Understanding free radicals and antioxidants

Imagining the molecular level is important in understanding free radicals and antioxidants.

Let’s talk about free radicals…

Oxygen is one of the worse free radicals. See, oxygen is two-faced.

Oxygen gives life to everything by fueling mitochondria: little energy plants in the cells. The same life-giving qualities cause it to react with things it shouldn’t (think: a cigarette sparking a forest fire).

There are different oxygen molecules, and some kinds are extremely reactive.

A well-balanced atom has a nucleus at the center, with the right number of electrons surrounding it.

Under certain circumstances these atoms lose an electron or two –becoming radicals, or free radicals.

The free radicals wander around looking for replacement electrons attached to other atoms. None of them are more reactive than oxygen radicals.

This process is nothing new. Oxygen radicals and other free radicals have been forming since the beginnings of life.

“Living creatures have struggled to evolve ways and means of neutralizing these feckless allies [free radicals] since the very beginnings of life.” – Dr Bryce Wylde (The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life)

For a really good understanding of free radicals and antioxidants, I recommend reading “The Antioxidant Miracle “

Why is understanding free radicals and antioxidants so important now?

These days, our unhealthy lifestyles and environment are exponentially increasing the creation of free radicals in our bodies!

We don’t get enough antioxidants to combat the effect.

Why do free radicals even exist?

Well, they don’t “exist”, they form. Through the natural metabolic process free radicals are constantly being created, at the rate of around 1000 per cell an hour! And they aren’t all bad.

Another fun fact of understanding free radicals and antioxidants: free radicals are actually nature’s preferred mechanism of self-destruction. This is after they reach the Hayflick limit.

The Hayflick limit: Normal human cells can only divide 52 times before effectively committing suicide. This is called apoptosis. The theory is that we age because of this set cell “lifespan”. Other circumstances can radically speed up the process.

Some free radical molecules are actually essential components of the immune system. In some cases they are needed by the body; put to use when we try to remember, fight a cold, or feel sexually aroused.

The free radicals nitric oxide and superoxide are used for opening blood vessels and poisoning invasive viruses and bacteria.

Our immune system uses certain free radicals to kill cancer cells before the cancer grows.

Did you know? Many cancer drugs work by temporarily increasing the production of free radicals in the body. That is how radiation destroys a cancer tumor.

There is no avoiding free radical formation

Many chemical reactions are constantly occurring in the body during regular metabolism. During these reactions, oxygen atoms are constantly losing atoms, creating free radicals.

They are also formed as a by-product of the natural metabolism and inflammation process. If free radicals are not neutralized quickly, degenerative diseases and faster aging result.

This process is similar to rusting. Rust is the reaction of iron with the same oxygen radicals that “rust” our bodies.

They are everywhere…where there is life, there is the free radical – good or bad. That will help you in understanding free radicals and antioxidants.

As they delve deeper into the study of DNA, scientists are seeing that free radicals are at the root of every possible disease.

“In the last thirty years, free radical research has led to profound biochemical, biological and medical advances. Our knowledge of radicals has grown, and as it has grown, it has enhanced our understanding of how DNA mutates and the important role radicals play in cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autoimmune diseases.”

“At the molecular level, free radical damage is the cause of all disease...what happens at the molecular level inevitably affects our overall health” – Bryce Wylde (The Antioxidant Prescription)

The greatest cause of free radical formation is our exposure to environmental toxins:

• Carbon dioxide emissions

• Industrial pollutants

• Cigarette smoke

• Radiation

• Food additives

• Plastic off-gassing and leaching

Lifestyle factors also contribute. I am talking about stress, trauma, alcohol, deep-fried and artificial foods, and overly strenuous exercise.

Life is continually exposed to oxidative stress from the inside and outside. Living cells and organisms developed defense mechanisms for protection. This is where antioxidants come in.

Are you understanding free radicals and antioxidants?

Not Sure About Red Wine Antioxidants…?

There is a lot of buzz about red wine antioxidants; namely its resveratrol, quercetine and bioflavanoids.

