The Free Radical Theory
|The Free Radical Theory||Darrell Miller||12/14/05|
December 14, 2005 12:11 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: The Free Radical Theory
The popular theory has been the subject of a great deal of research. Developed by Denham Harman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Nebraska in 1956, the free radical theory proposes that unstable molecules known as free radicals are responsible for inflicting extensive cellular damage, which causes cell death and dysfunction and eventually, disease. The most common type of free radicals are oxygen derived, and free radical damage is often referred to as oxidation.
Environmental sources of free radicals include radiation (I.E., sun exposure, X-rays), ozone and nitrous oxide, heavy metals (i.e., mercury, cadmium, lead), smoke, alcohol, saturated fat, and other chemicals and pollutants. The body itself generates free radicals in performing essential bodily functions including energy production and immune activities. Fortunately, the body also has the ability to create antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals and prevent extensive cellular damage. When free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidants, they inflict large-scale cellular damage which can cascade and lead to age-related degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age –relaged macular degeneration. For example, free radical damage to joint cells may cause the cartilage to become rough or break down, and can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. Antioxidants are needed to comb at free radicals and prevent this cellular damage. “Oxidative stress can lead to DNA mutations, cell death, and disease, all of which contribute to aging,” said Gerald R. Cysewski, president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Cyanotech corp. “Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body to combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. Increasing the amount of antioxidants in one’s system by consumption of supplements can provide further protection from the damaging effects of free radicals.”
Because the body is continually assaulted by free radicals, antioxidant supplementation is often necessary. “by taking certain nutrients that our bodies stop producing over time, supplements help us to maintain a youthful look and health, which in turn enhances the quality of life,” Alkayali said. “Furthermore, supplements can help decrease oxidative stress that may otherwise accompany age-related illness and disease.”
Many Substances are known antioxidants including certain enzymes, vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals, and include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Carotenoids, Selenium, superoxide dismutase, melatonin, quercetin, catechins, and zinc.
Consuming a diet high in plant sources of powerful antioxidants is an important step to deter ageing, because nutrients from foods are often highly bioavailable and can act synergistically to increase their health benefits. Garlic contains several antioxidant phytochemicals and minerals including allicin, beta-carotene, quercetin, selenium and zinc, and may have a protective effect against stomach and colorectal cancers.
Catechins are potent antioxidants flavonoids, with the best known source being green tea; they include gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These antioxidants are being studied for their powerful abilities to combat free radical damage. In particular, EGCG has been researched for its reported protection against certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
Green Foods such as seaweed, sea vegetables, young grain grasses and shoots, broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables pack a nutritional punch due to their concentratged amounts of antioxidant carotenoids, vitamins and the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is produced by the body and neutralizes free radicals known as superoxide radicals, which cause damaging fat oxidation. GliSODin is a patented form of SOD derived from cantaloupe and bound to a wheat protein for superior bioavailability. “GliSODin promotes the body’s production of its own endogenous antioxidants, including SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, in virtually every cell,” said Eric Anderson, brand manager at P.L. Thomas. “This activation of the cellular antioxidant defenses across the whole body creates a state of alertness against any shock of oxidative stress, including sun rays, to which our body may be exposed.”
Pomegranates contain two powerful antioxidants—ellagic acid, derived from fruit’s seeds, and punicaligans, found in the juice. “Research has shown that the juice from the pomegranate, rich in polyphenols, reduces oxidative stress by helping to produce enzymes to fight free radicals,” Alkayali said. NeoCell Corp. manufactures of ellagic-acid based Pomegranate Power, while P.L. Thomas supplies POM40p, a kosher-free pomegranate juice extract standardized to 40-precent punicocides, polyphenols belong to the punicalagin family.
Consumer demand is on the rise for products that address degenerative health conditions, including supplements that support function of the bones, joints, eyes. According to a June 2005 report by the freedonia group, “Bone and joint care products will continue to dominate the health maintenance segment, spurred by a growing customer base and a plethora of new and improved products expected to soon enter the marketplace.” The report also projected rapid gains for vision care. “Demand for vision care products will be propelled by aging baby boomers who are becoming aware of debilitating eye conditions and seeking both preventive measures and ameliorative treatments.” Dietary Supplements can help prevent and ease symptoms of age-related diseases affecting the joints, bones and eyes, including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).