health

The vital role of antioxidants in achieving optimium health and longevity

Friday, February 11, 2011 by: Dr. James Chappell
Tags: antioxidants, longevity, health news

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(NaturalNews) Let's start with a basic truth: There are NO magic bullets! For over 40 years, I have taught tens of thousands of people the benefits of natural healing, including how to slow down, stop and reverse dis-ease. Although there is no one way or one pill that will ever help anyone achieve optimum health, there are basic tenets we must understand in order to accomplish our health goals.

We must stop doing all things known to cause dis-ease and start doing all things known to promote health. You are kidding yourself if you think you can take a little vitamin C or a synthetic multiple vitamin and mineral and negate or prevent the detrimental effects of smoking cigarettes. Even though there are ways of bridging the gap between your lifestyle and ideal health, some behaviors are just too damaging. In addition, I believe everyone has a right to their own destiny and their own level of ignorance. Smoking cigarettes is a major fast track ticket to a life of pain, suffering and premature death. Having said that, is it possible to violate natural health laws and still be healthy? Maybe.

Ideally, the best way to achieve optimum health and increased longevity is to practice the first plank above: stop doing all things known to cause dis-ease and start doing all things known to promote health. This would include, but is not limited to, avoiding all junk food and liquids, eating organic fresh food, breathing fresh air, drinking charged distilled water, wearing only natural fibers, living and working in environmentally healthy homes and buildings, exercising and relaxing daily, forgiving the unforgivable and not taking life so seriously that everything becomes a stressor. Of course in these times, it seems impossible to accomplish, however, as you will read, there is much that can be done, even in our chaotic and toxic world.

Assuming you are doing the best you can do with bridging the gap, the first step to achieve optimum health is to detoxify on a regular basis. Not unlike changing the sheets on your bed, washing the dishes after a meal or pulling weeds in your yard, periodically, we need to rid ourselves of all the known and unknown toxins we acquire from our food, air, liquids and environment. Interestingly enough, if we don't willingly detoxify on a regular basis, the body will do it for us. It is known as a toxemic crisis or what is commonly called a cold or flu.

The fact is, we do not catch a cold; we actually earn and then get rid of one. When toxins accumulate they not only suppress the immune system, they attract scavengers; bacteria, virus, fungus and parasites. As these opportunistic pathogens invade and proliferate, they cause symptoms of aches, pains, fever, a running nose, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, etc. These symptoms reflect an attempt by the body to eliminate toxins and the invaders.

As the saying goes, only sick people get sick. In other words, if you're not toxic, you will not attract pathogens or the symptoms of their arrival and growth as a consequence. Once the body detoxifies, the symptoms subside and the invaders either die or become inconsequential, at least until the next house cleaning. Of course, if you detoxify on a regular basis by abstaining from food for one day per week, regularly take a drawing compound to chelate toxins and remove them, keep your bowels working properly by avoiding constipation and re-colonize the intestine with healthy bacterial flora, you should never experience a cold or flu again.

One major contributor to sickness and premature aging is a suppressed immune system and/or declining cellular functionality caused by oxidative decomposition or free radical damage. Free radicals are a highly reactive chemical or molecule that often contains oxygen and can damage cellular components such as DNA or other parts of a cell. Any molecule that can cause oxidative damage or decomposition to a cell or tissue may be called a free radical. Toxins from any source: smoking cigarettes; taking drugs (prescription or not); drinking alcohol or from the chemicals found in our food, liquids, air, clothes and environment, can contribute to free radical accumulation in the body. The key is to stop cellular damage and start a process to repair it. Until recently, this was thought to be impossible. However, as you will find, we now know what it takes to regenerate and slow, stop and reverse the aging and dis-ease process.

After one has insured their basic nutritional needs through eating healthy organic food and taking whole food supplements, the body must then have adequate anti-oxidants to destroy, neutralize or deactivate free radicals. All antioxidants are rated according to their ability to neutralize free radicals in a process called Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (O.R.A.C.). The higher the rating, the better the substance is to address free radicals and their potential damaging effects. With the discovery of a few natural substances combined in tandem as explained below, we not only can heal and repair damaged tissue, we can now slow down and reverse the aging process at the cellular and glandular (organ) level. The net effect is improving how you look and feel. The first substance on my list to achieve optimum health and longevity is the Brazilian fruit called Acai.

For over 500 years, natives living deep in the Brazilian Amazon have used Acai for food and medicine. The Acai Palm (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) produces a small blackish-purple berry. This fruit is similar in size to a grape and is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins, essential fatty acids and especially anthocyanins, a class of anti-oxidants. As anti-oxidants go, few come close to Acai's O.R.A.C. rating. While the Noni fruit is rated at 500, Mangosteen at 550 and Wolfberry (Goji) at 875 per ounce of substance, Acai is rated at over 3,871! Even Oprah Winfrey featured Acai as the #1 Super Food.

From a berry in the Amazon, the next highest polyphenol flavonoid (anti-oxidant) is called resveratrol found in common red wine grapes. Researchers in Denmark recently looked at 25,000 people to find out what drinking wine does to mortality and discovered that red wine drinkers slash their overall risk of dying from any cause by about 40 percent. It appears resveratrol's anti-oxidant action helps stop free radical damage and opens the arteries by enhancing nitric oxide (NO), a molecule produced by the body to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, thus dilating the artery and increasing blood flow. Resveratrol also stimulates the longevity gene and reduces the frequency of DNA destruction from free radical damage by 60 percent.

Quercetin is found to be the most active of the flavonoids in studies and many medicinal plants owe much of their healing activity to their high quercetin content. Quercetin has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity because of direct inhibition of several initial processes of inflammation. Quercetin inhibits both the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators. In addition, it exerts potent antioxidant activity and vitamin C-sparing action.

Quercetin has shown positive effects in combating or helping to prevent cancer, prostatitis, heart disease, cataracts, allergies, inflammation and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma. Quercetin is not only found in fruit including berries, cherries, apples and grapes, but it is found in onions, broccoli and leafy green vegetables. Unfortunately, like many food supplements and anti-oxidants, reaching a therapeutic dose requires supplementation.

In the winter of 1535, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier found his ship ice-bound in the St. Lawrence River, in what is now Quebec. Having no fruits or vegetables, the crew began developing scurvy; symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. Several had already died when one of the Native Americans told him how to prepare a tea made of bark and needles from a pine tree. Many crew members recovered and attributed miraculous qualities to the tea.

As reported in the 2006 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-review publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific organization, Pine tree bark extract has potent anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, pine tree bark extract is a potent anti-oxidant and has proven helpful in high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease and skin cancer cases. It is the polyphenolic compounds as disease-fighting antioxidants that make pine tree bark extract so valuable as an adjunct to any formulation.

Curcumin is known for its anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-amyloid (Alzheimer's) and anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-cancer effects stem from its ability to induce apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells without cytotoxic effects on healthy cells.

A 2004 UCLA-Veterans Affairs study involving genetically altered mice suggests that curcumin might inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloid in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients and also break up existing plaques associated with the disease.

Lutein is a human serum carotenoid which is not synthesized by humans and thus must be obtained by the ingestion of food containing it such as fruits, vegetables and egg yoke.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as xanthophyll carotenoids and are anti-oxidants that destroy harmful free radicals generated by exposure to light, which initiates oxidative damage in the eyes and skin. Lutein and zeaxanthin provide protection against free radicals that can damage cells and DNA, and thus cause cancer. To prevent aging eye syndrome, there is nothing better.

Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment, a phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits. Lycopene is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid anti-oxidants. It is a powerful carotenoid quencher of singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen from ultraviolet light is a primary cause of skin aging.

According to the prestigious M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, curcumin, resveratrol and lycopene "not only prevent but also treat cancer and other diseases."

Selenium is an essential micronutrient in all known forms of life. In humans, selenium is a trace element nutrient which functions as a cofactor for reduction of anti-oxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductase. It also plays a role in the functioning of the thyroid gland by participating as a cofactor for thyroid hormone deiodinases. Research has shown a positive correlation between selenium supplementation and cancer prevention in humans.

Young people naturally produce the anti-oxidant enzyme catalase to protect against destructive free radicals. Unfortunately, levels of catalase decline with age. Numerous studies correlate diminished catalase levels with health problems, suggesting that abundant catalase promotes longer life. Catalase supplementation offers promise in slowing aging, promoting longevity, relieving pain, modulating inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. This powerful anti-oxidant helps to promote good health and protect against many of the conditions associated with aging.

Researchers have discovered that R-lipoic acid is unique in being the only anti-oxidant known to work in both fat and water-soluble tissues. This dual-acting ability allows R-lipoic acid to be easily transported across cellular membranes to neutralize free radicals in both interior and exterior cellular structures which has lead to name R-lipoic acid as the universal anti-oxidant.

In one study, researchers induced cataracts by incubating rat lenses in glucose to mimic the damaging processes seen in diabetes. R-lipoic acid was shown to be highly effective in preventing cataract formation. In another, Japanese researchers exposed cells infected with HIV-1 to R-lipoic acid, which then inhibited the replication of HIV-1 and other viruses by blocking reactive oxygen species (ROS) used in signal transduction pathways.

Due to its ability to penetrate tissues, humic and fulvic acid (humate) is rapidly being recognized as one of the key elements in many outstanding health and scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century. In addition to aiding the absorption of nutrients and vitamins, humate is an anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. It boosts your energy and chelates heavy metals and body toxins, thereby removing them from the system. Humic and fulvic acid contains amino acid peptides and nucleic acids; the protective substances of phytochemicals.

Based on current available scientific research, supplementing with a combination of Acai, resveratrol, quercetin, pine tree bark, curcumin, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, selenium, catalase, R-lipoic and humic/fulvic acid, is one of the simplest, most effective and safest steps we can take to help prevent dis-ease, premature death and to turn back the clock thus achieving optimum health and longevity.

There are products on the market today that contain most, if not all, of the above ingredients. A simple search should prove helpful.


About the author:
Dr. James Chappell is a board certified chiropractic physician, traditional naturopath, clinical nutritionist, medical herbalist and master formulator. Since 1971, he has been an avid health researcher and educator specializing in incorporating natural healing protocols for chronic, severe and terminal illnesses. As a clinician, he has consulted over 11,000 patients and spent over ten years as one of the lot doctors for Paramount, Universal, MGM and Burbank studios in Hollywood, California seeing actors, producers and directors. He is a best-selling author, lecturer, TV and radio personality (24 TV Infomercials), nutraceutical and botanical formulator, corporate medical consultant and president of Chappell Health Products, LLC. His books, recordings and products are found throughout the world. He also has an Internet and telephone consultation service. Contact: calldrjim@sbcglobal.net or 805-649-9969 Monday through Friday 9 to 5 pm PST.

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