But does this mean you should start drinking red wine for your health? Or is this an excuse to continue alcohol consumption?

We look at arguments from two health experts:

In the recent field of antioxidant study on the body, many professionals will recommend moderate intake of red wine (no more than 1 wine glass a day) for its high antioxidant content.

What about the alcohol content though? Health professionals have always told us that alcohol is a definite no-no. There is no place for it in a healthy diet – because of its effect on the liver, kidneys, and cells in general.

o the debate is up on red wine antioxidants.

I will present both sides of the argument, and then let you decide what is right for you.

Personally, I believe that moderate consumption of red wine in social situations is nothing to be afraid of. But I don’t think taking it up as a daily hobby is necessary if you feel you need more antioxidants for your health.

There are better ways… consider flavanol rich chocolate!

Nevertheless, here are the arguments:

It is established that red wine antioxidants are greater than those in black tea, orange juice, and apple juice.

Dr Bryce Wylde (author of The Antioxidant Prescription) says “One glass of red wine (preferably Cabernet because of the higher ORAC value and the procyanidin content) per day for women and two for men is ideal.

By glass, I mean no more than 150 to 300 mL (5 to 10 ounces). Lots of studies suggest that red wine can keep you smarter, maintain a healthy and strong heart and protect your blood vessels from plaque development.”

The most studied antioxidant in red wine is resveratrol.

Dr Wylde tells us that “The potent antioxidant substances resveratrol and quercetin, found in red grapes, also protect your heart against damaging free radicals.

But the amount of resveratrol in red wine isn’t enough; to reap resveratrol’s benefits, you’ll need the supplement form…Resveratrol in the high amounts found in supplements can protect against cancer and reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, gastric ulcers, stroke and even osteoporosis.”

Red wine offers many other health benefits, including a reduction in platelet aggregation (blood stickiness) and flexibility of blood vessels that go to the brain.

It’s interesting to note that the antioxidant value of red grape juice in its pure form is nearly as good for you as red wine. Drinking wine occasionally at parties does not necessitate alcoholic help, but doing so with increasing frequency and in much larger quantities might.

For some, it might be best to just avoid red wine for the reason that alcohol is highly addictive.

Dr Wylde also acknowledges the risk of over-consumption, because many of us can find it hard to stop drinking at one or two glasses.

Going over the limit (more than a glass or two) leads the creation of free radicals, not protection from them.

Warning about the negative effects of alcohol consumption.“Liver cirrhosis as a result of alcohol abuse is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.Individuals with a family history of alcohol problems should not begin drinking in response to any positive studies of the benefits of red wine, nor should those with pre-existing health conditions, including:

• Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats

• High blood pressure

• Liver disease

• Severe acid reflux

• Sleep apnea

• Stomach ulcers

Alcohol may also interfere with certain prescription medications, making them lethal or ineffective.

Excessive or chronic use of any alcohol can result in a number of health conditions:

• Elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood

• Increased risk of breast cancer

• Increased risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus

• Increased risk of liver cancer

• Liver cirrhosis

• Obesity

• Osteoporosis”

When it comes to red wine antioxidants, it’s all about moderation.

Can we honestly say it is healthful though?

Yes, there are many antioxidants in red wine, which we know are necessary to combat free radical damage, but we should weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Do the negative effects outweigh the positive effects of red wine antioxidants?

MD Gabriel Cousens (MD, homeopathic physician, Tree of Life, author of Spiritual Nutrition) believes that maintaining healthy cell “terrain” is the key to optimal health.

He talks about fermentation in the body by microscopic life forms – mycrozymas. They are living colloidal elements that feed off and ferment the sugar in our system.

The mycrozyma is the smallest living unit in nature and in our bodies, much smaller than cells.

When the body got too acid/toxic the natural fermentation process in the body is accelerated, and there is a “morbid evolution” of the microzymas.

They mutate into bacteria, yeast, fungus, and eventually mold. As these “morbid” forms from the microzymas develop, they feed on our vital body substances and produce more toxins, which we call mycotoxins.

