Best Future You – Chapter 2 – Don’t Take Antioxidants – Make Antioxidants!

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 2 – Managing Cellular Stress – the Basis for Feeling, Looking, and Performing Your Best

Don’t Take Antioxidants— Make Antioxidants!

Interestingly, while we know that there are numerous CDR-inducers in the natural world, we also know that specific combinations of ingredients can maximize gene expression in hundreds of genes associated with superior health of tissues and organs throughout the body. This suggests that our cells possess all the genetic resources required to maintain proper oxidative balance, promote health, and slow the aging process at the genetic level by naturally activating our CDR pathways.

Think about that for a moment. Every cell in our body has the ability to protect itself from the stressful, damaging, dangerous environment around us. Without that ability for self-protection and self-preservation, our cells would succumb to a buildup of damage and cellular dysfunction – and they would die. I wouldn’t be here writing this, nor would you be there reading this. At first glance, you might think that referring to the CDR pathways as a “fountain of youth” is a bit of an overstatement. However, we also have to keep in mind the words of Nobel-prize winning author, Albert Camus, “All great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning,” and realize that the CDR pathways have only been known to scientists for a little over twenty years. This makes the entire concept of “cells protecting themselves from stress” so novel as to sound somewhat ridiculous – except for the fact that we already have thousands of scientific studies showing exactly that to be true. For example, we know that lacking an adequately functional CDR pathway means that cells age faster and die sooner, because they lack the ability to protect themselves from cellular stress, but also because they lack the ability to repair damage and adapt to future stressors. With age, both the level of total CDR proteins and the efficiency of their activation decline – leading to reductions in levels of internal protective enzymes and increases in markers of cellular stress.

From my perspective, as a scientist who has been educating about wellness and performance for close to three decades, harnessing the CDR pathways is in many ways the Holy Grail of health and longevity. Three important methods have been scientifically proven to increase both CDR protein levels and activity to reduce cellular stress:

  1. Regular exercise
  2. Diet high in brightly-colored fruits/vegetables
  3. CDR-activating phytonutrients (plant-derived bioactives)

Scientific studies have demonstrated the CDR-activating benefits of a wide range of phytonutrients, such as catechins (from tea), curcumin (from turmeric spice), quercetin (from apples and onions), flavonoids (from dark chocolate), carotenoids (such as lycopene form tomatoes), xanthohumols (from hops in beer), resveratrol (from red wine), anthocyanidins (from pine bark), and many others.

So, if our bodies have the ability to produce their own protection from cellular stress, and we can stimulate that protection with herbs, spices, and plant compounds, you might be asking yourself why everyone isn’t following this approach already. Why isn’t everyone inducing this natural “fountain of youth” to improve their health and possibly extend their lifespan? One reason is because we’ve only known about the CDR pathways for about 20 years – since their discovery by several research groups in the early-to-mid-1990s. In nutrition research and biochemical circles, 20 years is practically yesterday, so while the idea of CDR activation for reducing cellular stress and promoting health is well-accepted among scientists, it has not had time to “cross-over” into the mainstream public knowledge (even among health professionals, most of whom have never heard of CDRs).

This idea of “making antioxidants” (naturally within our cells) compared to the standard approach of “taking antioxidants” (in the form of isolated high-dose vitamin supplements) is a fundamentally different approach to protecting the body from cellular stress—and might just be the future of how we protect ourselves to enhance our overall well-being and improve how we feel, look, and perform at all levels.

British science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke famously said that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – which is exactly where natural CDR pathway activation stands today. The “technology” is actually very old, ancient in fact, because it relies on the phytonutrients in herbs, spices, and plants used in traditional medicine to combat cellular stress and restore balance. But the “magical” aspect is due to the relatively newly discovered CDR pathways through which these phytonutrients exert their healthful benefits. For those individuals open-minded enough to see the possibilities, the future is indeed bright, especially because that magical future is actually right here for them to take advantage of today.

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment, “The Goldilocks Approach: Getting a “Just Right” Balance

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 2 -Modern Science Meets Ancient Wisdom

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 2 – Managing Cellular Stress – the Basis for Feeling, Looking, and Performing Your Best

You’ve been introduced to the concept that numerous factors can “stress” cells and wreak havoc on cell membranes, mitochondria, and DNA, leading to tissue damage and a wide range of chronic diseases, including cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Certainly, it’s logical to conclude that having cells with “less damage” (and better balance) is better than having cells with “more damage” (and less balance) – better for your health, better for how your mind and body function – and better for your long-term risk of chronic diseases. Of course, the challenge is knowing the most effective way to protect cells from damage, because, as you also learned in the preceding sections, the sources of damaging cellular stressors is external, internal, and unavoidable in our modern world.

