Your Keys to Unlocking Healthy Longevity
Antioxidants – you’ve probably heard of them but what do they really do?
Free radicals and oxidative stress – you’ve likely heard those terms too, but what the heck are they, and what’s really happening inside your body?
To understand their important functions and purposes (and why people are cheering about them in terms of anti-aging), it’s essential to understand the basics about free radicals and the damage that leads to oxidative stress.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are unstable molecules. They are unstable because they are lacking a proton that they need desperately. That proton is a hydrogen atom. And free radicals will stop at nothing to get that atom! (That whole ‘stop at nothing’ drive is what makes free radicals so incredibly dangerous.)
So, these free radicals run around your systems stealing hydrogen atoms from your healthy cells. They punch holes in your cells and leave your cells damaged AND in need of a hydrogen atom. And, this means what?
You guessed it … that cell is now a free radical, too! And as such, it goes about stealing hydrogen atoms from other cells.
Science indicates that healthy cells are destroyed exponentially. As the number of free radicals increases in all your internal body systems, the damage being done is multiplied.
This exponential damage is called a ‘cascade’ or Oxidative Stress.
Scientists, researchers and physicians now all increasingly agree that Oxidative Stress is the foundational basis of many diseases and illnesses (including premature aging and premature death.)
Free radical damage is serious. These unstable cells attack all the parts of healthy cells:
- DNA… a cell's blueprint for creating new cells;
- Mitochondria… a cell's power source (wonder why you’re so tired?);
- Lysomes… digestive enzymes in a cell; as well as,
- the cell membrane itself.
So, you can see how dangerous oxidative stress actually is. But now, you’re probably wondering…
“How do free radicals get inside me in the first place?”
Every day, every cell faces challenges from inside, as well as, from outside of your body.
Free radicals are produced from your body being exposed to:
- Toxins and carcinogens in your air, your water, the soil, and your food
- Physical and emotional stresses
- Pesticides, pollutants, ultra-violet rays
- Chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and infections.
And the list goes on and on … just like the cascade of free radical damage.
You might be thinking, “So, if free radicals damage my cells so severely, and then those cells become free radicals as well, how do we survive at all?”
Well, in fact, if this process were allowed to continue without counteractive methods, we would not survive. We would be dead in about a month.
The good news is that your body has a system in place to counteract the damaging activity of free radicals. That system is antioxidants.
Antioxidants – Your Free Radical Fighters!
Antioxidants are proton donors (or hydrogen atom donors). As you remember, free radicals lack a hydrogen atom and that’s why they got into the whole ‘punching holes and stealing from your healthy cells’ business in the first place!
Antioxidants stabilize and neutralize free radicals by freely giving them the hydrogen atoms they are seeking so desperately.
You have hundreds of antioxidants in your body but the most important one is Glutathione.
Scientists and researchers call glutathione the 'Master Antioxidant’. They refer to it as that because it recharges all of the others. You can think of glutathione as the leader or commander of all of them.
All the antioxidants are important because they all destroy free radicals, but only glutathione has a limitless supply of protons. Your other antioxidants only have one extra proton to donate to free radicals, consequently they have to go back to glutathione to get another proton.
This is why, if you have low glutathione levels, your other antioxidants don't function optimally. Then the free radicals get way out of control, and you are much more susceptible to disease, premature aging, illness and infection.
If you are over 50, your glutathione levels are likely to be extremely low.
Here are links to more detailed information about specific antioxidants, including glutathione – your body’s most important protector.
link for more detailed information about specific antioxidants, including glutathione – your body’s most important protector.
if you would like to ask a question, make a comment or suggestion. We will be happy to hear from you.
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