Antioxidants and disease are really two opposite words that go together like hot and cold, night and day, peanut butter and jam...
Because the more antioxidants your body has, the less disease you will have. I mean, really, that's what all the fuss is about with antioxidants.
You already know how antioxidants work is by turning free radicals into harmless molecules, right? Well, let me present to you...
Think of all the symptoms you normally associate with aging- decreased mobility, mental function, aches and pains, wrinkles...you name it. Now think of any disease- heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis... just about any disease you can think of.
Scientific studies now show that all of those symptoms we normally associate with aging, as well as just about every disease there is, are caused by the damage of free radicals on your body. Aha! If antioxidants stop free radicals, then antioxidants and disease prevention only makes sense.
Dr. Denham Harman proposed this theory back in 1954. It was a radical theory (pardon the pun) back then and pretty much ignored until the late 1960's, when several scientific studies proved him right. Since then, over 80 degenerative diseases have been linked to the consequences of oxidative stress (that's what they call the damage from free radicals).
Scientists now believe that all these degenerative diseases are not really separate things after all. They're just the different ways of your body expressing the results of the damage your body has suffered. Basically, wherever the free radical damage happens the most determines what disease you'll get. If there's more free radical damage in your blood vessels, you'll get heart disease. If there's more in your eyes, you'll get cataracts. If there's more in your brain, you'll get dementia or Alzheimer's. If there's more in your breast tissue, you'll get breast cancer. And so on and so on...
If you think about it, it makes sense. For example, why are smokers more likely to get lung cancer, asthma and COPD (all diseases of the lungs)? Because cigarette smoke is a major source of free radicals.
Every year now there are more and more scientific studies proving the link between antioxidants and disease.
The best part is that antioxidants are like the best "super-drug". You are fighting all diseases with the same antioxidants. Unlike pharmaceuticals, where you need 1 pill for diabetes, another for heart disease, another for arthritis, etc. etc. etc.... Some antioxidants work better for certain diseases, but for the most part, if you're getting a good variety, you're pretty much covered.
Ideally, you would give your body lots of antioxidants when you're healthy, and prevent disease in the first place. Because by the time you're noticing health problems, 80% of the damage has been done already- your body can take a lot of abuse before it starts showing signs. As you can guess, it's a lot harder for your body to repair itself at that point. It CAN be done though- I've watched it happen many times. It's nothing short of amazing when you see someone literally get their life back just from optimal nutrition. It makes everything I'm doing worthwhile.
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Now for how antioxidants and disease are specifically linked. If you already have health problems or are at risk of developing them, click on the disease(s) below that pertain to you.
Here's what you'll find:
Of course this is not an exhaustive list. Antioxidants and disease prevention has been linked to over 80 diseases remember?
I have many explanations and recommendations for conditions not listed here. I'm working on them...
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Please give me the benefits of antioxidants, and vitamins in general,with cancer treatment. Thank you, Niki
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