Antioxidants: Things You May Already Know And Some Things You Probably Don’t!

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Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. What’s a free radical you ask? A free radical is a harmful molecule that causes damage to the body’s cells and may contribute to aging. Some experts believe that this damage also plays a role in the development of some diseases including atherosclerosis and cancer. Free radicals come from a variety of sources. They come about naturally as by-products of normal body processes or when certain medications are metabolized. You are also exposed to free radicals through pollutants in the air.

A useful metaphor to understand antioxidants and free radical damage is to think of the paint on an old car. As the paint is exposed to the elements, it slowly breaks down or becomes oxidized and you can see the effects of the oxidation in the way the finish looks faded and dull. Think of free radical damage as having a similar oxidative effect on your cells, and antioxidants as protection from that damage which happens on a continuous basis through daily living.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are considered antioxidants as is the mineral selenium and plant based nutrients known as flavonoids. Of course, eating lots of fruits and vegetables are a good source of these antioxidants. Berries in particular are high in antioxidants (especially blackberries and blueberries). Also notably high in antioxidants are apples, plums, prunes, grapes, raisins, oranges, peaches, mangoes, melons, and artichoke hearts. Walnuts and pecans are also high in antioxidants and of course dark chocolate is famously high in antioxidants. But there are also many culinary herbs that are incredibly potent antioxidants, so the more of these herbs you add to your food the better! Many of them have other added benefits as well. Some examples of antioxidant herbs that do double duty…

  • Cloves have antimicrobial properties and are the strongest of all the antioxidant culinary herbs
  • Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant and also helps metabolize sugar
  • Oregano has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can speed up the production of white blood cells
  • Turmeric and ginger are potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herbs

Other culinary herbs that are good sources of antioxidants are cumin, dried parsley, curry, sage, mustard seed, black pepper, thyme, marjoram, and chili powder so spice it up! India is known for having a lower incidence of most diseases, possibly because of the heavily spiced foods common in the Indian diet. So make your way to Bombay Clay Oven or Little India here in Denver for some curry or masala. Or better yet, learn to cook some delicious Indian dishes at home! Onward with our antioxidant discussion….

Dr. Shah’s favorite antioxidant is astaxanthin which is a red carotenoid. It is a uniquely superior antioxidant because it filters into every cell of the body. And its unique molecular lipophilic and hydrophilic properties allow it to saturate the entire cell, protecting both the fat soluble and water soluble parts of the cell. A 2007 study found it to be 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, and 550 times stronger than green tea.

Astaxanthin is what makes salmon, shrimp, lobster, and crab pink or red in color. Astaxanthin also has a variety of other benefits in addition to being a great antioxidant. A naturally derived supplement made from microalgae is the best way to get all of the benefits. Eating the seafood mentioned above gives you a little but doesn’t give you enough to be considered a therapeutic dose. There have been hundreds of medical research experiments showing the health benefits of astaxanthin supplements sourced from microalgae as well as extensive safety trials. And unlike beta-carotene, an orange carotenoid, astaxanthin never becomes pro-oxidant or damaging to the body in higher doses. Just make sure you are taking a supplement with only microalgae as the source of astaxanthin. 12 mg per day is an optimal dose, however it is expensive so you may want to take less.

The other benefits of super-antioxidant astaxanthin:

Relieving pain and inflammation—Similar to the often prescribed drug Celebrex for arthritis and acute pain, Astaxanthin has been proven to block the COX2 enzymes responsible for pain signaling but without the risk of addiction, heartburn, or GI bleeding. It has also been proven to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) by more than 20 percent in only 8 weeks. (CRP is a marker for inflammation and the American Heart Association names it as a key indicator of heart disease.)

Eye health—Astaxanthin has the unique ability to reach your retina with its antioxidant goodness. Clinical trials have shown that it helps with retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye strain, and even helps you read fine print. Dr. Shah has noticed the improvement in his eyesight since taking Astaxanthin.

