. However, it is difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D through diet alone.
The absolute best way to get vitamin D is through direct sunlight on your skin. It’s the most natural way to acquire your D, and your body self-regulates the amount you receive. But due to insufficient exposure to sunlight, people who live farther from the equator have a greater risk of having insufficient vitamin D levels than those who live near it. Even weak sunscreens (SPF 8) can inhibit vitamin D production by up to 95%.
Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble antioxidant, important when dealing with stress because of the vital functions it performs also being vital for immune systems because it keeps skin and mucous membrane cells healthy and moist. Membranes that are healthy stay moist and resistant to cell damage. it helps the body to build up resistance to respiratory and other infections, making it a key nutrient to have during times of increased stress.
It is a member of over 380 compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids help give the distinctive deep-colour vegetables their colours. Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A (which is retinol) in the body as the body needs it; so beta-carotene is pre-vitamin A. Another bonus with beta-carotene is that it’s not toxic even at high levels like vitamin A can be.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant by helping to protect our cells by supporting skin-cell turnover; the process that keeps cell growth and development running efficiently. As a free radical fighter beta-carotene goes after a couple of free radicals for which no enzyme system exists. It is also unique in that it is not destroyed or made inactive when it quenches a free radical. It is also very effective at interrupting oxidant chain reactions spreading from one molecule to another
Some natural sources of vitamin A or beta-carotene are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, winter squash, broccoli, apricots, spinach, collard greens, red peppers and blueberries. Kale is another green that cannot be ignored, along with spinach, broccoli and collard greens. If these do not look appetizing, try a beta-carotene supplement. The carotenoids in CarotoMax® are powerful, fat-soluble antioxidants that have been implicated in the long-term health of the eyes, prostate, cervix, lungs, and heart, and provides potent antioxidant protection for lipid-rich areas of cells.
When stress hits, it can cause your body to deplete calcium. Your body uses calcium up and can’t absorb it properly. Proper calcium absorption is vital to help retain normal blood pressure, assist in muscle contraction and nerve transmission, help reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramps, water retention, irritability, and moodiness, support healthy heart function, immune health, healthy cell development, along with supporting colon, breast and prostate health, and maintaining of strong bones and teeth.
Combining vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, boron, zinc, copper, manganese and other trace minerals with calcium gives it the support it needs to build bone density when you are young and minimize bone loss as you age. Too much calcium running unabsorbed through the bloodstream can cause kidney stones, inflammation and arthritis, and hardening of the arteries. This is why just taking a Tums for calcium can be dangerous if you are not getting enough trace minerals from other sources.
Eating foods such as non-fat yogurt, cheeses like Romano, Swiss, part-skim Ricotta, cottage, cheddar and Parmesan, fortified cereal, soy milk, milk, fish like sardines or salmon, tofu, soybeans, leafy green veggies like broccoli, kale, collard greens, and spinach, nuts like peanuts and almonds, blackstrap molasses, oranges, black beans, baked beans, black eyed peas, green peas and corn tortillas as a part of your normal diet will go a long way to improving your calcium intake.
Vitamin E is an extremely powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, which supports heart, brain, and prostate health and promotes lung, colon, and immune function. Antioxidants are nutrients which block the damage of free radicals in the body. Vitamin E is also essential for normal fertility and reproductive systems, as well as contributing to increased energy levels.
The following are just some foods are rich in vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Nuts and nut oils, like almonds and hazelnuts Green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, turnip, beet, collard, and dandelion greens Tomato products, Mangoes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Papayas and Avocados Fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic are all good sources of selenium.
The amount of selenium in vegetables is dependent on the selenium content of the soil. Brewer’s yeast and wheat germ, both considered “health foods,” are also good sources of selenium.
Nature’s metabolic workhorse Zinc is present in all cells in the body. As part of enzyme reactions, zinc is involved in such diverse biochemical activities as protein digestion, amino acid metabolism, energy production, bone metabolism, vitamin A utilization, and insulin production. Zinc is necessary for growth and development, and to maintain normal immune function. It is also important for the synthesis of protein and the genetic material DNA.
Adding supplemental zinc to the diets of students led to improvements in both memory and attention span, according to preliminary research conducted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Centre in North Dakota. In the study, kids given 20 mg of zinc five days a week for 10 to 12 weeks performed better on memory tasks and had longer attention spans than those who did not receive zinc supplements.
