Home 5 Frank's Column 5 A More Useful Understanding of Antioxidants and Cellular Protection.

A More Useful Understanding of Antioxidants and Cellular Protection.

Sometimes useful knowledge evades even the most diligent searchers, and so it is with me on the topic of oxidative cellular damage and how to prevent it. We burn sugars, fats and protein with oxygen to produce energy. But in addition to energy, we make free radicals (Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS) with the potential to cause instant cellular damage. ROS can damage DNA, RNA, proteins, and the internal parts of our cells, which is a primary cause of aging.

I just came to understand that our primary defense against oxidative cellular damage is the co-action of three antioxidant enzymes; Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase, in defusing potential damage from Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) within our cells, particularly the Superoxide radical and Hydrogen peroxide. These enzymes reduce these damaging free radicals to oxygen and water. The key thing to understand is that these enzymes are not destroyed in the process and can do this reaction about one hundred million times per second. This chain of co-acting enzymes operates inside each cell to protect their working parts from the fire of their own energy production. In contrast, antioxidants such as vitamin C or E require one antioxidant molecule to disarm one free radical at a time, and then go through a lengthy recharging process before being able to help again. These internally-made enzymes are the big guns that second-by-second protect us (our cells) from getting disabled in an instant. The issue – our ability to make these primary antioxidant enzymes declines with age and is decreased by poor nutrition. I have written about this on this website in my Anti-aging category, and the bottom line is that organisms that produce the greatest amount of these primary antioxidants are the longest lived, and show the least amount of aging damage into advanced age. Therefore, the biggest bang for our supplement dollar is to boost production of these primary antioxidant enzymes. One of the products that I use, and wrote of last month, is Life Extension’s Endothelial Defense, and I was gratified to realize that it is based on GliSODin, a patented supplement that does exactly that. What I didn’t get all these years is that these enzymes are several million times more important than how much vitamin E or other superfood antioxidants we take. Yes, these all can make a difference in our aging rate, but GliSODin, and perhaps similar products, which boosts production of these primary antioxidant enzymes, can make a massive difference. In recent years we have come to know that food elements we thought acted primarily as antioxidants really function at the level of controlling gene expression, turning on genes the foster longevity while turning off genes that promote inflammation. If you want to know much more about this whole area of antioxidants and the marketing of this idea as “anti-aging”, I suggest further reading at and particularly a two-part paper that explains why human antioxidant studies don’t always live up to the expectations of in vitro (test tube/glass dish) studies and why real, whole foods work far differently than isolated vitamins and antioxidants. These are well worth reading if you’re not fond of pain and suffering later in life:

Another product I use routinely is Cell Guard, which was discussed in Balch’s “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” as a vegetable sprout extract, interic coated so that it survives the digestive process into the small intestines, where it is assimilated and increases the body’s production of SOD and these other enzymes. See test results here. It also claims to increase levels of Methionine Reductase, a unique enzyme that has demonstrated an ability to remove an extremely toxic free radical called the “Hydroxyl Radical”. The hydroxyl radical is commonly formed through reactions involving heavy metals and other less toxic free radicals, such as mercury (from dental fillings and dietary sources) reacting with hydrogen peroxide. It is a primary quencher of free radicals generated by intense exercise. Buy it here for a great price: BIOTEC FOODS Cell Guard 170 CAPS

Good Living – Frank

Frank Wilhelmi
Frank Wilhelmi

Frank Wilhelmi – Retired/consultant electronic engineer researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.

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