How do you measure preventative care?

You’ve heard the phrase ‘Prevention is better than Cure’ hundreds of times. You’re probably even undertaking preventative care right now. If you’re eating a healthy diet or exercising frequently, this is preventative care - these are activities to keep you healthy, to prevent disease.

The question is how do you know that what you are doing is actually having any effect.

I have a friend who was undergoing treatment for cancer and she said she didn’t know what she could change when the chemotherapy was over as she was already eating a healthy diet and exercising before the diagnosis. You probably know people who have similar stories.

The underlying mechanism for most disease is damage from free radicals.

A little bit of science stuff

Free radicals are basically unstable molecules that want to be stable and to do so they need to get an electron from somewhere - they aren’t discerning and will take it from healthy tissue if they can’t find it elsewhere. The body has anti-oxidants, for example vitamins, which are able to donate electrons to free radicals which, in effect, mops up the free radicals without causing any damage to normal tissue.

So, free radicals are produced in the body during the course of normal functioning but they are increased by aging, by sun exposure, by pollution, by smoking and by stress. This increased load of free radicals puts the body’s anti-oxidants under pressure. This is why without additional anti-oxidants, the free radicals are left to damage normal tissue, setting up inflammatory processes that get out of control and lead to disease.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in anti-oxidants

The reason you are advised to eat several helpings of fruit and vegetables a day and are told that a Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet to follow is that these are rich in anti-oxidants. So called anti-inflammatory diets which are promoted as healthy are rich in anti-oxidants. A key component in remaining healthy is having adequate anti-oxidants to ‘mop up’ the free radicals and so prevent healthy tissue being damaged.

Are you getting enough anti-oxidants?

But, how do you know you are getting enough anti-oxidants in your diet? How do you know that the free radicals produced by your particular lifestyle are being managed by your intake of anti-oxidants, either in your diet alone or with the addition of anti-oxidant rich supplements?

Can you measure anti-oxidant level in your body?

Taking blood and measuring a particular anti-oxidant is one way of measuring anti-oxidants but it’s expensive, invasive and probably only gives you a small amount of information as there are many anti-oxidants in our blood.

There is, however, a non-invasive technology (that you can access relatively cheaply) that is able to measure carotenoids in your skin.

What are carotenoids?

Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for red, orange and yellow hues in fruit and vegetables.

Carotenoids are powerful anti-oxidants and include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. They are known to have health benefits, through their anti-oxidant action, in preventing diseases, including some cancers and eye disease. These carotenoids are present in fruit and vegetables and in egg yolks.

For example, lycopene is present in tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots. Beta-carotene can be converted in Vitamin A in the body which is why carrots are said to be good for your vision - remember your mother telling you to eat your carrots so you could see in the dark.

You can see that by measuring carotenoids in the skin in a non-invasive way, you would have an idea of whether you had enough anti-oxidants in your body or you needed more. Perhaps, even with your healthy lifestyle, there are factors in your environment that mean you need more anti-oxidants.

A painless way to measure anti-oxidants in your body

Let me introduce you to Resonance Raman Spectrometry (RRS) which can non-invasively measure carotenoids (anti-oxidants) in the skin, thus giving a measure of your individual oxidative stress level. It is very simple, you hold the palm of your hand over the machine and after a few minutes you get a score.

The machine works by emitting light which then scatters creating signals that are converted to a score. This technique has been correlated with blood levels of lycopene, which is the major carotenoid in the skin, and so can be used as a measure of anti-oxidants in the body.

Does your skin carotenoid score mean anything?

A recent study, which followed over five years women who had breast surgery and who had been advised to have a Mediterranean diet for the anti-oxidant health benefits in an attempt to reduce recurrence risk, looked at the association of risk with skin carotenoid score and its correlation to blood lycopene levels.

The study showed that an increased skin carotenoid level was correlated with factors associated with a reduced risk of recurrence of cancer, including reduced waist circumference and body mass index.

The non-invasive skin measurement of the carotenoids was thought to be beneficial because women could see the effect of the diet and the improvement in their anti-oxidant status.

How can I get my anti-oxidants measured?

The Resonance Raman Spectrometry technology (known as the Biophotonic Scanner) is available to you at a relatively low cost. In fact, the anti-oxidant supplement that I take and that we promote on the site comes with a money-back guarantee. If your anti-oxidant score doesn’t improve then you get your money back.

One of the issues with preventative care, including taking supplements, is that you usually can’t see the benefit and it can feel like you’re not getting any value for your money. I’m sure that may be true of many supplements.

How can I improve my anti-oxidant levels in my body?

If you are going to take a supplement, how do your choose? What ingredient would you want? I suggest that you take an anti-oxidant rich supplement and that it is based on foods. Just taking huge amounts of beta-carotene as a supplement may actually be detrimental to your health. Getting individual supplements may mean you are taking 10 or more a day.

The supplement I take is anti-oxidant rich based on diets from around the world that are known for their health properties, like the Mediterranean diet, the Japanese diet, the Scandinavian diet. It would be very difficult for you to get all those nutrients in a diet alone but I get them in the supplement and I only need to take 2 capsules twice a day.

The supplement I take comes with a guarantee that your oxidative stress levels will improve, as measured by non-invasive dermal spectrometry. This is preventative care you can measure.

Can you afford not to know your ant-oxidant status?

You can read more on the supplement by clicking here. To find out more about getting your own skin carotenoid score, message us.

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  •     S. T. Mayne, B. Cartmel, S. Scarmo et al., “Noninvasive assessment of dermal carotenoid as a biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake,” e American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 794–800, 2010.
  • A. Perrone, A. M. Pintaudi, A. Traina, G. et al. Raman Spectroscopic Measurements of Dermal Carotenoids in Breast Cancer Operated Patients Provide Evidence for the Positive Impact of a Dietary Regimen Rich in Fruit and Vegetables on Body Oxidative Stress and BC Prognostic Anthropometric Parameters: A Five-Year Study. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Volume 2016, Article ID 2727403, 8 pages