When you think of the potential dangers of running is cancer, stroke and heart disease at the top of the list? It should be because after the age of 40 - give or take- running can exacerbate or cause serious health issues. Running causes free radical damage. Plain and simple, accepted fact. The more we age, the more susceptible we are. I advise anyone over the age of 40 to seriously consider tapering down their running unless their supplementation is optimal. I have never been one to be big on supplements, but if you love to run you should consider the risks and know there's a viable answer.
What are free radicals and how is it that they can turn something so healthy (and fun) like running into a potential health risk?
A free radical is a molecule with at least one unpaired electron and it makes itself whole by stealing an electron from a nearby molecule. This attacked molecule, now a new free radical , goes to another molecule and a nasty chain reaction starts. Free radicals bounce about causing damage to nearby cells as they try to make themselves stable. In this process free radicals accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease and a host of age-related diseases.
When we're younger we have a defense system known as SOD (super oxide dismutase) that quenches free radicals, but as we get older, we are in a state of low grade inflammation and SOD doesn't work as well as it used to.
So what is the answer? Well, the standard answer has been to increase antioxidants because they can quench free radicals- one potential problem there....Once an antioxidant vanquishes the free radical it turns into a free radical itself. So we can have a very nasty free fall that increases in scope.
Luckily there is an answer and it's name is Alpha Lipoic Acid (APA), also known as the master antioxidant. APA converts these renegade antioxidant -turned free radicals- BACK into antioxidants according to Dr Lester Packer. APA supplementation, especially when taken in conjunction with Vit C, causes a regenerative effect to our whole defense system. You can think of APA as the ultimate recycler. Alpha Lipoic Acid is not only an antioxidant, but also helps with glutathione levels which helps with liver health.
But there's more which is really cool! APA is soluble in both water and fat so....it can move into all parts of the cell to neutralize free radicals . It can even get through our blood brain barrier . According to Dr Packer, "because it's the only antioxidant that can easily get into the brain, it could be useful in preventing damage from a stroke". His research has shown that when APA levels in the body are optimal there is no cognitive damage from stroke.
If you would like more information on how to run safely while incorporating optimal nutrition please e-mail ThePlan@lyngenet.com
I recommend Dr Packer's books and research highly- it's invigorating and hopeful to read his work.
Dr. Lester Packer, the world's foremost antioxidant research scientist, received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Yale University and has been a Professor and Senior Researcher at the University of California at Berkeley for the past 40 years. Most recently, Dr. Packer has published over 700 scientific papers and 70 books on every aspect of antioxidants and health