The two main theories as to why we age involve free radical damage to cells and telomere shortening at the ends of our chromosomes. Below are the top 3 anti aging supplements which target the free radical pathway.
Free radicals are molecules in the body with an unbalanced electrical charge. Normal molecules have paired electrons so that their charges are neutralised. When they are exposed to these free radicals, the free radicals steal an electron to neutralise themselves. The previously balanced molecule then becomes a new free radical. This creates a vicious cycle of free radical existence in our body.
Free radical activity is necessary for the basic functions of our cells to produce energy but, in excess, free radicals attack the structure of the cells in our body. In particular, it causes damage to the mitochondria and oxidation of the cell walls. Substances which reduce the harmful effects of free radicals are known as antioxidants.
Coenzyme Q10 also goes by a much more difficult name: 2-3 dimethoxy-5 methyl-6 decaprenyl benzoquinone. But for the purposes of this article, it shall only be referred to as Coenzyme Q10. It is a fat-soluble vitamin found in highly metabolically active organs such as the liver, heart and kidneys.
It works by providing energy to the cells in our body, particularly the mitochondria, which explains why it is found in higher concentrations in more metabolically active organs. It reduces free radicals which can injure our cells and cause aging. It has also been approved for medical treatment of certain conditions such as congestive heart failure.
Coenzyme Q10 is considered to be a powerful antioxidant. It reduces the formation of LDL cholesterol. It helps recycle oxidised forms of vitamin C and E. Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer are among the list of diseases associated with a low level of coenzyme Q10.
In a study by Sacher et al, patients with congestive heart failure receiving 4 months of coenzyme Q10 increased their heart’s efficiency to pump out a certain amount of blood with each heart beat. They were able to exercise for a longer duration of time and do more intensive exercises.
In another study, 1200 mg per day was given to a group of 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease and it was found that these patients has a lesser degree of disability.
As an anti-aging supplement, for people between 20-35 years old, 30mg per day is recommended. Between 35-50 year olds can take 50-100mg coenzyme Q10 daily. Beyond the age of 50 years old, 100 mg twice daily as ubiquinol or coenzyme q10 is suggested.
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Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant produced by some plants as a defence mechanism against certain fungi and bacteria. It is commonly found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine. Other sources are peanuts, cocoa and berries. Its reported benefits include weight loss, anti inflammation, anti-diabetes, improved heart health and anti-cancer.
Resveratrol has been shown to increase nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is responsible for preventing LDL cholesterol build up and preventing the progression of atherosclerotic heart disease.
It has been shown that resveratrol slows down the growth of breast cancer and prevents the formation of colon cancer. Studies have shown that it suppresses the growth of new blood vessels into the tumours, which means that the tumor cannot survive in the body.
Resveratrol also influences sugar and fat metabolism and resulted in a decrease in blood glucose level in diabetics. Additionally, it increased the amount of antioxidants in their body therefore resulting in fewer nerve complications.
Recommended dosage is between 250 to 500 mg per day.
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Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for consumption in humans as we do not have the ability to make our own vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C is not only a water-soluble antioxidant that is able to mop up and neutralize free radicals, it also allows adequate collagen production, builds up immunity and prevents infection. It assists in wound healing and prevents bleeding.
A study conducted on more than 4000 women showed than consumption of vitamin C reduced the development of wrinkles and dry skin. Daily intake of 500mg of vitamin C reduced the risk of cataracts and high blood pressure.
The Dietary Reference Intake has been established at 75mg daily for women and 90mg daily for men. This will prevent diseases of vitamin C deficiency like scurvy. However, most people are able to take up to 1000mg per day with no side effects.
A healthy diet will provide you with all the Vitamin C you require.
Part 2 of this article will feature supplements that target the telomerase shortening pathway. Please bear in mind that some less popular brands of supplements may not be regulated closely by the FDA or other international equivalents. Whilst there have been many studies done that prove the benefits of these supplements, they are technically not "drugs" or "medications". So, they may not be required to undergo the stringent animal and clinical trials that the FDA process is known for. Choose your brands carefully.
The best anti aging supplement despite all the clinical studies out there is still a positive attitude to everyday problems. A great support system of family and friends, a healthy lifestyle of exercise combined with a balanced diet, and just generally finding reasons to smile take years off your appearance. You can buy the most expensive supplements available but beauty still always radiates from within. So, by all means, get some recommended supplements but don't expect them to be miracle cures.