Supplements

Since both the grape seed extract and resveratrol supplements are associated with the grapes, many confuse them to be the same or rather similar. However, this is not the case as both are entirely different supplements having their own set of healthful benefits. Read on to know some of the way both the supplements are similar, their differences, and the how they are extracted.

Extraction & Identification

Grape seed extract is derived, as the name suggests, from the seed of the grape while resveratrol is extracted from the skin of the grape. Resveratrol is also a component of purple grape juice and peanuts. Japanese Knotweed is one of the best, cheapest sources so supplement companies commonly use it. Both the supplements contain properties that can prove to be extremely healthful for our bodies.

Anti-Aging Properties

Resveratrol is believed to have antibiotic, antioxidant, and anti-mutative elements that make it the best supplement for anti-aging properties. On the other hand, grape seed extract is not considered to be the best supplements for fighting aging signs as it deprived of the elements that make the resveratrol the best anti-aging supplement. However, it boasts of various other anti-oxidants and OPCs - oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes that are known to improve the blood circulation, enhance the health of the brain, and prevent tooth decay.

Difference in Amount of Dosage

As per the University of Maryland Medical Center, a dose 25 to 150 mg of grape seed extract can be consumed thrice a day for benefitting from its antioxidant effects. While in the treatment of Edema and chronic venous insufficiency, the dosage should 200 to 400 mg and 150 to 300 mg respectively. On the other hand, as per the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, resveratrol dose of 500 mg is considered to be enough for the day. However, one should consider their physician before deciding on the right amount of dose that can be healthful for their body.

Treatments

Resveratrol and grape seed extract both are believed to helpful in curing various diseases; however, their aid in treating the ailments haven’t been proven medically. Having said this, both the supplements boast of various elements that healthful for our bodies.

Resveratrol is known to:

  • Treat heart diseases
  • Prevent cancer
  • Enhances Liver Health
  • Fights Obesity
  • Have anti-aging properties
  • Helps in growth of muscles
  • Helps to cure infection

On the other hand, grape seed extract helps to:

  • Cure high cholesterol
  • Treat edema and poor night vision.
  • Treat diabetes
  • Treat chronic venous insufficiency
  • Heal constipation

Conclusion

To cut the long story short, both the supplements despite having certain similarities i.e. grape being their main source of extraction, are different from each other in the ways mentioned above. Consult your doctor or dietitian before using both or any of these for the betterment of your health as they can have certain side effects as well.

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Photo: Zoi Koraki

Recent studies are piling up that conclude supplements and multivitamins have no measurable impact on health.

Findings state popping capsules won’t fight memory less, cognitive decline, heart problems or extend your life. People that took supplements fared no better than those who swallowed a placebo.

Yet nutritional supplement continue to be multibillion-dollar industry with this evidence having seemingly little impact on sales. Beginning in 1994 consumer interest in supplements skyrocketed and it’s been stable ever since.

There’s something in our nature as humans that wants to believe we are in full control of our destiny, and a big part of that is our health. In truth outside of basic nutrition, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle (sans drugs and heavy drinking), our ability to overcome genetics and universal laws of aging are modest or perhaps non-existent at present.

So are all supplements really a waste of time and money?

That extra skip in your step that comes with good health isn’t something we can easily measure. How well we feel depends on so many factors and processes in the body that it’s not feasible to analyze something so subjective. And yet being full of energy, and having a strong spark for life is what we all yearn for.

Proponents of supplements explain its benefits to be like that of an insurance policy. Sure, it would be better if we eat an ideal diet with the perfect medley of nutrients, but when everything goes wrong there are bottles in our kitchen cupboards to balance any deficiencies. Modern diets are notorious for being made up of too many foods containing empty calories. So many fear that they are not getting their daily allowance of vitamins and minerals.

In an article titled “The Supplement Paradox: Negligible Benefits, Robust Consumption” accompanying a new report, Dr. Pieter A. Cohen argued that “supplements are essential to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies” and that certain combinations of nutrients can help some medical conditions, like age-related macular degeneration. He concluded, however, “for the majority of adults, supplements likely provide little, if any, benefit.”

So to take the best approach our doctor tests us for any deficiencies, then after examining the results we take only vitamins and minerals we’re deficient in.

Due to busy lifestyles and a possibly moving target depending on ongoing eating habits it seems alluring to most to take the shotgun approach. Go with a multivitamin even though many of its components will be wasted to gain what the body needs. After all, it’s only in extreme cases that an overabundance can harm us. So the only real downside here is the cost that comes with peace of mind, again much like insurance.