Zinc plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system in the body. It is required for the enzyme activities necessary for cell division, cell growth, and wound healing. It plays a role in the acuity of the senses of smell and taste. Zinc is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
High-protein foods contain high amounts of zinc. Beef, pork, and lamb contain more zinc than fish. The dark meat of a chicken has more zinc than the light meat. Other good sources of zinc are peanuts, peanut butter, and legumes.
Fruits and vegetables are not good sources, because zinc in plant proteins is not as available for use by the body as the zinc from animal proteins. Therefore, low-protein diets and vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc.
When stress hits, it effects many aspects of health. Over taxed adrenal glands and constantly high cortisol levels create free radicals that attack without mercy. Have you ever experienced a stress related melt-down? You know, grabbing your hair and screaming wildly while you vent your frustrations? Or are you more the type who keeps stress in? You know, never getting outwardly upset but inside screaming your head off?
Many of us need to find better ways to deal with the stresses of life before getting to the raving lunatic stage. I would love to have a spotless house all the time. I used to get upset that the house did not look the way I wanted it too. I had the extra stress and melt downs, etc. But, thankfully, I realized, it’s just a house; other things more important, like the kids making memories.
When I changed my attitude and perception about the house, my stress level went way down. What am I saying? Not only does nutrition play a crucial role in our health, our minds and thoughts do, too. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from situations, places or people to be able to relax and get a proper perspective.
Dealing with stress can take many roads, but the foundational one we all need to be on is the one called Nutrition. Try the natural approach first; you will be surprised at how good you feel.
Nowadays we all are bombarded with ways to eat healthy and live longer. What if there was a real and tangible way that can be accomplished inside our bodies? Eating right and exercise are important in staying healthy but there is something that goes right along with healthy living.
The preliminary release of an independent study of how Vivix activates the Nrf2 anti-aging gene and fights high fat diets and stressful lives demonstrates the effectiveness of Vivix, an anti-cellular aging tonic. It would be best to let the good Dr Chaney’s analysis stand by itself. This is a study of Vivix by scientists outside of the company that makes it. What they found is astounding, and I think the information is better served by allowing it to speak for itself.
Dr. Chaney Vivix study and Nrf2!
Many of you have been asking when you will hear about Shaklee’s clinical studies with Vivix. Your wait is over.
At their August 2009 global conference in St. Louis Missouri Shaklee released some results from one of their key clinical studies on Vivix. This was a randomized, placebo controlled clinical study, the most rigorous kind of clinical study. It was also an independent study performed not by Shaklee, but by scientists at State University of New York at Buffalo.
In short, this was the real deal! In this study, a group of volunteers consumed a 910 calorie breakfast from Burger King. One half of the group took Vivix immediately after breakfast and the other half took a placebo. For the group consuming Vivix a key genetic regulator of longevity called Nrf2 (pronounced Nerf 2) increased dramatically within the first 3 hours after the meal. For the placebo group Nrf2 levels actually declined.
If you are feeling a bit under whelmed at the moment, it’s probably because this is the kind of study that needs a bit of additional explanation before you can fully appreciate it. Let’s start with the breakfast, which I have somewhat jokingly referred to as the “breakfast of champions”.
You see that Burger King Breakfast is loaded with the wrong kinds of fat – saturated fat & trans-fat. That’s the kind of fat that clogs your arteries. Not only does it clog your arteries, but it also causes your arteries to contract dramatically right after the meal. If those arteries are already clogged from previous high fat meals…You guessed it…It can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
If you’re lucky it could mean a trip to the emergency room. But, the most frequent symptom of heart disease is sudden death – often triggered by that fat laden “Happy Meal”, If you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor” And it isn’t just Burger King. Almost any fast food meal will do.
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the protective effects of antioxidants.
In fact, you may have heard about previous clinical studies showing that supplementation with vitamin E or other antioxidants immediately after the “Happy Meal” can prevent that narrowing of the arteries and perhaps save you from that trip to the emergency room.
