Jordan S. Rubin, NMD, CNC
Its vital role in reducing the risks of age-related diseases Our antioxidant needs become ever greater as we ag.
Our antioxidant needs become ever greater as we age. By 40, our antioxidant needs are so much higher than ever before, and we need powerful whole foods in our diet, as well as nutritional supplements that enable us to meet our body's essential requirements. Clinical studies suggest that increasing the antioxidant status of our blood serum will result in reduced risk of many chronic degenerative diseases.
Educating health-conscious consumers on the vital contribution antioxidant-rich foods and nutritional supplements can make to their health and longevity is of great importance in today's world. Dietary and lifestyle recommendations, along with the use of nutritional supplements (particularly those with the highest antioxidant potencies), will significantly aid in improving health and reaching the maximum life span, which is generally thought to be 120 years.
ORAC the Antioxidant Potency "Gold Standard"
ORAC (short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) developed by scientists at Brunswick Laboratories in collaboration with Tufts University, is an in vitro analysis that measures the antioxidant potencies of foods and other nutritional or chemical substances.
Foods that score high in the ORAC antioxidant analysis help protect cells from oxidative damage, according to the chief scientific agency of the US Department of Agriculture. Studies of animal and human blood at the USDA Research Service's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging indicate that eating plenty of high ORAC fruits and vegetables (such as blueberries and spinach), may help slow the processes associated with aging in the body and brain.
"If these findings are borne out in further research, young and middle-aged people may be able to reduce their risk of such age-related diseases as senility, simply by adding high ORAC foods to their diets," says one scientist involved with the program.
In the studies, eating plenty of high ORAC foods:
The thesis that oxidative damage culminates in many of the maladies of aging is well accepted in the medical and health communities. This evidence has spurred skyrocketing sales of antioxidant supplements.
Top Scoring ORAC Foods
Based on evidence, experts suggest that daily intake should be at least 3000 to 5000 ORAC units to have a significant impact on plasma and tissue antioxidant capacity.
According to estimates, however, the average American consumes only 1000 to 2000 ORAC units per day.
The Alchemy of Homeostatic Nutrient Complexes Bringing Nutrients to Life
Homeostatic Nutrient (HN) complexes are vitamins and minerals that have been liberated and potentiated with probiotic micro-organisms and their by-products, including enzymes and organic acids. This process is not merely a blending of foods in a vat at a manufacturing plant, but rather it is a nutritional "alchemy" that occurs based on both science and an artisan craft.
The process of turning ordinary vitamins and minerals into living whole food structures can be called "organic transmutation." Our bodies naturally recognize organic, plant-derived vitamins and minerals, because nature transforms them into organic materials instead of allowing them to remain in their elemental form. Whenever vitamins and minerals come into contact with the beneficial by-products of probiotic fermentation, they are naturally dissolved into an ionic form. These nutrients literally become part of the whole food complex during the production of the homeostatic nutrient complexes.
Perhaps the most exciting result of this fermentation process is the fact that the beneficial micro-organisms and enzymes remain viable, creating many powerful antioxidant compounds that are "alive" in the formula, thus imparting to it unique probiotic properties. This abundant array of effective probiotics and enzymes not only expertly delivers nutrients, but also continues to work in the body, further enhancing health.
Longer fermentation (21 to 42 days) allows the probiotics to create a much larger variety and concentration of health-promoting compounds. The end result is that the nutrients have been made into their preferred form and are "body ready," thereby activating all necessary co-factors, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Also created are multitudes of biochemicals that the body craves, including the master antioxidant super-oxide dismutase (SOD), as well as various immune-supportive beta- glucans, antimicrobial peptides, bacteriocins, biosurfactants, biotin, coenzymes, conjugated linoleic acid, glutathione, chromium compounds, hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, lysozyme and many others all significantly contributing to a high ORAC value.
Nutrient utilization within the living organism requires a multitude of different naturally occurring co-factors, many of which are trace minerals. These trace elements are necessary for the body to assimilate vitamins. Thus, the alchemy of the fermentation process is to take isolated nutrients and, once again, integrate them into whole foods.
Special Substances Boost ORAC Value
Many reports have been published on the beneficial use of humic substances, especially fulvic acid, for human health and medicine. Again, we return to one of the ancient secrets of health and longevity. We now know that fulvic acid is part of the earth's natural recycling process. Researchers call it "one of the most important missing links in the human food chain," and it was once present in small amounts in our foods and drinking water. Nearly every pharmaceutical drug, herbal extract, health supplement, or therapeutic substance from nature can somehow be traced to the basic functions of fulvic acid.
Fulvic acid contains all of the phytochemical protective substances, amino acid peptides, and nucleic acids from the original plant matter, highly concentrated, refined, transformed, and enhanced by the actions of innumerable microscopic plants. Even small strands of RNA, DNA, and plant photosynthetic materials remain intact. Nature meant for small amounts of fulvic acid to participate at every level and link along the food chain.
Another important high ORAC substance is chlorophyllin, derived from chlorophyll-rich foods such as grass juices, spirulina and chlorella. When fermented in the presence of copper, they produce highly beneficial compounds including chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin has anticancer, anti-mutagenic, antioxidant, and life extension benefits that may exceed chlorophyll, making it a powerful antioxidant.
Also receiving notoriety in antioxidant research are the dietary staples Rhododendron caucasicum, blueberry leaf, mountain apple, and pomegranate of the Georgian people in the former Soviet Union. These high antioxidant foods are thought to be a significant part of the reason why the per capita number of active centenarians is so high among these people.
Linked to cardiovascular health and blood glucose maintenance, alpha-lipoic acid is known to be deficient in people with heart disease and diabetes. Studies show this vital antioxidant is important in healing the liver, and may be beneficial in reducing the damage caused by virtually all chronic conditions. Benefits to athletes include enhanced energy production in muscle tissues, decreased glucose uptake by fat cells, and improved muscle recovery.
Two other powerful nutrients, lutein and lycopene, play significant roles in antioxidant nutrition. Lutein is an important carotenoid now known to be widely protective against chronic diseases affecting vision, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Lycopene, important for healthy heart functioning, also reduces the risk of prostate cancer and its spread to other tissues.
Not simply an isolated inorganic mineral, homeostatic calcium is derived from seaweed and contains a wide variety of body-essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, phosphorous, fluorine, sodium and copper. Magnesium plays an important role in calcium transportation, metabolism, conversion of vitamin D, and maintenance of bone integrity. Boron converts Vitamin D into its active form thus participating in the calcium absorption process. During the fermentation process, the micro-organisms make these minerals complex and convert them into more usable and soluble substances. The minerals are not only ionic, but also highly concentrated in a balance almost identical to that found in healthy blood plasma and the lymphatic system.