Determining the Level of Antioxidant Defense
Aside from the natural aging process, environmental pollution and unhealthy lifestyle allow free radicals to damage the cells, predisposing people to a wide range of diseases, dull skin, and aging appearance. Fortunately, the body has a natural repair system in the form of antioxidants which are found in fruits and vegetables, although these are sometimes compromised due to unhealthy living, poor diet, and stress.
BioPhotonic scanner is a laser-based device that is designed to determine the antioxidant defense levels by sending out a wavelength of blue light into the palm of a hand. For about a minute and a half, a technician can already measure a person’s photon unit, which is the number of carotenoid pigments present in the skin.
The blue light released by the BioPhotonic scanner turns green if it hits the carotenoid pigments. Meanwhile, the score can range between 10,000 to 60,000 photon units, which correspond to the number of carotenoids found in the basal layer of the skin.
Experts believe that photon units between the range of 40,000 and 50,000 are ideal, but unfortunately, most people who have been tested only scored about 25,000 which does not provide enough protection from free radicals. It is important to note that a score below 40,000 can predispose a person to different kinds of chronic degenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
On the other hand, having a large number of carotenoid pigments means that a person has a healthy antioxidant defense level which can protect him from free radicals caused by unhealthy living, environmental pollution, and perhaps one of the most common culprits, chronic stress.
Oxidative Stress: What Happens to the Body?
When the number of free radicals is too much for the antioxidants—which can neutralize these harmful molecules—the cells and DNA can become damaged. If this happens, the ramifications include a wide range of degenerative diseases and body that is aging faster than normal.
The most common degenerative diseases include stroke, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, and diabetes.
The organs and tissues under oxidative stress are like a peeled apple which will turn brown just after several hours of being exposed to the air.
This happens because the cells are exposed to free radicals without protection in the form of antioxidant; consequently, it is not surprising for people with low levels of this molecule to suffer from weak immune system and dull, leathery skin often with freckles, melasma, and other forms of age spots.
The rusting of metal because of rain, pollution, weather, and other environmental factors is also the same with oxidative stress. However, this process can be slowed down, if not completely avoided, with the use of paint on its surface.
By covering the metal’s surface with a special paint, it can be protected from premature rusting. The same thing happens to the cells: By introducing more antioxidants to the body, the impact of free radicals will be lessened. To do this, a person has to eat lots of fruits and vegetables (or take supplements if necessary), use sunscreen with high SPF, and avoid stress and unhealthy lifestyle.
Problems Associated with Free Radical Damage
Heart Attack and Free Radicals
Contrary to a popular belief, “bad” cholesterol or LDL is not the main cause of heart disease, particularly the atherosclerosis in which fats collect along the walls of arteries. Experts have recently discovered that free radicals encourage the plaque to form inside the arterial wall, and then eventually, slow down or even stop the flow of blood; consequently, people with this condition experience shortness of breath, chest pain, heart attack, and other related symptoms.
Fortunately, the introduction of BioPhotonic scanner has made it possible for doctors to identify people who have low levels of antioxidants which can predispose them to heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases. And the good thing about the device is that it provides an accurate reading without the need to undergo an invasive procedure.
Skin and Free Radicals
Because free radicals can adversely influence the cells, its effect to the skin is quite apparent. For this reason, it is not surprising for individuals to have dull complexion and age spots if they are constantly exposed to sun’s UV rays, cigarette’s smoke, pollution, pesticides and other harmful chemicals, radiation, and car exhaust.
To avoid sunspots and other harmful effects of UV rays, doctors recommend the use of sunscreen with at least SPF 20 even during cloudy days. Also, avoiding the sun between 10 am and 2 pm when it is the strongest can prevent free radicals from damaging the skin tissue. Meanwhile, living in a clean and healthy environment can also minimize one’s exposure to free radicals.
Antioxidants Found in Fruits and Vegetables
A healthy diet is one of the best ways to increase the number of antioxidants. This means eating nine to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday so the body will have enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients which can protect and repair the cells from free radicals.
Experts categorize antioxidant vitamins into three basic groups: vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Fruits and vegetables, which come in yellow, red, blue, orange, and purple color are generally high in antioxidants; but to fully enjoy their benefits, nutritionists suggest to eat them raw or at least lightly steamed because overcooking or boiling these foods can slash a significant amount of nutrients they contain.
However, some people find it hard to meet the nine to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables; for this reason, some doctors recommend supplements. Fortunately, with the use of BioPhotonic scanner, it is now possible to determine if a change in diet or daily supplementation is giving a positive impact or not.
Because the device measures the carotenoid pigments in the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the skin, it can provide not just an accurate reading but also determine if the nutrients are effectively absorbed by the living cells.
Meanwhile, the result of BioPhotonic scanner is based on the past six to eight weeks nutritional intake of a patient.
Examples of Foods High in Antioxidants
Large amounts of vitamin C is found in kiwi, mangoes, orange, papaya, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, berries, broccoli, green and yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, honeydew, kale, and snow peas
But when it comes to fruits and vegetables with high contents of vitamin E, red peppers, sunflower seeds, mangoes, carrots, broccoli, mustard, spinach, papaya, nuts, and turnip greens are quite notable.
Lastly, foods including tomatoes, watermelon, spinach, pumpkin, kale, mangoes, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, turnip greens, nectarines, asparagus, beets, tangerines, squash, collard greens, peaches, and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids. However, foods with high levels of vitamins are not the only ones that contain antioxidants. For instance, zinc, which is an immunity booster, is found in poultry, seafood such as oyster, red meat, whole grains, and dairy products.
Meanwhile, these are some of the produce which are noted for their anti-oxidative characteristics: tuna, prunes, fortified breads and cereals, apples, raisins, Brazil nuts, berries, plums, onions, red grapes, beans, alfalfa sprouts, and eggplants.
Supplements and Vitamins for Anti-Oxidative Therapy
In case that a person is not getting enough antioxidants in his diet by eating fruits and vegetables alone, some doctors may recommend supplements which contain minerals and vitamins. However, everything should be taken in moderation because multivitamins can be toxic in large doses.
For instance, it takes long for the body to eliminate vitamins A and E; consequently, people should follow the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) to avoid a deficiency without any risk of toxicity due to overdose.
These are some of the antioxidants and their respective RDA:
- Vitamin E: About 15 mg for both men and women.
- Vitamin C: Smokers should take about 110 to 120 mg of Vitamin C, however, it is 75 mg for adult women and 90 mg for adult men.
- Zinc: If a person is a vegetarian, his body absorbs less zinc which is why his daily intake should be 50 percent higher than average. But for adult men and women, the RDA is just 11 and 8 mg, respectively.
- Beta-carotene: There is no RDA for this antioxidant, although the Institute of Medicine recommends at least 3 to 6 mg to lower the risk of degenerative diseases and infection due to weak immunity.
- Selenium: About 55 micrograms for both men and women.