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Free Radicals and Inflammation

Posted on by Evergreen Nutrition
Image Free Radicals and Inflammation

Is There a Common Cause of Aging & Degenerative Diseases?

We know that our cells are assaulted over our lifetimes by inflammation and free radicals. Damage over time creates tissue destruction that eventually leads to aging and degenerative disease.
Our cells produce destructive particles called free radicals as they go through their normal metabolic functions. Other origins of free radicals in our bodies: inflammation, stress, environmental toxins, ultraviolet radiation, x-ray radiation, low magnesium levels and immune activation. You can picture free radicals as red hot particles bouncing around inside a cell burning anything they come into contact with such as your DNA, cell membranes and proteins in the cytoplasm. Some of these proteins are enzymes, responsible for driving thousands of chemical reactions in our bodies. When enzymes are destroyed the reactions they catalyze will not take place. We understand that damage to our DNA is never a good thing and when our cell membranes are damaged the covering of the cell itself, as well as the membranes of all the cellular structures inside the cell, are no longer efficiently getting nutrients in and waste out. All of this free radical damage causes our cells to weaken and malfunction; this is the process of aging and, in extreme cases, degenerative disease.

We know that inflammation, infections, traumatic injuries, burns and even stress all increase metabolism, and based on the severity these situations can cause a very high production of free radicals that flood the body causing further harm. Inflammation is a part of the body's natural healing process, it is only when the inflammatory process becomes excessive and prolonged that problems arise. Silent chronic inflammation is now known to be an underlying factor in most debilitating diseases.

Free radicals are both a cause and a result of inflammation. Damage from free radicals causes inflammation; chronic inflammation goes on to produce lots of free radicals which in turn create more inflammation. This is a vicious cycle which can damage many systems in the body. The thyroid, heart and pancreas can be affected. Inflammation can be likened to a forest fire that rages out of control in your body.

We know that if the thyroid is damaged it sometimes becomes overactive. This increases metabolism and with an increase in metabolism we see free radical production increase. People who have hyperthyroidism require a greater supply of antioxidants to protect themselves from the increase in free radical damage. This is also true for athletes; extreme exercise increases metabolism which increases free radical production and the need for antioxidants to quench the free radicals.

When we have infections and inflammation white blood cells rush to the scene and increase their production of free radicals. It is these free radicals white blood cells release that kill the bacteria. White blood cells live to fight another day because they have six times more antioxidants then normal cells. When the body's stores of antioxidants are depleted or low white blood cells can not protect themselves and die in large numbers, further compromising the immune system and leading to a smoldering infection.

Stress is defined as anything that upsets our normal state of wellbeing. We know that psychological stress causes physical harm especially to our brains. You can worry up free radicals and these free radicals oxidize neurotransmitters causing injury to your brain. The important thing to take from this is that during times of intense, unrelieved stress we need to increase antioxidants to protect our brains.

How to Eat To Avoid Inflammation

As far as an anti-inflammatory, free radical-reducing diet plan look for intense color in the produce section: for fruits blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, red and green grapes and grapefruit; for vegetables dark green and leafy, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, kale, red and yellow peppers, purple onions and garlic.
Fresh Veggies are High in Antioxidants

Avoid rancid, hydrogenated or trans fats. Consumption of these can cause free radical production. Cooking fats at high temperatures or deep fat frying causes oxidation of the fats and introduces free radicals into the body. Instead try poaching, stewing, braising or slow roasting. It is best to eat organic, grass fed and hormone-free meat as it contains a fatty acid content that is not inflammatory.

A high sugar diet causes proteins to react chemically with sugar producing unstable molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These not only generate massive amounts of free radicals but the glycation of hemoglobin, glutathione, albumin and collagen can dramatically increase cell damage. Reducing sugar reduces both free radicals and inflammation.

Nutritional Supplements that Reduce Free Radicals & Inflammation

New Chapter Zyflamend contains 10 herbs that synergistically promote a healthy inflammation response. Zyflamend, in human clinical trials, significantly reduced C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a gauge of the amount of inflammation in the arteries, and is considered a reliable marker for cardiovascular disease. Zyflamend contains enzymes which are important to almost every function in our body. They are easily damaged by free radicals and replacing them thru supplementation can enhance health. Enzymes taken on an empty stomach digest inflammation so enzymes can provide a one two punch to free radicals and inflammation. Zyflamend also contains Hu Zhang, an herb with the highest level of resveratrol, the same level you would find in six glasses of red wine. Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory nutrient which has gotten much press recently for increasing life span.
Antioxidant-Rich Turmeric Root
Holy Basil possesses anti- inflammatory activity as well as stress-reducing properties. Tumeric is a powerful and versatile antioxidant which increases wound healing as well as enhances immunity and white blood cell proliferation.

The most important nutrients to reduce glycation include alpha lipoic acid, vitamins B2 and B6, carnitine, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, N-acetyl cysteine and resveratrol.

Even if you eat a very healthy diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, it is difficult to get enough antioxidants through your diet to combat free radical damage. So to keep inflammation and free radical damage to a minimum we need to take things like carotenoids, mixed natural vitamin E, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).

It is never too late to make lifestyle changes to reverse free radical induced disease. One of the best ways to slow down the degenerative processes caused by chronic inflammation is to increase your intake of antioxidant nutrients and antioxidant rich foods. It does not matter how old you are or the condition of your health; it is never too late to use diet and nutrients to reduce the inflammatory cascade and slow down the deadly processes associated with aging. The staff at Evergreen Nutrition is happy to guide you to the specific natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients for your needs, insurance for a long, healthy and vibrant life.

From Evergreen's Archive: March 2009

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