It offers protection against many highly toxic substances which produce free radical activity, as well as enhancing the antioxidant potential of other substances such as vitamin B5 and cysteine.
Dosage of vitamin C is suggested at not less than 1 gram daily, with the strong recommendation that 5 grams daily be taken. This is best taken as ascorbic acid (in powder form) dissolved in liquid at different times of the day, between meals.
Vitamin E is the best natural nutrient protector against fat peroxidation and so is a defender of the integrity of all cell membranes which have a large lipid content. It also protects other fats in the body from peroxidation and all the damage to cells which that can lead to. It is particularly effective in reducing cross-linkage damage such as is seen in wrinkled tissues, and lungs damaged by cigarette smoke. Vastly increased resistance to cancer and a range of chronic diseases have been shown when vitamin E is supplemented regularly. As I showed in Chapter 8, there is also evidence of life extension in some animals when vitamin E alone is supplemented, especially early in life.
While vitamin E has not been shown to have toxic effects in any dosage, its supplementation is contraindicated in high dosage (above 400iu daily) in cases of breast cancer because of its almost hormonal effect. Supplementation dosages are suggested at levels of 500 to 1,OOOiu daily, starting with a dose of lOOiu daily and building on this by increasing the daily intake by lOOiu each week until your target is reached.
The mineral selenium is known to work symbiotically with vitamin E and should be supplemented in any antioxidant approach to ageing or better health. Selenium is an antioxidant mineral and is used in the body as part of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which effectively switches off peroxide
activity. Its protective functions are known to lessen the chances of heart disease and cancer (conditions which are greatly increased in areas of the world where selenium levels in the soil are low).
Dosage of 100 to 200 micrograms daily of selenium are suggested at the same time as vitamin E. Excessive selenium is toxic and this dosage should not be exceeded.
Note: Many excellent supplements are now available in which vitamins A, C, E and selenium are combined into one tablet for ease of use.
A number of the individual B vitamins have good antioxidant potential. It is suggested that a good quality B-complex supplement be taken which contains not less than 50 milligrams each of the major B vitamins (B', B2, B3, B5, B6). One of these should be taken daily with a meal as part of an antioxidant strategy in any life extension programme.
This is a combination amino acid - made up of cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine - having powerful free radical scavenging effects through its ability to stimulate production in the body of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (which also needs selenium as one of its constituents). The enzyme protection which is offered by glutathione peroxidase (and others such as superoxide dismutase and catalase) is at the front line of defence against free radical activity, unlike the quenching antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E which have their effect later in the operation.
Supplementation with glutathione is suggested in doses of 1 to 2 grams daily, with water and away from meals.