Turn Back the Clock!

You can look and feel younger and more radiant just by taking these super supplements.

| May/June 2005

  • Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, protect against heart disease, slow skin aging, improve cognition and ease osteoarthritis.

Bette Davis said famously that old age is no place for sissies. Amusing, yes, and somewhat true. But with several ounces of prevention and a commitment to healthy habits, aging doesn’t have to equal physical decline. Some of the deterioration we experience in our senior years can be directly attributed to a lifetime of unhealthy practices, and most of us assume that failing eyesight, less than perfect hearing, slower movements and disease are just a natural part of aging. Yet, according to longevity experts, your body can stay healthy, flexible and strong for 100 years or more — if you treat it right.

Aging 101

When we’re young, our bodies fend off cellular damage with naturally produced antioxidants. But by the time we hit middle age, many of us find ourselves on the path toward disease and premature aging, as free radicals overwhelm our natural antioxidant system, causing cells to dysfunction or die faster than the body can replace them. Eventually, say Dutch gerontologists Gerbrand J. Izaks, M.D., and Rudi Westendorp, M.D., this accumulation of cellular damage inevitably leads to the diseases of old age.

Working hand in hand with free radicals, advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs) occur when a protein and a carbohydrate (glucose) are linked in the wrong way. As a result, protein becomes sticky and can adhere to the arteries, damage eyes and kidneys, and affect your sex hormones. The more AGEs produced, the faster we age.

A poor diet, lack of exercise and exposure to preservatives, cigarettes, alcohol and refined foods all can promote the development of free radicals and AGEs. But a healthy lifestyle and some well-chosen supplements can protect your cells and proteins — and give you an edge against aging.

Herbal Help for a Younger-Looking You

Although cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a traditional Peruvian herb that has been used by indigenous people for generations, new research shows it may be a powerful weapon against aging. Not only does cat’s claw boost immune function and thwart inflammation, but researchers at the University of Lund in Sweden have discovered the herb fights free radicals, reducing DNA damage. More important, during their clinical trial involving 12 healthy adults, the Lund team found that compounds in the herb actually enhanced DNA repair. While no adverse reactions have been reported, people with autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis and tuberculosis should use the herb with caution. Recommended dose: 350 mg a day.

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is a tasty drink that has gotten a lot of press lately, primarily because of its protective action against a variety of cancers, including oral, prostate, gastric and skin cancers. This super antioxidant reduces oxidative stress and also is credited with promoting cardiovascular health by lowering total cholesterol, making platelets less sticky and cutting the risk of hypertension.

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