attacks by free radicals - collectively known as oxidative
stress - are capable of causing cells to lose their structure,
their function, and eventually destroying them. Not only
does our body normally produce them, but the air we breathe
contains free radicals in the form of toxins and pollutants.
The Effects of Free Radical Damage
Can you feel the effect of free radical damage? Not immediately.
But unless you take the necessary steps to help counteract
the unrelenting attack from free radicals, you run the
risk of allowing cumulative damage to your tissues, joints,
organ systems and blood vessels. And you can feel these
effects. Overall, free radicals have been implicated in
the kidney disease, cataracts, inflammatory bowel disease,
colitis, lung dysfunction, pancreatitis, drug reactions,
skin lesions, and aging, to mention a few. Heart disease
and cancer are two of the most widespread diseases associated
with free radical damage. Heart disease is the leading
cause of death in America today, killing an estimated
one in every three Americans. Several factors, such as
high blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, cigarette
smoking, and diabetes, are chief culprits in the promotion
of heart disease.
more and more studies are linking low intakes of dietary
antioxidants to an increased risk of heart disease. Cancer
is the second leading cause of death in this country.
It is estimated that deficient diets may be associated
with approximately 35% of all human cancers. The amount
of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables included in
one's diet appears to have a significant impact on cancer
risk. Many scientific studies have reported that a reduction
in cancer risk is associated with a diet high in antioxidant
vitamins, such vitamin C.
Free Radicals and Chronic Fatigue
Free radical damage has also been associated with the
symptoms of chronic fatigue. In the human body, energy
comes from the mitochondria, commonly referred to as the
energy power houses of cells. The mitochondria can be
thought of as an energy generator. Any of a variety of
factors which cause alterations or disruptions in the
workings of the mitochondria may contribute to symptoms
often characterized by symptoms of increased fatigue (especially
following physical activity), sleep disturbances, morning
stiffness and widespread deep muscle pain. Some scientists
have suggested a relationship between the dysfunction
of the mitochondria and these symptoms. It is estimated
that between three and six million people in the United
States are affected by fibromyalgia, with the majority
of cases reported in women between 25 and 45 years of
Together Balanced, Free Radical Protection
Fortunately, free radical formation is controlled by a
complex network of beneficial compounds known as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are capable of stabilizing, or deactivating,
free radicals before they attack cells. But providing
proper antioxidant protection is a challenge similar to
putting a puzzle together. All the necessary pieces must
be available and properly combined to create comprehensive,
balanced protection. To help you benefit from the antioxidant
pieces needed to protect your cells, we suggest that you
eat a well-balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, fresh vegetables
and whole grains, and reinforce that diet with balanced,
comprehensive, high quality antioxidant supplements. Fill
out the Oxidative Stress Questionnaire provided below.
It could help determine whether you may be in need of
Us Help You Maintain Your Antioxidant Balance
You can't always eat right, get the right amount of exercise
and avoid all the toxins and pollutants you're exposed
to every day. But you can make a positive contribution
to the cellular war against oxidative free radical damage
by improving the balance between free radicals and antioxidants.
We suggest that you increase your intake of vital antioxidant
nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
We can also develop a therapeutic strategy to help reinforce
your first line of defense with a comprehensive nutritional
program designed to maintain your antioxidant balance
and help protect the health of your cells.
Ask us about your oxidative
stress risk and the results of the questionnaire on this
POINT SCALE Answer each of the following questions relative
to your symptoms or history over the past month. Once
you've completed the questionnaire, ask us about your
0 = None or Never
1 = Slightly or Rarely
2 = Mild or Occasionally
3 = Moderately or Frequently
4 = Severe or Often
Do you have symptoms that are aggravated by air pollution?
2. Are you sensitive to smoke, perfume or other chemical
3. Do you have ongoing problems with fatigue?
4. Do you suffer from joint or deep muscle pain?
5. Do you have a significant environmental exposure to
pollutants (at work or at home)?
6. Rate your use of tobacco products.
7. Rate your exposure to second-hand smoke.
8. Rate your consumption of alcoholic beverages.
9. Rate your unprotected exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet
10. Rate your level of exercise.
11. What is your exposure to prescription, over-the-counter
medications, and or recreational drugs?
12. Rate your daily stress level.
13. Rate your intake of fried foods, margarine or high-fat
14. How often do you seek medical care or advice for your
up the numbers to arrive at a total.
Are you currently taking antioxidant supplements?
References 1. Langseth, L. From the Editor:
Antioxidants and Diseases of the Brain. Antioxidant Vitamins
Newsletter 1993;4:3. 2. Halliwell, B., Free Radicals,
Antioxidants, and Human Disease: Curiosity, Cause, or
Consequence? Lancet 1994;344:721-724. 3. Hennekens, C.H.
and Gaziano, J.M., Antioxidants and Heart Disease: Epidemiology
and Clinical Evidence. Clin Cardiol 1993;16(suppl I):I-10,
I-15). 4. Hennekens, C.H., Antioxidant Vitamins and Cancer.
Am J Med 1994;97(SA)2S-4S; discussion 22S-28S. 5. Fontham,
E.T., Vitamin C, Vitamin C-Rich Foods, and Cancer: Epidemiologic
Studies. ch 6, p 157-197. 6. Trounce, I. et al., Decline
in Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Function:
Possible Factor in Aging. Lancet. 1989;I(8639):637-638.
7. Shigenaga, M.K. and Ames, B.N., Oxidants and Mitochondrial
Decay in Aging. Ch 3, p 63-106. in Natural Antioxidants
in Human Health and Disease. ed. Frei, B. Academic Press:
San Diego, 1994. 8. Eisinger, J. et al., Glycolysis abnormalities
in Fibromyalgia. J Am Col Nutr. 1994; 13(2):144-148.