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I am sometimes asked what are the most important components in preventing degenerative disease or premature aging? There are many, but without doubt four of the most important ones are Free Radicals, glycation, methylation and chronic inflammation. They are also interrelated. I felt that we should have a detailed explanation on our new website so I have written four articles covering these important issues. The first I am publishing today and I will follow with one a day over the next few days.
Free Radicals…a simple explanation!
Free Radicals are created by oxidation. In excess they will accelerate your aging and lead to all sorts of negative health problems.
They are simple molecules with an electron missing. In an effort to become ‘whole’ again they seek out other chemical structures in our bodies from where they can steal an electron.
After they ‘acquire’ an electron the chemical structure/tissue from where they ‘stole’ that electron is left seriously damaged!
Free Radicals in small and controlled quantities are OK and indeed are helpful in everyday metabolism and they take part in normal reactions in the body. The problems start when the production of these Free Radicals increases and then get out of control.
Oxidation is unavoidable! So long as we breathe oxygen there will be oxidation in our body and thus the creation of free radicals will always continue!
In an ideal world with no pollution, perfect diet and no Stress the level of Free Radical activity would be ‘normal’ and they would not be a serious problem and we would live to a ripe old age as the Hunza’s and other isolated groups of people used to.
BUT…that is not the case! Instead, we are subjected to air pollution, second hand smoke, lack of nutrients in our diet, artificial radiation, Toxins in food and we are inadvertently exposed to a wide range of toxic chemicals in our daily lives. (Even in our furniture)! Collectively this is bad news for those of us living in the ‘civilized’ world.
There are three ways to minimize the damage from free radicals:
1. Environmentally through avoiding pollution, radiation etc. Impossible if you live in a ‘civilized’ populated area.
2. Neutralizing of free radicals by anti-oxidants
3. Increasing the elimination of cells damaged by free radicals.
So, how do anti-oxidants ‘neutralize’ free radicals?
In simple terms they voluntarily give one of their electrons to a Free Radical molecule! Anti-oxidants can do this without hurting themselves. It is nature’s way of keeping the oxidation process in check. Oxidation is a critical tool for nature. If it did not occur then nothing would degrade or decompose.
But, it must be kept in balance. Three or four decades ago free radicals were not so much as a problem for two reasons:
1. Our food was not processed and as such much more nutritious and contained adequate anti-oxidants. This is certainly not the case today.
2. We were not exposed to the same level of pollution, radiation, Toxins in food and chemicals in our everyday environment.
‘Experts’ who suggest that it is possible to get enough anti-oxidants from diet to control excess Free Radical activity are just sticking their ‘heads in the sand’ and not facing reality.
Today we face a double ‘whammy’…the generation of free radicals at a rate which has never before been experienced by the human race, and the depletion of anti-oxidants from our food supply.
Examples of Anti-oxidants…
There are literally hundreds of anti-oxidants, all with varying levels of potency. For example, the common Vitamins A, C and E are all anti-oxidants, but they are quite weak, likewise selenium. They are all necessary but they don’t hold a ‘candle’ to a really potent anti-oxidant such as L-Glutathione.
The body can produce L-Glutathione (providing your internal systems are functioning OK and it is given the necessary precursors) but if possible it is desirable to supplement with it directly.
However, supplementation with L-Glutathione is not effective in most Supplements for two reasons. One is that it has to be taken in the special ‘reduced’ form. This is a smaller molecular size as the ‘normal’ L-Glutathione will not pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. This reduced form is a lot more expensive than the normal L-Glutathione and few manufacturers use it.
The second reason is that it must be protected as it passes through the stomach before being released in the upper intestine. This is the only place that L-Glutathione when taken orally can be effective. This means that the supplement must be in the form of an enteric coated tablet and the nutrient released in the upper intestine.
Total Balance uses enteric coating technology AND the special reduced form of L-Glutathione.
Some of the other good anti-oxidants which whilst not as potent as L-Glutathione are still more potent that the common vitamins:
* Grape extract
* Green Tea extract
All of these, and more are in Total Balance …
Is the control of free radicals the answer in avoiding premature aging and degenerative disease?
No, not at all! Free Radical control is only one part of it. If you don’t address three other important issues you won’t enjoy the freedom from degenerative disease that we all want.
The other three critical issues that you need to be aware of are:
* Chronic Inflammation
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