Sunday, October 14, 2012

Antioxidants and Free Radicals at the Molecular Level

Antioxidant electron stabalizing a free radical
At the Natural Remedies Workshop at Andrews University, I learned something amazing about how antioxidants and free radicals work at the molecular level.  Our cells are made up of many molecules.  When we compromise our health by eating the wrong foods and top that off with stress, drugs and negative emotions, we create free radicals in our bodies.  (As you probably already know, free radicals are responsible for creating a myriad of diseases and premature aging.) The molecules of a free radical lose an electron and become very unstable.  In an attempt to create balance again, the molecule goes in search of another electron, stealing it from another molecule.  This makes the molecule that has lost an electron unstable as well.  This process continues until the cell's health is compromised to the point of mutation, creating an environment that is highly reactive and unstable.  Cancer is a disease that is comprised of cells that multiply out of control because they are mutated.  With this in mind, one can understand the reason for concern about eating foods from plants that have been genetically modified (GMO foods).  The solution to counteract oxidation at the cellular level is to consume antioxidant rich foods.  The picture above illustrates that antioxidants have many electrons and they behave in the body by donating electrons to unstable molecules that are incomplete, making the molecule stable again.  This process in which antioxidants restore stability to unstable molecules helps reverse major degenerative diseases.  Fascinating isn't it?  So what does this mean to us in practical terms?  Eat an overabundance of fruits and vegetables!  Check out this YouTube clip that illustrates this process.

Enjoy the Journey!