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VitaOx Complex - More About Free Radicals, Antioxidants, and Your Skin

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VitaOx Complex - a defense network of antioxidants for clear, youthful skin.

Too often, our skin is what suffers for our modern lifestyle.  Every minute of every day, our skin is bombarded by harmful elements which exist all around us.  

Chemicals, pollution, sun exposure, additives, and even stress (to name a few) generate these oxidants which damage our cells and form free radicals.

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Free Radicals Damage Our Skin

According to many researchers, free radicals may be the actual cause of all disease - including the process of aging itself.  Evidence suggests that growing old might just be a side effect of oxidative stress.  The same process that causes cut apples to turn brown or iron to rust, causes aging signs such as thinning skin, wrinkles, and stiff joints, and even hardening of the arteries.

When cells are exposed to oxidative stress, the result is a free radical.  Structurally, a free radical is an atom or molecule which has an unpaired electron in it's outer ring; it is a extremely reactive and volatile - with a tremendous amount of energy.  With a great deal of force, the free radical goes looking for an electron to steal from another atom in order to complete the pairing.  

As free radicals slam into other cells "looking" for an electron,  cell membranes become damaged.  The more free radicals "smashing around", the more damage occurs.  Any one free radical may only exist for a very small amount of time, however, it can set off a chain reaction damaging millions of cells in the process of creating and neutralizing free radicals over and over.

Free Radicals and the Skin
As previously stated, skin, the largest organ of the human body, serves as a protective wall between the body and the environment. Destructive free radicals from natural, biological, and manufactured pollutants pose a constant and serious threat to the skin, with the most dangerous from the sun itself. 

Skin Cancer Rates Continue to Rise
Rising skin cancer rates, a serious indicator of skin damage, indicate sunscreens are not protecting the skin as they should be. Rare before 1950, skin cancer was well known by the 1980s. One study in Norway documented an increase in melanoma of 350% among men and 440% among women between 1957 and 1984.

By 1991 sunscreen sales had reached $380 million, twice that of a decade earlier. Sales continue to rise, yet the American Cancer Society says skin cancer has grown to be the most prevalent of all cancers with 1.3 million new cases annually.

Sunscreens May Make Matters Worse
Why skin cancer rates continue to rise remains a question, but clearly sunscreens are not doing the job of prevention. There are no studies to validate sunscreen's ability to prevent cancer in humans. Most sunscreens have no ingredients for blocking the UVA rays that cause melanoma, and some chemical sunscreen ingredients are even suspect as possible cancer-causing agents.

Photoaging and Photodamage
Photoaging and photodamage are terms used interchangeably to describe damage to the skin caused by repeated sun exposure rather than by the passage of time. Overwhelming laboratory evidence indicates that sun exposure and other sources of UV (Ultra Violet) radiation play the major role in causing skin wrinkles, roughness, laxity, mottled pigmentation, leathery texture, scaling, and sallowness. Cigarette smoking is the only other environmental factor that has been related to the development of changes in the skin associated with aging. 1

The sun, although necessary for life, is also a natural hazard. On average, 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during multiple brief exposures not intended to produce tanning. Most light-complected Americans show signs of photodamage before 50 years of age. A significant portion of the estimated $14 billion per year spent in the United States on cosmetics is specifically intended to conceal the changes of photoaging.  Prevention of photoaging and photodamage may prevent the progression of changes toward skin cancer. 1

Only antioxidants can control free radicals, making the difference between healthy and diseased tissues and influencing how 
fast and how well we age.

Antioxidants Can Combat or Reverse Free Radical Damage

Antioxidants - The Free Radical Scavengers
Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. They go hunting for free radicals to neutralize (antioxidant means "against oxidation").  Their purpose is to give up an electron to the free radical in order to render the free radical harmless.   Our bodies utilize two different types of antioxidant defenses:  nutrients and enzymes.  Antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, must be manufactured by the body, but antioxidant nutrients (such as Vitamin C and E) are used directly from the foods we eat and supplements we use.

Antioxidants block the process of oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. In doing so, the antioxidants themselves become oxidized. That is why there is a constant need to replenish our antioxidant resources.

