Health Pillar 1—Manage Oxidation

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Want to feel better than you’ve ever felt?

Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

Chapter 3: Health Pillar 1—Manage Oxidation
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 a natural process called “oxidation.” Within the body, oxidation takes place on the cellular level, and that is the focus of this chapter, because managing oxidative balance is the first key pillar of health for building vigor.

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 highly reactive oxygen molecules called “free radicals.” Many health-conscious readers are familiar with the term “antioxidant” and understand that it refers to such nutrients as vitamins C and E, among others, that help protect the body from these “free radicals.”

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 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 “damage” is actually needed for normal physiological functioning, including normal glucose transport, mitochondrial genesis, and muscle hypertrophy. However, unchecked or excessive free-radical activity is what leads to cellular damage—oxidation—and the cycle of inflammation and tissue dysfunction that follows.

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

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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