Great skin and sunscreen protection—there are consistent studies showing that Astaxanthin is excellent for helping maintain skin moisture, smoothness, and elasticity. And it actually reduces UV damage from the sun so take it with you (along with your sunscreen, of course) to the beach or your favorite Colorado hiking trails!

So there you have it, folks! Hopefully you have learned something you didn’t already know about the wonderful world of antioxidants. If you have any questions about antioxidants or nutrition, please drop us a line at info@drmanishshah.com. (Note: Dr. Shah has no financial interest in the manufacture or sale of any astaxanthin products.)

Celebrity Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong at the Oscars 2014

I’m sure that anyone who saw Kim Novak or Goldie Hawn at the recent Academy Awards telecast was able to tell that they were the victims of Celebrity Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong!  As a fan of the natural look after plastic surgery, it is obvious that these two beautiful ladies do not share my viewpoint.  I understand the need to maintain a look that made you famous, but the reality is that the human body changes too much to try and mask aging.  If you have the genetics to age well, then you probably will age well.  If you don’t, you are going to need a lot of help.

When much of the plastic surgery world agrees that less is more, Hollywood continues to buck the trend and go for more is more.  The result, more often than not, is bad plastic surgery.  I’m sure it is very difficult for an A-list plastic surgeon to say no to their famous clientele, but they should start saying NO!  The Hippocratic Oath’s first pledge is to “Do No Harm.”  I think that there is incredible harm done to the reputations of these actors and actresses when their unreasonable quest for youth makes them ask for harmful or unreasonable things.

What is most difficult is the request by the everyday patient to look like a celebrity.  With their extreme visibility, especially in the age of social media, celebrities wield incredible influence on the style choices of the regular joe.  I have to talk patients out of things all the time because expecting to look like a certain celebrity leads to having severely unrealistic expectations.

Even in laid back Denver, Colorado, patients will ask to have the lips of Megan Fox, the nose of Jennifer Aniston, and the rump of J. Lo!  It’s tough to watch their dejected faces when I have to bring them back to reality.

Sometimes I wonder why they just can’t leave well enough alone! Aging gracefully is an art form that sometimes does benefit from the eyes and hands of a talented plastic surgeon…

Your options for Liposuction in Denver, Colorado

Now that the weather is starting to get colder one of our favorite things to do is eat!!  I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but it makes me hungry.  I have a sneaky suspicion that it makes you hungry too!!  For most of us, this means a little weight gain.  Denver, Colorado is a pretty healthy place, but there are lots of us who can’t seem to get rid of areas of stubborn fat, no matter how much time we spend in the gym.  What kinds of options do you have, you ask?  The most effective way to remove those stubborn fat deposits is by having liposuction.  There are multiple types of liposuction performed here in Denver by Shah Aesthetic Surgery.

1. Standard – Standard liposuction uses manual suction techniques to suck out fat from trouble areas using small incisions placed in the skin.  It is fairly old-school and it’s use is limited.

2. Power Assisted – Power assisted liposuction (PAL) uses a mechanical device that oscillates like a little battering ram under the skin to make removal of fat a little easier and more aggressive.  Areas of tougher tissue are also more effectively treated using this technology.

3. VASER Assisted – VASER assisted liposuction (UAL) uses ultrasound energy to vibrate water molecules around fat cells under the skin causing them to explode and liquify.  It makes fat removal even easier, with less bruising.  In addition, the ultrasound generates heat that some feel helps tighten the overlying skin as it contracts, giving even better shape.  It is my favorite way to perform liposuction for body areas.  I will often combine it with PAL for maximum results.

4. Laser Lipolysis – Laser lipolysis, or, Smartlipo MPX by Cynosure, is a liposuction technology that use a small fiberoptic laser placed under the skin that melts fat and also help tighten skin.  It is a little more risky because it can heat the skin quickly so careful attention needs to be paid to avoid burns.  It is also one of the only treatments that show efficacy with the treatment of cellulite.  It is one of my favorite methods for fat removal and skin tightening in the face.

