Nutritional Support for Healthy Aging
In the time it takes you to read this, you and your cells will have aged. And though we rarely think about it, life's most uneventful activities can serve as a reminder that our time here is temporary.
How much time we actually end up with depends on many factors. What we fail to realize is that the body ages from the inside, out. Aging is not the result of passing time; it is the result of what we are exposed to physically, environmentally, and chemically. The integrity of our cells, not our clocks, is what determines how smooth the aging process will ultimately fare. We are constantly subjected to exhaust, smoke, heavy metals and other airborne particles. Over time, these invisible agents inevitably become stepping stones of accelerated aging.
Fortunately, great strides have been made in understanding which factors have the most significant influence on aging, and moreover, which compounds show the most promise in delaying their effects. In order to better grasp their importance, it helps to know what happens at the cellular level. Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that lack a key elemental particle, such as an electron. To compensate, they scour the body in search of healthy cells, robbing them of the element needed; a process known as oxidation.
Stress, especially long-term, unaddressed chronic stress, is the biological equivalent of kerosene used to kindle the bonfire of human aging. Stress may have a harmless origin, but can grow with intensity as its resolution escapes. Gradually, even the simplest stressor can affect every major system of the body. This makes stress one of the most detrimental culprits of cellular aging. Stress reduction techniques, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, prayer, or tai chi can help the body adapt to stressful situations.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds that deactivate the free radicals caused by oxidation. Some of the most potent antioxidants can create a more stable environment that is unfavorable to oxidation.
Antioxidants work with the body's immune system to prevent free radical damage from occurring on a larger scale, while cleaning up the cellular mess that is left behind. Vitamins A, C, and E are the most popular vitamin antioxidants, though many others have been discovered. Some of the most significant include Selenium, Ginkgo Biloba, Hawthorne Berry, CoQ10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Polyphenols are naturally-occurring chemical substances found in fruit and plants, and can be categorized by three major divisions: flavonoids, tannins, and lignins. To date, researchers have identified thousands of flavonoids, including flavonols, catechins, anthocyanidins, and isoflavones. Despite their structural and functional variance, research has shown that some polyphenols exhibit potent antioxidant properties, and may be very beneficial in supporting a healthy aging process. Some of today's most popular polyphenol supplements include Green Tea, Grape Seed extract, Pycnogenol, Enzogenol, and Quercetin. One compound in particular, trans-Resveratrol, has demonstrated remarkable abilities in slowing the rate at which certain cells appear to age.
The specific shade of each fruit and vegetable is determined by its carotenoid content; natural pigments that possess strong antioxidant properties. Carotenoids do more than provide color, however. They are also powerful phytonutrient antioxidants that are capable of quenching impressive amounts of oxidation. Some of the more popular carotenoids are beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and astaxanthin.
It is important to remember that no one pill can stop the hands of time. Anti-aging is a lifelong process for which there is no user's manual. Fortunately, we live in an era of remarkable science and research. NOW Foods uses the most current studies in order to bring you a line of safe, effective, science-based dietary supplements.