MOTHER nature is wise and right wherever you turn in this wonderful Creation. Can it be otherwise when nature bears or anchors the will of God in Creation? In the fourth part of this series last week, I answered the question of a reader who wanted to know why mother Nature did not equip the human body with antioxidants to destroy free radicals which destroy human cells, tissues, organs, system, and by, extension, shorten human life, when it is clear that we must always encounter free radicals and even produce them in our bodies every day.
The enquirer thought that Mother Nature, always credited with WISDOM, should have seen well ahead and provided the human body with a free radicals antidote. The reader arrived at this point of enquiry after reading about how free radicals are present in the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat, how germs produce them in our bodies to destroy the immune system, how the immune system produces its own free radicals to destroy germs, how waste product of metabolism (breathing, digestion e.t.c) are all free radicals. It is reasonable to infer from this that if these wastes are not completely eliminated as they are produced, we accumulate free radicals overtime, endanger the cells and shorten life on earth.
Many people, for example, do not employ up to 40 per cent of the capacity of their lungs to bring in oxygen and to eliminate carbon dioxide produced during metabolism. Exercise helps to improve utilisation of more lung capacity.
Many people are constipated. This means the organs of digestion have been so impaired by free radicals that they cannot function properly and this is causing constipation, which is loading and poisoning the system with free radicals. Can we imagine a motor car with a running engine (“metabolism”) in which the waste products ( carbon and soot of the combustum of petrol or diesel do not leave the engine through the exhaust pipe? Even the kitchens and fire places of old were equipped with chymnies to take smoke and soot safely out.
The reader in reference was baffled by what he considered a slack on the part of Mother Nature when he learned that researchers extended the lives of some animals, including fruit flies, five times over when they fed them antioxidants to erase free radicals which previously ravaged their bodies, causing premature aging and early death in their species.
In the second part of the series, GINGKO BILOBA was thrown up as one of the best antiaging antioxidants for the brain. This has spurred interest in this ancient herb which protect the brain and the eyes in particular against free radicals. More antioxidant for the brain will be mentioned as the series progress.
Last Thursday, the fourth part of this series showed that Mother Nature equipped our bodies from birth with no fewer than three antioxidants complexes to deal with all sorts of free radicals which may assail us. Our duty is to maintain their levels by consuming foods and drinks which contain them or their building blocks. Happily today, the natural health industry, responding to the work of the research community, has produced food supplements which we can take to augment or boost the stock levels.
In this, we can be like the wise motorist who never allows his petrol tank to fall below the half guage before he “fills up” the tank. Some wait till the red light warns them they are on “reserve” fuel. Often, I see pictures of people who are on full antioxidant tank and those who are on “reserve”. Both may be heavy smokers. One may be on Vitamin C food supplement, whereas, the other is not. cigarette smoke produces free radicals, especially for the passive smoker, to inhale. Every cigarette sick smoked is said to deprive the smoker of about 60 mg of Vitamin C, an antioxidant Vitamin.
he one who takes about 1000mg of Vitamin C everyday with food may loose about 600mg of it to smoking, whereas the smoker who does not take Vitamin C may be completely depleted of the little stock of it he had. He ages faster than his friends, and may be in and out of the doctors’ clinic everyday, whereas the other man suffers no complain.
What happens to the cigarette smoker happens to the alcohol consumer and the coffee drinkers, to mention a few examples. I learnt from Dr. Don. Colbert that, since he discovered coffee to be acidic, free radicals laden and, therefore, toxic, and since he could not stop taking coffee, he took an antioxidant with every cup. Dr. Colbert patient may sight him taking coffee and assume, stupidly, that he was a doctor and taking coffee, they too, could take it without any harm to their bodies.
They would be ignorant of his antidote and harm themselves. I learned, also from Dr. author of, ‘What your doctor does not know about your nutrition may be killing you’, that he never fails to add Grape seed extract to his prescriptions. Many pharmaceutical drugs require antioxidant fire power to eliminate the free radical they produced in the body.
Ever since I shared this idea with an Alhaja I met in a cab on the way to Ilorin a few years ago, she has not fail to take it whenever Vitiligo spots appeared on her skin, and It has not failed to work for her.
