In this day and age, most of us have heard of "free radicals" and "antioxidants." Free radicals are rogue molecules that cause damage to healthy cells. Over time, increased generation of free radicals causes oxidative stress, which can contribute to aging and disease. Oxidative stress in the body is analogous to the rusting of a car. The more oxidative exposure, the more things are going to break down, and that's true whether we're talking about cars or people.
Free radicals are not all bad, of course. We need them for proper immune function and for fighting infections, for instance. But when the production of oxidants (free radicals) outstrips the body's anti-oxidant production, aging and degeneration are sure to follow.
That's 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 free radicals per day, every day.
The world's top scientists are definitely aware of how important the connection is between oxidative stress and disease. If you check out Pubmed.gov (the government database of biomedical research), you'll find that oxidative stress has been a very hot topic in recent years. Typing in "oxidative stress" on PubMed returns an astounding 98,945 references to oxidative stress in the scientific literature! And the list is growing every day. Click the image below to see for yourself.
You can see by now that free radicals are a big deal. You might also understand now why "antioxidant" has become such a buzzword in our culture. There can be little doubt that antioxidants are important, since they're the only things standing in the way of a vast army of unrelenting free radicals and our easily damaged cells. Antioxidants are now popping up on labels everywhere – on cereal boxes, baby food, supplements, "superfood" fruit juices, and more. The idea is that if you can just eat enough antioxidants in your diet, maybe you can offset – or even reverse – oxidative stress, and thus aging and disease.
Of course it's true that a diet rich in whole-food antioxidants is good for you. There's plenty of research showing the advantages of consuming dietary antioxidant foods like blueberries, chocolate, and red wine. However, there's one little problem. Remember that number I mentioned earlier? The one with all the zeroes?
300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Free Radicals.
Per day. Every day.
The problem is that the antioxidants you eat (known as direct, or "exogenous" antioxidants), such as vitamin C or vitamin E, have very short-lived effectiveness. Each antioxidant molecule is able to eliminate around one free radical. Then it's done. One molecule of vitamin C takes out one free radical molecule. Understanding this, it's absolutely staggering to think of how many exogenous antioxidants one would have to consume each day in order to neutralize 300 sextillion free radicals.
To put it in perspective, you would have to consume 15 lbs of chocolate, or 375 oranges, or 87 glasses of red wine, or 120 vitamin C capsules (500 mg/cap).
No one can do this, of course. And it's a good thing that the body doesn't rely on only exogenous antioxidants. It turns out that the body also makes its own antioxidants. A few of the most prominent ones are known as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. These are super antioxidants, because they work a whole lot better than the antioxidants we eat. While a molecule vitamin C, for instance, can neutralize only one free radical molecule, one molecule of the body's self-made (endogenous) antioxidant SOD can neutralize one million free radicals. Impressed? But it gets better. The body's endogenous antioxidants neutralize one million free radicals per second, every second of every day.
The antioxidants you eat neutralize free radicals at a rate of 1:1.
The antioxidants you make neutralize free radicals at a rate of 1:1,000,000.
So would you rather focus on eating more antioxidants, or on finding ways to help your body produce more of its own antioxidants? The second option is literally one million times more effective.
Why Mess with a Good Thing?
But the inevitable question is, "If the body makes such great antioxidants, why is oxidative stress even a problem, and why do we need to do anything about it?"
One reason is simply that as we age, we become less efficient at producing these antioxidant enzymes. Meanwhile, free radical production simultaneously increases independently of the reduced antioxidant production. So we not only have increased free radicals to deal with, but we become less equipped to deal with them as time goes on.
In other words, for various reasons our bodies can't keep up with the amount of free radicals that we're exposed to on a daily basis. We're falling short of producing the amount of antioxidant enzymes that we really need for living in today's world. And this is why eating blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, and red wine can be somewhat helpful. It helps to offset some of the free radical damage that the body can't keep up with on its own. But it's not the only way to fight back, and it's certainly not the best way. It doesn't even come close to dealing with the problem in a seriously significant way.
Harness the Power of Your Genes
What's a better way of dealing with this massive problem of oxidative stress? Instead of consuming obscene amounts of antioxidant supplements or foods, imagine if you could just "tell" your genes to start producing optimal amounts of those endogenous antioxidants we talked about earlier: SOD, catalase, and glutathione. This would definitely be the preferable option.
Protandim does exactly that. Its combination of five natural ingredients activates a transcription factor (a special kind of signaling protein) called Nrf2 that tells your genes to increase their production of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic enzymes!
This effect is so profound that a peer-reviewed study in 2006 showed that Protandim could reduce levels of oxidative stress in the body down to the level of a 20 year old! By the end of the study, the researchers could no longer tell a difference between the levels of oxidative stress of the 20 year old and that of the 80 year old! In other words, do you remember the age-dependent increase in oxidative stress that I mentioned earlier?
Protandim completely eliminated that. In 30 days.
So was I. As a naturopathic doctor, I work in a field that is rife with charlatans, unproven claims, and worthless products. It has always been my goal to show my clients that “alternative medicine” can be just as science-based and rational as any other legitimate discipline.
So when I was introduced to Protandim, my immediate response was skepticism. Why? Because that’s my default predisposition when it comes to evaluating new supplements. And I think that’s a healthy predisposition to have in this business. It has to prove itself to me and meet my criteria for a promising preventative or therapeutic agent before I will give it my endorsement.
