FREE RADICALS-by Dr Ross Walker (Extract from Highway to Health)

Dr Ross walker is well known Sydney Cardiologist who uses the latest imaging techniques to help his patients. He also firmly believes they need to make lifestyle changes to maximize their health potential. One of the things he recommends is antioxidants. This articles describes what free radicals are and how antioxidants fit into the picture.

Firstly, we must ask what free radicals are and, if they are so bad for us, why did nature allow them in the first place? Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are generated when the body is exposed to stress. This stress can be anything from pollution, saturated fat to any of the numerous chemicals that are daily pumped through our bodies or even due to excessive exercise or physical injuries.

Free radicals are compounds that are short one electron and therefore unstable. They travel around the body looking for stable chemicals from which they steal electrons and thus become stable. Isnít it interesting how everything in nature craves stability, including us!

If our bodies become overloaded with free radicals, our natural antioxidant system may not be strong enough to cope. When this is the case, free radicals are left to go on causing their own form of destruction. They damage the lining of the blood vessels by ripping out their stable electrons. In the same way, they also damage the LDL cholesterol, causing it to become deposited in the walls of our blood vessels (without this free radical attack, LDL cholesterol is basically harmless). Free radicals also oxidise the DNA making it send abnormal chemical instruction to the cells, therefore increasing the risk of cancer.

Our only defence to this free radical oxidisation of our vital chemicals and cells is through antioxidants. Antioxidants act as decoys to free radicals, sacrificing their own electrons to protect our bodyís vital structures. The body has its own inherent antioxidant system, which generally copes with the day-to-day free radical attacks. These internal or endogenous antioxidants are usually manufactured within the body. However, there is also and essential supply of antioxidants that we receive from foods. These work in concert with the bodyís production. Antioxidants derived from nature are not manufactured to any extent in the body. I believe we owe it to ourselves to overcome free radical attack with the use of foods high in antioxidants and antioxidant supplementation.

You can see Dr Walker on the; Your Health, Your Future (video/DVD) and The Nutrtional Scandal (video/DVD) as well as Nutrition- How Low Can We Go - audio.