Nothing replaces good diet and exercise, but most of us know that it is sometimes not enough.  Liposuction remains a mainstay method for body contouring.  A consultation with a plastic surgeon trained in liposuction will help you understand the benefits/limitations/risk/alternatives of the various methods of liposuction here in Denver, Colorado.

Bullying!! A Good Reason for Plastic Surgery in Kids?

If you are paying any attention to the national media, you know that bullying has become a very common part of growing up.  We are hearing tragic stories of children and teens all over the country taking their lives because they can not live in the shadows of their shame any longer.  We all know that kids can be cruel, but it seems that this has reached epidemic proportions.

In Denver, Colorado, at my plastic and reconstructive surgery practice, I have seen many children and adolescents who complain about being teased and bullied because of the way they look.  Some of the most common complaints are: ears that stick out, a nose that is too big, and bad facial acne.  Other problems have included early development of extremely large breasts, obvious asymmetry of the breasts of girls/teens, and enlargement of breasts (gynecomastia) in boys/teens.

Before one thinks about getting plastic surgery to correct these problems, it is important to make sure that the child and his/her parents are well-educated about the pros and cons of surgery.  If there is any sense that the child might have a psychological issue, then I refer them for psychological evaluation before proceeding forth with surgery.  Fixing a perceived external defect without treating any internal strife is a recipe for disaster.

If, however, the child and parents have healthy motivations, what can be done about these various conditions?

In Denver, Colorado, at Shah Aesthetic Surgery, there are multiple options to handle each concern:

EARS THAT STICK OUT:

The most effective procedure for ears that stick out too much is called an otoplasty or ear pinning operation.  This is a very successful operation in my hands.  Patients seek out our Denver-based clinic for ear improvement.  Children really notice the differences in those around them after about the age of 6 years old.  This is a common time to fix the ears.  If you want more information on otoplasty in Denver, Colorado, I suggest you contact us at drshah@drmanishshah.com.

A NOSE THAT’S TOO BIG:

When a nose appears too big for the face, it can be a target for taunting and bullying.  The most effective procedure for reducing or shaping a nose that doesn’t harmonize with the face is a rhinoplasty or nose reshaping surgery.  As the only Denver, Colorado based member of The Rhinoplasty Society, rhinoplasty or nose reshaping surgery is a common and successful procedure in my hands.  I have seen life changing results and significant improvements in self-esteem after this procedure.  Using very specialized approaches, I am able to reduce and re-apportion the size of the nose to better fit the surrounding facial features.  It can take more than a year to realize the final results, but the wait is usually worth it.  If you would like more information on rhinoplasty or nose reshaping in Denver, Colorado please contact us at drshah@drmanishshah.com.

BAD ACNE

There are a lot of causes for acne.  When we treat acne at our Denver, Colorado plastic surgery practice, we take a multi-faceted approach to the problem.  We work on acne suppression with topical and oral medication along with good skin care and use of chemical peels.  If there are any scars that need to be improved, we used laser, chemical peels and good skin care from companies like SkinMedica to help reduce the visibility of the old scars.  For more information about the care of acne in Denver, Colorado, I would suggest you contact us at drshah@drmanishshah.com.  No one likes to be called “Pizza Face!!”

BEING YOUNG WITH LARGE BREASTS

Being young with large breasts can be a curse.  Not only can it affect athletic activities, it can bring unwanted and salacious attention.  In my Denver, Colorado plastic surgery practice, breast reduction surgery is very helpful in managing this problem.  It is important to note that these patients may need a second breast reduction later in life after breast feeding a baby.  That being said, making breasts smaller so they weigh less and fit better into today’s clothes, is a win-win situation.  If you would like more information on breast reduction surgery in Denver, Colorado, please contact us at drshah@drmanishshah.com.