"Antioxidants are designed to keep free radicals from damaging cell walls and other cell structures, as well as cellular DNA, thus leading to precancers and cancers." 2

The Importance of an Antioxidant Network
When an antioxidant attacks and neutralizes a free radical, the antioxidant benefit of that particular cell is depleted, and it even turns into a harmless free radical itself.  However, with the proper teaming of antioxidants, this new free radical is neutralized and regenerated back into a productive antioxidant able to go out and scavenge for free radicals again.

"Some antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E (a-tocopherol) and vitamin C (ascorbate) act as "tag team" partners to intercept and neutralize free radicals. Vitamin E is lipid (fat) soluble and can position itself in the membrane of cells and lipoproteins where it intercepts free radicals that attack cell membranes. Once vitamin E has intercepted a free radical, it can pass the task on to water-soluble vitamin C. In this manner, vitamin C regenerates the immobile vitamin E in the membrane and can, in turn, be regenerated by other antioxidant phytochemicals." 3

Another network antioxidant that plays an important role is alpha lipoic acid (ALA). It not only recycles other antioxidants, but it also regenerates itself. Although it is produced in our bodies, new production of ALA declines as we age and becomes insufficient to provide its full benefits. ALA boosts the levels of other network antioxidants.

Networked antioxidants can recycle or regenerate themselves after they have quenched a free radical, vastly extending their antioxidant power.  The cycle continues, ensuring that the body will maintain the right antioxidant balance.

Antioxidants, Photoaging/Photodamage and the Skin
As stated on the VitaOx home page, there is a growing amount of evidence showing that topically applied antioxidants can protect and repair the skin both before and after sun exposure.

Before Sun Exposure: According to a 2001 University of California Department of Dermatology publication, human studies have convincingly demonstrated that topical antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage when applied before sun exposure.  The publication concluded that regular application of skin care products containing antioxidants may be of the utmost benefit in protecting our skin from oxidation. 4

After Sun Exposure: According to a news release in 2002 by the American Academy of Dermatology; the antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and actually prevent further damage. The study cited in this news release indicated that applying topical vitamin C to human skin 15 to 30 minutes after UV exposure decreased sunburn cells and began repairing the damaged skin.  It also mentioned that topical natural vitamin E was found to reduce the production of: sunburn cells, chronic UV-induced damage, and cancer causing cells. 2

Summary: The 2001 University of California Department of Dermatology publication concluded that regular application of skin care products containing antioxidants may be of the utmost benefit in protecting our skin from oxidation. 4

Several components in the VitaOx network of antioxidants have been shown to help prevent and repair sun damage (or photoaging) to the skin.  Some of these are:

  • Vitamin C
    Topical vitamin C can prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer. A recent study showed that by applying topical vitamin C to human skin, 15 to 30 minutes after UV exposure, sunburn cells decreased and repair work began on the damaged skin.2
  • Vitamin E
    When combined with vitamin C, both vitamins create a highly protective lotion against sun damage.  New laboratory research has shown that as an antioxidant, vitamin E helps inactivate free radicals. There have also been numerous studies that show that topical natural vitamin E, also called d-alpha-tocopherol, reduces sunburn cell production, chronic UV-induced damage and the production of cancer causing cells.  2
  • Selenium
    Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer.  Selenium enhances the antioxidant effect of vitamin E.  Recent studies have found that when taken orally or applied topically in the form L-selenomethionine, selenium demonstrated protection against both daily and excessive UV damage, with less burning after exposure. The study also showed that there was a delay in the onset, and a decrease in the incidence, of skin cancer. 2

Formulated with a network of 11 antioxidants, VitaOx Complex is a topical antioxidant supplement that effectively controls free radicals, reduces skin damage, and maintains skin's youthful vitality.  It is a daily use skin product that is designed to protect and repair your skin while leaving it looking and feeling great.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology "Guidelines of Care for Photoaging/Photodamage" 1996;35:462-4 (http://www.aadassociation.org/Guidelines/photoagingdamage.html)

  2. American Academy of Dermatology, Vitamins To Protect Against And Reverse Aging: The Truth vs. The Tall Tales, NEW ORLEANS (February 25, 2002)

  3. Wayne Askew, Ph.D.,  University of Utah.  Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants: Fighting the Fire Within Wildland Firefighter Health and Safety Report, Spring 2000 Missoula Technology and Development Center No.1 Page 4

  4. Dreher F; Maibach H, Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, Calif., USA. Publication date & source: 2001, Current Problems in Dermatology, 29:157-64

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always see your licensed health care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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