I taught a class a few months ago at Everglades University about Antioxidants and in the course of preparing for and teaching that class I read a book called the Antioxidant Miracle by Lester Packer PhD. Wow! This was a great book and I learned some very important things about antioxidants over all. In medical school and on my every day journey of being a doctor and patient I have learned the importance of antioxidants to our health but my understanding of how to use them changed in dramatic ways after reading Dr. Packer’s book.

So, perhaps I should start with a brief explanation on antioxidants. Every day we create free radicals in our body and in addition, we are also exposed every day to a number of free radical producing chemicals and toxins in our food, in the air we breathe and in the products we use.  Free radicals create something called oxidative stress.

Free radicals can be damaging in a number of ways: they lower immune function, cause us to age more quickly, set the stage for various cancers, cause inflammation and pain, lead to degeneration in our tissues, joints and bones and affect our cognitive function. This is just a glimpse of what I usually review over 2 or more weeks in class but it gives you the basics of the damage free radicals can cause.

Antioxidants are substances that deal with the free radicals. Thankfully, we have built in antioxidant pathways in our body to deal with free radicals to some extent and many wonderful medicines of the earth that also act as antioxidants. We can stimulate our antioxidant pathways in our body by eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting good sleep, thinking in a positive way and dealing properly with stress. In addition to all these wonderful strategies we can also use a variety of natural medicines to boost our antioxidant activities even more. For an approach using food see my post, “mom made all our meals from scratch”. I will post about the other topics eventually, but here I am going to review the substances Dr. Packer discusses in his book.

So, he puts forth this idea based on an enormous amount of research, that antioxidants actually function within a network. He shows that to get the best antioxidant action these network members must be taken together. In addition, he discusses other substances which are needed for the network to function at its best. So here is the overview:

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

 Lipoic acid

CoQ10

Glutathione

Co factors – these are other substances needed to help the antioxidant network and while I do not go into great detail here about these you can read about them in a variety of places including Dr. Packer’s book.

Dr. Packer suggested that these work best when combined together. So, I searched out a product and reviewed over 150 different antioxidant formulations until I found the best one. The one that used the right forms and the right amounts. It is called Quench, made by Bio Tech. However, it has recently been discontinued and so I am on the hunt again. I am trying to find someone who will make this specific formula such as a compounding pharmacist or one of the other nutraceutical companies…if I cannot find anyone to make it I will find the next best option and will let you all know. You can still find Quench a few places but you have to hunt for it. If you find it, buy several bottles, I did.

If you get a chance to read the book it is great!

The Antioxidant Miracle, Lester Packer, PH.D., ISBN 0-471-35311-6