This may change many consumers skewed thinking regarding daily allowance figures printed on the side of multivitamins. Blasting ourselves with mega doses of vitamins is an exercise in futility, wastefulness and may also work our kidneys harder than necessarily to filter out the excess. Due to the mega-dosing fad that started in the 80s we’re still seeing this on the label of many supplements. It’s hard to convince people more isn’t always better.

If you opt to take a multivitamin tread lightly and keep in mind your interests differ from that of the supplement manufacturer that wants you to consume heavily. Likely all you need is a little boost as recommended on Quackwatch by doctor Stephen Barrett. Taking that daily multivitamin every other day will not only cut ongoing costs in half but is a good path to getting enough vitamins without overdoing it.

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Photo: Teresa Stanton

A good CoQ10 supplement is a mainstay of any anti-aging regimen. It’s usually touted for its positive effects on heart health, but in actuality CoQ10 is useful throughout the body on a cellular level. It is vital in the creation of ATP (adenosine-5-triphosphate). ATP is the main source of energy for cells. Biological processes we take for granted are possible because of it.

CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant capable of zapping the free radicals that cause age-related decline. Besides heart health, its ability as an antioxidant is mentioned countless times by the media and in medical journals.

Functions: Ubiquinol vs Ubiquinone

Both forms of CoQ10, ubiquinol and ubiquinone, are contained in the body. Ubiquinone is used within the mitochondria to produce energy for the cell. Ubiquinol works outside of the cell by regenerating deactivated antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. Once the process is complete ubiquinol is transformed into ubiquinone. It then goes to work at producing energy.

Due to the processes explained above ubiquinone-based supplements only do half the job that ubiquinol does. Ubiquinol has the ability to recycle otherwise used up front line antioxidants, making it a vastly superior solution to the problem of oxidative damage.

CoQ10 Supplement Facts

Most commonly ubiquinone is used by manufacturers. Until very recently it was the only game in town. It’s inexpensive, thus enabling supplement makers to keep costs low.

In 2006, Kaneka QH became the first form of supplemental ubiquinol that is identical to the form produced naturally by the body. The only difference is the molecule has two extra hydrogen atoms. However, this simple addition makes it far more effective as a free radical scavenger.

Ubiquinol-based supplements cost about four times as much as a typical ubiquinone-based brands per milligram. With such a large discrepancy in price, people often get sceptical about if it is worth it.

Ubiquinol-fed Mice Stay Youthful in Study

Based on the results of recent animal studies, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Researchers were shocked when they compared mice divided into three categories. The first group of mice (the control group) were given nothing to supplement their regular diet. The second group was given ubiquinone, the traditional supplemental form of CoQ10. The final group was given ubiquinol capsules.

Before the mice hit middle age, a difference was noticed between the three groups. The symptoms of old age were just beginning to take effect for mice in the control group. The mice given ubiquinone and ubiquinol stilled looked youthful.

Amazing results manifested when the mice all reached old age. The control group looked ghastly and was largely inactive. The group that was given ubiquinone was in better shape but still had characteristics of old mice; the coat was yellowish and hair loss was obvious. The mice that were given ubiquinol had a youthful coat and didn’t look like old mice at all! On top of that, they were far more active than the mice in the two other groups.

Conclusions

Based on the results of the study it appears ubiquinol-based supplements are the way to go. The only bummer is that emulating the study as a human isn’t cheap. You’ll need to take 200-300mg of ubiquinol to get results this drastic.

The good news is that supplementing with CoQ10 gets exponentially more important as you age. So if you failed to take any ubiquinol supplements before age 40, you’ll still get impressive results if you start later in life. Of course the earlier you start, the better, as this prevents damage from occurring in the first place. As time goes on, the supplementation will only continue to be more and more significant to your quality of life.

Futurist and anti-aging writer Ray Kurzweil gobbles down 250 supplements per day. To us normal folk such measures seem excessive given the limited power of such interventions. At the other extreme, contemporaries like Aubrey de Grey see little value in supplements.

Often the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Supplementation won’t extend your lifetime but there is a good chance it can improve the quality of your life. After all, who wants to hang on to a miserable existence with a frail body? What we really need is a way to maintain our vitality and our youthful approach to living.

1. Resveratrol

There isn’t a more promising compound within the grasp of mere mortals. The scientific studies and evidence behind resveratrol continues to stack up. Findings have been largely positive although major pharmaceutical companies have funded unfavourable studies of questionable credibility.

Resveratrol mimics the effects of caloric restriction, which to date is the only known way to slow down the effects of age-related disease in mammals. As a side effect of the way it alters metabolism, resveratrol fends off the threat of type 2 diabetes. This means that overweight people benefit from it more than thin, active people.

2. Coenzyme Q10

Co Q10 is an anti-oxidant produced naturally by the body. Problems start to arise when production of Co Q10 slows down with age. At this point supplementation can make up for these losses.

