Anti-aging, life extension, the fountain of youth. Call it what you will, the result is the same. The world is aging, and it wants to age better.
Are anti-aging products the answer? It’s hard to say. With sales approaching $50 billion in the United States each year, it’s clear that people want fewer wrinkles and their original hair color, and would gladly keep a few marbles upstairs if given the preference. Anti-aging products might help with that. But do you really want to age better? Try orange juice.
Ok, so orange juice alone won’t prevent you from going grey. But the vitamin C in orange juice might help a little. Vitamin C is an antioxidant – a molecule that the body uses to fight free radicals and reduce the effects of aging. An effective cold-killer? Probably not. But vitamin C is one of the strongest antioxidants out there, and it’s raising a few eye brows in the anti-aging industry
Remember that free radicals are a leading contributor to cell degeneration. We see their effects in wrinkles, lost hair and original color, and a variety of ailments of the heart, brain and functioning of the body. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals, and evidence suggests that it might provide these benefits:
Wrinkle Prevention – Vitamin C is linked to boosted collagen production. In an October 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that people who ate vitamin C-rich foods had fewer wrinkles and less dry skin from aging. There’s also evidence that vitamin C can tighten the skin and protect it from the sun.
Protect the Heart – Though less visible than skin damage, heart disease accounts for over 25% of adult deaths in the United States. Finnish researchers found that women who took daily vitamin C supplements of 700 milligrams reduced their risk of heart disease by 25 per cent. Furthermore, a recent study by Harvard University suggests that when combined with vitamin E, women can reduce risk of stroke by 30 per cent.
Fight Dementia – The brain has high fat content and is susceptible to damage from free radicals. We see this in Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia. Recent studies suggest that vitamin E might act as a shield, protecting the brain. When combined with vitamin C, the two antioxidants might reduce risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 64 per cent. Few anti-aging products could compete with that.
Promote Good Vision – Vitamin C won’t prevent the gradual decrease in vision that necessitates the need for reading glasses around age 45, but it can reduce age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Estimates suggest that over 3.5 million Americans are in the early stages of this early form of vision loss, which typically hits women more than men.
Extend Your Years – The benefits of green tea are documented and well-known, including reduced mortality from cancer, heart attack, stroke and a variety of ailments. A recent study by the University of Purdue suggests that citrus juice (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit) may boost the effects further, and extend up to 80% of the antioxidants’ benefits after digestion.
What do we make of this? Vitamin C may be one of the best anti-aging products around. Get vitamin C as a supplement, in a topical cream, or more commonly, in your diet. Citrus fruits, red and green peppers and – surprisingly – broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C and may provide more nutrients than you’d get with supplements.