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A Deeper Look at Antioxidants

I. Introduction

Medical professionals, nutritionists and the public at large are increasingly aware of antioxidants and the essential role they play in improving the body's ability to protect and repair itself from the ravages of "free radicals." While free radicals are created by the body during a cell's normal metabolic functions they are also triggered by daily stresses including excess sun exposure, smoking, environmental pollutants and alcohol.

The human body has its own capability to counteract most free radicals through specific synthesized antioxidants absorbed in our diet. But when outside toxins overload our bodies - our natural defense systems fails to provide sufficient protection. This is due to either an overwhelming production of free radicals or a decrease of antioxidants in the body. Often this leads to "oxidative stress" - a condition that occurs when free radicals overload the human body's natural defense system. Oxidative stress causes alterations in cell structure and function and cell death leading to a wide variety of illnesses including heart disease, lung disease, premature aging and cancer. Oxidative stress also damages DNA, resulting in mutations that lead to a variety of cancers.

In order for antioxidants to be truly effective they must work synergistically and in conjunction with the body's own ability to protect, restore and repair itself from the ravages of free radicals. By replicating the body's synergistic antioxidant cellular defense system, the patented Thione Complex™ plays an integral role in detoxifying free radicals and converting them into non-toxic molecules. A singular antioxidant cannot regenerate itself. It needs the help of specific synergistic antioxidants to do so. This knowledge is becoming the basis for radical new drugs or compositions that prevent or treat a variety of diseases. This has become the foundation for Thione International's patented Thione Complex™.

How the Synergy Works

As one antioxidant molecule attacks and neutralizes one free radical molecule, the antioxidant molecule becomes a free radical itself. This new "antioxidant molecule turned free radical" remains a toxic free radical until it is neutralized or regenerated into an antioxidant again.

It is at this point that synergy becomes critical. Each "antioxidant molecule turned free radical" must be regenerated by a specific synergistic antioxidant, cellular enzyme or cofactor. It is those antioxidants that form the basis for the Thione Complex™ and assume the pivotal role in this process.

Such antioxidants are readily available from sources including fruits, vegetables, liver, meats fowl and fish. Chicken is also very high in antioxidants which may account for chicken soup's legendary medicinal attributes. Although antioxidants are readily available from these sources, the average individual does not consume sufficient amounts to maintain or replenish the body's antioxidants stores, leaving it unable to protect and repair itself from excess free radicals.

II. Antioxidants and Aging

Through human and animal studies scientists have learned that antioxidant deficiency in the elderly affects the aging process and shortens life span. Additionally, the converse is also true, by increasing antioxidants in the body, a healthy, longer life can be achieved.

  • Various clinical studies have documented that healthy, elderly subjects have lower antioxidant levels than their younger counterparts.

  • Vegetarians, whose life span is reportedly longer than carnivorous individuals, have also been shown to have higher levels of antioxidants in the body.

  • Studies have shown that centenarians have higher levels of antioxidants in their bodies than elderly individuals, a phenomenon which may be the basis for their extended life span.

Low antioxidant levels place healthy, elderly subjects at a higher risk of disease because of their decreased ability to deal with everyday environmental stressors that increase free radicals. Additionally, antioxidant repletion has been shown to help prevent the vascular complications of diabetes and also improve control of blood sugar. Antioxidants also reduce the risk of bad cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart disease and strokes.

III. Antioxidants and Clinical Entities

Studies show that clinical conditions associated with low antioxidant levels in blood and affected tissues reveal that antioxidants may be beneficial in at least decreasing or ameliorating the progress of such diseases as Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Researchers at Stanford University have shown that restoring antioxidant levels will diminish HIV replication. Clinically, HIV+ individuals whose bodies were repleted with antioxidants were shown to survive longer than those HIV+ subjects whose antioxidant levels remained low.

  • In chronic Hepatitis C, administration of antioxidants are associated with a decrease in the viral load and an improvement of the patient's liver tests.

  • Many patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases have been shown to have low antioxidant levels - supplementation with synergistic antioxidants may stop the clinical progression of these diseases.

  • Likewise, macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults, may be caused by free radicals from ultra-violet radiation to the retinal pigment cells. Antioxidant levels in these individuals have also been demonstrated to be low.

Thione International, Inc. is initiating clinical studies with the Mayo Clinic (Scottsdale) and the University of Massachusetts to prove the beneficial effect of its synergistic technology in these diseases.

IV. Antioxidants and the Skin

While providing a protective barrier over the body's surface, the skin is continuously exposed to various stressors including ultraviolet radiation and atmospheric oxygen, which elicit harmful free radical reactions.

It is hypothesized that radiation (i.e. excess sun exposure) is responsible for setting off free radical reaction.

In order to combat free radicals, the skin, like other organs, utilizes a well-developed antioxidant system, including reparative and chain breaking antioxidants. These antioxidants synergistically scavenge free radicals caused by ultraviolet radiation due to the sun or forms of radiology.

Thione's line of skin and health care products containing the Complex optimizes the synergistic antioxidant cycle to repair radiation-damaged skin and help prevent photo aging. With the addition of sunscreens, such preparations may enhance prevention of sunburn.

Since the Thione Complex™ also combats free radical species generated by injuries such as chemical, radiation and thermal burns (including post-cosmetic laser surgery), other wound healing agents such as zinc compounds and epidermal cell growth factors may be incorporated in these compositions.

Finally, cosmetic and dermatologic compositions which are used as adjuncts in management of signs and symptoms of various disorders that are also associated with local inflammatory conditions may be supplemented with Thione's antioxidant cycle to ameliorate these symptoms.

V. Summary

Antioxidants play a key role in protecting and repairing the body from the ravages of free radicals. While a diet high in fruits and vegetables will certainly help replete the body of these critical components, for those who do not consume sufficient dietary antioxidants - nutritional supplements or topical preparations based on the Thione Complex™ offer additional protection.

 
 
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