Free Radicals - Should I Be Concerned About Them?
By Paul Wallace
Free radicals are unstable molecules with extra "free" electrons looking for a connection. They can latch onto a cell membrane or blood vessel lining and create constant inflammation, leading to eventual damage, serious disease, and even to an early death.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron that attack healthy cells. If an electron is unpaired, another atom or molecule can easily bond to it, causing a chemical reaction.
Damage caused by the "stress" of excessive numbers of free radicals in the body accumulates with age. Many scientists are convinced that early aging and chronic health problems (cancer, heart disease, thrombosis, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, etc.) are initiated by free radical damage. They then take years to develop.
Free radicals in the body have been proven to:
- Damage cholesterol-carrying particles,
- May increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Contribute to the formation of blood clots,
- May increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke,
- Damage a cell's genetic material (DNA),
- May lead to cancer,
- Trigger inflammation,
- Suppress the immune system,
- Impair cell function,
- Start, and extend, the aging process.
Other types of tissue breakdown attributed to free radicals can lead to inflammatory disease, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic nerve pain, neuropathy, colds, and other chronic illnesses. These now common diseases and virtually all cancers can be traced to free radicals.
Common sources of excess free radicals in the human body today are cigarette smoke, air pollution, pesticides, herbicides, overexposure to the sun, automobile exhaust, radiation, smog, stress, rancid foods, food contaminants, and a myriad of other factors that are part of our modem life.
Using antioxidants is one of the best ways to help protect your body against dangerous free radicals in the body, which can lead to health problems and disease.
Antioxidants are nutrients which donate extra hydrogen electrons to free radicals, thus neutralizing them and producing stable molecules.
Antioxidant molecules are able to give up extra electrons without turning into free radicals themselves, thus halting this harmful process.
The body is a "closed system". Its well-being depends solely on what is eaten. If you don't feed it what it needs you will have health problems, and most health problems start with free radicals.
Many advertisers today not only tell what the product is (e.g. orange juice) or what it contains (vitamin C) but they also stress that it provides antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight free radicals the cause of many diseases; vitamin C provides antioxidants as well as other important elements needed by the body; vitamin C comes from the orange juice. As the song lyrics go, "You can't have one without the other".
Drinking orange juice is certainly beneficial for health. However, it is only a part of the overall picture. To truly make an improvement in our health, nutritional supplements that provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and fibers should be added to our diets.
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About The Author
Paul Wallace suffered continuing pain long after an accident. Following regular treatment his doctor prescribed vitamins and minerals. He felt no relief even though he was taking 64 pills a day. This led to research which made him realize that the body needs more than individual vitamins and minerals to be healthy. He now takes one product a day and is much healthier and pain free, even though he is 72 years young.
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