Age Faster? What are “Free Radicals”?

Hello Bob, it’s great to be back again. This summer is going by fast and it seems to be a bit radical at times. So it reminded me about an important topic to cover in this month’s newsletter. We are going to look at free radicals and how they play a part in the aging process and what we can do to slow them down a bit.

So what are these free radical things we hear so much about these days? Well, if you said they are free you would be right. They are freely produced in our body naturally, but just as any radical thing, they get out of control and do major damage to our cells
if not kept in check. Many now agree that the damage they cause to our bodies not only cause illness, they also speed up the aging process. Who in their right mind wants to age faster? Not this young 50 year old!

According to Dr. Denham Harman, emeritus professor of the university of Nebraska, aging arises from the process of oxidization. If you cut an apple in half and let it sit for a while, it turns brown because of oxidization. Or, look at what happens to a car that has been sitting in a junkyard exposed to oxygen over time. It corrodes and we use the term rust when we refer
to oxidization of metals.

The aging process is similar to this because our cells need a source of energy in order for us to live and that source is oxygen. However, oxygen can also be harmful to our body if we were to breath pure oxygen instead of air, which contains only 21% oxygen. In fact, our lungs would be destroyed in only 2 days if we were to do this.

In 1954, Dr. Harman’s research had led him to postulate his theory of aging- that free radicals, the byproducts of oxidation, are the true cause of aging. This theory is now widely accepted around the entire world.

So What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are formed within the organism itself as a result of the conversion of sugar and oxygen into energy. This conversion takes place in the mitochondria, structures found inside the cells. Mitochondria fulfill their function of producing energy, but leave radicals in their wake.

Free radicals assist in the extermination of germs and certain bacteria so they are good to have available in our body. But
when they accumulate, they cause chain reactions that damage cell membranes and our genetic material.

Without going into a lot of detail, a free radical is an atom or nucleus that has lost an electron partner. Because electrons exist as pairs, during oxidization, they lose their partner in order to create energy. This is why they are called "free" radicals. They
are free from their partner but now they go about wildly to seek out and to unite with another electron to stabilize itself once again. It does this by stealing an electron from another molecule, which in turn does the same thing. This causes a chain
reaction resulting in cellular chaos. Each molecule in our body lives only a few thousandths of a second yet every chromosome receives some ten thousand attacks like this every day!

Free radicals also affect other processes such as hormonal regulation and the development of the proteins necessary to regulate nerves, muscles, skin and hair. Free radicals are so destructive that a single free radical can damage a million or more molecules. This is why they cause a multitude of diseases.

To name just a few:

Alzheimer’s disease
High blood pressure Schizophrenia
Parkinson’s disease
Down’s syndrome
Memory loss
Brain deficiencies
Cystic fibrosis
Pre-mature aging

Without a doubt, free radicals sabotage good health and encourage the aging process to speed up, but, only if we allow them to have this freedom.

Antioxidants Prevent This Damage

Fortunately our bodies have some protective mechanisms against the harmful effects of free oxygen radicals and other even more powerful radicals such as the so-called peroxides and hydroxyl radicals. The protective mechanisms are enzymes and antioxidants.

Some enzymes in the human body are capable of neutralizing the free radicals as soon as they are formed. The best known
of such enzymes is called SOD (super oxide dismutase). SOD and other enzymes convert super oxide and damage to lipids and to DNA This mechanism slows down in our body later in life, so that the damage may accumulate and become visible as the process of ageing, when tissues lose their elasticity. Damage to the hereditary material (DNA) in a normal cell may cause
it to become a cancer cell.

Remember what happened to the apple that we cut in half? It turned brown due to oxidation. But if we were to cover it with vitamin C, the vitamin C would protect it from doing this. This is why it is so important to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs for protecting your health.

But ask yourself this question: “How much vitamin C did I get from my diet yesterday?” Was it enough to protect you that
day or was some of this damage already done? What about the day before or the week before? Should we really leave it up to chance knowing what these free radicals are up to each and every day in our body?
Can we or should we really depend
on just our diet to give us this protection based on our current food supply that is available to us these days?

What about our fast paced lives? Do you ever skip a meal or eat on the run? Do you keep from eating certain foods you do not like but contain a lot of antioxidants such as raw vegetables? As you can see, free radicals are not something we want to simply allow to have free space and time to damage our cells or age us long before our time. Why not stay as young as we
can for as long as we can by simply supplementing our diet with antioxidants from a proven source such as Shaklee?

The chain reaction of damage in the human body caused by free radicals can be interrupted by antioxidants.  Vitamin E,
which is found in vegetable oils, is the most effective antioxidant. It stops the chain reaction by becoming a radical itself, but since it is stable, no further damage is done! Other well-known antioxidants are vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Carotenoids, found in vegetables, and Flavonoids, found in fruits. 

If you want the best protection using Shaklee products, start with our Wellness Pack. It is just like building a house; you want to start with a good foundation before putting on the roof for overall protection. Then, if you want the very best protection against free radical damage, add Shaklee CarotoMax, FlavoMax, and CoQHeart.

I strongly believe that these are the products that helped me beat cancer a few years back. I wish they were available before I even got the cancer in the first place. But, I am so glad Shaklee is on top of things and has produced products proven to provide these results for me and give us this much needed protection. You should not wait to take charge of your health because everyday counts. So do it today before any other damage is done to your body. After all, you only get one per life. :)

If you like, we can show you how to get these products at a very good price. As a CBC member, you can get up to a 44% average discount each and every month. If you want, there is even a way for you to use them for free! So there is really no reason not to use them and every reason in the world why you should! So get started today so you can feel better tomorrow.

Till next time, have a very protected future,
Bob Andolina  


  • 1993 - supplementation with vitamin E was associated with a 30-40% reduced risk for coronary disease in a study of 90,000 nurses (Nurses Health Study; NEJM 328:1444-1449)
  • 1993 - total vitamin E intake is inversely related to the risk of colon cancer; those with a highest vitamin E intake had
    the lowest incidence of colon cancer (Iowa Women's Health Study; Cancer Res:53:4230-4237)
  • 1994 - Levels of vitamin E intake were inversely correlated with coronary deaths in both women and men in a large (>5000 people), long-term (14 year follow-up) Finnish study (Am. J. Epidemiol. 139:1180-1189).
  • 1997 - A review of the literature concerning vitamin E and breast cancer concluded, "although epidemiologic study results have been inconsistent, further study of this nontoxic vitamin is warranted." (Nutr. Cancer 27:109-117).
  • 2000 - supplementation with Vitamin E supplementation may prevent ischemic stroke in high risk hypertensive patients (Arch Neurol. 57:1503-1509; analysis of data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study)
  • 2004 - protective effect of vitamin E supplementation on upper respiratory tract infections in elderly nursing home residents (JAMA 292:828-836)
  • 2004 - supplementation with vitamins E and C in combination is associated with reduced prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer Disease (Arch. Neurol. 61:82-88; this study is from Johns Hopkins)
FDA - allows qualified health claim regarding "consumption of antioxidants (including Vitamin E) and reduced risk of some forms of cancer."

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