Patients with congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension and a host of other coronary diseases tend to lack coenzyme Q10 in their body. Studies have shown that Co Q10 has managed to improve the condition of patients in the late stages of heart diseases previously thought of as irreversible. Of course it is best to use coenzyme Q10 to prevent problems in the first place.

3. Fish Oil (Omega 3)

Omega-3 fatty acids have long been touted as an effective means to ward off coronary heart disease. It turns out that the benefits don’t stop there.

In 2010 researchers found that people with the highest levels of omega-3 had longer telomeres than people with low levels. At present it is believed that telomeres are an accurate way of gauging how much a person has aged. This new information suggests we may have more control over the aging process via lifestyle choices than previously imagined.

4. Curcumin

Spicy Indian food is good for you, as long as you watch the oil and animal fat. The secret is found in a popular spice used to make curry: turmeric. It turns out that turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants known.

Curcumin has the ability to actively kill cancer cells that presently have no formal means of treatment. The evidence that curcumin is valuable as a cancer prevention supplement are piling up: the terms curcumin and cancer returns 1535 research abstracts of published literature. In animal studies it prevented oxidative stress in fruit flies resulting in long lifespans. Given, we aren’t sure we’ll get the same results as humans.

5. Melatonin

Melatonin is commonly thought of as the sleep compound. It is naturally produced by the body and is responsible for making us feel tired at the appropriate times at night. Levels of melatonin decrease as we age which explains why senior citizens tend to wake up at ridiculously early hours in the morning. These seniors need more sleep but cannot stave off the urge to wake up due to the lack of melatonin.

In addition, melatonin is an anti-oxidant that is safe to take at night. Other anti-oxidants such as resveratrol have the most positive effects in the morning, so this is a good way to keep your body protected from oxidative stress throughout the day.

The science behind telomeres is fast becoming a pop culture phenomenon. Just about anyone interested in anti-aging interventions has heard about its effect on aging. People with longer telomeres are said to look and feel younger, regardless of biological age.

A few years ago resveratrol was the talk of the town. However, when new research showed that resveratrol does more to improve quality of life than extend life span, the hype died down. The anti-aging community soon after found its new saviour.

Coaxing telomerase into lengthening telomeres is the new hope for longer human lives.

It turns out that humans do have a built-in mechanism to control the process of aging. The passage of time along with poor lifestyle choices wears down telomeres. The function of telomerase is to rebuild the tips of the DNA. The problem lies in the fact it can’t keep up with the damage. No matter how carefully you follow the direction of your doctor, eat right and exercise, the gradual decline of your genetic code persists. Mutations give us age spots, sagging skin and weaker organs. When our telomeres get too short, we die.

Despite the lack of funding, a small group of biotech laboratories are working around the clock to find out what substances can lengthen telomeres. Companies such as Sierra Sciences in Reno, Nevada use sophisticated robots to test compounds. Their goal is find something that can effectively halt the aging process. So far the best compound they have found has reached 15.89% of this target.

As the public, we have no idea what has been tested so far and what hasn’t. What we do know is an herb popularly used as complementary medicine is among the top performers; it’s called astragalus. The plant was known by the ancient Chinese to have a positive effect on the immune system. How interesting that all these years later, there is evidence to show they were right.

So does this news make astragalus the new super supplement every health-conscious person over 30 needs to take? Scientists are in disagreement.

One camp, including nobel prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, feels that there isn’t enough data in place to suggest astragalus can extend life in humans. More testing and clinical trials need to be done before it can be responsibly recommended. This is of course the default position of scientists: one of scepticism.

The other camp, including Sierra Sciences founder Bill Andrews, feels that being overly conservative can cost us years of life that could otherwise be saved. Although there isn’t conclusive evidence that astragalus based supplements like TA-65 work, we’ve got a pretty good hunch based on sound research. The only way you’d be able to tell if astragalus worked is if it was given to a large group of people from middle age to death. Tests of that magnitude aren’t realistic so we could be waiting for the data Blackburn speaks of indefinitely.

It is important to note that run of the mill astragalus supplements don’t have much ability to extend telomeres, if any. The compounds that work are rare portions extracted from the plant: astragaloside IV or better yet cycloastragenol. Some readily available supplements have traces of astragaloside IV, check the label. Keep in mind that such tiny dosages won’t do much good. The only products with promise are cycloastragenol from RevGenetics and TA-65 from TA Sciences.

Prices are shocking to the casual supplement-popper, so chances are most will be waiting on the wings until more studies are published and more options are available.

gary-hair11-267x300Resveratrol is one of the most discussed supplements on health message boards such as Longecity at Imminst.org. There is a wealth of information in a giant thread entitled the “500 club.” Users chime in about benefits and side effects experienced as well as how much they take daily. You’ll commonly read about increased energy. This effect has been proven in mouse studies. You’ll also come across less common results like reversal of gray hair.

