Pro-oxidants Accelerate Aging
Obviously we all know that oxygen is essential to human life. But, ironically, oxygen plays a role in our degeneration and death as well. When the human body converts oxygen into energy, a by-product known as reactive oxygen is also produced. Although these reactive oxygen “species” (commonly referred to as ROS) are natural by-product of our metabolism, they are nonetheless highly toxic to the system.
It is important to understand that pro-oxidants are not fundamentally “bad” in-and-of themselves. They naturally play an important role in our health and survival by helping to generate the inflammatory responses that protect us. Oxidation, defined as the loss of an electron by a molecule, atom or ion, helps to destroy and even eliminate certain toxins from the body. Without these oxidations, for example, most cases of the flu would be fatal. Small injuries would kill us.
Pro-Oxidants are Oxidation-Promoting Molecules
The overproduction of pro-oxidants (free radicals, reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen), however, will inevitably cause significant damage to the body. Increased levels in cell membrane damage and cell death. Many pro-oxidants damage our mitochondria, the essential energy producing units of our cells, and can damage or destroy our genetic material (DNA and RNA), which of course leads to reduced adaptability, degenerative disease, aging, cancer and death.
How Do pro-Oxidants Work?
Pro-oxidants have an electron-imbalance – they posses an unpaired electron, which is chemically very unstable. As a result, pro-oxidants aggressively seek out an electron from an electron from another molecule around them (an unwitting “donor”). If not quenched immediately upon production, they will proceed to “steal” an electron from bodily cells, which harms these cells and literally makes the body “rot or rust.”
The Process of Oxidation & Stress
This process of grabbing an electron from another atom or molecule is known as oxidation, and the condition that results from excessive oxidation in the body is called oxidative stress. An excess of pro-oxidants in the body creates an unstable cellular environment. Oxidative stress thus is a killer condition. It can be chronic (slow developing) or acute (rapid developing). But sooner or later, oxidative stress will result in tissue damage, accelerate aging, degenerative disease, and is likely to be involved in the development of cancer and/or the development of infectious disease.
Toxins are Spreading
There are so many toxins in the environment that it is virtually impossible to eliminate them or avoid them. Recently I have been very interested in knowing more about what's happening in the modern world of science, and I came across an article that was about a study done on different chemicals. And there was a list of 216 chemicals found ubiquitously in America that are definitive carcinogens that cause breast cancer. The article noted that only 1000 chemicals had been tested to date for breast cancer, and that there are at least 80,000 chemicals in the environment that have not been tested that are candidates, and quite likely, many of these will have similar results. And this report relates to just breast cancer.
Most, if not all of these toxins, have potent pro-oxidant activity in the human body. They wreak havoc on living tissue, right down to our DNA, and the result is slow or quick poisoning and ultimately disease. There is no possible way to single out most of these environmental toxins and completely eliminate them. The body's innate antioxidant system is not capable of protecting against them n its own – the onslaught is too great. The body has backup methods of eliminating these toxins (such as storing them away in the liver, pigmentation, and so on), but these have their own side effects and ultimately cannot protect against the continued onslaught of environment pro-oxidant chemical. The body needs remarkable exogenous (outside source like a balance raw food diet) to help protect itself.
By TTS Cofounder Botanical Chef Omid Jaffari