The cause of many diseases afflicting your body lies in the volatile nature of oxygen. The one substance responsible for all life can also be the one that takes it away. The revelation is startling – our cells are constantly possessed by toxic forms of oxygen, we are shutting down, molecule by molecule, under the destructive power of this element. Attacks from constant explosions from oxygen reactions contribute to clogging our arteries, turning normal cells to cancer cells and disrupting our nervous system. When discovered the harmful influence of oxygen, scientists started to reexamine theories about disease creation and prevention. Up until now, oxygen reactions have been connected to more than 60 chronic diseases, as well as aging itself.
‘The older we get the more we oxidize’
says Dr. Helmut Sies, chief of the Department for Physiological Chemistry from the Medical Faculty at the University in Dusseldorf, one of the foremost scientist in the field. According to Dr. Sies, we are all like pieces of meat that have been exposed for too long. We become spoiled – some faster, some slower. The key question is why some people are more susceptible, while others more resistant to the destructive influence of oxygen? Why some people age slower and seem less prone to illness? How to protect ourselves from these disruptive processes?
Dr. Sies explains that two opposing forces are constantly fighting in our bodies: renegade oxygen molecules called oxidants and the police force of our bodies called antioxidants. Although some oxidants can be useful, most are dangerous and aggressive. Think of oxidants as unruly bands of molecules which move through your body attacking cells, ripping their membranes, disrupt their genetic material, make fats go rancid and leave the cells to die. This process is so slow and imperceptible that it takes years of unrelenting waves upon waves of destruction until the overall damage causes what we call the symptoms of an illness, like inflammations, worsened eyesight, chest pain, lowered concentration and cancer.
On the other hand, the various antioxidants brought in your body mostly by food, fight to protect cells by rebuffing the destructive oxygen molecules. When oxidants become more numerous than antioxidants, you body enters in a phase called ‘oxidation stress’ and you are in a state of increased risk from diseases. By having a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, you are ensuring that your body does not enter ‘oxidation stress’, lowering your general health risks and maintaining organ vitality and aging resistance.