Tag Archives: free radicals

Antioxidants, Free Radicals and Cellular Health

FreeRadicalsJacquie Eubanks RN BSNGenerated by the body as inevitable byproducts of normal metabolic processes, free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS), must be balanced by antioxidants for proper physiological function. A certain amount of free radicals are required and produced by the immune system to help destroy invading pathogens and viruses. Some free radicals are necessary enzyme precursors, others aid in the production of vital hormones. The body’s ability to use oxygen and metabolize food into chemical energy depends on a chain reaction of free radicals. During this oxidation process, oxygen-charged molecules containing unpaired electrons are released. Electrons are negatively charged particles that normally occur in pairs. Free radicals are unstable atoms with unpaired elections making them highly reactive with other molecules.

There are many types of free radicals, as well as molecules that stabilize them. All free radicals share a voracious appetite for electrons. In order to stabilize itself, a free radical very quickly pulls an electron from the nearest stable molecule. This electron theft can radically alter the structure or function of the newly destabilized molecule, disrupting and damaging cell membranes and altering what may enter and exit the cell itself. Although under constant attack, the body is not defenseless against free radicals. By producing antioxidant substances, such as glutathione and ubiquinol, as well as extracting antioxidants from the diet, the body strives for homeostasis, a balance in all things.

Antioxidants are able stable enough to donate an electron to a free radical without becoming destabilized. Oxidative damage occurs when free radical production overwhelms the body’s antioxidant defenses. When the antioxidant supply is insufficient, excessive free radical formation can not only result in irreversible cellular, organ and tissue damage, but can harm nucleic acids, proteins and lipids as well. While free radicals are crucial to energy production and immune function, an excess of free radicals and low levels of antioxidants is associated with increased risk of developing many pathological conditions such as diabetes type 2, vision loss, atherosclerosis and cancer, as well as respiratory, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases. Free radicals are also linked to cellular aging, as the cellular damage inflicted may accumulate with age and hasten disease progression.

Many different factors can lead to an excess of health damaging free radicals. Radiation exposure, environmental pollutants, pesticides, tobacco smoke, heavy metals, alcohol, poor diet, pharmaceuticals, automobile exhaust and chemical solvents can all contribute to an excess of free radicals. Based on studies, some nutritional antioxidants will retard the aging process, suggesting that free radicals have a significant influence on aging, and that cellular damage can be controlled with adequate antioxidant defense. Further, optimal intake of antioxidants may positively influence life span by safeguarding genetic data during cell division.

Intense aerobic activity can induce oxidative stress.

Burning fuel in high intensity cardio exercise causes chemical reactions that form free radicals at a faster rate. However, those who exercise frequently appear to reduce oxidative stress initially brought on by physical activity, as unlike sporadic exercise regular exercise also enhances antioxidant defenses.

A healthy and varied plant-based diet helps combat free radical damage.

Antioxidant nutrients are found in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Nutrients that have demonstrated the ability to help prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, alpha-lipoic acid, selenium and more. Principle micronutrient vitamins C, E and beta-carotene must be supplied through diet or supplementation. Antioxidants work synergistically to neutralize free radicals, as each has its own unique chemical behaviors and biological properties. A diet high in antioxidant-rich foods won’t stop the aging process, but will support healthier, more graceful aging throughout life.

Reduce stress to limit oxidative injury.

Along with inflammation, stress induced oxidative stress is considered to be a causative factor in disease development and cellular aging. The chemicals cortisone and catecholamines created by mental stress can produce free radicals. As the body ages, the ability to fight the effects of free radicals diminishes, resulting in more cellular damage and leading to degenerative processes associated with age-related health decline. Along with conscious stress reduction, antioxidant supplements can help to combat the negative effects of stress on the body.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements to support cellular and overall health:

AntiOxidant FormulaAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations®: This broad spectrum antioxidant formula provides essential vitamins and minerals, as well as a proprietary carotenoid blend, in support of the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Gluten free, Non-GMO hypoallergenic formulation.

Ultra Anti-OxidantUltra Anti-Oxidant by Douglas Laboratories®: This potent formula provides specific nutrients that effectively participate in the body’s defense systems that work to reduce damage to cells, organs and tissues. Ingredients include antioxidant vitamins, minerals, NAC, glutathione and a broad range of active nutritional free radical fighters. Free of wheat gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, yeast and artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives.

Ultimate Antiox Full...Ultimate Antiox Full Spectrum by Designs for Health®: This unique formula provides a blend of powerful herbs and spices, as well as specific antioxidant compounds, in support of the function and integrity of body structures, including cell membranes, proteins and enzymes. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Anti-Oxidant ComplexAnti-Oxidant Complex by Professional Complementary Health Formulas: This specialty complex is formulated to provide a full spectrum of synergistic co-factors and essential nutrients that work to protect cells and tissues from free radical damage. Ingredients include vitamins, minerals, CoQ10, turmeric, glutathione and more. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formulation.

