Protandim anti aging antioxidant supplement review : Can it reduce oxidative stress, fight free radicals and slow aging?

Introduction

If you are an individual even remotely interested in anti aging supplements, then you might have heard about antioxidants. Antioxidants fight against free radicals and are marketed by various companies as the essential anti aging nutrients to the body.

However, while most antioxidants supplements on the market provide antioxidants from the outside (like Vitamin E,C , etc.) Protandim is marketed as a product that has the ability to stimulate and enhance your body’s own ability in producing those antioxidants. Human body has the ability of producing antioxidants by stimulating the release of certain enzyems like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.

On the official websites it says that Protandim is “the only supplement clinically proven to reduce oxidative stress by 40%, slowing down the rate of cell aging to the level of a 20 year old”. In fact, it powers thousand of more antioxidant power comparing to any food or other antioxidant supplement. Protandim signals your body’s genetic system to produce the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase which acts as catalysts to neutralize. It makes sure that the natural antioxidants flow smoothly through out the body to destroy great amounts of free radicals per second. It also has the ability to raise the level of glutathione by a good amount of 300%, which is supposed to have a huge role in strengthening the immune system and controlling inflammation.

So, should you buy Protandim?

Amidst all these marketing claims and scientific jumbo mumbo, here are few interesting things that have come out after reviewing and analyzing the product and science behind it closely:-

1. It’s one of the few supplements that has gone from “human studies” to “mice study”.

Typically, what happens is that a product is tested on mice and if it brings encouraging results, it is tested on humans to provide more backing for human use. However, it just so happens that the Protandim clinical studies on humans didn’t go too well.

So, they started testing on mice and subsequent studies on mice were released.

Although the tests do bring encouraging results but they are being done on arbitrary indicators of product’s efficiency like testing Alveolar epithelial permeability, an issue crucial to people suffering from alcohol overuse.

Most customers seem to be taking Protandim because of its alleged ability to prolong life, improve diabetes, prevent cancer, make them feel better, etc. Instead of studying any of those things, the researchers chose to study alveolar epithelial permeability.

2. The theory of “free radicals” is itself being challenged now

With modern research continuously being done in the anti aging industry, even more and new theories of aging are being promoted. However, a theory is just a theory which can be countered or debunked.

That’s why we need clinical studies on humans, not mice. So, we can know for sure if a product works.

Are Antioxidants overhyped?

In one of the recent issues of the Journal for the American Geriatric Society, lead author Shelly Gray published the most recent study; that no effect from taking Vitamin C or E, either alone or in combination, on the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease after 5.5 years. Here in this case Vitamins C and E were chosen as they were claimed to be the best antioxidants.

Besides a Danish study shows some antioxidants being linked to higher mortality rate.

So, if the product claims to enhance the body’s own natural ability to produce antioxidants, it may sound nice and all but this is also a theory. In other words, if it is not being proven with solid studies, it might as well be a marketing gimmick.

There is still a lot of potential for antioxidants. However, researches advise that consumption of fruits and vegetables is more beneficial and on the other hand consuming antioxidant supplements separately is either useless or even counterproductive sometimes.

3. Protandim ingredients

Well, Protandim is made out of some good ingredients though – Milk thistle, Bacopa extract, Ashwagandha, Green tea extract, and Turmeric extract. One can always find out more about them in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

Of these, the three Bacopa, Ashwagandha and Turmeric are usually sourced from India and are quite cheap and common in India. These herbs do have some anti aging and overall health benefits.

For example, Bacopa is linked to better brain and liver health, its two primary benefits.

Then we have Ashwagandha, which is actually quite a common ingredient in some sexual performance supplements for men as it alleviates anxiety issues and has very strong calming properties. It has some powerful antioxidant properties. But then again, as we discussed earlier, antioxidants might have their own pros and cons.

Turmeric also has health benefits, the most prominent of them is joint health.

Milk thistle is great for liver cleansing, however it has estrogenic properties and might have some other side effects after interacting with other ingredients. If you already have breast cancer or have had it and are trying to keep it at bay, or someone in your family has had it and you are at risk, milk thistle may be contraindicated.

Excess estrogen is also not good for aged men. In fact, it might well be the primary factor behind male menopause.