Consuming antioxidants and phytonutrients in the form of brightly colored fruits and vegetables has clearly been shown in hundreds of research studies to be associated with reduced cellular damage and improved health. This research has led to many in the nutrition and health arenas to push the idea that if antioxidants in natural foods are beneficial, then we should take even more of them in pill form. Unfortunately, the practice of “taking antioxidants” in the form of isolated high-dose vitamin supplements is being linked in a growing number of research studies to more harm than good.

At the same time, exciting new research is also demonstrating how we can actually encourage the human body to protect itself from cellular stressors by turning on its own built-in and ultra-powerful cellular defense systems. This internal network of protective proteins, the Cellular Defense Response (CDR), is already inside every one of our 100 trillion cells—and its protective properties are more than one million times more powerful than typical antioxidant supplements.

Modern Science Meets Ancient Wisdom

Ancient medicine systems from around the world, particularly traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda), have used blends of herbs and spices to protect the body, alleviate the symptoms of aging, and promote longevity. Theses herbal/spice blends, including many of the herbs listed above, don’t “give” the body antioxidants like vitamin E or beta-carotene. Instead, these proven and invigorating botanicals amplify the body’s cellular production of its own internal and super-potent protective enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione, and many others) for vastly superior cellular protection benefits.

Biochemical and genetic research studies are showing us how these ancient herbal blends work—by activating a family of cellular “switches” (the CDR) to induce a series of cellular anti-stress genes and increase production of internal antioxidant enzymes and related protective proteins.

One way to think about the coordinated cellular defense response (CDR) and the multiple cellular defense pathways that can be activated by certain herbs and nutraceuticals, is to think about the protection to our national defense provided by multiple armed forces. In many different ways, our nation, cities, and communities are protected from various threats by the local police or fire departments; the CIA/FBI; the National Guard, and all the way up to the “big guns” of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The “level” of response and protection will depend on the route and the type of threat (stressor) encountered. When we activate the local and national defenses to protect the country, it’s very similar to activating the wide range of cellular defense responses (CDRs) through multiple internal biochemical pathways that go by abbreviated names such as NfkB, SIRT1, Nrf2, mTOR, HSP70, and myriad others.

You might think of the CDR pathways as an internal “thermostat” for cellular stress. Whenever a cell is under stress—whether from oxidative stress, inflammatory stress, or any type of other stress that our modern world might throw at us, the CDR pathways sense the stress and induce numerous protective responses. Some of these responses help to reduce free radical damage, or oxidative stress (antioxidant enzymes), while others help to clean up damage (housekeeping proteins), and still others prepare our cells for exposure to future stressors (heat shock proteins).

This natural induction of CDRs is very much a “master regulator” of the body’s antioxidant and protective response—and the same mechanism at the heart of numerous new biotechnology and pharmaceutical research projects. In many ways, the natural induction of CDRs is the future of holistically maintaining proper internal balance, protecting our bodies from destructive environmental factors, and encouraging the repair mechanisms to help us thrive in the face of a world filled with biochemical imbalancers and cellular stressors.

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment about how you can encourage your body to “Make it’s own antioxidants” for internal cellular protection and reduction of cellular stress.

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – Balancing Biochemistry

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

Balancing Biochemistry

When measuring the state of their health through lab tests, people often want to get their “numbers” down. For instance, they may strive to lower their cholesterol or to lower high blood-pressure readings. But when it comes to the subject of cellular stress, the goal is not simply to “lower” oxidizing free radicals or inflammatory cytokines or even stress hormones like cortisol – but instead to maintain proper balance. In fact, many stress physiologists believe that the problem is not so much the absolute level of cellular stress that people are exposed to, but their degrees of variability in that exposure that lead to imbalances that further lead to tissue dysfunction and systemic disease. In other words, people should aim to have neither high levels of cellular stress – nor low levels – but rather, a “just right” level that fluctuates normally in response to stress and adaptation. In coming chapters, we’ll look more at how chronically high cellular stress is bad, but also how chronically low cellular stress can also be bad—and especially how “flat” levels of cellular stress/adaptation that show little to no fluctuation seem to be just as bad as either extreme, because they lead to problems with biochemical balance and to adverse changes in other aspects of biochemistry farther “downstream” in the metabolic cascade.

