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Are You Keeping Your DNA Healthy?

I assume you don't know much about your DNA, antioxidants or even how important they are to your overall health so let me quickly summarize.  Our DNA is very important because progressive damage to the DNA is one of the primary reasons as to how we age.  

We damage our DNA usually from oxidative stress and when this happens the way our bodies function at a cellular level becomes less efficient.  

This is what leads to a poorer health status and makes us more prone to diseases and illnesses.  The wonderful news is there are things we can do nutritionally to help slow down this damage to our DNA and allow us to live a longer healthier life.


How Do We Measure The Damage To Our DNA?

Through various studies and experiments scientists and doctors can measure molecules that indicate what is happening within our bodies.  One molecule that has been studies quite a bit 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG).  This is a biomarker of oxidative stress and is measured in your urine.  It is also a risk factor for many diseases such as cancer and diabetes.  

As we age 8-OHdG levels become higher.  The amount we produce and excrete through our urine is determined by how we eat, what we eat, what we expose ourselves to, various toxin exposure, etc.  For example those who live in polluted areas or if you are a smoker you will generally have as much as twice the levels of someone who doesn't smoke or live in a polluted area.

How Do We Protect Our DNA?

Since oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of damage to our DNA the easiest way to protect our DNA is to prevent the oxidative stress.  You can do this by consuming higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols as they protect our bodies from creating free radicals and oxidative stress.  

A diet rich in dark fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols which can decrease oxidative damage to your DNA and also possibly decrease your risk for certain cancers.  Scientists conducted a study where the participants increased their fruit and vegetable intake to 12 servings per day.  What they found was that 8-OHdG production decreased by 57% after two weeks (5).  

Green tea which is loaded with polyphenols is also very effective at reducing your 8-OHdG levels.  Four cups per day of green tea in one study decreased urinary 8-OHdG by 31 percent (6).  If you don't like the taste of green tea you can also obtain these beneficial polyphenols through supplementation and extracts such as what you will find in Prograde Longevity.  

Our DNA is one of those things that you don't see or necessarily feel in regards to is it healthy or not.  This is why we usually don't pay attention to it until it is too late and we are diagnosed with some type of cancer.  Understand that much of what we eat, how we live our life and what we expose ourself to may influence our overall health even though we don't notice the day to day effects of it all.  

Do your part to take care of the internal systems of your body each and every day by eating numerous fruits and vegetables, limit your exposure to obvious toxins and supplement with key antioxidant rich nutrients and polyphenols.  


Other Related Articles About Antioxidants and Your Health

Strategies For Anti-Aging

Best Part Of The Coffee Bean

The Real Superfruit

Amazing Benefits Of Cinnamon




References:

1.   Poulsen HE, Prieme H, Loft S. Role of oxidative DNA damage in cancer initiation and promotion. Eur J Cancer Prev. 1998:9–16.
2.  Wu LL, Chiou CC, Chang PY, Wu JT. Urinary 8-OHdG: a marker of oxidative stress to DNA and a risk factor for cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetics. Clin Chim Acta. 2004 Jan;339(1-2):1-9.
3.  Rall LC, Roubenoff R, Meydani SN, Han SN, Meydani M. Urinary 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as a marker of oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis and aging: effect of progressive resistance training. J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Nov;11(11-12):581-584.
4.  Halliwell B. Effect of diet on cancer development: is oxidative DNA damage a biomarker? Free Radic Biol Med. 2002:968–974.
5.  Thompson HJ, Heimendinger J, Haegele A, Sedlacek SM, Gillette C, O'Neill C, WolfeP, Conry C. Effect of increased vegetable and fruit consumption on markers of oxidative cellular damage. Carcinogenesis. 1999 Dec;20(12):2261-6.
6.  Hakim IA, Harris RB, Brown S, Chow HHS, Wiseman S, Agarwal S and Talbot W. Effect of increased tea consumption on oxidative DNA damage among smokers: A randomized controlled study. J Nutr. 2003;133:3303S-3309S.