A group of people from LifePak, the premium Pharmanex antioxidant supplement company came down to “help” us examine our Antioxidant level.
I did the antioxidant test 3 years ago so I thought why not, lets take the test again!
When your body oxidizes, the visible symptoms are ageing and disease. Free radicals, generated by exposure to pollutants and normal metabolic processes, are the unstable atoms that cause oxidation. If you’re over 30, you’ve probably begun to feel it.
Antioxidants are the body’s defense against free radicals, neutralizing them before they damage healthy cells. (Take care of your fender – keep it clean and polished and out of the elements – and it is likely to remain shiny and new for a long time.) Having an adequate supply of antioxidants is important, as free radicals are implicated in numerous degenerative diseases associated with ageing, such as: cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, immune dysfunction, cataracts, and macular degeneration, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in Washington, D.C.
The National Institute of Health makes it very clear: Free radicals can unquestionably cause oxidative damage to DNA.
As your primary defense against perhaps the greatest enemy of your future, it does make sense to find out if you have a hearty supply of antioxidants to keep the rust at bay. This is prevention at it’s finest.
Our primary sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. Again, to quote the IFIC: Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors—the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes. The most well-known components of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; the mineral selenium; and more recently, the compound lycopene.
If you are concerned or simply curious about how well fortified you are, then you may want to try the Pharmanex Biophotonic Laser Scan, the world’s first immediate, non-invasive method of measuring antioxidant activity. Just place your hand on the scanner and the laser will test your skin for carotenoids, antioxidant pigments found in colorful fruits and vegetables. The tally is then translated into a skin carotenoid score that lets you know whether you need build your defenses or maintain your current status. According to Pharmanex, more than five million scans worldwide have been performed.
My Antioxidant Score
To be honest, with my health condition I would expect that my score to be really bad. 3 years ago, my score was 20,000.This means I fall in the Red to Orange band.
A score of 20,000 is considered low and most of the people examined seems to fall on this portion. These are the people who eat “poorly”, do not take supplements, and/or are exposed to high oxidative stress (exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, and sunlight). It is recommended that you begin to “Grow” your Skin Carotenoid Score by eating better (generally fresh fruits and vegetables contain the highest level of nutrients), taking LifePak, and avoiding free radicals.
My score this time round was 42,000. This means I fall in the green band. These refer to people who consume more carotenoid-rich foods and supplements. I will need to “Improve” your Skin Carotenoid Score by looking carefully at your lifestyle.
Needless to say I was a bit shocked by the result as I thought I am rather worse than the average.
The person administering the test asked me what are the changes I did in this 3 years. Honestly, I wouldn’t know. But probably:
- Due to my skin condition, I took a lot of TCM Chinese Medicine. Although I am still not cured but it must have somehow worked.
- I used to wake up and having running nose a lot. But after I took this Brands Chicken Essences Tablet ( The cheapest one), I stop having running nose. I recommend people with the same problem to take it.
What is this Skin Carotenoid you may ask?
Your Carotenoid Score is an immediate numeric reading of your own skin carotenoid content and an important indicator of the overall strength of your body’s carotenoid defence system. As you continue to participate in the LifePak supplementation program combined with a healthy diet, you can track your Carotenoid Score for evidence of improved carotenoid activity. Based on our study, your Carotenoid Score can increase after only 60 days of LifePak supplementation, and continue to increase after.
My Body Mass Index
The person also measured a few other things and the next is my body mass index.
For a 1.68m guy that weights 49 Kg, I am way below the accepted weight. The lady tell me I should be weighing around 61 Kg. Hell, I never even hit past 55 Kg. 1 Year ago my weight was 53Kg now I am down 4 Kg. What the hell.
I need to gain weight man.
My Muscle Mass Score
I scored a 38.7% for Muscle Mass. A score of 38.5 and above for guys is good. This means my ability to gain weight. The higher it is the more difficult.
My Body Fat Content
This is the bomb. I have to measure my body fat % thrice to ensure that the number is correct. Eventually my body fat % is 4.7%. Bummer. I used to be 8%. As a gauge this is a benchmark of how lean I am:
Contest bodybuilder: 3-5%
Extremely lean: 6-9%
Average Male: 16-20%
Very Poor: 25%+
Fitness model/bodybuilder: 8-11%
Extremely lean: 12-15%
Average female: 20-25%
Very Poor: 30%+
Shit. That means I am consistently maintaining a fat content of a contest bodybuilder?
