Tag Archives: antioxidants

What Is Cellular Health?

CellularHealthJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

One might wonder how many cells make up the human body. While the question appears simple, the answer most certainly is not. Cells are not uniform in size or in density. Red blood cells, for example, are tightly packed, while skin cells are much less dense. Dependent upon whether cell numbers are estimated by weight or by volume, the answers are entirely different.  Scientists have determined, however, that the body comprises approximately 37.2 trillion cells, each with a particular function, including 2 billion heart muscle cells, 50 billion fat cells and the 240 billion cells that comprise a healthy liver. While cells are individual in structure, they work synergistically to support and maintain all vital bodily processes. Whether one has good health or poor health is determined at the cellular level.

Put this into perspective and one may realize the importance of good nutrition, as without adequate nutrients normal cellular functions become impaired and eventually health suffers. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace elements and other nutrients are necessary to support the thousands of biochemical reactions taking place in every cell that drive all human bodily functions. Every process–from the beating of the heart, to breathing, to walking, to brain function, to immune response–is supported by energy produced in the cells’ mitochondria. This chemical energy, known as adenosine triphosphate or ATP, is essentially the energy currency that we spend to support life.

As we age, our cells age along with us. All cells eventually reach the end of their lifespan, and lose their ability to function normally or cease to function altogether. While many of us may be concerned about outward signs of aging, the health of our aging cells, is also impacted and directly influenced by many factors, including nutrition, genetics, oxidative stress, illness, physical activity, environmental factors and personal lifestyle choices. Cellular aging eventually results in a slow decline in cellular energy production, resulting in a cellular energy deficit that leaves us vulnerable to degenerative age-related chronic diseases. According to the well-respected Linus Pauling Institute, “Age-related declines in mitochondrial function combined with increases in oxidant production are believed to be important contributors to the adverse effects of aging.”

Over time, nutrient deficiencies cause long-term DNA damage to the cells, and that damage is believed to be a cause of chronic illnesses and cancers. The human body, in its amazing ability to survive, addresses short term nutritional deficiencies by taking what it needs from other parts of the body. Vitamin D, for instance, is necessary for normal calcium metabolism. When one is vitamin D deficient, calcium is not properly absorbed. Consequently, the body takes calcium from bones, leaving one more susceptible to developing osteoporosis. Statistics show a very small percentage of us get even the minimum amount of recommended daily nutrients, let alone the proper amounts the human body requires to support cellular energy production and optimal wellness.

Scientific evidence has shown that addressing cellular energy production with adequate nutrition may help to prevent or reverse infirmities associated with the aging process. Research shows that increased cellular energy production helps the body to function at optimal levels. The heart has a high concentration of mitochondria within with heart cells to produce the   tremendous amount of energy required to meet the heart’s huge energy demands. While the heart is susceptible to free-radical oxidative stress and premature aging, it is also responsive to targeted nutritional support. Nutrients such as CoQ10, L-carnitine and D-ribose help to maximize the amount of oxygen the heart can extract from the blood, supporting conversion of nutrients into energy.

Cellular nutrition is actually good preventive medicine. Providing optimal levels of antioxidants and supporting vitamins and minerals can help to protect your health by reducing oxidative stress and addressing the root cause of chronic degenerative disease. Nutrients that help to support cellular health and optimize cellular energy production include:

CoQ10 – Necessary for the conversion of energy from carbohydrates and fats into ATP energy used by the cells, CoQ10 plays an important role in mitochondrial energy production and functions as an antioxidant in mitochondrial membranes.

D-Ribose – This simple 5-sided sugar supports ATP production in the cardiac and skeletal muscle and aids the heart’s muscle contraction. Documented research supports the benefits of D-ribose for enhanced physical strength, greater endurance and less free radical stress during strenuous exercise.

Acetyl L-Carnitine – Especially helpful for the skeletal and the cardiac muscles which use fatty acids for fuel, this amino acid aids cellular energy production by transporting long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix where oxidation occurs.

Antioxidants – Antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E, glutathione and alpha lipoic acid work within the plasma, the cell membrane and within the cell to help reduce free radial damage resulting from oxidative stress and energy production.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine quality supplements to support cellular health and energy production:

D-RiboseD-Ribose by Designs for Health – Used by all living cells as an essential compound in cellular energy production, D-Ribose is necessary for ATP synthesis that supports normal health and function. One daily serving provides 5 g of D-Ribose for adequate energy enhancement. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Bio-D-Mulsion Forte
Bio-D-Mulsion Forte by Biotics Research – One drop provides 2,000 IU of vitamin D, as cholecalciferol, in a concentrated micro-emulsion formula for enhanced utilization and absorption. Gluten free.

 

 

Endogenous Antioxidants & CofactorsEndogenous Antioxidants & Cofactors by Pharmax – Formulated for good health maintenance, this broad spectrum product helps to boost levels of the whole range of cellular antioxidants, including glutathione, ALA, Vitamins C and E, and CoQ10. Vegetarian formula.