You might be asking “What does that have to do with Nrf2 and Vivix?” Be patient, I’m getting there. You see when we are young; a “Happy Meal” will trigger an increase in Nrf2 which in turn increases production of our body’s own antioxidant defense mechanisms. Nrf2 also triggers our detoxification pathways so that we can get rid of all of the artificial food additives and preservatives in that “Happy Meal”.
Nrf2 triggers our immune balance pathways (high fat meals depress the immune system and can also cause inflammatory and autoimmune responses). Finally, Nrf2 triggers our anti-stress pathways (high fat meals trigger cortisol production, which can accelerate the aging process) and much, much more.
But when we get older, Nrf2 is no longer triggered by those high fat meals and we lose our natural protective mechanisms. When that happens the aging process, and our risk of heart attack or stroke, is increased by every high fat meal that we consume.
By now you are probably starting to understand why the ability of Vivix to activate the Nrf2 gene is such a big deal. But, I don’t want you to think of Vivix as simply an antidote to a bad diet. You see Vivix turns on Nrf2 whether you are consuming a high fat meal or not.
Just think how much more beneficial it will be to keep your natural antioxidant defense mechanisms, your detoxification systems, your immune system, and your anti-stress systems in tip top shape without wasting those resources having to compensate for the effects of a bad diet.
So let me summarize what this study shows:
- Vivix activates the Nrf2 gene, which is a master regulator of longevity.
- This shows that the dosage of resveratrol and ellagic acid in Vivix is appropriate
- That those beneficial polyphenols get into your bloodstream (they are bioavailable) and that they have their intended anti- aging benefits.
- In short the study shows that Vivix works in real people like you & me.
- Nrf2, in turn, activates the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms, detoxification mechanisms, immunebalancing mechanisms and anti-stress mechanisms. These are all mechanisms that slow down cellular aging and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases.
- Vivix can reduce the damage caused by a high fat diet, but will be even more effective at slowing the aging process if used along with a good diet and a lifestyle that includes weight control and exercise.
The study actually shows much more than this, but Shaklee can’t release the other data until the manuscript has been accepted for publication. So stay tuned for even more exciting results in the future.
To your health!
Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD
- All natural–no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or preservatives
- Ingredients that are 10X more powerful than resveratrol alone in slowing a key mechanism of cellular aging
- Delivers a broad spectrum of over 15 polyphenols – including ellagic acid, one of nature’s most potent antioxidants
- Patent pending and exclusive to Shaklee
Most people today do not think about being deficient in vitamin C. There are so many available sources we have access to that it doesn’t become a second thought. From citrus fruits to pills, C is in our faces all the time, but are you really getting all the C you need?
When it comes to C deficiency we probably think of the most obvious “old time” disease, scurvy. Without C, collagen (the glue that holds cells together) is too weak to perform its duty leading, in the advance stages, to open, puss filled sores, loss of teeth and eventually death. Unlike most animals who can synthesize their own C, we need to replenish ours because we can only store it for so long before it gets used up. That is why sailors on long voyages, explorers, and soldiers separated from C sources were prone to this disease.
Since the discovery of the benefits of vitamin C we no longer need to worry about major C deficiencies. Yet even mild cases can have symptoms. Weakness, poor healing of wounds, anemia, swollen gums, and nosebleeds are common signs of mild vitamin C deficiency. Edema (water retention), weakness, lack of energy, poor digestion, painful joints and bronchial infection and colds also occur with a shortage of vitamin C. It can also be misdiagnosed as depression.
Vitamin C is measured in food sources by a scientific process called titration. The titration of vitamin C is a process of volumetric analysis used to find out how much vitamin C is concentrated in a vitamin source. This process includes dissolving the vitamin source whether it is a pill, fresh fruit juice, packaged fruits, or natural food sources in water straining it and putting it through a redox reaction, based on an oxidizing agent and a reducing agent; usually using iodine. Basically the C reacts with the iodine and creates a blue color. As more reactant is added the color goes away, thus giving the formula needed to determine the C content.
How much C do we really need? That depends on who you talk to. The Recommended Daily Allowance is 45mg for children ages 4-16 and 75mg to 90mg for adults. Sadly, most people do not get even these minimal amounts. For optimal antioxidant protection we need much more C than the RDA. For those who are exposed to pollution regularly, have a high stress level, who are older, smoke or are around smokers, have a family history of heart disease or cancer, low physical activity, and are exposed to the sun a lot (this list could go on) the more C is needed.
