podcast from April 21 here
and a wee summary for you,
Antioxidants & Free Radicals
what are they?
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions.
and the free radicals they neutralise?
An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.
and they interact how?
To understand the way that free radicals and antioxidants interact, let me tell you a little about cells and molecules – here’s a simple version: Our bodies are composed of many different types of cells, those cells are composed of many different types of molecules. Molecules consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements (periodic table, anyone? ) joined by chemical bonds.
If you were awake in Science class, you may remember that atoms consist of a nucleus, neutrons, protons and electrons. protons are positively charged particles in the atom’s nucleus that determine the number of electrons (negatively charged particles) surrounding the atom. Electrons are involved in chemical reactions and are the substance that bonds atoms together to form molecules. Electrons surround, or “orbit” an atom in one or more shells, starting with 4 in the inner shell, then working out to subsequent shells in even increments, 8, 16, and so on. The most important structural feature of an atom for determining its chemical behaviour is the number of electrons in its outer shell. Atoms that have a full outer shell are stable, they don’t enter into chemical reactions, an inert substance. Monogamous, if you like! Because atoms seek to reach a state of maximum stability, an atom will try to fill it’s outer shell by:
Gaining or losing electrons to either fill or empty its outer shell
Sharing its electrons by bonding together with other atoms in order to complete its outer shell
Atoms often complete their outer shells by sharing electrons with other atoms. By sharing electrons, the atoms are bound together and satisfy the conditions of maximum stability for the molecule.
Free Radicals formed how?
Normally, bonds don’t split in a way that leaves a molecule with an odd, unpaired electron. But when weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are very unstable and react quickly with other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell.
Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.
Usually, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age.
How do Antioxidants do their thing? They donate an electron – thus ending the cascade of free radical formation. They are stable in either state
Vitamins E and C are antioxidants
Glutathione is an antioxidant your body can synthesize and is found in every single cell in your body. It is the “master antioxidant” because it is intracellular (inside cells) and has the unique ability of maximizing the performance of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits that you eat every day.
Glutathione’s primary function is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage, it is essential for detoxification, energy utilization, and preventing aging-related dis-ease. Glutathione also eliminates toxins from your cells and gives protection from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.
Your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases with aging, so keeping up with the intake of nutrients that can promote the production of glutathione is a very good idea
high-quality whey protein, curcumin (Turmeric, Yay!) raw dairy, eggs, and grass-fed meat, asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion, broccoli, avocados, squash, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, peaches bananas and melon.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Aside from its free radical scavenging abilities, this powerful antioxidant is also a:
Great modifier of gene expression to reduce inflammation
Very potent heavy metal chelator
Enhancer of insulin sensitivity
ALA is the only antioxidant that can cross the blood brain barrier, it can also regenerate other antioxidants
flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, soy beans, walnuts
so, ALA rocks…..
CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) – Used by every cell in your body, CoQ10 is converted by your body to its reduced form, called ubiquinol, to maximize its benefits.
it also helps to produce more energy for your cells, used by the mitochondria in cells
Provides support for your cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems
It also helps to reduce the signs of normal aging and maintain blood pressure levels
it is fat soluble
you will find it in: fatty fish, beef, chicken
pistachios, peanuts, sesame, soybean, canola, orange, strawberry, broccoli and cauliflower
resveratrol : grapes, vegetables, cocoa, and red wine, can cross the blood-brain barrier thus providing protection for your brain and nervous system.
Carotenoids are a class of naturally-occurring compounds that give foods their vibrant colours. There are over 700 naturally-occurring carotenoids, and right now, you probably have at least 10 different kinds circulating through your bloodstream.