What are Free Radicals?
Our bodies are comprised of organs, cells, molecules, and at the smallest level, atoms. Atoms have a positively charged nucleus which are balanced by orbiting electrons. Molecules are formed when atoms bond to each other by sharing electrons.
In a perfect state, molecular bonds don’t typically split in a way that causes molecular instability or leave an odd/unpaired electron. When acted upon, weak bonds split (forced apart) leaving unpaired electrons, which are unstable (desperate to pair). These unpaired and unstable electrons are known as FREE RADICALS. These free radicals are highly reactive and “steal” electrons from other nearby molecular bonds to regain stability. 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.
Think of free radicals like little fires balls, being shot from one molecule to the next causing destruction and disruption along the way, spreading in all direction, like a wild fire.
Chemically, a substance is oxidized when electrons are removed and reduced when electrons are added. All chemical reactions involve the transfer of electrons. The primary site of free radical damage is the DNA found in the mitochondria. Mitochondria are small membrane-enclosed regions of a cell which produce the chemicals a cell uses for energy.
What factors encourage free radicals?
Some free radicals are the natural byproduct of the normal metabolism of oxygen. This is a very low level in general and can easily be absorbed by the body through anti-oxidants in our fruits and vegetables and our contact with the grounded earth.
Other than the natural occurrence, free radicals are generated in our bodies from an entire host of factors including:
- Stress and not getting enough sleep
- Processed foods, rancid fats, sugar, and too many carbohydrates
- Genetically modified foods
- Too much red meat, overcooked red meat, or processed red meat with nitrates
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Physical trauma or too much exercise
- environmental pollutants
- all drug types (perscription and other)
- food and/or feed for animals treated with fertilizer, pesticides or herbicide.
- Heavy metals
- Radiation (full spectrum)
- Ionizing radiation like naturally occurring radioactive material usually in the ground, x-rays, consumer products, industry, research, and power generation.
- Nonionizing ultraviolet radiation like that from Electromagnetic fields, cell towers, cell phones, cordless phones, TV/radio broadcast towers, Smart Meters, Wi-Fi, wireless computers and components, baby monitors, microwave ovens, radar, etc.
- EMF (Electromagnetic Fields), are further broken into three types:
- Magnetic Fields – Wiring errors and stray electricity from power lines, electrical wiring, light fixtures, appliances and most other electrical devices.
- Electric Fields – Electric fields induce measurable voltages onto the skin. Hidden electrical wiring within walls, by nearby power cords for lamps and devices, and sometimes from overhead power lines.
- Radio Frequency – emitted from many wireless and electronic devices – cell towers, cell phones, cordless phones, TV/radio broadcast towers, Smart Meters, Wi-Fi, wireless computers and components like bluetooth, baby monitors, microwave ovens, radar, etc.
What can I do to decrease the frequency of free radicals?
The best way to decrease the frequency of free radical chain reactions is to decrease your exposure to their fuel.
- Reduce and avoid stress if possible, and get more sleep (make a goal to be in bed by 10:30 PM).
- Eat more whole and organic foods. Avoid GMO and non-organic foods.
- Decrease or eliminate sugar consumption. Avoid eating too many carbohydrates, which have the same effect as eating sugar since they raise blood sugar levels, insulin levels and cortisol levels. Sugar reacts with proteins produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which release massive amounts of free radicals. In addition, the glycation of hemoglobin, glutathione, albumin and collagen can dramatically increase cell damage.
- Avoiding eating rancid fats, which goes along with eathing more whole and organic foods. A major source of rancid fat in our diets comes from cooking oils and fats, deep-fried foods, and some ethnic foods that are purposely made rancid. However, any fat, given the right conditions and amount of time, can go rancid. That means that any food containing fat can become rancid. Often oils and fats in processed foods are deodorized so that even when they are rancid, they smell and even taste fresh.
>li>Avoid eating too much red meat and any overcooked red meat. Overcooked red meat kick starts the oxidation process of the meat (kind of like eating radioactive meat). This is also true for any overcooked food, or food cooked in low smoke point oils such as canola-, corn-, or soy oil. As the oil is heated, it is oxidized and is immediately considered rancid.
- Avoid foods that you are allergic to or have intolerances to.
- Avoid Too much exercise – exercising for more than one hour a day, or frequently doing intense exercise (Hit training). Symptoms of over training include
- suffer from aches and pains
- don’t feel like exercising
- disturbed sleep
- sore muscles
- change in appetite
- keep injuring yourself (keep breaking down muscle tissue without a recovery period) tired so form is poor
- Although it is impossible to avoid, try to decrease your contact with chemicals. Any chemical that is not naturally occurring in our bodies is considered foreign and will react with our chemical composition creating free radical chain reactions. Our body also has to process and detox these chemicals.
- Heavy Metals
- Try to reduce your radiation exposure. We are surrounded by radio frequencies like cell phone towers, cellular calls, wifi signals, wireless devices on a day to day basis. Here are some ideas on how to reduce exposure: