Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New research on antioxidants

Antioxidant supplements tied to death risk Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/27/07 "Beta carotene and vitamins A and E, antioxidant supplements taken by millions to fight disease, may actually raise the risk of death, a review of 68 studies on nearly a quarter-million people ...Tuesday's report related only to synthetic supplements and not to fruits and vegetables in everyday diets which are natural and contain less concentrated levels of antioxidants...Beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E given singly or combined with other antioxidant supplements significantly increase mortality," the study found. It said the increased death risk is about 5 percent higher than those not given supplements and that figure is probably conservative...no evidence that vitamin C increases longevity and though selenium tended to reduce mortality...Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said the study and the data studied are both flawed because more than two-thirds of the previous research that was examined involved people with heart disease, cancer or other risks who were being treated to see if the supplements worked..."

Most of the science on relatively weak antioxidants like E and beta carotene have not shown clear benefits, or like the meta study above has shown potential problems... esp. with those who are already sick and or have an unhealthy lifestyle. What's the answer? Get your basic antioxidants from fruits and veggies, take an rda multivitamin to make sure you don't have any deficits (rda multivits aren't associated with higher mortality), exercise 5 + days a week and take much stronger antioxidants and compounds that really make a difference to your health. What are they? From what I've read they are: (your dosing might vary - but below doses are what various research shows can be beneficial ) - those in bold I take almost every day.

  • resveratrol (30mgs to 350/450mgs a day (5mg per kg is what Sinclair is on daily) - high end gets you the anti-aging effect, if you can tolerate it - some res. supplements come with other stuff that complicates the issue)
  • curcumin (600mg to 1+gm a day)
  • egcg (200 to 500+mgs a day)
  • cocoa (50gms a day - half a bar 85% cocoa - no milk)
  • alpha lipoic acid (5mg to 25mg )
  • ashwaghanda (50 to 150mgs 2-4%with.)
  • bacopa (100mgs or so)
  • milk thistle (50 - 150mgs most days)
  • ginseng (250mg to 1-2gms panax - various % gins. - once in a while, but not every day and def. not if it messes with your sleep like with me - I rarely take this - but when I do it gives me tons of energy)
  • ginkgo (60mg to 360mgs - a few times a week)
  • carnosine (50mg to 250mg - most days)
  • pycogenol (50mg to 100mgs - occasionally)
  • glisodin (250mg to 750mgs - usually when not taking other antioxidants - good for vacations - only one pill to worry about)
  • rhodiola (50mg occasionally - less is def. better with this one)

What's the reason for these? Most of them besides being antioxidants in their own right, have multiple ways of fighting off various diseases and many of them can boost a variety of endogenous antioxidant enzymes like GPX, CAT, and SOD. Carnosine is for anti-glycation. All of these attempt to address to a degree the three leading theories of aging - free radical theory, mitochondrial theory and glycation theory. Also, all ingredients have been associated with increased longevity. Further research will determine whether any of these ingredients remain on the list, or not... or if they become a smaller part of the regimen. Nothing is sacred. If curcumin proves to have some troubling epigenetic qualities... then off it goes. If resveratrol at certain doses for some folks actually shortens life... then I'll get tested before I get rid of this one. Ok some things hold out so much promise it might be a bit harder to part with. But I'd do it if the research indicated trouble.

Below are a few ingredients that hold promise but more research is necessary before I'll take them.

  • Terminalia arjuna
  • Rubia cordifolia
  • Tinospora cordifolia
  • Fagonia cretica
  • Scoparia dulcis

etc (the list goes on and on)

A very good primer on antioxidants can be found at Dr. Ray Sahelian's site - his site offers excellent information and advice on a vast array of supplements. One of my favorites and a great health resource.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

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