Raise Your Antioxidant Shield

dvertising pioneer David Ogilvy believed that the only way to properly sell a product was to understand it. And, he thought, the only way to do this was to personally use it and his enormous success bears out his premise. The message for prospective buyers of any product, but especially dietary supplements, is that you can often gain quality assurance knowledge by asking: Do the people you buy from use the products themselves?

It is even more important and impressive when the designers of the nutrient formulations you use are personally invested in their "success," by ingesting them on a daily basis just as you do. Life extension scientists Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw are the creators of an entire range of nutrient formulations that they designed for their own use - not for export purposes or some marketer's target - but for their personal use. And knowing their broad-based scientific knowledge, intelligence, and integrity, you can be confident that you're getting an extraordinary product.

The foundation of Durk & Sandy's system of health promotion and maintenance is a multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant formulation. Now, in response to their own demand for higher levels of some of the ingredients, they have created a self-contained booster formulation shield. If you are interested in going to the next level but have been hesitant because of concerns for proper selection and balance please read on. Find out how you can get greater antioxidant protection without uncertainties or compromises, so that your shield against free radicals can be even more resilient.

DURK: Some people want to take more vitamin C and more vitamin E than we have included in our high potency multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant formulation. However, the 12 capsules that comprise the recommended daily serving of are packed full - we don't use fillers. As a result, adding more vitamin C and E to it would increase the number of capsules substantially. Therefore, we created an additional formula that is in a separate capsule for those persons, such as ourselves, who desire to take more C and E than contained in our multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant formulation.

To determine the appropriate amounts of vitamins C and E, one important factor is to look at the ratio in various sorts of animals and plants with various life spans. The ratio of vitamin C to vitamin E is usually between 4 to 1 and 8 to 1, but mostly between 4 to 1 and 6 to 1, at least for the long-lived species. However another factor to observe is that it's necessary to be somewhat cautious in comparing human beings to long-lived wild animals because we accumulate vastly more body fat than most animals out there in the wilderness.

A baboon, for example, lives a fairly long time. As does a chimpanzee; however, if they had 20 or 30 percent body fat, they'd have a heck of a time getting up a tree and away from a predator who's trying to pounce on them. In fact, if you look at animals in the wild, it's quite common for them to have 2, 3 or 4 percent body fat. In a human being, that would immediately raise questions: "Is this person dying of cancer or are they taking high dose Fen-Phen or anabolic steroids for a bodybuilding contest?" You just don't find many healthy people with the body fat percentage ranges that you have for wild animals, even long-lived wild animals.

So it's necessary to take a look at how these nutrients partition in the body. Vitamin E is fat-soluble so if an animal has a higher fat percentage than humans do, one would expect that in order to maintain the same concentration per gram of fat, you're going to need more vitamin E to accommodate the additional fat. And that's why we have an increased percentage of vitamin E in our booster formulation so that the vitamin C to E ratio is actually about 3.5.

The reason we do that is because human beings simply have a lot more body fat than long-lived wild animals. The vitamin C we have included is in the form of calcium ascorbate and niacinamide ascorbate, both made by Roche, makers of the most stable vitamin C you can find. It is more stable even at alkaline pH's. Calcium ascorbate is the salt complex of a weak base, calcium hydroxide, and a weak acid, ascorbic acid. So you end up with a higher pH, about 6 (7 is neutral), which is about what you have in the small intestine. Such a pH would normally reduce stability, but because we use Roche calcium ascorbate - which is devoid of trace transition metal auto oxidation catalysts like copper, manganese and iron - stability is maintained. Roche goes to a great deal of trouble to purify the water and the ingredients that are going into their manufacturing process. The amount of vitamin C and E contained in every three capsules of our multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant booster formulation is 1177 mg and 333 IU respectively.

Also in every three capsules we have 20 mg of ascorbyl palmitate. Ascorbyl palmitate is a very potent fat-soluble form of vitamin C that acts as an antioxidant synergist. In particular, the vitamin E and ascorbyl palmitate comprise a very good system for protecting foods from oxidation. You can also learn a great deal about how free radicals damage human beings by taking a look at how free radicals make foods go rancid.

I have not seen any evidence of an
inability of a healthy animal to produce
adequate amounts of NADH, provided
they have the necessary vitamin co-factors
and provided they're not starved.

WILL: What else is contained in your multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant booster formulation?

