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  • Second Opinion Magazine

Your Own Set of Antioxidants—Better Than a Vitamin

by Heidi Toy

Health resides in the cell. If you have healthy cells, you will have healthy tissue and healthy organs. Simply, the cell is where the action is at!

The cells of our body have to deal with a host of nasty threats. Things such as viruses, bacteria, and infection are just some of the perils that our cells have to deal with. One threat that gets very little attention is that of free radical damage. However, it is this very damage that is the upstream cause to the downstream effect of all aging and diseases.

Free radical damage is everywhere in our body and is caused by cellular metabolism. Things we do every day such as breathing, eating, and even strenuous exercise naturally cause free radicals to occur. Additionally, we have an increased exposure to free radical damage from things like pollution, cigarette smoke, drugs, illness, and stress.

Our body makes approximately 13 sextillion free radicals per day. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. The molecule is reactive and therefore seeking an electron from another source in order to pair. Essentially it steals the electron from a healthy cell. This initiates an uncontrolled chain reaction that can damage the natural function of the living cell, causing various diseases. Antioxidants mitigate this reaction by giving an electron to the free radical in order to stop the cell damage. When the amount of free radicals in the body is greater than the amount of antioxidants available, we have what is called oxidative stress. Although we do not feel oxidative stress happening in our bodies, it is happening, hence we advance in age.

High amounts of free radicals + Low amounts of antioxidants = Oxidative Stress. Oxidative Stress = aging, inflammation, and disease.

You know what oxidation is: it is the rusting of a car or the browning of an apple when the peeling is removed and it is exposed to air (oxygen). This same thing is what is happening in our body at the cellular level. Oxidative stress is why we get wrinkles and gray hair. It is also why we get disease states.

It has been determined by scientists that oxidative stress from free radical damage is the underlying cause to diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, anxiety, and depression; cardiovascular disorders such as COPD, heart attacks, hypertension, stroke, and atherosclerosis; autoimmune disorders, for example, lupus, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, Crohn’s, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Other diseases include, but are not limited to, macular degeneration and optic ischemic neuropathy. Oxidative stress is the crux of all cancers, inflammatory disease states, and diabetes. A blood test measuring what is called TBARS is how oxidative stress is measured in the body, and high levels of this test are associated with cancer, heart disease, stroke, and aging. This is just a short list of many diseases; name any one disease and it will point to oxidative stress.

For a long time we have thought that the key to anti-aging and anti-disease was to offset oxidative stress by taking antioxidants such as Vitamins E, C, A, and beta-carotene. And while these external sources might be helpful, scientists have since discovered that our cells make their own antioxidants and that if triggered by the messenger, our cells have the ability to go after oxidative stress at the ratio of one million antioxidants to 1 free radical per second versus a 1:1 ratio of vitamins. In fact one would have to consume 360 oranges to get the same effect from food as we can get if our cells do the work.

Scientists have also discovered that when we were children we had a set of gene messengers that caused our cells to pour out their own antioxidants, hence up until about age twenty to twenty-five, humans do not age and are fairly resistant to disease.

This cell messenger has a name and it is called nuclear erythroid related factor 2 or Nrf2 (pronounced Nerf two). Nrf2 is a the cell’s messenger that goes to our own cell’s DNA and tells it to release all of the cell’s antioxidants so that it can survive the assault of free radical damage.

Since the discovery of Nrf2, scientists have been trying to discover how to wake up this process inside of our cells, and a group of biochemists discovered just that. It is a synergistic formula of herbs that activates Nrf2 and in turn Nrf2 activates the cells’ own antioxidants. This has been scientifically proven to be very effective at reducing oxidative stress to the level of an infant, even in an eighty-year-old. Personally I use this formula along with proper nutrition to manage my own health as do many of my clients who use nutrition to heal from autoimmune disease states. I have also witnessed clients with neurodegenerative diseases decrease if not eliminate symptoms. Even in the family dog who suffers from Lyme’s disease we have seen amazing results. It is not because this herbal formula heals all diseases but rather because it has been proven to be effective in decreasing oxidative stress by activation of Nrf2, thus harnessing the cells’ own antioxidants.

Heidi Toy is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the owner of “Educated Nutrition”, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on autoimmune disorders.

  1. Hamilton , K., Reuland, D., & Reuland, D. (2013). The role of nrf2 in the attenuation of cardiovascular disease. Exercise Sports Science Review, (41(3)), 162-8. doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3182948a1e Online resources for disorders caused by oxidative stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from Song, H., Zhang, X., Chen , X., Chen , H., & Rovin , B. (2005). Activation of the nrf2/antioxidant response pathway increases il-8 expression. European Journal of Immunology, 35(Nov), 3258-67. Natarajan, R., Bogaard, H., Henderson, S., Long, C., Kraskauskas, D., Smithson, L., Ockaili, R., & McCord, J. (2009). Chronic pulmonary artery pressure elevation is insufficient to explain right heart failure. Circulation , (Nov), 1951-60. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULAT IONAHA.109.883843.

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