Every part of our body ages. From our bones to our skin and our brain, what we eat defines how we will feel, whether we’ll be healthy and how long we’ll live.
We all know about the danger of free radicals and how antioxidants destroy them. Antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that slow aging are:
- coenzyme Q10
- alpha-lipoic acid
- vitamins A, C, D, E, K and many of the B vitamin complex vitamins
- essential fatty acids
Remember, you won’t get 3 times extra benefits if you take 300% of suggested daily intake of any vitamin, mineral or antioxidant. Don’t buy packaged food that has a label “rich in antioxidant” and don’t think that relying on supplements is the best way to go. Buy local organic whole foods superfoods. Eat as many different veggies, fruits, nuts and animal proteins every day. Doubling the intake of one antioxidant won’t replace the other one. If you digest 200% of daily recommended vitamin C intake, that won’t replace vitamin B12 or vitamin E for that day. So, antioxidants should come from a diet and not from a pill. Antioxidants in a pill are isolated chemical compounds, but vegies and fruits have phytochemicals that are not even discovered and named and you can enjoy them now. Whole foods contain a bunch of substances that work in synergy and are far more effective than supplements that just deliver one of them.
Let me tell you something I read recently about telomeres. After 2009 Nobel Prize went to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak for the discovery of “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”, there are lots of articles about telomeres on the web. Alexey Olovnikov discovered telomeres in 1973. He found that the tiny units of DNA (telomeres) at the end of each chromosome shorten in time because they can’t replicate completely every time the cell divides. So, as you get older, your telomeres get shorter and shorter. Eventually, DNA replication and cell division stops completely, at which point you die. But, some researches are showing that certain nutrients play a significant role in protecting telomere length. That means that we can influence telomeres length. Vitamins B9 and B12 can influent telomere length, as well as vitamin D3, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamins C and E. Telomere shortening has been linked to the type 2 diabetes, DNA damage, decreased immunity, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Antioxidants influence aging differently, e.g.:
• Vitamin D – People with higher vitamin D levels were found to have less aging related variations in their DNA, as well as lowered inflammatory issues.
• Astaxanthin has anti-inflammatory and DNA-protective capabilities and helps lower inflammation. Astaxanthin has been found in microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. Astaxanthin is 65 times more potent than vitamin C, 54 times more potent than beta-carotene, and 14 times more potent than vitamin E.
• Coenzyme Q10 – Premature aging is main side effect of having too little Coenzyme Q10 because this essential vitamin reprocesses other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. Coenzyme Q10 shortage also accelerates DNA damage, and because Coenzyme Q10 is helpful to heart health and muscle function this reduction leads to muscle weakness, fatigue, soreness and heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 basically had a strong anti-aging effect, in the sense that you can keep youthfulness until the very end of life. Coenzyme Q10 rich foods are beef organ meats and beef meat, pistachios, sesame seeds, sardine, mackerel, cuttlefish, yellow tail, tuna, herring, pollock, adzuki beans and chicken, and there are Coenzyme Q10 supplements and anti-aging creams with Q10. My wife tried this cream and she’s quite happy with it.
• Probiotics – well, let’s first mention the main cause of bad gut flora in obese people -> High fructose corn syrup. HFCS is main ingredient in nearly all processed foods, from snacks, frozen dinners, to condiments t o soda. It causes genetic mutations and malfunctions that can cause disease in future generations. Processed, sugar- and chemical-laden foods effectively destroy your intestinal microflora. Your gut flora controls your immune system (your body’s natural defense system). Antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, stress and some other factors can also decrease the quantity of probiotics (useful bacteria) in your gut, which can prompt illness and premature aging. You can take probiotic supplements, but much better is to include fermented food into your diet, e.g. kefir, plain yogurt and sauerkraut. Yogurt is excellent source of iodine and zinc too.
• Vitamin K2 – K2 is present in cheese, eggs, chicken breast and ground beef. People who consume 45 mcg of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day.
• Omega-3 – Those who have an omega-3 index of less than four percent age much faster than those with indexes above eight percent. Omega-3 index is a great new way to check your health. Push your Omega-3 index above 8 percent if you want to delay aging. Omega-3 index below 4 percent puts you at high risk for heart attack. Omega-3 fatty acids can actually reverse telomere shortening. If the ratio of omega-6 / omega-3 is higher than 10, your body is in a state of inflammation. Sort of silent inflammation (arthritis or other illness). In order to better protect yourself from cancer, you should ideally bring this ratio below 3. If you have active cancer, you should bring the ratio to under 1 – in other words, your goal should be to have more omega 3s than omega-6s in your body. Krill Oil is suggested Omega-3 supplement because it’s absorption rate is much higher than fish oil.
• Magnesium – Magnesium has an important role in DNA replication, repair, and RNA synthesis, and it’s been revealed that magnesium positively relate with amplified telomere length in women.
• Vitamin B9 and B12 – B9 has an important role in the maintenance of DNA integrity and DNA methylation, both of which influence the length of your telomeres. B9 can be found in leafy green vegetables and beans. B12 is found in beef liver, lamb, salmon, snapper, beef, venison, shrimp, scallops, eggs and poultry.
• Polyphenols are strong antioxidants linked to anti-aging benefits and disease reduction. Resveratrol is found in grapes and red wine and cacao and green tea have tons of polyphenols.
• Vitamin A – Telomere length is positively associated with dietary intake of vitamin A. It has an important role in your immune response.
• Turmeric – Turmeric is immune booster and acts anti-inflammatory. But it’s mostly known for anti-cancer potential.
• Exercise reduces telomere shortening.
And at the end, you’re probably wondering which foods should be avoided? Well, the answer is the same as always, sugar and processed and refined food. Understand that extreme sugar consumption leads to insulin resistance, and insulin resistance seems to be the origin of many if not most chronic disease. So far, scientific studies have linked extreme sugar consumption to about 78 different diseases and health problems, including heart disease and cancer.