DURK: We've also included additional levels of hesperidin and quercetin, two potent natural phytochemical polyphenols. They're bioflavonoids and act as antioxidants; particularly in the presence of other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. We have added about 40 milligrams of each in every three capsules. This is a quantity of hesperidin and quercetin you would expect to see in somebody who was eating a lot of citrus fruits and a lot of vegetables. However, this is not to say that you can just forget about eating your fruits and vegetables because there are other things in fruits and vegetables that are protective against cancer and possibly cardiovascular disease besides hesperidin and quercetin. Both of these are very important polyphenol antioxidants; hesperidin is found in citrus fruits and quercetin in vegetables.

WILL: Do they work synergistically with ascorbate?

DURK: Yes, they work together with ascorbate and, again in food systems, in the presence of vitamin E and ascorbate they do even better. There's very good epidemiological data showing that diets higher in hesperidin and quercetin result in a lower incidence of cancer and possibly cardiovascular disease. In laboratory experiments, they are quite potent protectors against a wide variety of free radical damage. It's interesting to note that the spectrum of activity of herperidin and quercetin is not identical for the two of them separately and that's one of the reasons that we have included both of them.

WILL: Although you've had hesperidin in your formulations for over a decade, you've held back on adding quercetin. Why is that?

DURK: The reason for that is in the Ames test, quercetin alone can act as a mutagen. In the process of redox cycling, it can produce free radicals and damage the DNA of salmonella bacteria that are used in the Ames test. But vitamin C does that, too. Which doesn't mean that in vivo quercetin or vitamin C are mutagens. So we needed a lot of data as to the effects on animals and epidemiological effects in humans before we were willing to begin taking supplements of it ourselves or to recommend it to others. However, in the past decade there has been a great deal of research done on bioflavonoids, and quercetin comes out on top in antioxidant effectiveness time after time.

WILL: Quercetin is also used because of its anti-allergenic properties. How does that work?

I would like to point out that a person
can probably, at least in part, make a
judgement as to what the reasonable
amount to take is, if they are sensitive
to the way that they feel.

DURK: The mechanism isn't known; however, it is possible to conclude that this may be due to controlling oxidative stress that can lead to an upregulation in cytokines that are involved in allergic reactions.

WILL: Back to the whole formulation again as you were explaining it ...

DURK: We also have a couple of other B vitamins our multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant booster formulation. Niacinamide ascorbate to help provide adequate amounts of NADH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADPH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) to help reduce the ascorbyl radical back to ascorbate. We've also included vitamin B2 (riboflavin) because it plays a role in the same redox process, where you reduce an ascorbyl radical back into ascorbate. The ascorbate, incidentally, can turn a tocopherol radical back into tocopherol (vitamin E), but at the expense of the ascorbate ion turning into an ascorbyl radical; so you need to eliminate that, which is a role B2 and B3 (as niacinamide ascorbate) play.

WILL: Should the niacinamide ascorbate in your multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant booster formulation be able to produce adequate amounts of NADH, which is needed for the production of energy by the citric acid cycle? There's quite a lot of hoopla out there about supplementing directly with NADH. Dr. Birkmayer has been touting the stability of his patented NADH and proffering through his research and advertising that this is an important item in and of itself.

DURK: I have not seen any evidence of a healthy animal being unable to produce adequate amounts of NADH, provided they have the necessary vitamin co-factors and provided they're not starved.

WILL: There are some clinicians who've told me - although I haven't seen the evidence either - that they get positive results from NADH use in people who presumably get enough of the precursor nutrients.

We've also included additional levels
of hesperidin and quercetin, two potent
natural phytochemical polyphenols. They're
bioflavonoids and act as antioxidants;
particularly in the presence of other
antioxidants such as vitamin C and E.

DURK: One of the advantages of the niacinamide ascorbate is that it is a charge-transfer complex. Normally niacinamide by itself has a hard time getting across certain tissues such as the blood-brain barrier. Yet the blood-brain barrier has ascorbate pumps that actually concentrate vitamin C, pumping it from the blood and concentrating it in the cerebral spinal fluid. There are further pumps that pump it out of the cerebral spinal fluid and pump it into neurons. It occurred to me that it may be possible in a strong complex like this to drag the niacinamide along using the ascorbate pumps.

WILL: So presenting the vitamin B3 in this form to the brain and attached to ascorbate is really kind of like a trick to get higher concentrations of it to the brain?

DURK: We don't know for a fact that this occurs. It is plausible. It certainly seems reasonable; and the subjective effect of niacinamide - how it feels - seems more effective in the form of niacinamide ascorbate.

Raise Your Antioxidant Shield - Part II - August 1998

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