You’ve just learned a great deal about biochemistry, and at this point you have a better understanding of how exposure to our external and internal environments affects your biochemical balance. You may also have come to realize that chronic cellular stress is not only a major stumbling block to developing daily vigor but a drastic threat to your long-term health as well. As you continue reading, you will recognize that the importance of balancing cellular stress is at the very heart of, and sets the foundation for, everything that we might do to improve how we feel, look, and perform.

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment when I kick off Chapter 2 with “Managing Cellular Stress – the Basis for Feeling, Looking, and Performing Your Best

====================================

Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – Sleep Loss and Cellular Stress

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

Sleep Loss and Cellular Stress

Have you ever had the experience of being exhausted during the day and all you can think about is getting some sleep? And then, when your head finally hits the pillow, you’re wide awake! Logically this “dynamic duo” of fatigue plus insomnia (or what we call “nighttime restlessness”) would seem to be opposites: If you’re so tired, why can’t you fall asleep? But they are commonly found together in the two-thirds of the North American population who report experiencing chronic stress and who also gets inadequate sleep (we often refer to these folks as the “tired and wired” – and they number in the millions). The common element? You guessed it: disruptions in the body’s biochemical balance. That imbalance is characterized by too much cortisol, too little testosterone, and the cascade of metabolic disruptions including oxidation/inflammation that lead cellular stress.

In the previous section, I discussed what happens when stress-induced imbalances in free radicals, cortisol, and cytokines precipitate a downward spiral that leads to cellular stress states such as obesity. By the same token, the combination of daytime fatigue/exhaustion and nighttime insomnia/restlessness also sets off a vicious cycle in which stress makes it hard to relax and fall asleep—which then leads to more fatigue. And being more fatigued after a sleepless night makes it harder to deal with stressors, which then causes even more difficulty falling asleep the next night…and the next night and the next after that in a repetitive cycle that ultimately ends in burnout.

In the long run, when you sleep fewer hours than the recommended eight hours per night, you can experience annoying side effects, such as headaches, irritability, frequent infections, depression, anxiety, confusion, and generalized mental and physical fatigue. Not only can the lack of sleep leave you feeling lousy and low on vigor, but research shows that even mild sleep deprivation can actually destroy a person’s long-term health and increase the risk of burnout, diabetes, obesity, and breast cancer. In many ways, sleeping fewer than eight hours each night is as bad for overall wellness as gorging on junk food or becoming a couch potato!

On the biochemical level, one of the major problems with the modern “late to bed, early to rise” lifestyle is that your cellular stress levels never have enough time to fully dissipate as they are supposed to overnight – they become chronic stressors rather than acute (temporary) stressors. As a result, your body never has a chance to fully recover and repair itself from the detrimental effects of chronic stress – and thus, is always out of balance. And when your biochemical balance is out of whack, it puts your overall metabolism into a downward spiral, accelerating the “breakdown” of tissues and sending your energy, mood, and mental focus into a tailspin, leaving you with low vigor.

Thanks for reading – tune in next time for the installment about, “Balancing Biochemistry.”

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – “Stressed Out”—The Downside of Chronic Stress

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

“Stressed Out”—The Downside of Chronic Stress

When people reach a breaking point in the face of too many pressures and worries, it is common to hear them say they are “stressed out” – and the very same process is at work at the cellular level. There is a difference between being “stressed” (that you can adequately respond to) and being “stressed out” (which exceeds our capacity to cope). When you are “stressed,” your body undergoes an adaptive response. Being “stressed out” suggests that your body is unable to mount an effective stress response – leading to biochemical imbalance – aka cellular stress.