Green tea is a great ingredient that comes with a lot of relevance. Green tea naturally has antioxidants which fight against atherosclerosis and heart disease. Green Tea also contains flavonoids that possibly reduce lipoprotein oxidation. However, some of these benefits on humans are not yet confirmed and green tea is nothing new to the world of anti aging or weight loss. There are plenty of supplements floating on Amazon.com

4. Protandim does not target the endocrine system for anti aging

Although still in infancy, the latest approaches to anti aging are targeting the hormonal response of the body. It is very well know that certain hormones in the body like HGH (Human Growth Hormone) are the cornerstone of the aging process. There is a reason why Hollywood stars like Sylvester Stallone are going the HGH route.

In fact Hormone replacement therapy seems to be the latest rage and as some women put it, it’s really effective.

You might want to know more about why a significant number of anti aging experts believe HGH might be one stop solution to aging. Although people don’t need to go the injections route. the effects of HGH can be felt using natural HGH releasers like Genf20 Plus. Here is a review on hgh products by blogger Natalie.

5. The herbal formulation of Protandim seems to be a random mix of thrown in herbal ingredients

I’ve been reviewing herbal products and supplements and one thread that I find common in most effective products is this. They target a particular cause using a very well thought out formulation.

For example, if the growth hormone enhancement is the cause, then the best supplement companies out there would make effort to manufacture a product that targets all the mechanisms of HGH enhancement using diverse ingredients.

With Protandim, the cause seems vague. The approach seems vague. And the clinical studies seem vague.

We learned earlier in this article how the clinical studies on Protandim seem to be arbitrary and weak.

Here is more information on some of the studies and their observations

1. The mice study. Protandim has shown that it can reduce the development of skin cancers in a mouse model.
2. The cell culture study. In this Protandim helped to produce more glutathione.
3. The human studies. The only clinical studies done so far related to humans.

The concept behind this is fascinating. However, although it has a lot of promises in its description, the available proof is not enough for a professional recommendation.

Only noticeable thing I could find out was and that can be noticed with the use of this product; improvements in the blood markers TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances). However it doesn’t demonstrate any advantage for humans though.

Therefore, some reviewers say that this product is marketed using science and the sole purpose seems to be to make money.

In the second study listed above, they have tested the individual components of Protandim and noticed that there was a marked synergy when the ingredients were combined with each other.

If this scenario is true , then ideally it should need further observation. Usually when the herbal ingredients are mixed, it should produce additive effect, but in this particular study it says that they produce synergistic.

The Bottom Line

Antioxidant supplements are nothing new to the anti aging industry. The product’s website itself relies on “The “Free Radical Theory of Aging,” which has its own criticisms. Add to that, the vague clinical studies, like done on vitamin E and a not very well thought out herbal formulation.

Presently there is a huge demand for antioxidants and this particular company is trying to take the advantage. Although they say many good things about their product and try to verify it by science, clinical studies don’t show much benefits associated with this product.

The word is there are about 20 studies on Protandim in progress. I am watching all the developments with a great interest. Until that, frankly I can’t think of recommending Protandim, when there are better anti aging supplements out there.

The manufacturers of Protandim state “A recent paper published by over 50 preeminent antioxidant/anti-aging researchers in Scientific American, stated that no effective therapy exists to combat age-related oxidative stress. The author did assert, however, that a promising avenue would be “enhancing the body’s own production of free-radical scavengers.” This is exactly what Protandim does!” Although that is what they SAY, there is no evidence to prove that it does so. In fact the bitter truth is “NO effective therapy exists to combat age-related oxidative stress.”

Another thing to notice is that antioxidants can become oxidants in certain occasions. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables (not pills) are highly recommended. Here is one of the many examples available. Although vitamin E is promoted as an antioxidant which reduces heart diseases, studies have indicated that Vitamin E supplements are counterproductive treatment and they can indeed cause heart disease.

I would also say the most reliable approach to oxidative stress reduction as an anti-aging treatment is calorie restriction. But then again, it might have something to do with Human growth hormone, (as we discussed earlier in the article) as calories (and insulin levels) are inversely connected to the youth hormone.

I recommend taking a clinically tested natural HGH supplement.

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