In the 1950's Denham Harman provided the free radical theory of aging right and over the years it has also been found that free radicals are a foundation of a number of diseases like atherosclerosis and cancer. They causes inflammation in the body and degeneration and disease follows. Obesity is one result. Inflammation is also involved in Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and Alzheimer's as well as many other diseases.
Free radicals are molecules that react with oxygen and help in forming oxygen. They play a part in the signals cells send to each other and environmental stress affects them because cells get damaged and there are fewer cells. This leads to what may be called oxidative stress. This also happens when you are exposed to cigarettes, stress, chemicals, alcohol, pollution, high-fat foods, the ozone, food additives and during physical exercise.
Normally cells and antioxidants in the body such as glutathione defend against this but when the levels get too high the antioxidants we make in our body are not enough to destroy the bad molecules and the DNA, RNA and protein can damage so we age faster.
Insulin resistance happens when cells become less sensitive to insulin and then sugar is unable to enter the cells. The body ignores the message insulin is trying to send it and needs to make higher and higher amounts of insulin. The sugar builds up in the blood to a high, destructive level. There is now scientific proof that insulin resistance is behind a lot of illnesses which means that our level of anti-oxidants in our body needs to be kept high to avoid oxidative stress.
Mainstream medicine is finally beginning to recognize this link of insulin resistance. Current research only goes to prove this link between insulin resistance and other diseases ranging even to cognitive decline, various cancers, depression and perhaps even breast and colon cancer.
Most importantly infection is also thought to be the underlying reason for putting on weight and obesity. Inflammation could be a foundation for post-menopausal breast cancer, cancers of the endometrium, colon and kidney, and malignant adenomas of the oesophagus. Many of the latest studies show that free radicals are behind all this.
The most powerful antioxidants improve inflammation and insulin sensitivity. N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to prevent fructose-induced insulin resistance in rats and the turmeric part Curcumin also is an agent to improve insulin sensitivity. EGCG is also a well-researched antioxidant part in animal studies as is green tea for obesity and diabetes although it does not affect in this study the blood glucose levels. Bilberry has been known to improve the function of fat cells which also affect insulin resistance. Grape seed and Rosemary also help in raising anti-oxidant levels.
A two-step approach using antioxidants and blood-sugar-maintaining nutrients is needed to help improve your health. The body tend to become less sensitive to the effects of insulin as we get older so this becomes important. Add to this over-eating that increments blood sugar, too many carbohydrates – white bread, pasta, pizza etc and it means we need some antioxidants to help restore the insulin balance.
So antioxidants are important in helping the body prevent major illnesses, regulating the insulin and therefore help with weight loss. It is never too late to start looking after your health and it is important to see a qualified practitioner to design a program to suit you.