Stress – it has long been said that people who handle stress better live longer. Certainly, we are all to familiar with the various events in our lives that lead to emotional stress, the results of which may be immediately apparent in our demeanor and attitude. However, there is another form of stress known as “oxidative stress” that is the more insidious, taking it’s toll on us in ways we have only recently begun to appreciate. Oxidative stress occurs when environmental exposures, such as cigarette smoke and ultraviolet radiation or intrinsic factors, such as the metabolism of certain foods, cause the formation of “free radicals”. A free radical is a highly reactive atomic particle that attacks the nearest available molecule, resulting in cellular damage. If damage occurs to one of the DNA strands, then the free radical injury becomes permanent and is passed on during cellular replication.
Oxidative stress can contribute to the development or progression of many disease processes, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, emphysema, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Ironically, some of the activities that may help us reduce emotional stress-such as relaxing in the sun or enjoying a sugary snack-result in an increase in oxidative stress.
Although our body’s natural defenses include enzymes which protect against free radical damage, these mechanisms can be overwhelmed with free radical attacks, resulting in diseases and accelerated aging. Fortunately, many fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals. A number of different antioxidants exist, with some of the most powerful being flavonoids. Flavonoids impart a rich flavor to the fruit, so it is no surprise that some of the most potent flavonoids (known as polyphenols) are found in the skin of red grapes used to make red wine, where they protect against ultraviolet radiation and act as antibacterial and antiviral agents. The protective effect of polyphenols is enjoyed by individuals who consume fruits, red win or supplements containing the natural polyphenol extracts. In fact, scientific research has demonstrated that polyphenols reduce degenerative diseases that comprise the quality of life as we age.
Many other naturally derived polyphenols, such as those found in acia berries and pomegranates, are known to fight free radicals. However, published evidence shows that resveratrol, a particular polyphenol that is derived from red grapes or red wine, may be helpful as an anti-aging supplement in addition to being a potent antioxidant.
Indeed, red wine has opened the door to what may very well turn out to be the first true anti-aging intervention. Resveratrol not only helps to protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation, but it is the only naturally occurring polyphenol that also reduces the effect of menopause on the skin, helps prevent osteoporosis and activates sirtuins, which are responsible for a caloric restriction effect that slows the aging process and enhances longevity.
Resveratrol, and other antioxidants, are now widely available as supplements that you make take along with your other supplements (a daily multi-vitamin and omega-3 supplement are also recommended). For more information on how supplements can help you to achieve health and longevity, visit www.official-nutrition-forum.com. And, if you enjoy an occasional glass of red wine while relaxing, you can take heart knowing that you are reducing both emotional and oxidative stress-contributing to a longer, healthier life.
Dr. Adam Summers is one of the DC areas most renowned plastic surgeons who is also one of the few plastic surgeons who applies healthy lifestyle practices as part of his treatments. Dr. Summers is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. and is Director of Maryland’s first medical spa, The Medical Spa & Cosmetic Surgery Center. To contact Dr. Summers, visit his website www.Dr-Summers.com or call 1-877-433-3547.