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FREE-RADICALS AND ANTI-OXIDANTS
Okay, well… before we get into the science of Glutathione, we need to take a step or two back and talk about free-radicals and anti-oxidants.
We need to talk about them because they have a definite affect on your health. Recent research has revealed an important finding:
Analysis of the brain tissue affected by many diseases shows damage consistent with extensive oxidative stress and the circulation of free-radicals that follows it.
WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS?
Free-radicals are very dangerous molecules and are the foundational basis to most diseases.
Free-radicals are electrically unstable molecules. They are unstable because they are lacking a proton that they need desperately. That proton is a hydrogen atom. And, they will stop at nothing to get one!
They run around your system stealing hydrogen atoms from your healthy cells. The problem is that this 'stealing' damages your healthy cells. To get the hydrogen atoms, the free-radical thieves punch holes in the walls of your cells. This leaves your healthy cells, a) full of holes and b) minus a hydrogen atom. Which means what?
You guessed it… now, that cell is also a free-radical! So, now it goes out looking for healthy cells to steal a hydrogen atom from, too. And the process goes on and on - turning healthy cells into aggressive free-radicals.
Science indicates healthy cells are destroyed exponentially. The increasing number of free-radicals in your body is multiplying the damage being done in your body.
This ‘cascade’ of free-radical damage is called Oxidative Stress. We will talk more about that shortly.
But first, you may be asking, “So, where did these free-radical cells come from? How did they get in my body?”
Every cell in your body faces challenges from both outside and inside.
Outside Challenges: Science shows outside challenges come from exposure to pollutants, infections, ultra violet rays, chemicals, pesticides, drugs, allergens, toxins, carcinogens… and the list goes on.
These events damage cells and produce free-radicals. These free-radicals must then steal hydrogen atoms from healthy cells to stabilize themselves. This then produces more free-radicals. You can see how quickly things can get out of control!
Inside Challenges: Every day, every one of your cells goes through chemical reactions called ‘metabolism.' This is a necessary, natural and normal process. But, one of the byproducts of metabolism is… free-radicals!
That’s right! Your own body produces free-radicals and releases them into your system!
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE DAMAGE?
So, these free-radicals are coming at you from two sources, multiplying, and doing damage to the cells in your body. So, what kind of damage are we talking about?
Let’s describe a healthy cell as a bag of water. And, inside the bag are a few items: a nucleus, some mitochondria, and some lysomes.
The nucleus is the cell’s headquarters. All information about the cell is in the nucleus, including your DNA. DNA is the blueprint by which every cell builds your body.
The mitochondria are the cell’s power source. The energy for the cell comes from these.
The lysomes are little bags that contain digestive enzymes. Whatever the cell eats is digested here.
Okay, now imagine what happens when a free-radical molecule comes along, and punches a hole in the cell membrane. What happens? The fluid in the cell leaks out, compromising the integrity of the cell.
Now, what if the free-radical punches a hole in the lysome bag? Science tells us that digestive enzymes spill out into the body of the cell, digesting it from the inside out!
If the mitochondria suffer damage from the free-radical, the cell loses energy. You get a tired cell. You know the feeling, right? Researchers think this may be a cause of fatigue in people.
Here comes the really scary part…
When a free-radical gets to the nucleus of your cell, the damage there is serious. This is where your DNA is stored! DNA is the blueprint that is used to create new cells. When the free-radical damages the blueprint, the body will create altered cells.
Scientists believe it is this type of damage that may be causing cancer. Cancer cells are very similar to normal cells, but there’s something different that causes them to behave differently; i.e. growing into a tumor.
So, you can now see why free-radicals are very dangerous molecules. They are created from both inside and outside the cells. And, they will stop at nothing to satisfy themselves, even if they do damage.
Every day, every cell in your body faces the challenge of free-radical damage… or oxidative stress.
You have seen oxidative stress when you’ve sliced an apple and left it on a plate for several hours. It turns brown, right?
You’ve seen what happens to some metals when left out in the rain. They get rusted, right?
Well, when your body experiences oxidative stress, it’s kind of like rusting from the inside out.
Oxidative stress causes premature aging and degeneration. Some scientists actually say we are not aging year by year, but rather one oxidized cell at a time!
SO, HOW DO WE SURVIVE AT ALL?
You may be wondering, if free-radicals damage cells, and those damaged cells then also become free-radicals, then, with this kind of exponential damage, how do we survive at all?
Well, in fact, if this process were allowed to continue without counteractive methods, we would in fact 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 activity of free-radicals. That system consists of Antioxidants.
Antioxidants are proton donors – hydrogen atom donors. As you remember, free-radicals are each lacking a hydrogen atom and are stealing them from your healthy cells, and doing damage to those cells in the process.
So, antioxidants stabilize and neutralize the free-radicals by freely giving them the hydrogen atoms they so desperately seek.
What are some of the common antioxidants that you have probably heard about?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Folic Acid and Co-enzyme Q10 are antioxidants.
And, there are many, many more. Actually, there are thousands of antioxidants built into the system. Thank goodness!!
And, here is where Glutathione comes in…
(At last! We’re finally going to find out what it is!!)
GLUTATHIONE / GSH IS THE MASTER ANTIOXIDANT.
Why is GSH a ‘master’ antioxidant? Science gives us four reasons:
- GSH freely and abundantly gives hydrogen atoms to free-radical molecules.
- GSH also repairs the damage already done to cells by free-radicals.
- GSH is a detoxifier – flushing toxins out of the cells.
- GSH recharges other antioxidants! Let’s take a closer look at this one.
When an antioxidant gives its hydrogen atom to a free-radical to prevent it from stealing one from a healthy cell, it is now without a hydrogen atom itself. It goes running to GSH, and GSH gives it another hydrogen atom, so it can go back out there to find another free-radical to neutralize.
So, Glutathione helps other antioxidants do what they do better and continuously. Now, that’s a Master Antioxidant!
It is important for you to know the make-up of Glutathione. Glutathione is made up of three amino acids. They are Glycine, Cysteine and Glutamine.
The most crucial of the three amino acids is the Cysteine, because it is the one that has the proton donator arm. It is also the most difficult to get.
Glycine and glutamine are easy to come by. They are readily available in many of the foods we eat; the body can easily assimilate them from those foods when ingested.
Science has found out that Cysteine, on the other hand, is hard to get from food. But, when it is occasionally ingested with food, it is then difficult to get it from the gut into the cells. This is because a cysteine molecule by itself is toxic. Your body’s defense system will oxidize it and destroy it.
However, two cysteine molecules linked together – then called cystine – will be allowed to travel unharmed from the gut to the cell.
Once these cystine molecules enter the cell, and join up with glutamine and glycine, they form GSH.
Okay, so now scientists know, and we know, what it takes to make Glutathione in your body. It takes ingesting cysteine molecules bonded together, so they can travel from gut to cell unharmed.
“Okay, so Glutathione is the master antioxidant. How can I get more of it into my system?” you ask. Click on the
link to find out how.
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