As suggested last week, everyone must strive to build up or fill up or top up the natural antioxidant complex stocks Mother Nature gave to us all at birth. These are:
•Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) and
As a reminder, Glutathatione is made in the liver from three of the 23 or 50 amino acids, namely:
•Glutamic Acid and
or these reasons, it was suggested that free form amino acids or Spirulina be a part of the daily diet. There are two lines of SOD. One Zinc and Copper. This line protects the cytoplasm of the cell. The other line comes from Manganese and protects the Mitochondria or energy factories of the cell. For this reason, Zinc, Copper and Manganese should be in the daily diet. Many people prefer cheap and pharmaceutical Vitamin C. I go for the alkaline or buffered type which comes with Calcium, magnesium, Iron and Manganese, among others. As for Catalase antioxidant enzyme complex, which destroys hydrogen perozide in the body, converting it to water and oxygen, the ingredient to consume is Selenium, a good supplement for HIV- challenged people and of which we shall soon learn more.
The eye and the vision of President Mohammadu Buhari’s desk should be laden with files in the change era. For change is not roler-coaster, but work. My high school physics taught me in the 1960’s that work was force on distance. I do not think that definition has changed. It means the force applied on a mass over a specific distance. How much change President Buhari would bring about in Nigeria, therefore, would be how much force he can apply over the obtuse, heavy minds and brains of Nigerians in one, two, three, four years. This will call up lots of information which he has to study and take decisions on. If he will keep his election promise, he will not be like President Ebele Jonathan who delegated his office wholesales or thereabout to his ministers who, recognising his weakness for work, capitalised on it. So, can we hear the opinions of our friends, JEAN CARPER’s on good vision, in her best- seller “Stop aging now” and JUDY LIMBERG MCFARLAND in ‘Aging without growing old’? Both are star books for health libraries I have been recommending in this series. Problems of the eyes are many and beyond the scope of this column. I would, therefore, limit their suggestions to those problems prevalent in Nigeria. This including (1) Cataract (2) Glaucoma and (3) Macular degeneration among others.
The bottom line, according to many studies they cite, is that the eye is saturated with antioxidants to prevent its vital organs from being oxidised by rays of the sun. But, overtime, these antioxidants molecules are used up and not restocked. Many people resort to surgery rather than diet only to find the knife couldn’t sort their problems. I’ve had glaucoma since I was 45 in 1995. This was to be joined by cataract from which opthalmogists says I am now free. In learning to take care of my eyes, I learned about how it is well supplied with blood and oxygen and of how blockages of blood circulation may cause vision to or induce blindness. Vitamin A is a good antioxidants present in the eye to protect and replenish the retina. But the eye cannot absorb vitamin A well in the absence of zinc, another antioxidant. Alpha Lipoic Acid, yet another antioxidant, functions in the fluid and tissue parts of the eye.
Beta carotene, yet another antioxidant protects the lens against cataracts. So do the twin antioxidants Lutein and Zeazanthin, plentiful in Marigold flower from where they are commercially extracted for eye formulas. They filter the damaging blue spectrum of light from sunlight to prevent it from “cooking” the lens to a “cataract” against light flow through the eye. From the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision, I was to learn the eyes need 33 nutrients everyday. These are present in the company’s EYE MAXPLUS.
Many more are present in its Advanced eye and vision formula. Let’s hear from Jean Carper:
“Everybody knows cataracts are a phenomenon of getting old. Right? The figures show it: only about 4.5 percent of Americans have cataracts in their fiftieth. By ages 70 and 80, that figure has multiplied 10 times… almost 50 percent have vision dimmed by cataracts. But is age the real culprit? And are cataracts really a necessary part of aging? Bluntly, such senile cataracts, like so many infirmities as we get older, appear to stem from a Vitamins deficiency, says Dr. Irwin H. Rosenberg, director of USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Turfts. Or, more especially, an antioxidant deficiency. Yes, it’s those destructive free radicals at work again.