This toxic process is behind all degenerative disease and aging.

Gabriel Cousens knows what he’s talking about. He has been studying cell biology and observing this effect in people’s blood samples for many years.

Dr Cousens affirms that alcohol is one of the factors contributes to mycotoxic process. He advises us to avoid it in general.

In his book Spiritual Nutrition he writes:

“…Red wine also has a number of phenolics, the most important being resveratrol and quercetin, which alter gene expression and enhance phenotypic expression to protect against blood clot formation as in heart disease. Resveratrol also has certain anti-aging qualities that are recently being touted to mimic the calorie restriction effect.

However, red wine also has the downside of being alcohol. Alcohol does many things to disregulate and undermine healthy gene expression, particularly in the neurotransmitter systems, as well as other systems in the body. Resveratrol, quercetin, and the bioflavanoids can easily be gotten from substances other than red wine.” (P 322)


My conculsions…

Do not fear red wine!

The truth is that most of us drink, at least socially.

Of course organic Cabernet red wine is a far healthier choice than liquor, beer, or even white wine. In fact, in small quantities it has beneficial effects (moreso for people of Mediterranean descent).

Just remember moderation is key.

However, this is not a reason to take up drinking a glass a day (if you don’t already). There are still many better food and drink choices if you want the equivalent of red wine antioxidants’ boost to your diet.

If you are concerned with complete and optimal health, have the exisiting conditions mentioned above, or are doing a cleansing diet, you should avoid red wine – due to the alcohol content.

Otherwise, in Bryce Wylde’s words “Live a little!” and enjoy a few benefits of red wine antioxidants.

What They Don’t Want You to Know About Acai Drinks

Acai drinks have taken America by storm, but are many claims just hype?
There are some misconceptions about the healthfullness and freshness of the acai fruit drink. Especially the juice available in the grocery store, or even health food store.

The truth is, that unless you live in Brazil (near an acai palm tree), you’re not going to get fresh acai.

Even though it’s not fresh, it’s still better than drinking pop, or pasteurized milk, or whatever else you might have eaten instead of drinking the sweet, deep purple juice. But it might not be the miraculous potion it’s cut out (and priced) to be.

You can’t get fresh squeezed acai berry juice anywhere else in the world.

So then, what are you getting?

Conventional juice is ALWAYS pasteurized. Whether it is “flash pasteurized” or just “pasteurized” makes little of a difference.

When a food is heated past 120 F, ALL of its enzymes are destroyed, and it loses up to 80% of its other nutrients, including vital antioxidants as well.

Everything that’s bottled and sitting in the fridge at the grocery store is pasteurized (it’s the law here in North America). Check the bottle and you will find the label!

Many commercial acai berry drinks (very potent before processing), become just another pasteurized fruit drink, with water and many additives. Because the acai juice was initially very nutritious, it retains many nutrients, even after pasteurization…but not nearly as much as it could!

Drinking fresh juice made with local berries might be more healthful.

Try juicing black currants, black raspberries or black berries. Or just eat them by the handful. Black currants grow throughout North America, and this little known berry is an antioxidant powerhouse too!

If you want something more, you can try the exotic acai drink and experience it for yourself. Make sure you choose the best quality.

What to look for in acai drinks

Th good news is you can still get the amazing benefits of acai in certain kinds of juice, you just need to know what to look for.

Even though most acai berry drinks are pasteurized, they are still much healthier than pop or milk, and most other pasteurized fruit juices anyways!

When looking for acai juice you want 100 % pure, sugar-free acai. It should be thick, unfiltered, and in a glass bottle. One of the best brands is best brands is Sambazon, but Trace Minerals Reasearch also makes a great acai drink with an ionic trace minerals complex.

An Alternative to “Flash Pasteurized”.

There is one good method that preserves the highly perishable acai berries – FREEZE DRYING.

Look for freeze dried organic acai products. Make sure it isn’t spray dried (at a high temperature with the carrier agent maltodextrin) and check the ingredients: it should be 100% acai.

