According to Dr Danham Harmon, who became very famous for discovering free radicals and developed the concept of Ageing. According to his findings, free radicals initiate cellular damage which preludes the onset of most chronic diseases of unknown origin as well as the ageing process. Through Dr Harmon’s discovery, we were able to know that the early men were not superhuman rather they enjoyed biologically protected life.
Balanced diet plays a leading role in prevention of diseases and ageing and free radicals play a leading role in initiation and exacerbation of diseases and ageing. However, divine biological engineering took cognizance of the possible menace of free radicals and man made provisions that cushion excess damage that might occur as a result of their devastating effects. The group of substance that checkmate the excess damage caused by free radicals is called Anti-Oxidants.
What are Anti-Oxidants
To understand importance and benefits of antioxidants, lets refresh our mind with what we know about free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. They react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane and cause damage. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs.
These radicals have been implicated as one of the causes of chronic disease e.g diabetes and acceleration of their complications. Convincing evidence has shown that anti-oxidants which cushion the effects of free radicals can reduce the risk of complications of diabetes. In 1998, Opara et al studied 50 people with diabetes and found that patients with poor blood sugar control and early stages of complications had depleted stores of ant oxidant.
Based on the findings on the association between anti oxidant depletion and poor sugar control, diabetes are strongly encouraged to take anti oxidants liberally. Anti-oxidants are body defense system against free radicals. There are two forms of anti-oxidants: Endogenous Oxidants and Exogenous oxidants.
Endogenous Anti-Oxidants; are those that are manufactured inside the body. These include Gluthathione, Super-Oxide Dismutase, Catalase, Peroxidase. The defensive capability of these internally manufactured molecules could be overwhelmed especially in the presence of high free radicals generating conditions, such as smoking, infections, pollution, heavy metal poisoning, strenuous exercise, etc
Exogenous Anti-Oxidants; these are ones that could be gotten through diet because the body cannot manufacture them. These include; Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C, E and Selenium (Trace Metal). Studies have shown that antioxidants consumption protects against development of cancer and chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. They also lower progress of cancer and prevent early ageing. Howbeit, if antioxidants are very important as it were, the big question now is, how rich is your diet in antioxidants? How do you evaluate them?
While thinking about the answers, have you ever wondered why men of old lived longer and healthier? Some even had children after 80 years of life. Whereas, at 60, most men today are looking quite consumed; battling with one chronic disease or the other. Nevertheless, what actually is responsible for this ageing discrepancy between the men of the old and those of the present generation? You may ask.
Answering this question from a health view point, the people of the old had fewer diseases to battle with but today, infectious and chronic diseases of all kind are ravaging the health of millions of people. Of course infections destroy body cells, thereby causing early ageing and immuno-suppression.
Furthermore, men of old were not exposed to industrial pollution, cigarette smoking, extreme exercise, ultra violet radiation secondary to global warming and other free radicals inducing agents as could be commonly seen in today’s society.