Many of us may have heard of antioxidants but why are they needed for a healthy body?
Firstly, let’s explain the concept of free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are created by oxidation. In excess, they cause damage to the body's cells and DNA, leading to a range of health problems and accelerated ageing.
They are molecules with an electron missing. In order to fill missing electrons, they seek out other chemical structures in our bodies from where they can 'steal' an electron. After they ‘acquire’ an electron the chemical structure/tissue from where they ‘stole’ that electron is left seriously damaged.
Free radicals in small and controlled quantities are fine but the problems start when the production of these free radicals increases and then get out of control.
Oxidation is unavoidable. As long as we breathe oxygen there will be oxidation in our body and thus the creation of free radicals will always continue!
In an ideal world with no pollution, perfect diet and no stress the level of free radical activity would be ‘normal’ and they would not be a serious problem. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world.
How wide spread are free radicals?
Free radicals are constantly forming everywhere in the body at an astonishing rate. Bruce Ames, a well-known scientist in the field of antioxidants, estimates that just one cell in the human body is hit about 10,000 times a day by a free radical. If that’s multiplied by the trillions of cells in the body the magnitude of this activity is tremendous.
How does it happen?
Free radicals are caused by the body’s own natural processes. They are further created by the addition of factors like toxins, radiation or poor digestive function. Disease also tends to create free radicals.
What harm does free radicals do?
Free radicals are bad. They cause cell mutations, damage immune function, cause wrinkles and aging and are a contributing cause of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and others. Free radical damage is a factor behind almost every known disease, according to some researchers.
Relating to the immune system specifically, free radicals damage immune cells and wipe out cytokine (communication) pathways. The immune system suffers.
The solution to free radicals is antioxidants
When an antioxidant encounters a free radical, it freely gives up an electron of its own which satisfies the free radical and stops the out of control damage.
This makes the antioxidant a free radical because it’s now an electron short. However, the chain reaction is stopped because the newly created free radical made from the antioxidant is very weak and unlikely to do further harm.
Antioxidant use in preventing disease
Are you getting sick more often than you use to? Researchers found that antioxidants can rejuvenate an ageing immune system.
Are you not as “sharp” as you used to be? Antioxidants can prevent and reverse age-related memory loss and memory problems. The brain is particularly vulnerable to free radical damage.
Aches and pains? Antioxidants can relieve symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Antioxidants regulate genes. They can turn on and off genes that regulate cell growth. This can have a profoundly beneficial effect on people who are at higher risk due to family history.
How do we obtain antioxidants?
Our bodies make some antioxidants and some are traditionally supplied in our diet from fruits and vegetables. However, environmental toxins have increased the need well beyond what our bodies are capable of producing, and even beyond what a diet provides.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends eating 5 one-half cup portions of fruits and vegetables per day. However, most people don’t even consume that much and children are typically getting even less.
Supplementation may be necessary if you do not get enough antioxidants in your diet.
Blueberries as a good source of antioxidants
Blueberries are known to contain the highest antioxidant levels of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries are called flavonoids. One group of flavonoids, in particular, anthocyanins, is known to be responsible for much of the beneficial health effects.
They have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels inside the body. This is why antioxidant-rich blueberry fruit extract has been included as an ingredient in Santivia Immune.
A diet rich with antioxidants together with a daily regime of Santivia Immune is the perfect combination for good health.