 

Acetyl L-Carnitine 500 mg (82730-)Acetyl L-Carnitine by Douglas Labs – One serving provides 500 mg of naturally occurring L-carnitine, shown to maintain cellular membrane stability, aid restoration of age-related membranal changes and provide antioxidant protection. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

 

Ubiquinol CoQ10Ubiquinol CoQ10 by Bioclinic Naturals – This highly absorbable and bioavailable form of CoQ10 performs well established roles as a free radical scavenger in mitochondrial and lipid membranes and as an electron carrier essential to cellular respiration and ATP production. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

References:
How Many Cells Are In Your Body? http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/23/how-many-cells-are-in-your-body/
Aging and Cell Division. http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/aging-and-cell-division-14230076
What do mitochondria do? http://www.newcastle-mitochondria.com/mitochondria/what-do-mitochondria-do/
Metabolic Energy. https://www.rejuvenation-science.com/metabolic-energy.html
L-Carnitine. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/L-carnitine

Vitamin Deficiency and Fatigue

Jacquie Eubanks RN BSN VitDeficiencyFatique

How often when asked “How are you?” do you automatically respond with the polite, standard answer, “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” If we responded truthfully, we might say “I’m exhausted, actually,” or “I’m just worn out today.” The truth is that many of us are trying to balance work, home, school and family responsibilities, often on less than optimal sleep. On top of that, restrictive diets and our standard American diet don’t necessarily provide the nutrients we need to optimally support our everyday bodily processes, including energy production. Getting sufficient, and even excessive, daily calories does not necessarily equate to proper nutrient intake. Studies show we are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to energy depletion, fatigue and a whole range of health problems.

Poor nutrition often results in food cravings, overeating and obesity, as our bodies attempt to get the nutrients required for good health and function. As much as we think our bodies just run automatically 24/7, depriving the body of nutrients isn’t much different from depriving a machine of the fuel it needs to operate. Eventually, the machine runs dry, catches fire, seizes up or quits running altogether, similar to our bodies when they break down–dehydration, inflammation, muscle fatigue and exhaustion can ensue. And while fatigue can be a warning sign of potential illness, many times the most common causes of fatigue are vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

All bodily cells rely on vitamins and minerals to produce energy. Nutrient deficiencies impair cellular energy production, resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue. Low energy has become one of our most common health complaints, as fatigue can negatively affect all areas of life from work quality to enjoyment of daily activities. Persistent feelings of exhaustion or muscle fatigue should be addressed sooner rather than later, as prolonged fatigue may be an early warning sign of underlying health issues or potential future health problems. In addition to nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep quality, lack of exercise and emotional stress all deplete energy stores and contribute to overall tiredness.

Let’s take a look at how deficiencies in certain nutrients affect our energy levels:

  • Calcium – Calcium is critical to energy production and proper nerve function. In addition to fatigue, low calcium can cause muscle cramps and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Vitamin D – Essential for growth and development, vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle aches and weakness and can negatively affect the health of bones and teeth. Low vitamin D levels can result in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and compromised immune and neurological health.
  • Iron – When the body lacks iron, it struggles to make new red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. Left unchecked, iron deficiency can result in severe anemia, which can cause extreme exhaustion.
  • B vitamins – B complex vitamins aid in converting food into energy. Deficiencies in any of the B vitamins can negatively affect the cells’ mitochondrial energy production, resulting in weakness, balance issues and physical and mental exhaustion.
  • Magnesium – Insufficient magnesium intake can result in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, key players in fatigue-related conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome. Vital for energy production, a magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue and weakness.
  • Potassium – Low potassium levels may cause muscle cramps and weakness and can dangerously disrupt normal heart rhythms, resulting in heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that can compromise mitochondrial energy production. Antioxidant vitamins, such as C and E, and the mineral selenium help address fatigue by supporting healthy mitochondrial energy production.

Deficiencies should always be addressed as a preventative measure to protect against illnesses associated with nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be corrected with good health advice, dietary changes and supplementing with high quality vitamins and minerals.

Multi-Mins (Iron & Copper Free)Multi-Mins™ (Iron & Copper Free) by Biotics Research – This high absorbable formula supplies a balanced source of mineral chelates, whole foods, phytochemically bound trace minerals and antioxidant enzymes. Gluten and dairy free.

 

UltraNutrientUltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced formula provides core vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, botanicals and phytonutrient extracts to provide broad-spectrum nutritional support. Non-GMO formulation.

 

 

Active B-ComplexActive B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula provides the full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of multiple biochemical processes including energy production, healthy homocysteine blood levels, and improved visual clarity, concentration and alertness.

 

Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin FormulaMinimal and Essential® Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula by Vital Nutrients This full-spectrum formula provides the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some essential minerals along with a potent antioxidant complex.

