Free oxygen – free radicals are harmful to the body, and the damage they cause is in the mitochondria.
When the human body is exposed to radiation (even the sun), toxins, stress, unhealthy food, infection and extremes of temperature and physically stressful environments, it creates unstable free radicals, charged cells that travel through the body causing cellular damage. For example, oxidative stress causes oxygen which is usually a beneficial element in the body, to divide into two oxygen molecules, each with a charge. The oxidative stress makes O2 into two oxygen free radicals. The two free oxygen free radicals are harmful to the body, and the damage they cause is in the mitochondria. Because of this damage, the cell can’t efficiently make energy out of Oxygen and sugar. Oxidative stress is somewhat like putting a pillow over the mitochondria so the cell can’t breathe!
How do we get exposed to free radicals?
Sun, processed foods and toxins in the environment all expose us to free radicals. Inadequate supply of antioxidants, fat, and protein, lack of fiber in the diet, inactivity, drugs, smoking, lack of sleep all of these lead to damaged mitochondria.
Many common items in our diet increase free radicals: Processed flour, wheat, gluten, sugar, sweeteners, and trans-fats.
Source Of Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress
- Air pollution.
- Cigarette smoke.
- Alcohol intake.
- High blood sugar levels
- Consuming large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Radiation, including excessive sunbathing.
- Infections by bacteria, fungi or viruses.
- Excessive intake of iron, magnesium, copper, or zinc
- Too little oxygen in the body
- Too much oxygen in the body.
- Intense and prolonged exercise, which causes tissue damage.
- Excessive intake of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E
- Antioxidant deficiency
Prolonged oxidative stress (exposure to free radicals) leads to increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. It is also thought to contribute to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia as well as the aging process.
The Treatment for Oxidative Stress, and Mitochondrial Damage
Oxidative stress is treated with antioxidants, micronutrients, supplements, and refraining from bad habits such as smoking, drug use and alcohol. The antidote t o oxidative stress is found in Antioxidants which are found in fresh fruit and vegetables as well as meat, healthy fats and eggs. They are also made in the body of humans and animals, and can be given as supplements. Anti-oxidants work by combining with free radicals, which literally defuse them, so the free radicals cannot damage the cellular mitochondria.
“Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures. Antioxidants do this by giving electrons to the free radicals and neutralizing or defusing them.”
Fresh Foods That Contain Antioxidants
- Dark Chocolate
- Goji Berries
- Green tea
- Grape skins
Vitamins & Nutrients That Are Antioxidants, Found In Many Foods But Can Also Be Taken As A Supplement:
- Vitamin E,
- Vitamin D,
- Carotene, Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Coenzyme Q
- Resveratrol (found in grape skins and wine)
- Sulfur containing amino acids
- Methylated Folate
- Glutamine (eat bone broth)
How do Antioxidants remove free-radicals?
Antioxidants actually sacrifice themselves to remove free radicals. The antioxidants bind with the body’s free radicals, making the free radicals safe by taking the charge from them, and then they (the antioxidants) are recruited to protect the cells from oxidative damage.
The outcome of unfettered Oxidative Stress is damage to cells, proteins and DNA. This causes aging, disease, degeneration of tissues, and finally cellular and whole body death.
This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com.