Last month I got all excited about the Nrf2/ARE Pathway and it being the primary activator of our powerful antioxidant enzymes. Recall that the activity of these free-radical scavenging enzymes is the body’s primary protection against aging and disease, including the big three; cancer, heart disease, dementia and just getting old. In fact, these antioxidant enzymes drastically slow the getting old part, which prevents the development of all the diseases of aging. When scientists looked into what turns on the Nrf2 pathway to fire up production of this family of enzymes, most of what they found were common elements of natural foods and herbs; stuff you grow in a garden, pick from trees, pull from the ocean or hunt down and eat. So now I want to give you some specific foods or extracts that will make a massive difference in your overall longevity and health span.
Resveratrol – highly active primer of the Nrf2 mechanism. Well documented to promote health, longevity and proper weight/fat levels. I use Life Extension’s Optimized Resveratrol, 250 mg and take one/day.
Curcumin – extracted from the spice Tumeric, fights inflammation and pain on several levels, including Nrf2 activation. I use Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin, 400 mg, 2-3/day.
Sulforaphane from Cruciferous vegetables – especially broccoli sprout extract. Several elements of these vegetables are involved with multiple mechanism of cellular protection, but sulforaphane in particular is now known to activate Nrf2-mediated antioxidant enzymes. Eat your broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower! If not, take a supplement for sure.
Rosemary – potent primer of Nrf2/ARE pathway via constituent molecules carnosol and carnosic acid. Especially protective of neurons and memory functions of the brain.
EGCG from green tea – this and possibly other constituents of the tea plant activate the Nrf2/ARE pathway.
Ginkgo – has been shown in several studies to protect against DNA damage from radiation. Also reputed to improve brain function and blood flow, but now has been shown to accomplish these benefits by activating the Nrf2/ARE pathway.
Reishi Mushroom – triterpines in these activate the Nrf2/ARE pathway, improving antioxidant status, while polysaccharides restore immune function to youthful levels, lowing inflammation associated with aging. It has strong benefits for lung function, and in fighting bacterial and viral infections. I just added Life Extension’s Reishi Mushroom Complex to my supplement regimen.
Black Cumin seed oil – the oil is another powerful modulator of immune function and lowers inflammation due to aging (greatly reducing damage to joints from arthritis) while enhancing our ability to fight infections and viral invaders. Its activity is not related to Nrf2 function, but Life Extension now offers it in combination with 400 mg of curcumin, so I am changing to this new product. Anything that keeps joints healthy, fights cancer and promotes clean arteries is a must for me.
Astaxanthin – this pink carotinoid is proving to be a powerful booster of antioxidant enzyme activity via the Nrf2/ARE pathway, and it crosses the blood/brain barrier to boost antioxidant activity in the brain. Make this a part of your daily protection. All of this together could add 15-20 years to our healthy life span, maybe more.
Good Living, and a Happy New Year – Frank
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.