So how much do the researchers take? Dr. Albert Szent who won the Nobel prize in 1937 for isolating pure vitamin C took 1,000mg until his 80’s when he started taking 2,000mg a day. Linus Pauling, one of the most important scientists of the 20th century, suggested anywhere from 450mg to 4,500mg and even up to 10,000mg per day; in his 90’s he took up to 18,000mg per day. Bruce Miller, D.D.S., C.N.S., the author of Antioxidants Made Simple, takes 4,000mg per day and more if he feels a cold coming on.
How is it that these people take so much C without problems? C is a water soluble vitamin that cannot be stored by the body. Once our bodies use it up we need to replenish. What our bodies do not use gets flushed out of our system. That is why it is important to have a consistent intake and why it is not possible to overdose.
How much should you take? 100mg to 500mg a day is a good place to start. For the most benefit take at least 500mg a day, but as you can see 10,000mg and more has been suggested and tried with no adverse side effects. Of course if you are going to take a lot of C you should spread it out through the day, too much at once can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. If you are already taking nitrate medications for heart disease, you will want to talk to your doctor about taking a lot of vitamin C, a large amount can make them less effective.
Eating fresh fruits and veggies are a great way to get this vitamin, just plan on eating a lot throughout the day. Common sources include papaya, red bell peppers, tomatoes, hot green chilies, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges and all citrus fruits, strawberries, parsley, kale, mustard greens, spinach, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, winter squash, onions, oregano, garlic and certain raw organ meats such as liver and heart. Incorporating as much of these foods as you can into your diet in fresh and interesting ways will keep you in better health. Most researchers suggest eating these foods along with taking a high-quality vitamin C supplement as a sure way to keep up on your vitamin C.
Taking a vitamin supplement will assure that you are getting all the benefits of a consistent vitamin C intake. Shaklee has several options for getting all you need to fight the onslaught of free radicals and deficiencies in your daily life. Whether it is a sustained release tablet, a delicious chew-able tablet for those who do not like to swallow pills, or combined with our high-potency iron, we can help.
Did you know, heart disease is the number one killer among Malaysian and is two and a half times as common as dying from all cancers combined as reported by the National Heart Association of Malaysia. The good news is more is known today about how to prevent heart disease from happening in the first place. You are able to reduce your risk for heart disease. Taking care of our overall health, is one way to take care of our hearts. It’s all about diet and lifestyle.
Here are top 10 things you can do to promote a strong and healthy heart:
1. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
One of the best weapons for fighting off heart disease is eating a healthful diet. So forgot the hamburger and French fries and fuel up on whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Lose weight, especially belly fat
Excess belly fat has been linked to high cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Losing just 5% – 10% of your body weight can make a big difference in reducing heart disease risk.
3. Boost your vitamin D intake
Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones, but recent research suggests it may also play a role in heart health. If you’re like most Americans and not getting enough from your diet or sun exposure, supplements can be a great option.
4. Consume more fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high triglycerides and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of fish per week. Consider fish oil supplements, especially if you don’t eat fish.
5. Consider CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance vital for energy production especially in the heart. As an antioxidant it also helps promote healthy arteries. While your body does make CoQ10, factors such as aging, poor diet and the use of statin drugs for cholesterol lowering may increase the body’s need for CoQ10.
6. Move more – aim for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days of the week
Regular physical activity promotes a healthy heart. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps control weight, reduces anxiety, and improves blood circulation.
7. If you are a smoker, get help to stop today!
Cigarette smoke can damage your heart and blood vessels as well as increase your risk for many cancers. When it comes to heart disease prevention, any amount of smoking is bad.
8. Don’t forget regular health screenings
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar are all risk factors for heart disease. Talk to your doctor today about these important health screenings.
9. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
Moderate alcohol intake may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for a man.
10. Take time to de-stress
Over time, chronic stress can wreak havoc on our bodies – slowing digestion, weakening immune function and increasing the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. So take time to de-stress your life. Think about what you truly must get done, set priorities, and learn to say “no.”
