Every problem in life has a core foundation i.e the root of it. Until the root is discovered and uprooted, every effort to get rid of the disease would remain palliative in nature. Hypertension has a root and the recent scientific discovery in Molecular Medicine appears to have taken the bull by the horn.
The discovery shows that a certain group of molecules called Free Radicals are responsible for the fundamental changes that give birth to high blood pressure. The finding also proves that eradication of these elements from the body almost amounts to eradication of hypertension of primary origin. In this article, we shall discuss the foundation roles of Free Radicals and Cholesterol in Hypertension.
The Biochemistry of Free Radicals
This is a poorly understood subject even amongst doctors. The terms used in describing free radicals are somewhat professional but because of the importance of this discovery, I will ensure you get this gist in the simple and comprehensible language. One major contribution of this scientific discovery to humanity is that it helps not only believe in the bible history, which is recorded that men like Abraham, Methuselah and others lived for over 300 years, but also to understand what made such seemingly “unrealistic” history possible. They were not super humans. No! They only enjoyed biologically protected lifestyle.
Dr Denham Harmon became very famous for having discovered free radicals or more accurately for developing the concept of aging which unmasked the mystery of the ages. Biochemically, free radicals are atoms or molecules with unpaired electron (e-) on their outer surface. The presence of unpaired electron makes them unstable and very reactive and destructive. They are produced both in and outside the body.
However, they are mainly produced as free electrons during energy generating processes in the body. The body generates energy through three main cycles namely: Glycosis, Kreb’s Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation. Ironically, these energy generation mechanisms, which are essential for life can also set the stage for cell damage. During these processes, which is the main energy generating processes, particularly the oxidative Phosphorylation, which is the main energy generating processes in the body, free or unpaired electrons are released into the bloodstream as by-products.
As these unstable electrons come in contact with dissolved oxygen in the blood, they ionize (charge) them and make them super active and destructive. The products are called Superoxide or Peroxide and hydroxyl Free Radicals depending on the number of oxygen molecules involved in the ionization process. This could be likened to what happens when an electric current-loaded wire comes in contact with an iron or even human being; when such occurs, whosoever that touches the iron or the charged human being suffers a similar fate.
Furthermore, latest research on this subject revealed that compounds and heavy metals in the body multiply the destructive reactions of free radicals several thousand, possibly several million times. Some of them include lead, pesticides, insecticides, chlorofluorocarbons, and compounds from cigarette smoke pollution. The research further reveals that removal of these toxic elements from the body directly reduces the number and untoward effects of free radicals. It is on this basis that the use of chlorofluorocarbons as a refrigerant has been restricted.
Actions of Free Radicals
Free Radicals are unstable molecules that act like nuclear or atomic bomb. Because they have unpaired electron on their outer coat, they either steal (reduction) an electron from a cell or component of the cell or release (oxidation) the unpaired electron to another. When any of these occur, the cell they steal from or give automatically becomes unstable and mad.
This chain reaction continues until the eventual death of the affected cell. It is this chain reaction that Dr Harmon explains in his Free Radical Theory of Aging; which states that cells continuously produce free radicals and constant free radical damage eventually kills the cell. When free radicals kill or damage enough cells in the body, ageing sets in.
The major targets of free radicals in the body include: Mitochondria, Phospholipids, DNA, Proteins. On the phospholipid. Phospholipid is an unsaturated fat molecule that forms the outer coat of the cells. Frequent attack and damage of this coat can lead to a breakdown or even hardening of the coat.
If the cell wall is hardened (Lipid Peroxidation), it becomes impossible for the affected cell to properly get its nutrients, get signals from other cells to perform its functions. The implication of this is accelerated death of the affected cell, quick ageing and disease initiation.
DNA represents Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It determines the unique genetic composition of every human being. It coordinates the cellular activity. Regrettably, the primary site of free radical damage is the DNA found in the energy producing factory in the cell called Mitochondria. Majority of incurable disease occur due to alteration of the genetic constituents of the sequence of the DNA.