By Marie Be
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Aging involves a multitude of factors, but it can be best understood as a progressive decline in the body’s capacity to regenerate its own cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that oxidative stress caused by free radicals is the most important factor contributing to the aging process.
The human body is a complex interaction of systems, or living organisms, operating at different scales. The smallest system in the body is the cell. The cells are the fundamental constituent of bigger systems such as tissues and organs, which in turn regulate another scale of complex systems such as the immune, lymphatic, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems, which together make up the entire body.
The average adult body is composed of around 30 trillion cells, each of them attempting to produce enough energy to serve their two primary functions:
- Perform its specific function within the body.
- Regenerate itself (and keep the DNA safe from damage).
Our cells are finely tuned to process specific nutrients, the fuel needed to create energy, repair and regenerate the body from within. Correct cellular nutrition supports cellular energy production, which in turn supports the cells in performing their natural functions. When a cell stops working or becomes dysfunctional, the root cause is almost always due to chronic deficiencies of essential nutrients or the presence of toxins which interfere with cellular function. So detoxing and maintaining an ideal nutrient balance are a must for good cellular health.
To illustrate how detoxification benefits health at a cellular level, it is useful to have a rough idea of how the cells actually work – or how they produce their energy.
The mitochondrion, a membrane surrounding each cell of the body, serves the underlying functions of transforming nutrients into absorbable energy and regulating cellular metabolism. They are organelles that act like our digestive system – it takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy for the cell. The process of creating cell energy is known as cellular respiration. Alike the chlorophyll process in plants, cellular respiration takes nutrients in and eliminates oxygen as a metabolic waste. Oxygen as by-products creates free radicals within the body.
A free radical is a highly reactive atom, toxin or molecular fragment with a free or unpaired electron. In addition to being generated during cellular metabolism in mitochondria, free radicals can be produced in response to different environmental toxins such as chemicals, heavy metals, ionizing radiation, UV rays, GMOs, etc.
To break it down, every single healthy body cell contains pairs of electrons orbiting around its core molecule. Pairs of electrons around the nucleus ensure the molecule holds a neutral charge, keeping the cell stable and able to perform its natural functions. Cellular toxins, namely free radicals or molecules that cause damage within the body, have lost an electron. This means that they are positively charged and unstable. Free radicals are damaging as they seek to absorb an electron from surrounding cells in order to become stable.  They bounce around until they succeed in pulling an electron off healthy surrounding cells, causing the affected molecule to become a free radical itself. The new free radical can then pull an electron off the next molecule, and a chemical chain reaction of free radical production occurs, disrupting and damaging living cells.
Free radical imbalance within the body results in oxidative stress, leading to cellular damage. Once the negative feedback loop of oxidative stress is established in the body, cellular deterioration and organs malfunctions start affecting the entire body. This imbalance can lead to cross-linking of atomic structures and DNA in the body, damaging cellular DNA, respiratory chain, membranes and proteins. DNA cross-linking can in turn lead to various increasing cellular DNA defects, fueling aging, skin wrinkling, cancer, heart diseases and degenerative diseases.
In addition to the internal toxins produced by cellular respiration, the modern body also has to counteract a constant bombardment of external man-made chemicals in our cosmetics, air, food and water supplies. The large number of environmental pollutants, heavy metals and radiations we encounter every day compromises the body’s detoxification efforts.
Toxic build-up is a dangerous process that often has debilitating results. As toxic stress increases, the toxins end up lodged within our internal organs, skin, body cells, brain and unwanted fat, disrupting normal metabolic functioning within the body.
Reducing Oxidative Stress
There are two ways to assist the body into dealing with free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. The best way is to supply your cells with antioxidants. These molecules have an extra electron and are negatively charged, which means they act as electron donors. It takes less energy for a free radical to take an unpaired electron from an antioxidant than to break a pair from a healthy body cell. This way, antioxidants inhibit oxidative stress within the body, preventing molecular structure and DNA damage.
Antioxidants are found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, teas and herbs. Antioxidant-rich foods slow the effects of age-related degeneration and disease and provide benefits for heart health, bone health and immune support.
Not all antioxidant foods will create the same effect within the body. One way of comparing them is through their ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value, which describes the neutralization capacity of any given antioxidant. Cloves, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric stand amongst the highest-ranking foods. However, ORAC values omit to consider that there are many different categories of antioxidants, each preforming a slightly different task in the human body. One must ensure to maintain a variety of antioxidants in their body for optimal health.