The bad news is that modern society makes chronic stress largely inescapable. In numerous research studies, scientists have shown that overall cellular stress is significantly related to the degree of “daily hassles” (more hassles = higher cellular stress) as well as to age (higher age = more accumulated cellular damage) and to hours slept (less sleep = more cellular damage). Worse than that, scientists at Rockefeller University in New York have suggested that being “stressed out” may be the primary cause of many common “modern” diseases, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and burnout. In addition, researchers in Boston have suggested that chronic psychological stress is a primary cause not just of generalized cellular damage, but also of a variety of inflammatory diseases, including insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

When it comes to managing your weight or combatting obesity, you also have to seriously consider the impact of the cellular stress that accompanies chronic psychological stress. To begin with, the level of oxidation/inflammation in your body and the accumulation of abdominal fat (belly fat) are inextricably linked. That link takes place because cortisol, free radicals, and cytokines promote fat storage in a “chicken-and-egg” scenario in which it’s often hard to tell which came first (cytokines are a class of hormone-like signaling proteins that play a central role in the immune response and in the level of inflammation found throughout the body). So, when we gain belly fat, we often don’t know which came first; the stress (which causes an overexposure to cortisol); or the oxidation (caused by free radical overload); or the inflammation (altered by cytokine imbalance).

On the cellular level, oxidation/inflammation leads to obesity, which leads to more stress and oxidation/inflammation, which leads to more obesity. On the other side of the coin, reducing obesity has the opposite effect: Weight loss leads to a substantial improvement in biochemical balance and a drop in all forms of cellular stress, with drops in oxidation (free radicals), inflammation (cytokines), glycation (blood glucose), and stress hormones (cortisol). So the “chicken-and-egg” scenario that plays out across different types of cellular stress can run two ways, positively as well as negatively.

When these sources of cellular stress are locked in a downward spiral (moving toward “imbalance”), more inflammation and more obesity result; and when that cycle is reversed (moving toward “biochemical balance”), people experience weight loss and feel better. As you can see here and as you will learn throughout this book, it is the ability to manage chronic cellular stress that determines whether these biochemical cycles turn in the right direction.

Thanks for reading – tune in next time for the next installment about, “Sleep Loss and Cellular Stress

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – Antioxidants – right where you need them most

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

Antioxidants – right where you need them most

Even if we understand that overexposure to free radicals and underexposure to antioxidants can lead to damage and dysfunction in the body, we often fail to stop and ask ourselves which of our body’s systems might benefit the most from increased antioxidant protection and reduced cellular stress. The correct answer, of course, is “all of them” – but just to make sure, take a minute to think about which parts of your body are exposed to the highest levels of free radical exposure.

  • For athletes, the lungs, muscles, and cardiovascular system are subjected to high free radical loads as a result of the increased oxygen and blood flow demands of exercise.
  • For those of us exposed to polluted air – or secondhand cigarette smoke – or car exhaust, the free radicals that you’re breathing in that “bad air” is certainly harming your lungs, but those free radicals are also transmitted to every tissue in the entire body by our blood supply.
  • For sunbathers, the skin can benefit from the increased protection that antioxidants provide against the oxidizing ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Likewise, anybody that spends time outdoors exposed to the sun should be concerned with the potential for ultraviolet radiation to damage eye health.
  • For anyone who hits the drive thru for a fast food meal deal (even occasionally), consider that the fat and sugar in that burger, fries, and soft drink will unleash a storm of free radicals, inflammatory compounds, and other cellular stressors. Combine that with the fact that most people simply don’t consume enough brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and we clearly have a cellular stress “gap” between our free radical exposure and our antioxidant shield.

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment – “Stressed Out”—The Downside of Chronic Stress

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – What is Cellular Stress?

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

What is Cellular Stress?

A simple way to understand the meaning of “stress” is to define it as “the gap between demands and ability to meet those demands.” Every individual, of course, has a different capacity to effectively cope with stress and a different level of functioning when faced with stressful situations. The same is true of each of the trillions of cells in the human body. We all know someone who seems to be better “under pressure” than others. But even the rare person who has a high tolerance for stress ultimately has a breaking point. Add enough total stress to anyone – or any cell – and health and performance soon suffers.

To deepen our understanding of cellular stress, it is helpful to recognize the distinctions that many of the top stress researchers in the world use when analyzing this condition. First, is that the type of stress faced by our cousins in the animal kingdom, are typically short-term, temporary, or acute stressors. For example, if you were a zebra, you could consider a lion chasing you to be an acute stress. The lion charges at you from the bushes, you mount a “fight or flight” stress response to respond to the stress – and (assuming you get away) the stress response is over and done within a few minutes. That sort of short-term acute stress is distinct from the type of stressors that modern humans routinely face, because our stressors are longer-term, repeated, and chronic.

