Free Radicals and Antioxidants

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Free radicals?

Now, you may have heard of them and may also know that they have something to do with cancer but, did you know that they play a role in more than sixty different health conditions?

What are they anyway?

Simply – an unstable molecule missing an electron. Its only job is to strip an electron away from a neighbouring molecule which of course changes that molecule into a free radical. This newly formed free radical must now steal an electron from its nearest molecular neighbour, and on and on, get the picture?

It is this aggressive chain reaction that causes extensive body tissue damage to accelerate aging, contribute to heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related dementia, cataracts, macular degeneration of the eye, weakening of the immune system, wrinkles and other degenerative conditions or to create cancerous DNA mutations.

Where do free radicals come from?

Well, a familiar example is cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke, both loaded with free radicals. Not only can it attack the DNA of lung cells to create lung cancer it is responsible for approximately 30% of all human cancers.

Cancer expert Dr. Bruce Ames also reveals that during normal metabolism oxygen can be transformed into free radicals. He estimates that each cell in the body endures 10,000 free radical hits per day just from oxygen free radicals alone.

Other known free radical sources are: alcohol; heterocyclic amines – from charred barbeque or blackened meats and fish; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) –  in smoked meats and fish; pesticides (eg. DDT); nitrosamines – in foods containing nitrate and nitrite salts; UVB and UVA rays; x-rays; air pollution; occupational free radicals –carbon tetrachloride, asbestos, vinyl chloride; heavy metals – mercury, cadmium and lead.
So, how do I protect myself?

  1. reduce your exposure to known sources of free radicals
  2. and, optimize your body’s antioxidant status.

Only antioxidants can neutralize free radicals in the body by converting them into non-harmful chemicals. Although the body makes several antioxidant enzymes our bodies require additional antioxidant protection. Over 25 years of intensive studies have shown that using nutritional antioxidants and other nutrients lower the risk of life-threatening and degenerative health conditions.

This is why I strongly recommend eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day along with taking an antioxidant-enriched, high potency, multi-vitamin and mineral containing:

  • Vitamin C – 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU (all natural- d-alpha-tocopherol succinate)
  • Beta-carotene – 10,000 – 20,000 IU
  • Vitamin A – 2,500 – 3,000 IU
  • Selenium – 100 – 200 mcg
  • Zinc – 15 mg; Bioflavonoids – 25 – 50 mg
  • Lycopene extract– 5 –10 mg
  • Lutein extract – 5 –10 mg

Optimal antioxidant nutritional status is an essential component of an anti-aging, health-promoting lifestyle. I urge you to consider implementing this important step in your pursuit of longevity and improved quality of life.

Dr. James Meschino D.C., M.S., N.D.

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