oxidative stress

  1. How fish oil can stop oxidative stress

    Omega-3 protects the brain

    Aging gets a lot of bad press, but the real reason seniors have a higher disease risk isn't time alone.

    It's the oxidative stress that comes along with it.

    That's why it's so important to make sure you're getting sufficient levels of antioxidant nutrients as you get older. But don't stop there -- because while the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil generally aren't considered antioxidants, they can also help prevent or even reverse the damage caused by oxidative stress.

    And that's especially true in the brain.

    In one new study, seniors with the highest intakes of DHA and EPA had the lowest levels of lipid hydroperoxide, or LPO.

    OK, there's a lot of letters in that alphabet soup, so let me sort them out for you.

    DHA and EPA are, of course, two of the most essential omega-3s -- and the two main fatty acids you'll find in a quality fish oil supplement.

    LPO is less familiar to most people, but it's a common marker of oxidative stress in the brain. You want as little as possible, and the new study shows why: It increases the risk of cognitive impairment -- specifically, problems with global cognitive function, short-term memory, learning, and attention.

    High levels of omega-3s, on the other hand, can do just the opposite, protecting overall cognitive function as well as short-term memory, attention spans, and recall, according to the study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

    The researchers believe DHA in particular helps the body to produce the enzymes needed to fight oxidative stress damage in the brain.

    And that may be part of it.

    But we also know from other studies that omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain in a number of other ways, both directly and indirectly. Indirectly, they help with heart health and overall circulation -- and good circulation is critical to brain function.

    More directly, the brain itself thrives on omega-3 fatty acids -- which is why fish oil has been shown to help protect and improve memory, mood, and more even in healthy people.

    (Did you know that fish oil has been shown to help seniors beat the blues? Click here to read all about it.)

    Be sure to look for a quality supplement that has been purified to remove contaminants such as mercury.

  2. Why you need more vitamin C

    Time to boost your C intake

    Everyone knows how important vitamin C is. It says so right on the orange juice container.

    But not everyone knows how much they should get -- because the "100 percent US RDA!" listed on the OJ package isn't close to what you need for good health and a strong immune system.

    Now, there's a big push to change the RDA as researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University call on health officials to more than double the current recommended guidelines, to 200 mg a day for adults.

    That's up from the current RDA of 75 mg a day for women and 90 mg a day for men.

    Writing in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the researchers say there's no risk at all to raising those C levels -- but plenty of benefits.

    One recent study found that people with the highest C levels have a 60 percent lower risk of death by heart disease. Another found that people with low C levels are 62 percent more likely to die of cancer than those with high levels.

    As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C can fight off the damage of oxidative stress and protect the body from chronic inflammation as well as the all the conditions that come along for the ride.

    It's also a world-class immune booster that can help keep away illness, including the common cold. If that's not enough, this vitamin can protect the lungs, eyes, and skin and lower blood pressure.

    Delivered intravenously, it can help fight infections and even kill cancer cells.

    Personally, I think 200 mg a day is still a bit on the low side. You can take 1,000 mg or more daily -- speak with your doctor about how much you need and the best way to get it.

  3. Vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation

    Vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation, slashing your risk of everything from heart disease to dementia all at once.
  4. Curry favor with your heart

    It's the help your heart needs when your heart needs help the most: A new study finds that the curry spice turmeric can help you survive bypass surgery and avoid a heart attack during your recovery.
  5. Green tea boosts eye health

    Forget carrots... when it comes to protecting your eyes, try some tea instead.

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