Antioxidants : Immune Health

Free radicals are among the most damaging agents to one’s health, and the biochemical origin of most degenerative diseases. Simply put, free radicals are unstable rogue molecules that disrupt and destabilize the structures of neighboring cells, including polyunsaturated membrane lipids, enzyme proteins, and the nucleic acids of DNA. Structurally, free radicals include unpaired electrons in their outer orbit, which enable them to steal electrons from other molecules within range. As electrons are stolen from healthy molecular structures, instability results and these molecules are transformed into free radicals as well.  If left unregulated, free radicals can initiate a chain reaction in body tissues that leads to oxidative stress, a feed-forward cycle of cellular damage that is difficult to control. Chronic inflammation accompanies oxidative stress as free radicals activate Nuclear Factor Kappa B, which induces the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines and additional free radical production. This unregulated inflammatory cascade eventually leads to a loss of cellular function and cell death. 

Though chronic inflammation is often experienced as local or generalized pain, aching, fatigue, and brain fog, over time its deleterious effects can lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis to name a few. Essentially, prolonged oxidative stress is analogous to rusting from the inside out. While this issue is both complex and multifaceted, research has established that one of the best ways to disrupt this feed-forward cycle of free radical damage is through adequate antioxidant therapy.*