A free radical is an element that has an unpaired electron, this makes the electron highly charged and unstable causing a lot of damage by rampaging through the body cells in a very short space of time. They cause tissue damage by going berserk in the system, attacking and destroying cells and even recreating more free radicals.
Some free radical damage is unavoidable, stress is a huge factor in the creation of the ‘punk cells’. With today’s life style and pressure to achieve, emotional and physical stress, it all plays a part to the free radical saga.
Stress creates acid within the body and suppresses the immune system, it places the body under a constant alert phase.
Smoking, alcohol, UV exposure, narcotics, medication, environmental pollution and diet are other contributors.
Alcohol contributes to the ‘punk cells’ as well as stress on the liver. Alcohol converts to sugar, so the pancreas is also involved and works overtime. This has a knock on effect to the skins surface. Breakouts may appear because the liver finds it hard to eliminate, therefor, throwing out toxic waste resulting in congestion on the skins surface. The skin may be couperose, constricting oxygen within the blood vessels and in extreme cases the skin may seem to have a ‘yellow hue’ which could suggest the liver is stressed.
Cigarette smoke contains over sixty chemicals that are known to cause cancer, let alone the negative effects to the skin! Tobacco is an age thief, stealing around seven years of your life, even second hand smoke ages you. Smoking has drying effects on skins surface, it restricts blood vessels reducing oxygen and essential nutrients also reducing vitamin A which provides protection against free radical damage. Wrinkles form around the eyes and mouth causing premature aging, smokers often have as many wrinkles in there 40’s as non smokers in their 60‘s. Discoloration of fingers & finger nails occur as well as yellowing teeth and bad breath. It breaks down collagen as well as depleting vitamin C and oxygen in the skin.
Sun exposure will give us vitamin D to strengthen our skeletal system. Over exposure will trigger the defense mechanism of our skin by increasing melanin to protect the skin cells nucleus from damage. Thickening and darkening of the skin is a result, otherwise known as a tan. There will be an increase in couperose activity, thinning of the walls of the blood vessels, increase in pigmentation and moles as well as a risk of ‘Melanoma’. Approximately 80% of all skin damage occurs before the age of 18.
Drugs (recreational and prescribed)
Narcotics as well as long term prescribed medication will certainly get the free radicals exited. Acne breakouts, dull lifeless skin, sores and wounds that are almost impossible to heal are just some of the effects. Hair loss can occur in both men and women. The sense of smell and taste will be impaired, mental alertness, depression and anxiety, vascular health..the list is endless
The consequences of junk food to our health are well documented. Filled with artificial colors, additives, trans fats all sorts of chemicals will most definitely cause a free radical rampage over time. This increases the likelihood of a congested skin, increased acid, blood pressure and blood sugar rates rise as well as body weight.
Sometimes we have no choice of where we are bought up, live and work. Environmental factors play a huge role in our emotional state as well as our physical state. Pollution from the tiny air particles ramp up free radicals causing oxidative stress on our lungs, skin and overall health.
So we have a general overview of what free radicals are and how they can cause DI-EASE within the body, however! Not all free radicals are bad, we need free radicals to survive. The human body requires them within our own defenses to fight bacteria and virus’, they are, in fact crucial to the immune system. It is when there is an overloading of free radicals from any of the above that chaos erupts.
Increasing oxygen allow cells in the body to optimize antioxidants (the superheroes that fight free radical attack) by increasing your metabolism you increase the chance of a healthy level of free radicals. Antioxidants are abundant in fresh fruit, vegetables, zinc, vitamins A and E, beta carotene, selenium, chromium and lycopene. Vitamin C of course an excellent anti oxidant, it neutralizes free radicals, increases oxygen and is known as the universal helper
Supplements recommended are:
Exercise, a diet high in fresh fruit and veg and stress management are all ways to increase your oxygen and antioxidant intake. Watch your stress levels in particular, you could be the healthiest person in diet and lifestyle but not so healthy in mind and emotions!
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”