“This time, they have targeted the lens of the eyes. They are born of photo oxidation that comes with simple exposure to ultraviolet light or being in sunlight so the light strikes the lens of the eyes. Its normal, but after years, it takes a toll by oxidizing proteins, damaging crystalline in the lens, turning it opaque. That is, unless you have plentiful supply of antioxidants in the lens to spice out the damaged crystalline so it does not build up into cloudy lens. Its rather clear-cut, says Dr. Rosenberg.
“A number of studies indicate that cataracts tend to come to people who gets the least antioxidant Vitamins and spare those who get the most. In particular, Vitamin C seems most powerful in warding off cataracts. In one study, Americans in the lowest one third of Vitamin C intake were 14 times more apt to develop cataracts than those in the tight end. Those getting the least Vitamin E had a three times greater risk of developing cataracts, those skimping on Beta Carotene had one and a half times greater risks for cataracts as they aged.
“In other recent research, at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, investigators found that relatively high intakes of antioxidant nutrients corresponded with low risks of cataracts in a group of nearly 1,400 people, aged 40 to 70. Also, those who took multivitamin supplements at least once a week for at least a year were less apt to develop cataracts as they aged than non-vitamin takers. Nor do you have to suffer macular degeneration, a serious degeneration of the eye’s macular leading to blindness.
Recent study by Micheal S. Kaminski, at the Pacific University College of Optometry in Oregon, reported that 92 percent of a group of men and women with macular degeneration were deficient in at least one anti-oxidant nutrient. 75 percent lacked two or more, most notably Vitamin E, Zinc and Selenium. Research shows that nearly everybody over age 55 lacks at least one of the major antioxidants thought to protect against macular degeneration, and three-quartres are deficient in all three. A study at the Natural eye institute show that people with the highest blood level of fruit and vegetable chemicals called carotennoids, including Beta Carotene, were only one third as apt to develop macular degeneration as those with the lowest carotenoid levels. Even those who ate moderate amounts of carotenoids cut their odds of macular degeneration in half. A carotenoid called Lutein may be particularly powerful according to Swiss researchers. They have found Lutein highly concentrated in the macular, the part of the eye responsible for sharp vision. They theorise that antioxidant Lutein and other Carotenoids fight off oxygen free radicals that can damage the macular, destroying sight. Interestingly, vegetables highest in Lutein are Kale, Spinach and collard greens. ‘’In animal studies, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta carotene have been especially protecting against macular degeneration.”
Jean Carper reported, also, that Havard University researchers found that 18,000 male physicians cut their chances of developing cataracts by 27 percent simply by taking a multivitamin formula every day. They tracked the men for 10 years.
JUDY LIMBERG McFARLAND says: “Light is our richest sense, and link to the world and its wealth of imagery. It’s always amazing to me when I study the eye to think of all processes that must take place for us to be able to see. Each waking second, the eyes sends about a billion pieces of information to the brain. The eye can sense about 10 gradations of light and seven million gradations of colors. We see in such detail because the eye is almost an extension of the brain. The health of the eye is largely dependent on a variety of nutrients, the foremost of which is oxygen. When the normal function that delivers nutrition and oxygen to the eye is impaired, many disorders soon follow. Most of these disorders are associated with aging- cataract, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. But are they truly linked to aging? They may not be. “Although cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration have been called signs of aging for years, these health problems may also be austed or lessened with proper diet and nutritional supplement. In both human and animal studies, antioxidants seem to offer the greatest protection against aged related degeneration of the eye.”
She speaks of cataracts, as the loss of transparency in the lens of the eye, the only transparent organ in the body.
Judy Mcfarland adds: “Many investigators, beginning as early as 1935, have reported that cataract patients have very little Vitamin C in the Aqueous humour, the fluid held between the lens and the tissue at the front of the eye. According to the late Linus Pauling, Ph.D., in a normal person there is 25 times more Vitamin C in the Aqueous humour of the eye than in the blood plasma. Supplementation with Vitamin C has caused early cataract to regress or even disappear. The vision of 60 to 90 percent of patients with early cataract improved in one study with some cares of improvement labeled “dramatic”?
Low Vitamin C has actually been labeled by researchers as the cause, not the consequence of cataract formation. What I want to know is why, after 60 years of research, this information hasn’t been filled to every senior citizen. As part of their health care programme. Now, you know cataract can regress, reverse, or disappear.