We are constantly under attack by free radicals. There is nothing you can do to stop this chemical process. It is natural and it occurs every second of every day. Every cell in your body is a candidate for damage. Free radicals are generated from the normal reactions in your body – breathing, obesity, exercise, thinking, digestion, etc. External factors (pollution, radiation, smoking, etc.) also create/cause free radicals in our bodies.
We do have the ability to stop the chain reaction of free radicals ripping off electrons and creating new free radicals that will continue the destructive process. Some molecules can lose electrons and not become a free radical. The lifespan of these molecules can be a few as a half-dozen times (vitamin C) to 20,000 times (PQQ – pyrroloquinoline quinone).
Antioxidants provide electrons to counter the effect of free radicals. These molecules are stable enough to give up an electron and not become a free radical. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, especially those with bright, vivid colors. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
Chronic low-level inflammation (free radical damage) is the genesis of nearly every disease. Left untreated long enough and your body will succumb to something unhealthy. Yes, we can miss a meal or two without spinach, kale, beets, blueberries or some other vegetable. But, we cannot do it day in and day out.
I am an advocate of balanced nutrition. Balance means that you are not missing any key nutrients the body needs daily. Nutrient deficiency aids the disease process. Lack of calcium can lead to rickets and osteoporosis. Iodine deficiency leads to goiter. Selenium deficiency leads to congestive cardiomyopathy. Anemia is a common ailment of iron deficiency. Vitamin B-12 deficiency mimics Alzheimer’s disease. The list goes on.
Our immune system depends on having nutritional balance. Antioxidants provide the front line of defense to keep our immune system working at peak level daily. There are other supporters of immune health. Glutathione is one of the top, if not the top, defender of your immune system. It aggressively neutralizes free radicals continuously. It is critical to maintaining high levels of glutathione in your body always.
Glutathione is not a supplement that we can ingest directly. It can’t travel through stomach acid intact. We can, however, eat foods with the precursors of glutathione. Examples of these precursors that will cause our bodies to create glutathione are glutamine, glycine, cysteine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe).
Glutamine and glycine are non-essential amino acids and are made in our bodies. They are available in the foods we eat. Cysteine is also considered a non-essential amino acid because it is made from methionine. However, methionine is an essential amino acid and must be obtained from food. There is a link between methionine and homocysteine.
Eating meals that ensure balanced nutrition is probably the number one critical aspect for good health.