from the nasties in our foodand water to the heady industrial air, we're bathing our delicate bodies daily in a sea of chemical toxins. But there are small ways of mitigating the personal damage while winning the decent environmental protection we all deserve.CELLULAR SavageryIt all starts with molecular management aimed at keeping free-radical exposure down. Free radicals sound sort of liberatory, but they're actually thuggishly unstable molecules that react compulsively with other molecules, tearing them apart and damaging cellular structure. Many pollutants raise free radicals above normal levels -- a kind of assault and battery linked to Alzheimer's, atherosclerosis, cancer, cataracts, immune deficiency and more. Anything that helps put a lid on this cellular carnage is healthful.
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Don't save green tea merely for post mo-pa tofu moments -- antioxidants in that fine drink may protect your genes. And while it's not talked about much, it turns out that calcium, the great osteoporosis warrior, actually lowers the amount of lead you absorb. Then there are those fruits and veggies -- eight to 10 servings a day for good effect. Grape-seed extract is a rich source of powerful antioxidants called OPCs, 50-100mg a day; as is co-enzyme Q10, easiest to absorb in water-based form, one or two 60mg capsules a day.But the big kahuna of free-radical fighters, vitamin C, seems to have some magical alchemy with selenium and vitamins A and E (although studies of vitamin E alone are inconclusive, particularly for heart protection). Some recommend 400 IU of E -- seek advice if taking blood thinners -- and 500 mg of C daily. Vitamin A and selenium are noxious at megadoses, so stick to roughly 2,500 IU of vitamin A and 200mcg of selenium a day. THE EXPERTSAre sea veggies anti-pollutant as often claimed? "We tested for toxicity before, during, and after treatment with sea vegetables and we didn't find a big difference in toxicity levels as a result of this treatment. I rely on the enzymes in vegetables and vegetable juices.'
"Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps cleanse the body. Ginkgo biloba is very good, as is peppermint tea, ginger and garlic. Cat's claw herb has tremendous properties."
"Antioxidants don't protect against air pollution. Ozone contains nascent oxygen that is incredibly reactive. First thing, it hits is the cell wall and damages it right there before it even has a chance to react with the antioxidants.'
MD, executive director health policy, Ontario Medical Policy Association
"Antioxidants are good. A good air filter for the home helps; filtered water is good. A humidifier helps your mucous membranes filter out chemicals."