Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

Baby Boomers have lived through a lot of changes in the American landscape. We started life in the postwar World War II era, lived through the Cold War, and lived through the 60s with Vietnam and “Flower Power”. We were the “excess of the 80s”, the “.com era”, and made it to the 21st century. We saw the development of fast food restaurants as a way of eating.

I think that we Baby Boomers have tried to stay fit and live longer healthier lives than our parents, although we are probably more stressed than our parents. The fitness craze of the 80s has continued with home gyms, better diet regimens, less cigarette use, and the need for better nutrition. When I was younger, 40 was the start of middle age. Baby Boomers now look at 60 as the start of middle age.

People are learning more about how their cells age and how we age as a whole. We’re learning about antioxidants and what they can do to help repair damage sustained over the years from both internal and external factors. We know about the oxidation of molecules, in our body by free radicals, which are unpaired electrons. Although many of the natural human processes involve free radical formation, there are many free radical formations that are detrimental to our cells. One of the causes of cancer is free radicals reacting with DNA to cause mutations. We use skincare products that contain free radicals to prevent sun damage and slow down the aging process. We eat foods that contain free radicals to help repair processes within our bodies.

We have seen over the last decade, much news about healing cellular damage with proper nutrition as well as supplements. The number of health food products has increased significantly. Although some profess to improve your health dramatically, many have little or no real benefit. They do not cure diabetes, relieve arthritis, or cure heart disease. The companies that manufacture these products cannot, under US laws, make drug claims that they cure disease. There are anecdotal stories from users, which have helped relieve arthritic pain, help with depression, and provided extra energy, but these aren’t scientifically proven. There are some products though, such as juice from the mangosteen fruit, which has been shown to have a “kill effect” on human cancer cells. Mangosteen fruit contains xanthones, molecules that are known for their strong antioxidant content. They appear to have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as help with many G.I. symptoms such as diarrhea, dyspepsia, and nausea. There are also claims to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

As with many of the phytonutrients, since they are not regulated by the FDA, there have been some overoptimistic claims as to their benefit. I asked the listeners to know that these products can’t hurt them and may give them benefits. These products have been available for hundreds of years as folk medicine to the natives, and they swear by their benefits.