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Free radicals, aging and the effects they all have on your bodies.

A toxin is any agent capable of negatively impacting our bodies.  Scientists agree that no one can escape the myriad of environmental pollutants which attack us daily. Even living in Tahoe we are knowingly and unwittingly exposed to pollution.  Processed foods, soft drinks, automobile exhaust, cleaning products, chlorine and fluorine in drinking water, your laundry detergent and even the clothing you wear, all have toxic potential. Your house, your car and your office are filled with pollutants.

According to Dr. Henry Shroeder, in his book, “The Poisons Around Us” “The five toxic trace metals: cadmium, beryllium, antimony, mercury and lead are extremely important to the health of the public, being involved in at least half of the deaths in the United States and much of the disabling diseases. Therefore, they are of public concern or should be if we value our lives and our health.”

Dr William Rea, MD, FACS, FAAEM, President of Environmental Health Center, Dallas Texas, says,” Now the evidence is in and it stinks – literally. Laboratory tests show us the harm done to the brain and nervous system by toxic metals. Illnesses and auto-immune disorders previously tagged as idiopathic (of unknown origin) are being linked to the presence of synthetic substances in body tissues. Research into the increase in breast cancer is implicating DDT which is stored in fatty tissue.”

In addition the EPA demonstrated, that 100% of samples of human body fat contained toxic doses of chemicals, including styrene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene and xylene. They indicated that studies of human body fat showed that 98% contained dioxin and 96% contained benzene. Styrene is found in disposable cups, Styrofoam packaging and carpet backing, Moth balls and household deodorizers contain 1,4-dichlorobenzene. Dioxin is found in herbicides, auto exhaust and xylene is found in gasoline, paint and wood treatment products. Benzene is a by-product of gasoline, cleaning solvents and paint thinner.

The human body becomes overburdened by these pollutants and the term we use for this is “trashed terrain”. Trashed terrain is toxicity at the cellular level which interrupts or alters healthy cellular and intercellular functioning. Trashed terrain alters the immune system causing a variety of sicknesses and can lead to premature aging and death.

There are two different kinds of aging.  There is intrinsic aging which is internal or genetically controlled aging largely beyond a person’s control. This programs the body for the longest life it can possibly have under the best circumstances.  In contrast, extrinsic or external aging is associated with environmental toxins and can be accelerated or slowed by a variety of factors over which we have some control.

The term “free radicals” refers to highly energized molecules that contain an unpaired electron. They have the energy and need to pair up with other loose electrons in the body and on the skin. The highly charged and extremely unstable molecular fragment may puncture cell membranes, destroy enzymes and even break down DNA just to steal an electron from another molecule. This triggers a chain reaction (or cascade) which creates more free radicals. These free radicals, more accurately called oxidants, attack cell walls and literally oxidize holes in the walls of your cells. This damage causes more damage and can significantly deplete your immune system causing premature aging and multiple health problems. Medical specialists now widely regard “free radicals” as the primary cause of premature aging and chronic degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, strokes, and many immune disorders. In fact some 50 to 60 diseases are recognized as having free radical involvement.

Oxidation is part of the cycle of all life. It affects both organic and inorganic matter. Almost everything is gradually oxidized by oxygen: fats turn rancid, rubber loses elasticity, iron gradually rusts and apples turn brown when cut. The cells of all plants, animals and people show a continuous level of oxidative damage. The problem occurs when the cells in our bodies experience excessive oxidative damage over an extended period of time.

There are ways to manage some of the effects of extrinsic aging. Some are: taking time for regular detoxifications, making dietary changes, eliminating known toxins from your diet and environment, and adding substances known as antioxidants to your diet. This information will be covered in future letters.

Yours in Health,

Dr. J.