Our bodies produce free radicals all the time as a natural process of our cells using oxygen. There is no problem as long as there is a balance of antioxidants to free radicals in our system. When our bodies fall out of balance there is nothing to stop the hungry charge of free radicals as they seek to replace what they have lost and as a result many enzyme systems are affected.
It is estimated that 80%-90% of all degenerative diseases involve free radical activity. Antioxidants lessen free radical damage. The list is growing daily on the studies which have identified more than 60 health conditions that may be prevented or treated with antioxidant supplementation.
In generations past food was eaten as fresh as possible or it would rot. The nutritional value or composition of the food was not altered by synthetic or artificial compounds like it is today. Almost everywhere we look there is processed food and with that free radical oxidation. This contributes to the health or “unhealthy” crisis we are dealing with right now as a nation.
There are more free radicals in today’s day than in the past for many reasons. The main two are: the over processing of our food which leads to the depletion of antioxidants, and the environmental toxins we come in contact with on a daily basis. In addition to the free radicals we produce in a normal day, we also produce more during exercise, after physical trauma, after any injury, during infections and emotional stress, after strokes and heart attacks and with those who smoke, take most any drug, drink lots of alcohol, and during exposure to both solar and background radiation.
The other main “new” source of free radicals is the amazing number and diversity of chemicals we now have in our water, air and food. Did you know that there are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals used in industry today? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has full toxicity data on less than one-quarter of them and manufacturers are bringing new chemicals to market at the rate of almost 1,000 per year. Tragically, only around 500 have been tested to see if they cause cancer and most provide little data on what health impacts these compounds have. Practically none are tested to discover oxidative potential.
Here are some facts to be aware of. At least 70% of the processed foods in your grocery store contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient that has never been tested for its potential harm and most have more than one altered compound. There are more than 3,000 synthetic chemicals that are regularly added to U.S. food products; hardly any have been tested for their interactive toxin-producing effects in the human body. Most vitamins and supplements sold in stores that advertise themselves as organic, holistic or natural are actually synthetic chemical concoctions that contain coal tar, preservatives, artificial colours, and a vast range of other potentially harmful additives, some of which they don’t “technically” have to put on the label.
Think about this, in the 9 or so vaccines given to your children before they enter school are harmful additives and preservatives, including mercury, aluminum, MSG, formaldehyde and others linked to disorders ranging from brain and nerve damage to autism and ADD. Medical evidence is coming out that suggests the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause brain tumours, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The numbers get higher if you include pepperoni at the same time, say on a pizza. The occurrence of these diseases has risen dramatically in proportion with the expanded use of synthetic sweeteners and food additives
Chemical hazards we come in contact with include pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and other animal drugs, cleaning supply toxins as well as naturally occurring toxins, food additives, allergens and toxic chemicals that can get into food through the process of manufacturing. Think of the processing aids added to food so it keeps its colour and texture longer. Smog is a storehouse of oxidant particles. There are over 20 chemical compounds in smog that promote oxidation reactions; such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
A once pristine area can be so altered by environmental change that we hardly recognize it or remember what it used to look like. Think of metapolitan ; where once was clear, pure air now people with breathing problems are asked not to live there for health reasons. We are exposed to oxidant-producing chemicals on a level unheard of in the history of our planet. Most of this stuff is new to recent generations and all of it has to be broken down by the body as it detoxifies itself. During the detoxification process our bodies literally become a free radical factory, releasing free radicals on a massive scale.
The only way to prevent total damage is to ingest more antioxidants and limit oxidant exposure. Eating fresh deeply coloured fruits and vegetables on a consistent, daily basis will help. Incorporate these foods into your normal dishes; buy vegetables and use them to cook stew or chop up cabbage and kale or eggplant and fry them with ground hamburger meat to make sloppy Joes or tacos or Sheppard’s pie. Buy as many colourful veggies as you can, chop sauté and season, add some tomatoes, season again, and blend until mostly smooth to make your own spaghetti/pizza sauce. You will never go back to store brand again.
Another way to get more antioxidants is to take good, reputable supplements. Make sure you check on the manufacturer before you buy anything, they should have information about themselves around the web. Many companies have had to deal with recalls, so you will want to do your homework. You also want to limit exposure to toxins. Go green with tough natural cleaning products. Shaklee’s products has no toxins, is biodegradable, and will get rid of all the nasty chemicals you have floating around your home.