Antioxidants fall within two broad categories: antioxidant nutrients and antioxidant enzymes.
- Antioxidant nutrients include: Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, and Selenium. In the body, they act similarly to vitamins and react with macronutrients such as proteins.
- Antioxidant enzymes vary from their antioxidant nutrient counterparts in that they cannot act on their own. They each require minerals to catalyze reactions and make up the body’s endogenous defense system.
Cacao Butter and Zeolite
Cacao butter contains antioxidants from both categories, making it an extremely powerful healing agent. Within the antioxidant nutrient category, it contains levels of Vitamin E in the highest concentration of all other natural foods, even blueberries and other superfoods. It also contains antioxidants of the enzyme category combined with the minerals necessary to generate their detoxifying process, such as phytochemicals (plant chemicals) flavonoids, which up-regulate antioxidant enzyme activity.
Cacao butter can be either ingested or used as a skin moisturizer, in both cases it will act as a powerful antioxidant.
Used as a moisturizer, the skin absorbs cacao butter, and free radicals in the lower depths of the skin are destroyed as soon as they are produced, drastically inhibiting the dermal aging process. Cocoa butter immediately impacts the texture and hydration of the skin, while continued use supports healthy skin hydration, collagen and elastin production, and minimizes long-term free radical damage.
Another effective way to reduce oxidative stress is to use zeolite to capture and remove free radicals from the body. Acting like a free radical vacuum, the mineral zeolite carries a strong negative charge that attracts and traps positively charged free radicals, allowing them to be passed by the body’s natural elimination functions. Zeolite can be taken as a natural supplement, or can be easily absorbed through the skin.
Detoxing, or internal cleansing, is essential to restore and maintain optimal health. Done correctly, detoxing can improve the efficiency of the body’s immune, metabolic and lymphatic systems by reallocating the energy previously used to fight toxins, maintaining healthy natural functions. When your body is cleansed, its energy shifts from life-maintenance to regeneration processes, promoting vitality and a long disease-free life.
I hope you found this article informative. If you would like more information, you are more than welcome to visit me at my website EarthSun.
When I started EarthSun, I wanted to set a new standard for the body care industry. I wanted to go beyond simply “not toxic”, and provide genuine healthy alternatives. At EarthSun we add detoxing, healing and health-enhancing ingredients like zeolite and cacao butter (to mention a few) to our all-natural body products. We also support sustainable and ‘beyond fair’ trade farming, using only the highest food grade quality, raw and organic ingredients. Please feel free to check us out!
Previous articles by Marie:
- Skin Science – Debunking Cosmetic Industry Propaganda
- BURN: Health Impacts of Sunscreen Found to be Worse Than UV Damage!
- 3 Years After Fukushima: Behind the Skewed Data and Vested Interests
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 Antioxidant-rich diet shows a reduced heart attack risk of 20-29% in women: (The American Journal of Medicine)
Higher intakes of antioxidant-rich vegetables, lutein and zeaxanthin associated with a lower risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
Vitamin C may reduce the effects of air pollution on asthma, COPD: (Epidemiology)
Fruits and vegetables beneficial for bone density: (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
 Cocoa flavonoids up-regulate antioxidant enzyme activity via the ERK1/2 pathway to protect against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells
About the author:
Marie Be’s inspiration comes from her mom who always challenged common assumptions and sought to understand for herself the major issues concerning her family and the choices she made on their behalf. She raised Marie and her brother in a rural environment, feeding them the best organic foods, and focused on building strong immune systems in her children through the use of natural plants, herbs and minerals.
As a fiery teenager, Marie travelled the world in search of purpose and dreamed of positively influencing our society. While earning her first two degrees, in architecture and sustainable development, she worked for Greenpeace and many other organizations of change. Her experience taught her that change cannot be imposed; she now aims at inspiring individuals through education and awareness.
Marie moved to Vancouver to undertake a Masters in Regenerative Sustainability under the supervision of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Teaching workshops on well-being, she started observing a widespread desire in our society for both physical and environmental health and sustainability. Feeling the winds of change, Marie founded EarthSun.
Earth for the Sun was inspired by nature, the source of life. By tuning in that source, by acquiring knowledge on ancient herbal traditions as well as new technologies, Marie believes it is possible to use nature’s intelligence and deliver simple and effective health products. Check out EarthSun for more information.