 

 

References:
Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired? http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired
3 Top Nutritional Deficiencies As Fatigue Causes. http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/fatigue-lack-of-energy/3-top-nutritional-deficiencies-as-fatigue-causes/
7 nutrient deficiencies that can make you sick. http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/7-nutrient-deficiencies-that-can-make-you-sick
10 Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies That Are Draining You Of Your Energy. http://dailyhealthpost.com/10-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiencies-related-to-fatigue/
7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/common-nutrient-deficiencies/
Vitamin D Deficiency – An Ignored Epidemic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/

The Role of Antioxidants in Health

Antiox4x4JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

While oxygen is essential to life, it is also a highly reactive molecule.  In the human body, oxidation occurs when oxygen molecules become electrically charged due to normal cellular activity, metabolic energy production or exposure to environmental factors such as smoking, chemicals, radiation or pollution.  While the process of oxidation is critical to human function, it can cause an oxygen molecule to become a highly reactive free radical atom.  These unstable free radicals are dangerous to human health because they chemically react with healthy stable cells, setting off a chain reaction which can damage DNA or proteins within the cell.  Oxidative cell damage is implicated in the development of many diseases, including heart disease, cognitive impairment and cancer, and is believed to be a cause of premature aging. 

To counteract or neutralize free radicals, the body produces antioxidants to protect itself and prevent disease.  Your body’s ability to produce antioxidants is dependent upon factors such as genetics and the amount of toxin exposure, whether in the diet, the environment or through unhealthy lifestyle choices.  The role of antioxidants is to prevent or neutralize free radical formation and keep the remainder at an optimum level, as some free radicals are used by the immune system to destroy pathogens.  The natural production of antioxidants tends to decline with age and can be overwhelmed by the creation of free radical cells.  When free radicals outnumber antioxidant defenses, oxidative stress can result.  Oxidative stress plays a significant role in chronic inflammation, known to be the root cause of many age-related degenerative diseases.

Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and phytochemicals all play antioxidant roles in human health.  A number of different antioxidants can be found in a well balanced diet high in colorful fruits and vegetables.  To stay youthful and healthy, a wide variety of antioxidants is essential.  To measure the value of a dietary or supplemental antioxidant, the USDA developed a scale known as the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC score.  The higher the ORAC score, the more free radical fighting potential the food or supplement contains.  Antioxidants work synergistically, so a cocktail of antioxidant nutrients is ideal for optimizing your free radical defenses. 

Foods with a high ORAC value include spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon, sulphurous vegetables, such as garlic, broccoli and cauliflower, fruits, such as acai and blueberries, vegetables, such as artichokes and asparagus, and beans, including pinto and the small but powerful red bean.  Combining a variety of foods will increase the antioxidant capacity.  The USDA recommends a minimum of 3,000 – 5,000 ORAC units daily.  A typical American diet, low in fruit and vegetable consumption, may not reach beneficial levels.  In order to receive the more optimal amount of about 12,000 units, high ORAC value fruit and vegetable consumption would need to increase to 8 – 9 daily servings. 

High level powerful antioxidant supplements include: 

  • Astaxanthin – This naturally occurring carotenoid gives color to seafoods such as shrimp, crab, lobster and salmon.  Widely recognized as one of the most powerful antioxidants, astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.  Astaxanthin helps to protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and is excellent for exercise recovery and improved energy levels. 
  • Ubiquinol – As the reduced form of CoQ10, which plays a key role in cardiovascular health, ubiquinol is an easily assimilated antioxidant that significantly raises the blood serum levels of CoQ10.   These higher levels help to increase energy and aid high-energy tissues of the heart, liver and brain.  As the body’s ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines with age, supplementing with ubiquinol after age 40 can lead to superior absorption. 
  • Turmeric –  Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a potent antioxidant that not only neutralizes free radicals but also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.  Curcumin is believed to increase Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), which aids the growth of new neurons and helps fight degenerative brain processes.  One very significant benefit is support of  endothelial function, which helps to regulate blood pressure. 
  • Resveratrol – This heart healthy antioxidant found in red wine, chocolate and some berries, helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, curbs chronic inflammation and may help protect the lining of blood vessels. 
  • Pycnogenol® –  Sourced from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, pycnogenol is a potent natural free radical scavenger.  The health benefits of the active compounds found in pycnogenol are well established and range from immune system support to artery protection. 

Supplements for antioxidant support: 

PaleoGreens - MintPaleoGreens – Mint by Designs for Health – This great tasting greens food is made with organic cleansing, regenerative and alkalizing grass juices, algae, enzymes, prebiotics and high ORAC value vegetables, fruits and berries.  One serving has the equivalent antioxidant capacity of 4 servings of vegetables based on ORAC.  Also available in Lemon/Lime or Unflavored.  Gluten and soy free. 
 
Astaxanthin 4 mg
 
Astaxanthin 4 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This powerful antioxidant, derived from Hawaiian microalgae cultivated under pristine conditions, supports skin, macula, joint, immune and cardiovascular health.  Gluten and soy free. 
 
 
 
Bio-Cyanidins
 
Bio-Cyanidins by Biotics Research – This product provides superior botanically based antioxidant support with Pycnogenol and grape seed extract (95% OPCs).  Gluten free.