The French Paradox and Red Wine

Juvenon Health Journal volume 2 number 12 december 2003 By Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D. Wouldn’t it be nice to wine and dine on mouth-watering, high-fat foods, and still maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as a sharp mind? And maybe live longer as well? Research data indicate this is exactly what the French are able to do. The French are known for their high intake of fatty foods and for wine consumption. Yet the incidence of heart disease in France is 40% lower than predicted for their high-fat diet. THE FRENCH PARADOX AND RED WINE Research to explain this phenomenon, dubbed “The French Paradox,” focuses on a particular component in wine, particularly red wine. Research has led to some fascinating discoveries and perhaps to a more profound understanding of the aging process and how it may be manipulated to increase life expectancy. It has been suspected for some time that chemicals in wine function as antioxidants, helping to protect the cardiovascular system from inflammation-induced oxidative damage. These compounds, called polyphenols, are known to contain potent antioxidant properties. However, what is even more exciting is that one of the polyphenolic compounds present in wine has the capacity to mimic the …

Antioxidants: How They Protect Our Cells 10/03

Juvenon Health Journal volume 2 number 10 october 2003 By Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D. It’s likely that anyone who pays even passing attention to his or her health is aware that antioxidants are generally good for us. But what are they, really? How do antioxidants work? Are some better than others? WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS? Before we get to the “anti” part of the story, let’s begin with the oxidants that the “antis” fight. The sun is a source of oxidants familiar to all. Its effects on manufactured products are well known. Colors fade in clothing, plastics, and on painted surfaces. The rubber tires on your car harden and then crack. The sun essentially takes the life out of the products exposed to its rays. This happens because sun’s ultraviolet rays disrupt the chemical bonds that hold together materials such as rubber and plastics. Electrons in pairs characterize these bonds. The sun’s energy agitates the electrons and splits off some of them, leaving disrupted or broken bonds with, figuratively speaking, jagged ends characterized by a single unpaired electron. The unglued or broken bond with its single unpaired electron is an oxidant. And it doesn’t like the single life. It aggressively pursues …

The Eight Faces of Vitamin E

By Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D. Without vitamin E, we essentially turn rancid. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, that is, able to penetrate the fatty areas of our tissues. As it does so, it neutralizes toxic oxidants and protects oxidant-sensitive membranes. Thus vitamin E is justifiably known as an antioxidant, and for helping to prevent age-associated increases in oxidative insults to our bodies. THE EIGHT FORMS OF VITAMIN E In reality, vitamin E comes in eight different forms, all of which are derived from plants. The eight E’s are divided into two classes: The tocopherols consist of 4 types of vitamin E, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The features distinguishing each are slight chemical differences (location and number of methyl groups) on its core structure. The tocotrienols are virtually identical to the tocopherols in structure, except for the presence of 3 unsaturated bonds (hence trienol). Alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols are more permeable to cell membranes because of their unsaturated bonds. This chemical difference imparts certain advantages over the less permeable tocopherols. The most potent antioxidant of the group is alpha tocopherol. For reasons still unknown, this form of E represents the bulk of vitamin E present in our serum. This …

Vitamin D – A Vitamin In Need of Revision

For most of us, vitamins are synonymous with good health. Yet most Americans do not take vitamins. (See Research Update along side this article.) Changing diet affects the need for vitamins, as does age, since older bodies don’t absorb vitamins as well as younger ones. Vitamin D is a good example of the controversy surrounding vitamins.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine: The Lesser Known Cousin

Structurally, the difference between the acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) and L-carnitine (LC) is that ALC is an LC molecule that also contains an attached acetic acid group. This structural difference is small, but it produces a considerable difference in the biochemical properties of the molecule and, consequently, in its effects on metabolism.

Exercise: Gene Activator for Health and Strength

Juvenon Health Journal Volume 2 Number 4 – April 2003 Wishful thinkers are often ingenious in their ability to rationalize the avoidance of exercise. Some worry whether too much exercise would wear them out prematurely. Others question whether an older body really needs to break into a sweat. Recent discoveries, combined with a widely accepted theory of aging, clearly counter these rationalizations and document how exercise initiates a coordinated series of responses by the cells of the body culminating in greater strength, energy and stamina. The mitochondrial theory of aging is widely accepted. It states that cumulative damage to the mitochondria, the power plants in each cell, contributes to physical decline, a wide variety of degenerative conditions, and ultimately to cell death. Maintaining mitochondrial health is therefore essential to successful aging. This is where exercise comes in. Here’s how it works. More Mitochondria Without The Hard Work? Recent research with animals has demonstrated that it is possible, at least with some cells, to artificially increase the production of mitochondria without exercise. The authors demonstrated that they could increase the production of mitochondria by introducing a gene to overproduce one of the key regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis, known as CaMK. This research may …

The Mitochondria: The Cell’s Dynamos

What are mitochondria, what are their functions and why are they so important? These tiny cellular structures specialize in energy production, but also play a role in aging, cancer, cell death, and degenerative diseases. Virtually all the energy needed for you to go about your daily life ultimately derives from the mitochondria.