Sunday, 29 March 2015

Free radical - Oxidative stress - lifestyle diseases…antioxidants …..

This article of mine influenced by book “What your doctor don’t know about nutritional medicine may be killing you”  written by Dr. Ray D. Strand , MD. He explained theory of free radical, oxidative stress and its relation to the lifestyle diseases in very simple way and I personally feel everyone must read this book. Wants to pay my thanks to one of my friend, who suggests me this book to enhance my core competence in preventive health care. 

Lifestyle disease and Free radical damage Recent research has verified that the major levels of tissue damage found in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia is caused by an excess of a group of rogue chemicals known as ‘free radicals.’ When present in excess, these free radicals produce a state of ‘oxidative stress’ within the body which initiates many destructive pathways. These pathways initiate a flow of physiological changes leading to disease long before clinical symptoms are present.

What are free radicals and how do they cause oxidative stress?

To understand this I want to take you  to the level of smallest unit of body i.e. is “cell” and each cell contain mitochondria. These microscopic structures are sometimes called as “the powerhouse of the cell" because they generate energy in the form of ATP by using oxygen through transfer of electrons and produce a by – product of water. This process goes on without snag, at least 98 % of the time. But this process of using four electrons of oxygen to reduce it into water does not always happen as planned and a “free radical”is produced.  Now imagine your self in front of a crackling fire wood and a ember fall on a cloth or carpet can cause a whole in that. Same way this sparking and popping continue month after month and year after year you end up a burned cloth or carpet in front of fire wood. Yes this ember represents free radical and this carpet is your body which part of body receives added free radical, become prone to oxidative stress. Chronic oxidative stress can promote disease of most affected organ or body part. If eyes then macular degeneration, if joint then arthritis, if blood vessels then heart attack, arthrosclerosis etc, if brain Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. Extensive oxidative damage to DNA is likely to cause mutations that may lead to cancer formation.

Our bodies have an intrinsic antioxidant capacity which works tirelessly to repair the damage caused by these free radicals. Body creates its own antioxidants. It’s not important to know further details but important is to realize that we all have our own natural defense system.  And this body’s antioxidant defense potential can be enhanced in two important ways; 1) increasing antioxidant enzyme activity (this generally occurs via exercise and a resulting cellular adaptive response) and 2) through the ingestion of foods containing natural antioxidants. (e.g. fruits and vegetables).
Food derived antioxidants have attracted considerable attention in recent years owing to the observation that persons who consume regular amounts of these molecules in their diet have a reduced risk of developing a range of lifestyle related diseases. Dark fruits and vegetables have the highest concentrations of antioxidants and should be consumed regularly to enhance the body’s antioxidant capacity. Green and white tea ‘polyphenols’ have been extensively studied and have been shown to be potent antioxidants that, not only neutralize free radicals but minimize cosmetic sun damage as well. Vitamins A, C, and E also have an antioxidant profile, however they have proven to be double edged swords as excess consumption will cause these molecules to become pro-oxidants that fuel free radical production.

Factors that causes the production of more free radicals than our bodies can fight off are very important to know , Excessive exercise, Excessive stress ,Air pollution ,Cigarette smoking, Polluted food and water ,UV rays, Medication & radiation.  these factors become big challenge for us specially water, air pollution and contaminated food due to chemicals and pesticides used in crop . We need to find out solution to save our new generation from these very harmful diseases .  


  2. 1) Yoshikawa, T.: A Guide to Free Radicals. Part 2. Sentan Igaku Sha, Tokyo, 1998. 2) Yoshikawa, T.: Medicine of Free Radicals. Shindan to Chiryo Sha, Tokyo, 1997. 3) Yoshikawa, T.: Science of Free Radicals. Koudan Sha Saientifikku, Tokyo, 1997.
  3. What your doctor doesn’t now about nutritional medicine may be killing you by Ray D. Strand, MD.