As a skeptic, I checked out Protandim as objectively as possible. In a market that is absolutely bloated with antioxidant and anti-aging type supplements, I honestly wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of looking into yet another one, and I wasn’t expecting that I would find much, if anything, that was new or uniquely useful.
Boy was I wrong.
On pubmed.gov, I found 10 peer-reviewed studies on Protandim. Not on the individual ingredients, but on the actual product itself, with the name of the supplement right in the studies.
Almost all of this research was funded, not by LifeVantage (the company that makes Protandim), but by the universities and institutions that were actually conducting the research. So almost all of the studies on Protandim were independently-funded, and the conclusions of these studies were overwhelmingly favorable:
- Protandim eliminated the age-related increase in cell-aging factors by increasing the body's antioxidant defenses. After just 30 days, oxidative stress declined by an average of 40%. The super antioxidants SOD and catalase increased by an average of 30% and 54%, respectively. (Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Jan. 15, 2006)
- Protandim decreased skin tumor incidence and multiplicity by 33 percent and 57 percent, respectively, and may be a novel approach to chemoprevention. (Enzyme Research, March 23, 2011)
- Protandim significantly increased antioxidant enzyme activity in veins while reducing free radical levels, lipid peroxidation and intimal proliferation. Protandim blocked intimal hyperplasia (i.e. it blocked the over-proliferation of cells that line the vessel wall, a common adverse event that limits the effectiveness of vascular surgery, stenting, etc.). (Free Radical Biology & Medicine, March 15, 2011)
- Protandim decreased oxidative stress by an average of 48 percent, reduced osteopontin (a glycoprotein involved in many diseases) by 57 percent, increased beneficial protective plasma PON1 activity by 35% and reduced fibrosis. (Journal of Deitary Supplements, June 1, 2010)
- Protandim induced antioxidant enzymes and reduced the incidence and multiplicity of skin tumors, and may be practical for cancer prevention. (PLoS One, April 22, 2009)
- Protandim protected animals' hearts by increasing the expression of protective genes and preventing the formation of scar tissue. Those treated with the Protandim experienced strong cardio-protectitive effects. (Circulation, Nov. 17, 2009)
- Protandim increases antioxidant enzymes and may be a practical and potent approach for cancer prevention. The suppression of p53 and induction of MnSOD may play an important role in the tumor suppressive activity of Protandim. (PLoS One, July 30, 2010)
- Protandim produced a 300% increase in glutathione, a key antioxidant and anti-aging factor. The antioxidant enzyme heme oxygenase 1 was also increased, Also, the supplement's patented formula provides a strong synergy much greater than the sum of its parts. (Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Feb. 1, 2009)
- Protandim, a potent composition of highly synergistic phytochemical Nrf2 activators, significantly modulates genetic expressionand pathways involving not only antioxidant enzymes, but also those related to colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer disease. (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, October 18, 2011)
- University of Colorado
- Denver Health Medical Center
- Children’s Hospital, Denver
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Colorado State University
- University of Florida
- University of Kentucky
- University of Michigan
- Louisiana State University
- Ohio State University
- Vanderbilt University
- Glamorgan University, Wales
- Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden
- University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic
- Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico City
I wasn’t the only one who was skeptical at first. When the broadcasting empire ABC caught wind of the patent claims of Protandim (of which there are now four), they decided to send investigative reporter John Quiñones to set the record straight.
Quiñones subjected himself to blood testing to measure his levels of oxidative stress. Would Protandim do what the patents claimed it could do? After just two weeks, he tested again.
The result? His levels of oxidative stress fell by 45%. This is precisely what the patents claim, and is exactly within the range we would predict based on the human clinical trial, where oxidative stress was reduced by an average of 40%.
“I am sleeping better – I feel a lot better – and also energized when I wake up.” (Extra, 2005)
But don’t take my word for it. Watch the incredible ABC Primetime investigation here:
Wanting to be thorough, I decided to do a little experiment of my own. I wanted to see firsthand if Protandim would reduce oxidative stress in one of my clients. She had a serum TBARS test done, the same type of test that was used in the original research. Here are the results prior to starting the Protandim:
As you can see, the lipid peroxides (TBARS) are slightly above average, indicating increasing levels of oxidative stress.
As you can see, oxidative stress has plummeted! In just over 30 days, oxidative stress declined by 46%. How's that for proof?
Once I saw the research, watched the ABC investigation, talked to numerous people who were using the product (including other practitioners), and did my own before/after testing, I knew that this was something I needed for myself, for my family, and for my clients.
This supplement is revolutionary, and it is credible. Did I mention that the formulator of Protandim is none other than Dr. Joe McCord, the discoverer of superoxide dismutase, and the father of the field of free radical biology? In 1997 he won the Elliott Cresson Medal for his discovery of free radical reactions in living organisms. Dr. McCord has been researching free radicals for over 40 years, and has published 138 peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature.
Definitely not a “fly by night” scientist looking to make a quick buck on a hyped up supplement.
Do you want to reduce your levels of oxidative stress? Here’s a list of conditions that are associated with oxidative stress:
The science shows that Protandim reduces oxidative stress by 40%, in every person, every time.
Oxidative stress is implicated with all of the above diseases and over a hundred more.
Will Protandim “cure” or “prevent” diseases caused by oxidative stress? I certainly can’t make those kinds of claims, and besides, that kind of science hasn’t been done yet. But are you going to wait to find out? Again, oxidative stress causes disease, and Protandim dramatically reduces oxidative stress. If you want to take a supplement that holds enormous promise in the fight against aging and disease, look no further than Protandim.