HAVING BREASTS THAT ARE VERY DIFFERENT IN APPEARANCE

Another problem that children and teens can face is congenital asymmetry of the breasts in girls/teens or gynecomastia in boys/teens.  These kids have a hard time either finding bras, bathing suit tops that fit and look normal to their peers, or they have a hard time taking their shirts off in the locker room and pool areas. For girls/teens, breast enlargement or augmentation surgeries can be performed with or without breast reduction surgeries to even out the breasts in clothes.  For boys, liposuction and/or resection of glandular breast tissue is used to reduce the chest size and create a more masculine looking chest.  For more information about breast reduction or gynecomastia procedures in Denver, Colorado please contact us at drshah@drmanishshah.com.

I hope that this information can help you and your child find some sense of peace in this ever more critical world.

If you would like, please visit us at http://www.drmanishshah.com to see all that we provide to the Greater Denver area, and beyond.

Warmest regards,

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS

Restore lost volume with Radiesse!

When it comes to adding volume to a face that looks like it is deflated, there is a great option for many people.  An injectible filler known as Radiesse (Radiance in Europe) is available to those who want to recontour their faces.  Radiesse is FDA-approved to fill in the nasolabial folds, those deep lines that travel from the nostril to the corner of the mouth.  Other off-label uses include augmenting the chin and jawline, lifting the cheeks, filling in the hollows around the eyes, and correcting/camouflaging small irregularities on the nose.  Radiesse is made from calcium hydroxyl apatite, a mineral that is found in our tooth enamel.  It is very biocompatible.  Many patients will get between 12-18 months duration before the product is gone from under the skin.  Unlike many of the other fillers available, Radiesse leaves behind standing volume that future injections can build upon. Most people need their first injection followed by a booster injection at three months.

If you are interested in more information about Radiesse and how it could help revolumize your face, please contact us at (303) 708-8234 to arrange a consultation in our Denver, Colorado office.  Or, for more information, visit us on the web at http://www.drmanishshah.com.

Breast Augmentation/Enlargement – Saline vs. Silicone!

For patients in Denver, Colorado breast augmentation or enlargement is a very personal decision.  With our athletic population making the decision on the type of breast implant to choose can be difficult.  Here are some thoughts about the two available implant types and their pros and cons so that you can make an intelligent choice.

Saline breast implants have a silicone rubber shell that is quite sturdy.  Most patients can expect between ten and fifteen years of duration before implant rupture or breakage becomes more likely.  Saline implants are filled with salt water that has the same makeup as the salt water in our bodies.  Saline implants are adjustable and can be used in situations where a woman’s breasts are slightly different sizes. Because of the implant shell design rippling at the edge of the implant is possible.  It can sometimes be felt and even seen. Saline implants have to be overfilled by 10-20% to decrease this rippling and decrease the risk of capsular contracture (scar formation around the implant.)  These implants are great in women who already have thicker breast tissue or are afraid of silicone implants.  I recommend placement under the muscle for these implants.  When a saline implant ruptures it looks like a deflated ball on your chest.

Silicone breast implants tend to look and feel more realistic.  They have the same durable silicone rubber shell. Duration is similar to saline implants.  They come in set sizes so it is harder to compensate for slight differences in breast size.  The inside of the implant is filled with a gel material that is thick and more cohesive like a gummy bear or gel toothpaste.  Rippling is not a common problem with silicone implants because of the way they are manufactured.  The FDA is requiring that all women who have silicone gel implants placed after December 2006 have an MRI of the breast at 3,5,7, and 9 years after implantation to check for leaks.  When a silicone implant leaks it is frankly more difficult to tell.  I typically recommend that silicone gel implants be placed under the pectoralis muscle.  This implant however is my implant of choice in women who need the implant placed above the muscle (eg. body builders, fitness competitors, martial artists, gym rats, etc.)

I hope this helps those seeking answers to the question “saline vs. silicone?”

If you have any questions or would like to obtain a free consultation for breast enlargement in Denver, Colorado give us a call at (303) 708-8234.  Or, visit us on the web at http://www.drmanishshah.com.