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Free Radicals and Cancer

Numerous research studies support the fact that many cancers, breast cancer in particular, are diet related. Moreover, the risks of certain kinds of cancer can be significantly reduced with dietary changes. While most of us are aware of the wonders of a low-fat diet, a tremendous amount of data conceding other cancer preventative nutrients never reaches the average consumer. For example, recent studies suggest that just reducing dietary fat may not be enough to prevent certain cancers. In light of this notion, perhaps research should focus on why some cultures that eat fat still have low cancer rates? Perhaps it's not so much a question of what we eat, but what we don't eat. More and more research suggests that it is a lack of certain protective nutrients which appear to originate from dietary sources that increase our risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases. The role of certain bioflavonoid compounds as exceptional free radical scavengers is just beginning to emerge, and the protective potential of these flavonoids is impressive, to say the least. It's only a matter of time before overwhelming scientific confirmation supports the fact that this family of nutrients is far more valuable as antioxidants than previously assumed.

Free Radicals

A free radical is nothing more than a molecular structure which contains an unpaired electron. Electrons tend to stay in pairs. Electron pairs make up the chemical bond which keep molecules from flying apart. An unpaired electron is driven by a potent chemical force which compels it to find a mate. This molecular instinct to merge with another electron is so powerful that the searching molecule behaves erratically, moving about much like a weapon within cellular structures. Its random and wild molecular movements within cellular material can create cellular damage, which can eventually result in degeneration or mutation.

Why Are Free Radicals So Dangerous?

A free radical can destroy a protein, an enzyme or even a complete cell. To make matters worse, free radicals can multiply through a chain reaction mechanism resulting in the release of thousands of these cellular oxidants. When this happens, cells can become so badly damaged that DNA codes can be altered and immunity can be compromised. Contact with a free radical or oxidant on this scale can create cellular deterioration, resulting in diseases like cancer. Tissue breakdown from this oxidative stress can also occur, which contributes to aging, arthritis and a whole host of other degenerative conditions. Our constant bombardment with free radicals has been likened to being irradiated at low levels all the time. Unfortunately, because of the damage free radicals cause within our cellular structures, the sad fact is that many of us will die prematurely from one of a wide variety of degenerative diseases. Free radical damage has been associated with over 60 known diseases and disorders. An important fact to remember is that the act of breathing oxygen activates these reactive chemical structures known as free radicals. To make matters worse, because our generation more than any other, is exposed to a number of potentially harmful environmental substances, free radical formation can reach what has been referred to as epidemic proportions. Some of the more dangerous free radical producing substances include:

  • cigarette smoke
  • herbicides
  • high fats
  • pesticides
  • smog
  • car exhaust
  • certain prescription drugs
  • diagnostic and therapeutic x-rays
  • ultra-violet light
  • gamma radiation
  • rancid foods
  • certain fats
  • alcohol
  • some of our food and water supplies
  • stress
  • poor diets

Even exercising, as beneficial as it is, can initiate the release of free radicals within our cellular systems. Aerobic exercising produces damaging oxidation by-products. Many of these are not completely neutralized by internal safety mechanisms and an overload can occur. Supplementing the diet with effective antioxidant compounds

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