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 5 – Pillars of Health
Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Health: A Summary
Before getting into the details of balancing each pillar of health, let’s recap the process of oxidation and cellular stress discussed in previous sections. For our discussions, we’ll consider oxidation as the “first pillar” of metabolism that can interfere with and disrupt other metabolic or biochemical pillars (inflammation, glycation, and allostation) leading to cellular stress. As such, managing this process is one way to both directly strengthen this key pillar of health, as well as to indirectly support and strengthen other important aspects of cellular metabolism.
Overexposure to free radicals—and the cellular “oxidative” damage they can cause—leads to tissue dysfunction, DNA damage, reduced mitochondrial-energy production, and the ill health that you generally recognize as aging, illness and burnout. Too much oxidation and the resulting cellular stress is bad.
Free radical damage can be reduced by the balanced activity of internal antioxidant enzymes and dietary antioxidant nutrients—remember, not too few or too many, but “just right.” The sum of the antioxidant network is more effective than its individual components. In practical terms, this means you want to consume a variety of antioxidant nutrients every day.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we especially want to focus on naturally inducing our body’s own protective pathways—particularly the CDR pathway. Consuming more brightly colored vegetables and fruits help do this by virtue of their high content of flavonoids, carotenoids, and other phytonutrients. But triggering CDR pathways is perhaps best done by consuming concentrated herbal extracts such as pine bark, quercetin, green tea, turmeric, and ginger (among others) to increase levels of protective antioxidant enzymes as well as induce a range of housekeeping “cleanup” proteins to facilitate cellular repair. The CDR pathway, which triggers the release of these ultra-powerful antioxidant enzymes, also helps switch on DNA-repair enzymes and regulates chronic inflammation and immune function—all key areas of human health.
For those of us striving to be our “best selves” in terms of how we feel, look and perform, we need to understand that proper management of cellular stress is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of our biochemistry to get under control. Without cellular balance, we’re more likely to experience a wide array of detrimental effects, including excessive inflammation, problems with cell-to-cell communication, higher risk for DNA damage, disproportionate levels of fatigue, depression, and brain fog, and trouble maintaining both body weight and skin tone. The list of problems associated with unchecked cellular stress goes on and on, but the bottom line is that by restoring biochemical balance and properly managing cellular stress, we can put our bodies on a very strong foundation of cellular balance that can lead to us achieving that “best self” that so many of us have been striving for.
Thans for reading – please tune in for the next installment about “Inflammation – The World on Fire”