We can think of aging as the accumulation of random damage to the building blocks of life—especially to the DNA and to certain proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This damage begins early and eventually exceeds the body’s self-repair capabilities. It gradually impairs the functioning of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems, thereby increasing vulnerability to disease and giving rise to the characteristic manifestations of aging: loss of muscle and bone mass, a decline in reaction time, compromised hearing and vision, graying of the hair, reduced elasticity of the skin—the list goes on and on.
Reduced elasticity of the skin is in fact one of the most observable consequences of this natural and inevitable aging process. Topical creams loaded with false-hope antioxidants that are supposed to slow down the aging of the skin—few actually do—serve to fuel the anti-aging industry. But it is true that free radicals damage a skin protein called elastin that holds the cells of the skin together and gives it flexibility and strength. Sooner or later this elastin skin will sag and appear wrinkled and discoloured. Without free radical attack on elastin, we might be indistinguishable at eighty-five from our high school graduation pictures.
Aging—that is, remaining alive over time—by definition exposes us to more free radical activity, and so makes us more susceptible to afflictions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and cancer. But in my view, these age-related conditions are superimposed on the actual aging process, not identical to it. Science may some day eliminate today’s leading killers of older individuals, but different maladies will take their place, and many if not all of them will have a free radical connection. This aging process guarantees that one crucial body component or another—the heart, for example—will eventually experience a catastrophic failure. It is an inescapable biological reality that once the engine of life switches on, the body begins to sow the seeds of its own destruction.
In summary, where not too many topical 'anti-aging' antioxidant creams have much benefit, be sure to load your diet with bright, colourful, organic, antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and beans. And supplement with a high potency multi vitamin. In my personal opinion, add to that: alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, and CoQ10 daily.