You may have heard discussion recently on “Free Radicals” and to be honest, I had no idea what they were. My best guess was a terrorist sitting in a Canadian Jail.
You think I jest.
In Canada, a man serving in a provincial jail dislocated his shoulder. The jail needed to transport him to a hospital, so they ordered a taxi and sent him unescorted. Only in Canada, eh.
Now keeping this thought, your body also has “Free Radicals” roaming inside — bad guys, running free, causing trouble and believe it or not stealing from and in the process damaging valuable cells!
Your cells function similar to a car engine. They combine oxygen and a fuel source — in this case food — to produce energy. But similar to a car engine, your cells also produce an exhaust called “Free Radicals.”
What is a “Free Radical”?
A “Free Radical” is an oxygen molecule that has lost an electron. In this form, it’s very unstable and immediately sets out to steal an electron from a nearby molecule. Scientists theorize a single free radical can spark a cascading chain reaction creating a thousand other unstable molecules in a matter of a few seconds.
Oxidation – your rusting body
When a free radical steals an electron from another molecule, the process is called oxidation. We see oxidation at work all around us. Rust is a prime example of it and over time it can render a metal tool unusable.
Scientists now believe oxidation causes similar damage to our cells and is responsible for many serious health problems. As free radicals rip electrons out of other molecules, they not only damage the inner working of the cell, but the important cell membrane and even DNA.
Bad News on “Free Radicals”
Aside from being produced through normal cell metabolism, the body’s production of free radicals can escalate through drinking alcohol and even extreme exercise which increases our metabolism.
These cell destroyers can also be ingested from external sources such as breathing in polluted air and toxins. On its website, Northern Arizona University says tobacco “contains a number of toxic chemicals that form free radicals in our circulation.”
Free radicals are also found in the foods we eat. Do you like barbecued or fried foods? The combination of heat and oil is a formula for free radical production. Many foods are contaminated with left over pesticides and chemicals used in production or manufacturing and these contain free radicals.
As well, free radicals can be produced through such necessary medical procedures as x-rays.
What are the health issues?
Information on the destructive power of free radicals or oxidation is slowly emerging. Numerous organizations and health specialists are now blaming these insidious terrorists for everything from cancer to the aging process.
The US-based National Cancer Institute says:
“When an oxygen molecule (O2) becomes electrically charged or ‘radicalized’ it tries to steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to DNA and other molecules. Over time, such damage may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer.”
For years, medical researchers have seen a connection between smoking and incidences of lung cancer, but it was only through free radical research were they able to understand this link.
In his article, “Alzheimer’s: Research aimed at Oxidation,” Dr. Richard Gracy of the University of Texas’ Health Science Center says oxidation can cause skin damage (manifested in wrinkling, discoloration and loss of elasticity) and even “senile cataracts,” as the “oxidized protein in the eye lens becomes opaque like a fried egg.”
But Gracy raises the biggest alarm on free radical damage to our brain and its connection to Alzheimer’s. He writes:
”The brain uses a large amount of the oxygen that we breathe, and as a result it is exposed to lots of the potentially toxic Oxygen free radicals. The damage may be cumulative with the years and as we age our own antioxidant defenses may decrease. It seems that these toxic oxygen compounds cause the death of the brain cells. This is what leads to the dementia and the subsequence consequences of the disease.”
The American Heart Association says:
“Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’) cholesterol is important in the development of fatty build ups in the arteries. This process, called atherosclerosis, can lead to heart attacks and strokes.”
With the growing body of evidence on the destructive power of free radicals what can be done to stop these attacks on our health.
The body’s anti-terrorist division
Free radicals are a normal byproduct of cell metabolism and your body counters this threat through its own anti-terrorist division called antioxidants. Antioxidants disarm free radicals by freely offering up an electron which immediately neutralizes the cell destroyer. However, antioxidants — which come in a variety of forms — are not destabilized by the loss thereby stopping the oxidization process.
The body uses certain minerals such as selenium, zinc and copper to produce antioxidants. Unfortunately, if we do not consume enough of these minerals the body’s production can fall short, with potentially serious consequences.
Even with sufficient minerals, the body does not produce enough antioxidants to counter all the free radicals attacking our body. An army of antioxidants can be brought in to reinforce the body’s defenses through consuming vegetables which are high in Vitamin A, C and E. These three key vitamins contain significant quantities of antioxidants.
However, as we read in our previous newsletter (click here to read Do vegetables need vitamins?), there has been a significant decline in vitamins and mineral content of vegetables and fruit over the past 50 years. When your body calls in the Calvary, will it show up?
Melaleuca’s antioxidant fighters
Melaleuca has been aggressively fighting free radicals for years and has created a product – CellWise — specifically designed to boost your body’s antioxidant army.
CellWise provides a two-fold punch in the battle against antioxidants. First it supplies the minerals (selenium, copper and zinc) the body needs to produce its own antioxidants.
Secondly, CellWise supplies a wide ranging variety of antioxidants ready to battle free radicals. Studies have shown some antioxidants are better suited to neutralize certain types of free radicals, than others.. Antioxidants known as cartenoids are most effective in neutralizing free radicals caused by intense exercise, while tocopherols are better suited for free radicals sourced in x-rays and chemicals in foods. So variety is critical to a proper defense.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget Melaleuca’s vitamins which in addition to their nutritional value are an important source of antioxidants.
Melaleuca’s CellWise and vitamins are produced with the patent pending oligofructose compounding that binds vitamins and minerals with organic compounds mimicking how they are found in vegetables and fruits.
This new process has a dramatic effect on how our body handles Melaleuca vitamins and minerals. Instead of crystallizing, they remained in soluble form allowing them to be absorbed into the body through the small intestine. Laboratory studies showed that Melaleuca vitamins were “9 times more soluble” than many popular brands of vitamins.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These articles and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.