References:
Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
Free Radicals: Properties, Sources, Targets, and Their Implication in Various Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310837/
Stress, Oxidative Injury and Disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310835/
Oxidative stress: role of physical exercise and antioxidant nutraceuticals in adulthood and aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908316/

All About Antioxidants

AntioxidentsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

To understand the role of antioxidants in the body, one must first understand oxidation and to the same extent oxidative stress. Every bodily function requires oxygen in varying degrees and oxidation occurs as a result of normal respiration. As we know, oxygen is so essential to life that the human body won’t survive much beyond three minutes without it. Yet, the process of oxygenation plays a role in the breakdown of our body’s functionality, potentially damaging cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. This occurs when oxygen interacts with certain molecules, creating cell damaging, highly reactive and unstable free oxygen radicals. While the body produces important antioxidants to combat cell damage, oxidative stress occurs when the production of free radicals goes beyond the body’s protective mechanisms, creating an imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants.

While the body does require some free radical cells for cell signaling and immune defense, high levels of free radicals can lead to dysfunction and disease. In addition to oxidation, free radicals can be the result of poor nutrition, chronic stress, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, inflammation, environmental pollutants, x-rays, heavy metals and sunlight exposure. Once formed, these free radicals begin plundering and pillaging from other normal healthy cells in their quest to find electrons and become “whole.” When free radicals react with important cellular components, such as DNA or the cell membrane, cells begin to function poorly and die. Free radical damage is implicated in the aging process, as well as the development of other chronic diseases, including the formation of certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cataracts and other age related chronic illnesses.

Thus, the importance of antioxidants in keeping our bodies in balance and toxin free. Produced by the body and obtained through food and supplements, antioxidants provide critical defense by becoming oxidized: meaning they donate electrons to stabilize and neutralize free radicals without becoming damaged themselves. Bruce Ames, a biochemist at the University of California at Berkeley, estimates that every cell endures 10,000 oxidative hits each day from errant free radicals and most are immediately repaired, as the body has evolved a broad spectrum of protective responses to combat free radical damage.

Those wishing to increase their intake of antioxidants should be sure to eat healthy servings of rainbow colored fruits and vegetables daily, as plants have evolved to produce nutrients that counteract the oxidative stress they endure as a result of photosynthesis. Those who need just one more reason to get off the couch for daily exercise should note that although exercise causes oxidative stress, those who exercise regularly become highly efficient at detoxifying free radicals, offsetting the free radicals generated. Occasional exercisers and weekend warriors beware. Chemist Richard G. Cutler of the Gerontology Research Center of the National Institute of Aging suggests “weekend exercising may be as bad for you as binge sunbathing.” Regular exercise builds up a protection against oxidative stress, while weekend or occasional exercise may actually accelerate the aging process.

Glutathione, sometimes called “the Mother of all antioxidants,” is a master detoxifier, critical immune system supporter and antioxidant recycler. While glutathione is produced by the body, it’s easily depleted by stress, medications, pollution, poor diet, aging, illness and radiation. People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases are often found to be deficient in glutathione. Unsurprisingly, our ability to produce and maintain a high level of glutathione is critical to preventing disease and maintaining optimal health. Glutathione has been shown to support peak mental and physical functions. Healthy levels of glutathione help to increase strength and endurance, decrease muscle damage and reduce exercise recovery time.

According to Mark Hyman, M.D., you can optimize your glutathione levels by consuming sulfur-rich foods, exercising 30 minutes each day, and supplementing with selenium, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle and vitamins A, C and E, which work together to recycle glutathione.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products for antioxidant support:

AntiOxidant Formula by Pure EncapsulationsAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations – This synergistic, broad spectrum formula offers a range of antioxidant nutrients to promote cellular health and enhance the body’s natural defense system against free radicals. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

BioProtect (Full Spectrum Antioxidant Supplement) by Biotics ResearchBioProtect by Biotics Research – This natural antioxidant formula supplies antioxidant vitamins, minerals, CoQ10 and amino acids for broad spectrum support against free radical damage and oxidative stress. Gluten free.

 

Liposomal Glutathione (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT) by Empirical LabsLiposomal Glutathione by Empirical Labs – This all natural liposomal reduced glutathione formula provides 500 mg of the most potent and versatile antioxidant delivered in a scientifically studied method for maximum absorption. Non-GMO formulation.

 

S-Acetyl Glutathione Synergy by Designs for HealthS-Acetyl Glutathione Synergy by Designs for Health – This product supplies 200 mg of an acetylated form of glutathione for optimal absorption and bioavailability. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Liposomal Glutathione by Pure EncapsulationsLiposomal Glutathione by Pure Encapsulations – This product offers support for cellular function, homeostasis, and free radical protection with a highly absorbable form of liposomal glutathione. Non-GMO formulation.

 

References:
Understanding Oxidative Stress. http://www.preventive-health-guide.com/oxidative-stress.html
Antioxidants and free radicals.  http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html
Free Radicals; The Price We Pay For Breathing. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/25/magazine/free-radicals-the-price-we-pay-for-breathing.html?pagewanted=all
Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/glutathione-the-mother-of_b_530494.html
What are Antioxidants. http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Antioxidants.aspx