So free radicals…
Are these some rebellious rad dudes you ask? …well kind of!
You know the green Marvel character Hulk? …he goes around ‘smash Hulk smash’ smashing everything in sight… well free radicals are similar but they’re like glass shards going through your body destroying cells, proteins, and enzymes.
Free radicals cause inflammation in the body i.e. pain, impair immunity, speed ageing, and can alter DNA codes.
We can see examples of free radicals at work in the outside world when we cut and apple open and it goes brown, or when a nail rusts.
Our body naturally makes free radicals as part of phase 1 detoxification, digestion, and metabolism, as well as when we are exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, X-rays, gamma rays from radioactive material, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and industrial fumes.
So how do we protect ourselves from these rebellious rad dudes!?…antioxidants!
We want a balance of free-radicals and antioxidants to prevent oxidative harm to our bodies and allow for proper physiological function…and we find antioxidants predominantly in our fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, our fruits and veggies aren’t what they used to be and our nutrient depleted soils have lead to nutrient depleted produce. I read the other day that it used to be an apple a day will keep the doctor away…now it’s 6 apples! …and I don’t recommend eating 6 apples a day either! This has lead to the supplement industry blooming. So many supplements, so much choice, but how do you know if they are any good or just full of fillers and forms of vitamins that your body simply doesn’t recognise?
I believe that generally it’s best to have supplements in the most natural form possible. A whole form that the body recognises. Like herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals all work synergistically, not in isolation from each other. Synthetic forms of supplement can also cause harm.
Take vitamin A. Now there’s lots of carotenoid forms of vitamin A in natural food but beta-carotene is taken as the one form that is used as a representative. Often natural food supplement companies just put the dose of beta-carotene on the label when there are actually others forms present. However, when synthetic beta-carotene is made, this is literally all you are getting…and that’s not always a good thing…
In a Finnish ATBC study of 29,000 male smokers, 20 mg beta-carotene supplements taken over six years were linked to lung cancer. In a U.S. CARET study of more than 18,000 male and female smokers and male asbestos workers, 30 mg beta-carotene supplements over four years were linked to a 28% higher risk of lung cancer and a 17% higher risk of deaths from all causes compared with smokers taking a placebo.
Something you are paying for with your hard-earned cash could be harming you. It’s therefore hugely important to do your research and buy good quality supplements. These likely aren’t the ones in your supermarket.
If you would like some guidance in this area, please book a free 15 min consultation via my website (Products Tab) and I can discuss your current diet and symptoms with you and give you some ideas about what could help you.
Some Reference Material