One of the most important discoveries in recent years is the role played in our health by Oxidative Stress. A few years ago, doctors laughed at the theory. Today all major universities have departments dedicated to the study of Oxy stress, or what is known as Free Radical Damage.
In a nutshell (and very, simply put), oxygen is the great contradiction: it gives us life, and yet, it can kill us, because, like all living matter, we ‘rust’.
Sit back, close your eyes for a moment, and focus on your breathing. Relax your shoulders and breathe in as deeply as you can, and then slowly release the air from your lungs. Do this several times. Breathe as if you are inflating your whole body, clear down to your toes. Pause and then slowly exhale. Feels great, doesn’t it? The air that enters our lungs brings life. As we quicken our breathing through aerobic exercise or running, we feel invigorated and may even experience a feeling of euphoria.
Imagine what is happening inside your body at a cellular level as oxygen enters through your nose and travels to your lungs. Life is an intricately woven miracle, evident in every breath. Fill your lungs with fresh air, rich with oxygen. Molecules of oxygen pass through the thin walls of the alveoli in the lungs into the blood that is passing by. Here it attaches itself to the hemoglobin in the blood, and your beating heart pumps this newly oxygenated blood back out to all parts of your body. The hemoglobin then releases the oxygen so it can enter the cells of your body, where it gives energy and life itself.
Within every cell in the body is a furnace called the mitochondria. Imagine yourself in front of a crackling, warm fire. It burns safely and quietly most of the time. But on occasion, out flies a cinder that lands on your carpet, burning a little hole in it. One cinder by itself does not pose much of a threat, but if this sparking and popping continues month after month, year after year, you will end up with a pretty ragged carpet in front of your fireplace.
Similarly, this microscopic organism, the mitochondria, within the cell reduces oxygen by the transfer of electrons to create energy into the form of ATP, and produces a by-product of water. This process goes on without a hitch at least 98 percent of the time. But the full complement of four electrons needed to reduce oxygen to water does not always happen as planned and a “free radical” is produced.
This cinder from the fireplace represents a free radical, and the carpet represents your body. Whichever part of the body receives the most free radical damage is the first to wear out and potentially develop degenerative disease. If it is your eyes, you could develop macular degeneration or cataracts. If it is your blood vessel, you could have a heart attack or a stroke. If it is your joint space, you could develop arthritis. If it is your brain, you could develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. After the passing of time, our bodies can look just like the carpet in front of the fireplace: pretty tatty.
Together we have just imagined the “bright” side of oxygen and the lift it brings (like the warmth of the fire), but we cannot deny the rest of the story. This is the part many of us have heard about: the demise that unruly free radicals causes, otherwise known as oxidative stress.
This oxidative stress is the underlying cause of almost all of these chronic degenerative diseases. Though this occurs on the inside, it is much easier to observe the oxidative stress that is occurring on the outside surface of the body, the skin. Have you ever seen a several-generation family portrait? If you looked closely at their skin, you would see the significant difference between that of the youngest family member and the oldest. The effect you see is due to oxidative stress of the skin. This same decay is happening inside our bodies too. 15 years ago, PrimeQuest developed a full spectrum anti-oxidant, we called Prime 3, and which we believe to be the most effective available.