Ms. Poly Phenol is drunk again!
There is so much confusion and hype around anti-oxidants and polyphenols so this blog will clear some things up for you.
Polyphenols are an antioxidant found in many food sources but mainly plants. You will find them in plant-based foods, berries, wine, green tea and dark chocolate.
There is so much media hype about Polyphenols we don’t know who or what to believe.
Here’s the good – the bad and the ugly about Polyphenols!
When I was struggling with my health in the 80’s and early 90’s, I became fascinated with anti-inflammatory nutrition, anti-oxidants, and cancer. I studied with an 80-year old German doctor, and other brilliant research scientists at an international Alternative Medicine Research Center and became certified in nutrition and nutritional microscopy. I read everything I could get my hands on about anti-inflammatory foods and anti-oxidants and how they can prevent aging and cancer.
There was a ton of hype in the 90’s about anti-oxidants and the link between free radicals (ROS) and cancer. Cancer-fighting, anti-aging pills, and powders flooded the market.
Anti-oxidants help to prevent cell damage caused by oxidants. (Hence Anti-oxidants!) Oxidants are free radicals that are in the environment, but they’re also produced naturally in your body. Antioxidants play a significant role in your health, as they can control how fast you age by fighting free radicals.
Our bodies create natural oxidants to help fend off viruses and microbes. If you have too many, it can cause severe damage and contribute to certain cancers, heart disease, and inflammatory diseases, like diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia. Our bodies get hit daily with oxidants from cigarette smoke, air pollution, alcohol, and chemicals.
Just pop a pill.
So do we just pop a few antioxidant pills to counteract the free radicals? No, it’s not that simple, and we’ve learned so much more now.
Back in the 80’s, I was taking over 40 vitamins daily which included antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, and superoxide dismutase. I rattled when I walked! 40 supplements a day! Was that over-kill? Probably but we didn’t know then what we know now.
Blueberries often steal the spotlight when it comes to polyphenols, but they’re not the only food rich in anti-oxidants. In fact, most plant-based foods —everything from goji berries, raspberries and green tea to black pepper and cocoa—have some antioxidant properties.
The berry I take daily is the Maqui Berry. It has been my primary source of polyphenols for over a decade. I have stopped taking all of my other antioxidant supplements because I believe the MaquiRX with delphinidins derived from anthocyanins is doing a better job than all the others combined. Plus I get my other vitamins from my daily colorful veggies.
Maqui berry is grown in a particular part of Chile. The Chilean government and other private Chilean partners have spent millions of dollars over the past seven years to study the genetics of the maqui berry that grows wild in Patagonia. Starting with more than 1,500 different clones of the wild maqui berry, they chose the “best of the best” for domestication.
The maqui berry bush is bred for the right height for harvesting. Also because the maqui berry bush changes sex every two years it takes five years for a bush to reach full maturity. Peru has chosen test fields to induce the maximum stress to the plant (high winds, decreased ozone layer, cold temperatures at night) to maximize the polyphenol content of the maqui berry. Ongoing clinical research confirms the superiority of the purified maqui berry polyphenol extract in slowing down the aging process by activation of the SIRT-1 gene.
Cancer and polyphenols
If you have cancer or another chronic inflammatory disease, I strongly advise you to take adequate amounts of polyphenols daily. Even though I eat 2lbs – approx 1 kilo of colorful vegetables a day, ( Do you?) I take my maqui berry and look at it as “life” insurance. I’m the type of person who needs to feel confident I have all my bases covered, so I take 100% Maqui berry extract with delphinidins to provide the anti-oxidants I need to stay well especially as I get older and have a history of cancer.
Don’t guess; your life is too precious. Always eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies. Add herbs and spices to your food. Seek out dark cocoa chocolate (small piece a day is OK).
Alert lovely you: Buyer beware – chocolate/cocoa comes with cadmium and lead (heavy metals) Even ORGANIC chocolate!! How sad it that? When I find a cadmium-free dark chocolate resource that I trust, I’ll let you know.
How many polyphenols ORAC units do we need?
There are approximately 8,000 known polyphenols, and probably twice that number that has not been structurally analyzed. Little was known about the biological activities of polyphenols before 1995.
We now know that they are powerful activators of human genes involved in the synthesis of anti-oxidant enzymes, modulation of anti-inflammatory pathways, and activation of anti-aging genes as well as critical factors to maintaining healthy gut microbes.
In the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that eating one serving a week of blueberries could reduce the risk of developing hypertension by 10 percent. Since a serving size of fruit is defined as a ½ cup, that serving size contains about 65 grams of blueberries. Put that into more precise terms; this serving size would provide about 4,000 ORAC units or about the same amount of ORAC units as a glass of wine. The researchers speculated that there was a subclass of polyphenols (which includes delphinidins) that appear to be responsible for most of the effects. So if eating one serving of blueberries (½ cup) once a week is good for reducing the risk of hypertension, guess what the benefits of eating 1 cup of blueberries every day might be?
Can I pour you a glass of red wine darling?
When I first heard the media talking about red wine and that it was laden with polyphenols, I was skeptical but at the same time secretly hoping it was true! I thought, hey, maybe when we say “cheers” or “to your health” there is going to be some truth behind it.
A study in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications researchers found that giving high levels of isolated polyphenols from red wine to older rats demonstrated that their exercise endurance was significantly enhanced. They hypothesized the effects might be directly related to “turning on” genes that increase the production of anti-oxidant enzymes. The only catch is that the amount of red wine polyphenols required to reach these benefits would equate to drinking about 20-30 glasses of red wine per day.
Cheers to that study!
Are you taking enough polyphenols?
The tricky part is taking enough polyphenols. To get about 8,000 ORAC units every day requires eating about a cup of blueberries (somewhat high in carbohydrates – 21 grams and wild organic blueberries are not always available) or two glasses of red wine. That’s 14 glasses a week which is way too much alcohol or 1/2 a bar of very dark chocolate (90%) which has lots of fat, cadmium and lead. Hmmm…That’s why I stick to my MaquiRX – no carbohydrates, no alcohol, and no saturated fat.
If you are taking extra high purity omega-3 oil, exercising excessively, or have cancer or inflammatory disease, you will probably need more than 8,000 ORAC units of polyphenols. It doesn’t matter where the polyphenols come from as long as you get enough. The one exception would be trying to get your polyphenols from 14+ glasses of wine a week!! Media hype! That’s why you need to eat 2lbs or 1 kilo of colorful vegetables and berries every day and a high dose – highly purified polyphenol supplement for “life” insurance.
I hope this helps clear up some of the hype around anti-oxidants and polyphenols.
Take care and be aware lovely you,
P.S. You can learn more here about Maqui Berry – MaquiRX I take is from Dr. Barry Sears (water and oil soluble) and is far superior because not only is it an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, but it activates the enzyme AMP-Kinase which slows down the aging process. This isn’t measured using ORAC. The ORAC values of Maqui RX: 28,000 per/gram. The industry is moving away from using ORAC values to test the antioxidant properties of supplements. I will keep you up-to-date when I know more.
P.P.S. I’m pleased to inform you that Ms. Poly Phenol has entered into a wine detox clinic! We will keep you up-to-date on her progress! LOL – Hahaha!