You are on page 1of 4


WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS AND HOW DO THEY AFFECT THE HUMAN BODY? A free radical is any atom or molecule with an unpaired electron. This is a very unstable state. A free radical will react with other molecules in an attempt to "steal" an electron for the unpaired one. But the molecule that has had an electron stolen from has now become the free radical and will attempt the same with other molecules. This can start chain reactions which can cause significant damage throughout our bodies. For protection, our cells have antioxidant mechanisms which can scavenge these free radicals. It's when these antioxidant systems become overwhelmed that we run into problems (ie, aging, disease). Anyway, I hope this serves as a brief introduction. What are free radicals? | Where do free radicals come from? How do free radicals hurt the body? | How does the body defend itself? What increases antioxidant levels? | What is the best way to get live foods? Back to Page Top Like all matter, our bodies are composed entirely of tiny particles called molecules. Each molecule is made up of atoms, and each atom is made up of a center or nucleus and electrons which spin in orbits around it.


Ordinarily, the electrons occur in balanced pairs. This keeps the atom and molecule stable. Sometimes a molecule loses one of its electrons or gains and extra one. This causes the molecule to become unbalanced and highly reactive. Such a molecule is called a 'Free Radical'. Back to Page Top Some 'Free Radicals' occur as normal by-products of a healthy body's metabolic processes. Overproduction of "Free Radicals' occurs when the body is subjected to 'Stress' in any of its many forms:


Types of Stress
Chemical Emotional Physical Infectious

Common Stress Sources

Aging Environmental Pollutants Trauma Disease Pace & Pressure of Modern Life


Back to Page Top

Having unpaired electrons is not an energetically favorable or stable state for a molecule. A 'Free Radical' will naturally try to return to a state of stability by taking an electron from some other molecule and restoring its own balance. It is this little act of thievery that causes the damage. The stolen electron may be from a molecule in a normal healthy cell. This process of 'Cell Damage' continues to multiply if not checked. The end result is that the healthy cells are damaged and the body's proper functioning is impaired. Unfortunately today, the increased stresses of modern life combined with age and the nutritional inadequacies of a contemporary diet result in an excess of free radical activity in the body and a deficiency in the available supply of antioxidants to remove them. This negative state is known as 'Free Radical Pathology'. Back to Page Top Nature equips the body to produce special enzymes called 'Antioxidants' which catalyze the removal of the 'Free Radicals' before they can cause cellular damage. Under normal conditions these naturally occurring 'Antioxidant Enzymes' can handle the 'Free Radicals' produced by the body's own metabolic processes.


In addition, nature allows the body to acquire additional supplies of these antioxidant enzymes from certain raw foods. Back to Page Top The first line of defense is to eat certain whole, natural, 'Live Foods' which are rich in enzymes themselves, and which appear to stimulate the body's own production of antioxidants.


However, it's not always convenient to eat fresh whole foods, and unless you grow your own, the nutritional value of those you do eat may be questionable. Modern agricultural practices have greatly depleted the nutritional value of the foods we eat, even raw fresh foods. Today, vegetables are bred for longer shelf life, convenience in shipping and high yield, not necessarily for high nutrition. Important trace elements and other co-factors which make the enzymes usable to the body often are missing. The nutritional content is even further reduced by the heat of cooking which destroys the live enzymes. The 'Live Enzyme' foods that provide the best sources of antioxidant enzymes include; Raw vegetables, wheat grass, barley grass, sprouts and blue-green algae. Prescription for Nutritional Healing states, "Of all raw foods, sprouts are the richest source of natural food enzymes.


Back to Page Top

Fortunately, recent years have brought some very beneficial research and new technological developments in plant management. Biotec Foods has developed and grows enhanced strains of blended sprouts which are enzyme-rich and which have been shown to increase the endogenous production of antioxidant enzymes in the human body. These sprout blends are dehydrated at low temperatures to prevent damage to the live enzymes and then highly concentrated and compressed into a convenient tablet form. These 'Live Enzyme' food supplements from Biotec are available under several product names. Each product formula is specially blended with IsoSproutplex to provide the required antioxidant enzyme protection based on individuals personal activity and needs. Thanks to Biotec, you don't need to have your own organic farm to enjoy the benefits of eating 'Live Enzyme Foods'. The nutrition you need is as available at your local health food store or pharmacy in a convenient 'concentrated caplet or tablet.
Free radicals and related species have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. They are mainly derived from oxygen (reactive oxygen species/ROS) and nitrogen (reactive nitrogen species/RNS), and are generated in our body by various endogenous systems, exposure to different physicochemical conditions or pathophysiological states. Free radicals can adversely alter lipids, proteins and DNA and have been implicated in aging and a number of human diseases. Lipids are highly prone to free radical damage resulting in lipid peroxidation that can lead to adverse alterations. Free radical damage to protein can result in loss of enzyme activity. Damage caused to DNA, can result in mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Redox signaling is a major area of free radical research that is attracting attention. Nature has endowed us with protective antioxidant mechanisms- superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione, glutathione peroxidases and reductase, vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), vitamin C etc., apart from many dietary components. There are epidemiological evidences correlating higher intake of components/ foods with antioxidant abilities to lower incidence of various human morbidities or mortalities. Current research reveals the different potential applications of antioxidant/free radical manipulations in prevention or control of disease. Natural products from dietary components such as Indian spices and medicinal plants are known to possess antioxidant activity. Newer and future approaches include gene therapy to produce more antioxidants in the body, genetically engineered plant products with higher level of antioxidants, synthetic antioxidant enzymes (SOD mimics), novel biomolecules and the use of functional foods enriched with antioxidants. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to anoxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other

oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols,ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.[1]

Substituted phenols and derivatives ofphenylenediamine are common antioxidants used to inhibit gum formation in gasoline (petrol).

Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such asglutathione, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase,superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Insufficient levels of antioxidants, orinhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, cause oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells. As oxidative stress appears to be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly as treatments for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, oxidative stress is both the cause and the consequence of disease. Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements and have been investigated for the prevention of diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and even altitude sickness. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidant supplements might promote health, later large clinical trials with a limited number of antioxidants detected no benefit and even suggested that excess supplementation with certain putative antioxidants may be harmful.[2][3][4] Antioxidants also have many industrial uses, such as preservatives in food and cosmetics and to prevent the degradation of rubber and gasoline.[5]