Fact or Ficton: Anti-aging Supplements

By: Staff

Phytochemicals are antioxidants that protect cells from damage by free radicals.

Your body doesn't need phytochemicals to sustain life, but they do help to protect cells. There are a more than 1,000 known phytochemicals. Tomatoes, soy and fruits are loaded with the compounds.

Alpha-lipoic acid not only protects cells from free-radical damage, but also has been used to treat nerve damage in people with diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid is found in a variety of foods, including spinach. In Germany doctors used the acid to help diabetics with nerve damage.

Green tea may help prevent coronary artery disease.

Green tea contains polyphenolic antioxidants, which doctors say can prevent heart disease.

You can only get coenzyme Q10 from food.

The coenzyme Q10 is found in fish, and the hearts and kidneys of animals, but it's also produced by our body's own cells.

Coenzyme Q10 not only delays aging, but can help prevent cancer.

There's still no proof that coenzyme Q10 can prevent cancer, however it is being studied as a treatment for both breast and prostate cancers.

Not only can glucosamine sulfate alleviate the symptoms of arthritis in humans, but it is also used to help brain function in dogs.

Vets prescribe glucosamine to dogs to also help alleviate their symptoms of arthritis and other joint problems.

Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a compound found naturally in the body and in green vegetables.

Many claim that MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, relieves pain. Not only does your body produce MSM, but the compound is found in spinach, lettuce and other green vegetables.

There's no proof that coenzyme Q10 helps our cells function properly.

Coenzyme Q10 helps produce an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is the fuel that helps power the energy-producing center of the cell known as mitochondria.

The typical amount of a product found in supplements cannot be realistically obtained in food.

Many supplements are standardized to 50 milligrams per tablet, an amount you can't get in food.

The supplement IP6 (nositol hexakisphosphate) is used to treat liver disease.

Also known as phytic acid, IP6 is promoted as a cancer fighter, not as a drug to treat liver disease. Cereal grains and legumes are rich sources of natural IP6.

Shark cartilage is often touted as a cancer-fighter.

Promoters often say that sharks don't get cancer. However, one of the largest studies of the supplement says shark cartilage did next to nothing to help people suffering from advanced stages of breast, colon and prostate cancer.

Conjugated linoleic acid fights high blood pressure.

Known as CLA, conjugated linoleic acid is a supplement that shows promise as a way to lower cholesterol and fight cancer, not high blood pressure.

Plant seed oils are rich in gamma linolenic acid, which can help people with arthritis.

Doctors often tell patients to stay away from omega-6 fatty acids, but it appears GLA is an exception to that rule. Animal studies show that GLA can help relieve the pain of joint inflammation.

Prebotics and probiotic supplements inhibit the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system.

Prebotics and probiotic supplements actually promote the growth of good bacteria in your intestines.

Yogurt is a good natural source of probiotics.

All you have to do is watch one of Jamie Lee Curtis's yogurt commercials to know that what she's hawking can help your digestive system.

Red yeast rice supplements can lower cholesterol better than a cholesterol-lowering diet.

The Chinese have been using red yeast rice as a remedy for years, and the latest research indicates that the over-the-counter supplements contain a cholesterol-lowering chemical that is the same as lovastatin, a prescription cholesterol drug.

Cayenne pepper supplements can relieve pain.

Capsaicin, the substance that puts the hot in cayenne, relieves pain by depleting the levels of a compound in the body that sends pain signals to the brain.

Long-term use of Echinacea can help your body's immune system.

Although many people take Echinacea supplements when they get a cold or some other malady, some experts worry that long-term use of Echinacea will do damage to the body's immune system.

Researchers believe that the healing power of tea comes from two types of phytochemicals.

Researchers say people benefit from phytochemicals found in tea, catechins and flavonols, which are also in fruits and vegetables.

Phosphatidylcholine, also known as lecithin, fights memory loss.

Phosphatidylcholine is essential for the production of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Researchers suggest that supplements containing phosphytidycholine can stimulate the production of acetylcholine and help fight memory loss.

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About This Quiz

You've heard the commercials before: Take product X and you can reduce the effects of aging. But what do you really know about anti-aging supplements? Can you separate fact from fiction? Take this quiz to find out.

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