This is definitely not a good sign.
Lower is Not Necessarily Better
A certain amount of body fat is vital for the body to function normally and healthy. In fact striving for a body fat percentage that is too low can be dangerous. Here’s why…
Measuring your body fat percentage calculates your TOTAL body fat. This total body fat can be split into 2 categories…
Storage Fat — This consists mainly of fat deposited just under the skin or subcutaneous fat. Storage fat for men and women is fairly similar. For the average man 12% of bodyweight is storage fat and for the average woman 15% of bodyweight is storage fat.
Essential Body Fat — For the body to function normally and healthily a certain amount of body fat is required. This is called essential fat. For women the average amount of essential fat is 12% of bodyweight and for men it is 3%.
Trying to achieve a body fat percentage that is so low it affects your essential fat stores is NOT good for your health.
Some storage fat is also required for good health. It’s used to protect internal organs in the chest and abdomen. So remember…
Aim to stay within the range for age and gender and rest assured you are taking one of the most positive steps to life-long health you can.
My Visceral Fat Score
This is something new to me, what the heck is Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat is different from other body fat. Visceral fat, also called intra-abdominal fat, refers to the fat that surrounds the internal organs. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is body fat that is close to the skin’s surface and is considered less dangerous, and easier to lose, than visceral fat.
Studies have shown that those with visceral fat are more susceptible to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension. Sedentary people, smokers and drinkers have been shown to have more intra-abdominal fat, or visceral fat, than active people who are non-smokers and non-drinkers. Stress may also be a factor in the storage of visceral fat on the body.
Visceral fat is harder to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is more deeply embedded in the body’s tissues. Visceral fat is only measured accurately by an imaging machine that can see how much of the abdomen is made up of visceral fat. A person may be within a healthy weight range, but still have too much intra-abdominal fat around the internal organs.
The liver metabolizes visceral fat and releases it into the bloodstream as cholesterol. Harmful, or “bad” cholesterol, which is Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), builds up into a plaque that blocks the arteries. Losing weight through proper diet and effective exercise can help reduce visceral fat. How much fat a person eats does matter as studies have shown that those who eat 30% or more of their diets as fat usually have high amounts of visceral fat.
Walking is considered by many health and fitness experts to be a much better way of helping to control visceral fat than by doing exercises such as swimming where gravity keeps the body afloat. Walking at a fairly fast pace for a half an hour six days a week has been shown to help reduce visceral fat, while walking only three days a week has not been shown to have much affect on the reduction of visceral fat. However, doing no exercise at all has shown to increase the amount of visceral fat in the body.
My score is a low 2. This is a good thing according to the lady. At times you have athletes with really low Body Fat content and high muscle mass but their Visceral Fat score is high because of prolong drinking.
Although people say this is a good score overall, I don’t think it is. I think I need to gain back 4 more KG of muscle mass.
Easier said then done for someone hard to get big. Anyone have a good suggestion?
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Sunday 25th of July 2010
Haha... thanks, guys. Will have to work doubly hard now that I've read the article in Newsweek on how looking good really helps in life!
Saturday 24th of July 2010
AK, Try cutting sugar and carbs. I started a experiment in Mar this year - cutting down sugar and carbos and doing some High intensity training (abt 10 to 15 mins almost daily) and now have lost abt 4 kg.
Saturday 24th of July 2010
You are a lucky guy. I am trying to lose weight. Sigh. Trying to cut down on all the nice comfort food and hitting the gym whenever I am able to.
It is also not how much we eat but what we eat as well. Eat more of my favourite foods: char kway teow, nasi lemak, ice cream, chocolates.... Haha.. You get the idea. ;)
Saturday 24th of July 2010
Alternatively, my friend recommends eating subway. not cheap and debatable in terms of healthiness.
Saturday 24th of July 2010
hi AK71, the difficulty is the discipline to cut down on those you mention. it is difficult to do that in Singapore.
i recently went Changi Village and i walk 2 rounds and couldn't find anything "safe" to eat.