I find the most challenging things to understand about health and how your body functions, is that everything has a purpose and although some things like reactive oxygen species can be undesirable, they are also totally necessary.
The trouble lies in how our lives and our environment have changed much more rapidly than we can keep up with. Think about something as straightforward as our consumption of grains. You know, grains like corn, rice and wheat? Most people accept that we evolved to eat them, but that’s not the situation. Our cells and basic digestive needs haven’t advanced since our cavemen – hunter/gatherer roots and hunter gatherers were not farmers. Although we’ve been consuming bread for thousands of years, there are quite a few scientists and nutritionists who will claim that really -such foods don’t fit with our design.
So, if we haven’t changed enough to eat the crops we’ve been farming for thousands of years, just ponder how our bodies (at the cellular level) are responding to factors like smoking, booze, air pollution, drugs and the chemicals that have routinely become included in our foods.
The answer is”not well!”
Now think about free radicals which are also known as ROS or Reactive Oxygen Species – well before we gained so many new environmental sources of ROS, they were created by our bodies as a normal byproduct of our metabolic and immune processes AND we had the inherent ability to stay in control of them. Now, that’s altered and for many people it’s very important to boost our antioxidants to control the damage that can be caused by all the ROS that our lifestyles have inflicted on our bodies. That’s the reason for all the talk about antioxidants, but there is actually another factor to think about. An alternative view is that although ROS can be highly toxic, redox reactions are also part of the basic chemical process of life. Just lately, it has become increasingly apparent that ROS/redox molecules also play a function in the regulation of many intracellular signaling pathways that are critical for normal cell growth and immune responses that are essential for our defense.
One example is Nitric Oxide which plays a function in nerve and vascularnerve and vascular function and regulation of the immune system. Another even more stunning example is that ASEA, which is a dietary supplement that supplies millions of redox signaling molecules can increase the effectiveness of your body’s antioxidants by more than five hundred%
Reactive molecules are an essential part of many metabolic pathways; they fuel the flame of basic energy producing processes. We have had to evolve complex processes to live with these reactive molecules and can use the reactive nature of these molecules for intracellular communication. Therefore, a key concept in managing redox reactions must be to control but not eradicate, for turning off production of ROS is the same as turning off the engine that powers us.