There is more feedback about reversal of hairs in the beard than on the scalp. Some have photographed their lower face as evidence. In one example some hairs were dark at the root and white at the tip. Although far from conclusive it seems there is substance to the claims.

So far resveratrol users that claim to have less gray on the scalp are met with scepticism. First off, it is very hard to prove because it is a noted improvement, not a dramatic reversal. There are generally 100,000 hairs on the average human head to account for. Secondly, there is no way to confirm that the resveratrol alone is solely responsible for the reversal. Let’s remember that it is a compound taken by people concerned with optimal aging and health. Any number of positive lifestyle changes may help darken the hair.

Since gray hair reversal from resveratrol hasn’t been studied or proven it isn’t a good bet to buy it based on a handful of antidotes on the internet. Some lucky folks may experience less gray hair but this should be thought of as a pleasant side effect.

Primarily resveratrol’s strength lies in prevention and treatment of a number of age-related diseases. It will certainly make you feel younger. Whether it helps you keep your youthful good looks is still up for debate.

Better Off with Hair Dye?

Rumours are circulating that L'Oréal holds a patent for gray hair reversal without dye. In the future we may be swallowing a pill to restore hair color. It’s exciting to think about, but still a long way off. If you are unhappy with your grays the best way to take care of the problem is still hair dye.

Another option is of course is to embrace your gray. Women are starting to warm up to the idea of showing off their natural color with pride instead of shame. Jamie Lee Curtis, Emmylou Harris and Meryl Streep are just a few of the mature stars inspiring women around the world.

Traditionally it was seen as un-masculine to be a slave to hair dye. All this is changing. More men are dying their hair today than in the past.

Research backing the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids keeps piling up as years pass. The evidence is so overwhelming that the most conservative health professionals have jumped on the bandwagon. Nutritionist Dr. Dean Ornish, known for advocating whole foods, recommended taking a fish oil supplement in his TED talk entitled “Dean Ornish on Healing”.

“If you don’t remember anything else from this talk, 3 grams a day of fish oil can reduce the risk of a heart attack and sudden death by 50 to 80 percent” said Ornish.

As a practicing doctor he developed a diet plus simple interventions that actually reversed heart disease without surgery. In the past, this was thought impossible. Clearly bad lifestyle choices can harm our health, but now we know that good ones can potentially reverse the damage.

Of course the health benefits don’t stop at heart health. The brain for example is 60 percent fat, so fatty acids are important building blocks for our body. The numerous benefits could fill another article. Let’s get to the meat of it and take a look at popular fish oils offered by Carlson.

Carlson Very Finest Fish Oil

Liquid fish oil has a bad reputation for two things: producing “fish burps” and tasting disgusting (especially to those that hate fish). Carlson has managed to alleviate these concerns by adding pleasant lemon flavoring. Personally I find it tastes terrific and this is coming from a person that isn’t big on seafood. If you absolutely hate the taste of fish, go with Carlson soft gels to be safe.

Tests conclude that this product is free of mercury. This is great news because as advantageous as it is to get fatty acids from a salmon fillet, mercury levels are sometimes nearing dangerous levels depending on where it is caught and if it is wild or farmed.

One serving is a full teaspoon. It contains 1600 mg of omega 3 (EPA - 800 mg, DHA – 500mg, Other Omega 3s – 300mg). The 16.9 fl oz bottle contains 100 servings.

Carlson Super Omega-3 Fish Oil

Some fish oil capsules are just as notorious for producing “fish burps” as fatty acids in liquid form. This is caused when the oil becomes slightly rancid inside the body. Carlson adds a small amount of vitamin E (10 UI) to keep the product fresh thus avoiding this issue. In my own experience, I haven’t noticed a problem.

I like capsules for travel. After popping a dozen or so in a small container I’ll a way to feel a better about myself if I drink too many Piña coladas on vacation. Yes, I know it is slightly delusional.

Like all Carlson fish oil products, Super Omega-3 Fish Oil is free of mercury.

You’ll have to swallow 2-3 capsules to equal the punch offered by Carlson Very Finest Fish Oil. Each soft gel contains 600mg of omega 3 (EPA - 300 mg, DHA – 200mg, Other Omega 3s – 100mg).

Conclusion

There are some very pricy omega 3 supplements out there by Nordic Naturals and New Chapter. Both have a lot of hype behind them however I can’t justify paying that much for a fish oil supplement. Carlson’s stuff has a good balance of value and quality, making it the brand I stick to.

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Photo: Jo Christian Oterhals