BEWARE OF THE FREE TRIALS. There has been an explosion of free trial scams for acai weight loss products all over the internet. These free trial offers send the lowest quality product – spray dried butchered acai powder that is mostly filler – 75-95% dried corn starch!

Your best option is to buy (good quality) freeze dried powder and make your own acai drinks at home.

If you are going to purchase organic, freeze-dried acai, I recommend Madre Labs, Simply Acai.

Here are some delicious drink ideas:

Acai “Juice”

• 1-2 scoops freeze dried acai

• 1 cup water or freshly squeezed juice of your choice

Super Food Powerhouse Chocolate Smoothie:

You’ll be so buzzed from this you’ll want to jog to work in the morning! (Hint: skip the coffee) In your blender, combine:

• 3/4 cup almond milk

• 1 tbsp Acai powder

• 2 tbsp raw cacao powder

• 1 tbsp coconut oil

• 1 banana, or a few drops of stevia, to sweeten

• ½ tsp maca

Juice (freshly squeezed):

• 1 apple

• 3 carrots

• 2 tbsp Acai powder

Stir together until dissolved, enjoy.

Drinking Pure Antioxidant Water – Wetter Water

The basic substance on which all life is based is water – antioxidant water. Without water, life doesn’t happen.

So what is the mystery of water?

What is the mystery of the chemistry of life?

Any farmer can tell you that if there is not an adequate amount of moisture in the soil, no matter how abundant the nutrients may be, it will not germinate seeds.

The same thing happens in our cells.

If the cells of the body are not being adequately hydrated with antioxidant water – regardless of how much nutrition we are providing them with – the intracellular processes begin to shut down.

We begin to lose life.

Choosing what water will best serve us then becomes very simple.

In order to remain our healthiest, most vibrant and efficiently operating selves, it is absolutely essential that we choose healthy, life-giving antioxidant water.

Unfortunately, the water coming through our taps today is anything but healthy.

Studies have shown that water in the United States contains more than 2100 chemicals, many of which have been implicated in causing cancer.

19 major US cities have water flowing through their pipes that is considered to be “highly polluted.” (Source: Clean Water Action Project of 2002, the Ralph Nader Group).

In its clean, natural form, water acts as a universal solvent that helps to bind toxins in the cells and remove them from the body. If we are drinking dirty, polluted water, not only are we stopping the natural process of detoxification and elimination, we are continuing to bombard the cells with all kinds of unhealthy materials.

Dr. Patrick Flanagan, founder of Phi Sciences and creator of Crystal Energy, has found a way to reverse this process. He has found a way to allow us to continue to detoxify our cells with pure, healthy, antioxidant water.

For over three decades, Dr. Flanagan has studied the remote regions of the world, including the Hunza Valley region of northern Pakistan, where the inhabitants are known to live long, active, and healthy lives –often living to be well over 100 years of age.

Other factors set aside, what he found in studying these places was that the surface tension of the water was much lower than what we find in the developed world. Lower surface tension allows for water that can be more easily absorbed into the cells of the body, thereby facilitating hydration, nutrient uptake and toxin removal.

Essentially, Dr. Flanagan had discovered “wetter water.”

Micro-cluster minerals, which are found in Crystal Energy, alter the structure of drinking water and reduce the surface tension. In effect, this produces the same effect on our water that has been found naturally in these pristine parts of the world.

By structuring water, we are creating “wetter water.” It has been demonstrated that “wetter water” is better assimilated by the cells, therefore greatly enhancing cellular hydration. Structured water also acts as a powerful antioxidant, which helps to keep us looking younger longer by slowing down the process of aging.

If you want optimal health, Dr. Gabriel Cousens strongly recommends that you begin drinking pure, structured water today. It is absolutely central to the practice of good health.

Crystal Energy is one of the most simple, direct ways to begin regaining your energy and vitality. Everyone should be using it. Your cells may be starving for water, and your whole body may be suffering as a result.

One bottle of Crystal Energy will last for up to three months, and so you will have adequate time to experiment and begin seeing the results. Many Blessings.