However, unlike animals, humans undergo not only physical stress but also psychological and social stress. Certainly, some sources of psychological stress are grounded in reality, such as the pressure you feel to make your monthly rent or mortgage payments. Other psychological stressors emanate from our imagination—for instance, the stressful encounters that you can imagine having with your boss, coworkers, kids, spouse, or others. So not only do you have to cope with real-life stressors, but your large, complex, and supposedly “advanced” brain has also developed the capacity to actually create stressful situations where none previously existed.

Earlier I described how the body can protect itself from cellular stress (oxidative stress) with “antioxidants” – which we can define as “substances that decrease the severity of oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS).” There are two main types of antioxidants:

  • Exogenous (meaning “outside” the body) – which includes dietary antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, & E, minerals such as selenium and zinc, and phytonutrients such as flavonoids (e.g. from blueberries, cranberries, grapes, etc) and carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein from carrots, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, etc).
  • Endogenous (meaning “inside” the body) antioxidants are enzymes that are naturally manufactured within each of our cells, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase and a variety of others.

Our internal protective antioxidant enzymes tend to be much more potent and effective in counteracting the damaging effects of free radicals compared to exogenous dietary antioxidants. This is because dietary antioxidants can only scavenge free radicals in a “one-to-one” relationship – for example, one molecule of vitamin C (antioxidant) quenching one molecule of hydrogen peroxide (free radical). This 1:1 relationship is referred to as “stoichiometric” scavenging – and while important and essential to normal biochemical function in the body, it pales in comparison to the potency of the “catalytic” scavenging of free radicals that is possible with endogenous antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant enzymes produced by each and every one of our own cells is approximately 1 million times more effective than exogenous antioxidants because the catalytic process allows each antioxidant enzymes to react with and deactivate millions of free radicals every second.

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment about, “Antioxidants – right where you need them most.

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 -Free Radical Theory of Aging and Disease

My 13th book, Best Future You, will be released on Feb 1 – TOMORROW!

Until then, I’m keeping the price at $3.49 – less than the cost of a grande latte! (it’s also FREE if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member)…after that, the price goes up to $9.99 – so get it now!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

The Free Radical Theory of Aging & Disease

For more than 50 years, scientists have known the aging process to be linked to the free radicals described above. These highly reactive oxygen molecules, referred to by scientists as “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) are produced during normal metabolism and can react with and cause damage to cellular structures in every tissue and throughout the entire body. Particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage are cell membranes, DNA (genetic material), and mitochondria (where cells generate energy) – and damage in these vital areas often means that cells cannot function properly.

It can be scary to think that our own body is producing these damaging molecules as a normal part of living and breathing – but it’s even scarier when you realize that ROS are all around us in the environment in the form of sunlight, car exhaust, air pollution, cigarette smoke, poor diet, and many other sources. Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by free radicals, and constantly under threat of cellular damage and dysfunction – unless we do something to protect ourselves.

Antioxidants are compounds that can react with and quench – or inactivate – a free radical so it cannot cause cellular damage. As such, antioxidants help to protect every cell in our body from damage by free radicals.

Too many free radicals – or too few antioxidants – can wreak havoc on cell membranes and DNA, leading to tissue damage and a wide range of chronic diseases including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.

The free radical theory of aging (and disease promotion) holds that through a gradual accumulation of microscopic damage to our cell membranes, DNA, tissue structures and enzyme systems, we are predisposed to dysfunction and disease. In response to excessive free radical exposure, the body naturally increases its production of endogenous antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase and others), but it has been theorized that our bodies are less able to activate these internal protective systems as we age. Thus, in order to promote optimal health and well-being, many of us probably need to augment our natural defenses by “manually activating” these natural pathways in order to help prevent excessive oxidative damage to muscles, mitochondria and other tissues.

If you’ve ever noticed an apple turning brown shortly after being cut open or an old car with rust spots all over it, you’ve actually seen the results of the natural process of oxidation. One simple definition of oxidation is that it describes what happens when oxygen combines with another substance. On a somewhat more technical level, oxidation refers to the “loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact.” How are these electrons lost? They’re “stolen” by the highly reactive free radicals described above.

