by Dr. Troy Smith, D.C.
Part 4 of 7
In Part 3 we learned about cancer’s causes, specifically toxins and pollution. In this part, we discuss the role oxidation plays in all of this.
Everyone has heard that “stress” causes this or that disease. And yes it is true, that stress is a factor in almost every disease I know of. However, there are several different types of stress. There is not only mental/emotional stress, but also biomechanical stress on our muscles and joints, as well as chemical stress caused by toxins like we discussed in the previous post. All types of stress can overwhelm the body’s systems, leading to diseases, such as cancer. One important type of stress that occurs in the cells is called oxidation.
Oxidation is what happens inside our bodies as things break down. Basically, it is rusting. Chemically, it is the removal of electrons from atoms that make up the molecules in our cells. Imagine that as our cells break down the food they need, or if they are exposed to pollutants, or if there is too much stress in the body, more and more electrons are pulled off of the molecules in our body, creating electron hungry molecules. These electron hungry molecules are called “reactive oxygen species,” otherwise known as “free radicals.” These free radicals go around stealing electrons from other molecules, which the body needs, thereby “rusting” the important parts of the cell that need to be protected.
Luckily, our body has ingenious ways to protect us from too much oxidation. As long as the cell has a nice supply of electrons hanging around to hand out to these reactive species, they can calm down and stop messing everything else up. These molecules with these extra electrons are called antioxidants.
Many antioxidants you may be familiar with, such as vitamins C, A and E. The most powerful antioxidant, however, is known as glutathione. Glutathione is produced inside the cells. Glutathione is supported by specific vitamins, minerals and chemicals in food and herbs that keep this system, called redox reactions (reduction/oxidation,) in balance. When the redox is out of balance, as you can imagine, these reactive species wreak havoc in a cell and start breaking things that shouldn’t be broken, like our DNA.
To counteract this scenario, and prevent these types of cancers, it is imperative to have large amounts of antioxidants in the cell’s body. Recent health trends suggest eating large amounts of berries and other foods with high amounts of antioxidants in them. More recent research suggests that most of these antioxidants don’t actually make it into the cells where the antioxidant need is the greatest. What more recent research suggests, is that turning on our cell’s ability to make it’s own antioxidants is vastly superior to eating them! (1)
There are several important genes within all of our cells that regulate this amazing ability of cells to protect themselves, and they are called vitagenes. What’s more is there are more and more foods and herbs that are being shown to turn on these vitagenes, protecting us from a host of degenerative diseases, including cancer, from inside the cell!
Be sure to sign up to follow our blog, so you can continue reading Part 5 of the series next week, when we’ll talk about what kinds of additional support our bodies need to prevent cancer.
(1) Bone, Kerry. Defending the Human Fortress: New Insights on Herbal Support for the Body’s Defenses. Presentation – San Jose,2012