Free radicals are highly reactive and potentially damaging, because they have an “unpaired” electron that wants to “pair” with another electron. Unfortunately, free radicals often try to “take” that needed electron from proteins and lipids (fats) in the cells, creating microscopic damage to cellular structures and leading to tissue dysfunction. Perhaps even worse than the direct damage to DNA and cellular structures is that damage in one part of the cell can set off a chain reaction of damage that can be propagated from one part of the cell to another, just as a campfire spark jumps from tree to tree in a forest and leads to a wildfire.

Free radicals are not necessarily “bad”—a certain amount of cellular “signaling” by free radicals is actually needed for normal physiological functioning, including normal glucose transport, mitochondrial genesis, and muscle hypertrophy (growth). However, unchecked or excessive free-radical activity is what leads to cellular damage—oxidation or oxidative stress—and the cycle of inflammation and tissue dysfunction that follows.

Consuming antioxidant nutrients in the form of brightly colored fruits and vegetables has clearly been shown in research studies to be associated with reduced free radical damage and improved health. Unfortunately, the practice of “taking antioxidants,” in the form of high-dose vitamin supplements, is being linked by a growing number of scientific studies to more harm than good, which you’ll learn more about in Chapter 3.

Cells are typically able to protect themselves from free-radical damage through the internal (endogenous) antioxidant enzymes described above (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase) as well as through antioxidant nutrients found in the diet (vitamins C and E, minerals selenium and zinc, flavonoids, and carotenoids—many of which can directly “quench” free radicals by donating their own electrons).

As you’ll learn in Chapter 4, our bodies possess their own built-in systems of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses that naturally protect us from our stressful environment (collectively known as the cellular defense response, or CDR). However, when these internal systems are overwhelmed by free radicals and other sources of cellular stress, damage may occur to DNA, proteins, and lipids in cell membranes (generally referred to as “lipid peroxidation”). Excessive free-radical production can come from air pollution, cigarette smoke, intense exercise, and even immune-system activity (because immune cells release huge amounts of free radicals such as superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and nitric oxide as part of their “respiratory burst” to kill pathogens and clear out damaged cell material).

The most common free radicals in the body include superoxide (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radical (OH-), nitric oxide (NO-), and peroxyl radical (NOO-). Superoxide, the most reactive of the free radicals, is formed in the mitochondria of the cell during the normal passage of molecular oxygen through the electron transport chain during creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for cellular energy. Superoxide is inactivated by the action of the cellular antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, resulting in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). At this stage, hydrogen peroxide is still a free radical, but one with a lower potency. Hydrogen peroxide can be further converted into harmless water and oxygen by the activity of other cellular antioxidant enzymes; catalase and glutathione peroxidase.

Thanks for reading – next installment will be about, “What is Cellular Stress?

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Best Future You – Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

My 13th book, Best Future You, will be released on Feb 1!

Until then, I’m keeping the price at $3.49 – less than the cost of a grande latte! (it’s also FREE if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member)…after that, the price goes up to $9.99 – so get it now!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 1 – The Battle for Balance

If you think about the modern world in which we live, you’ll realize that we’re surrounded by almost countless sources of stress. The sources of stress in the modern world are all around us – externally from the environment; internally from our own metabolism; and bombarding us from every corner.

Consider some of the major sources of stress:

  • Emotional stress from work deadlines, bills, traffic, relationships
  • Physical stress from normal aging, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise (or too much)
  • Environmental stress from air/water pollution, sunlight, secondhand smoke, and myriad toxins lurking in our foods, cosmetics, and other products
  • Non-Optimal Diet such as too many processed foods and inadequate nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables

If that news weren’t bad enough already, we also have to consider that our bodies naturally produce highly reactive molecules known as free radicals as a normal part of metabolism (converting food into cellular energy). These free radicals can create a unique type of internal cellular stress that accumulates as we age.

In many ways, we need to accept the fact that our exposure to stressors that can unbalance cellular biochemistry comes from myriad external sources, but also from internal ones – and that they’re all around us and unavoidable.

Since this is the world we live in, we need to use as many tools as we can to protect us – and luckily, the natural world has also provided us with numerous tools to both protect and repair our unbalanced cells and realize our best future selves. But, before we can fight that fight, we need to know what we’re up against – and knowledge about free radicals and cellular stress is the first step in preparing for the fight.

Thanks for reading – tune in next time for the section about the Free Radical Theory of Aging & Disease…
Shawn
====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Live long and prosper (longevity and wel

Live long and prosper (longevity and well-being benefits) with a Mediterranean Diet http://ow.ly/XE2HM

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