Oxygen, Free Radicals, and Antioxidants!

AntioxidantsI’d like to share with you some information about the power of antioxidants.

In my last post Energy Production and Cardiovascular Health! we talked about how aerobic respiration produces 18 times more energy than anaerobic respiration. How the proper use of oxygen by your cells’ mitochondria is a powerful tool for creating energy. However, when oxygen is used it also creates free radicals which can damage your cells. To prevent this damage you need antioxidants. This post will examine the need for antioxidants to fight free radical damage.

What’s A Free Radical?

No, it’s not a 1960s hippie from Berkeley. Rather, it is an unstable atom or molecule. In very simple terms a free radical is an atom or molecule that is missing an electron in its outer orbit. Because of this unbalanced state the free radical will try to steal an electron from a different atom or molecule to stabilize itself. This process causes the affected atom or molecule to become unstable resulting in a new free radical. The result is a chain reaction that can continue until the final free radical steals an electron from a cell wall resulting in the disruption of a living cell. This constant process of free radicals stealing electrons from living tissue results in the aging process we all experience. It’s also a major cause of damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that freely gives away their outer electrons. Thus, they will give the free radical its needed electron to return it back to a stable compound. Now, you might be thinking that these antioxidants will become free radicals. Here is the really impressive aspect of this process. They do not become free radicals because they are stable in either form (with or without an even number of electrons in their outer orbit). This stability allows them to act as free radical scavengers to help prevent cell and tissue damage.

3 Most Common Antioxidants

If it weren’t for the remarkable stability of these compounds, as they freely give their electrons to stabilize free radicals, we would age quite rapidly. The three most commonly known antioxidants are:

  • Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) is the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body. It may protect against cardiovascular disease and is commonly found in nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains, and certain fruits.

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body. It has the unique ability to return Vitamin E to its active form. It is commonly found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

  • Beta-carotene (precursor to Vitamin A) is the most misunderstood of all these compounds. It’s commonly found in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. Beta-carotene is water-soluble and has no set RDA requirements. However, it’s the precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, has no antioxidant properties, and can be quite toxic when taken in excess. Because of this, most physicians warn against Beta-carotene. However, they forget that the body controls the conversion of Beta-carotene to Vitamin A on a “needs only” basis. Thus, your body will only make as much Vitamin A from Beta-carotene as it needs. This usually prevents any toxicity.

It’s extremely important to note that these compounds are all critical for proper health. The body cannot manufacture them. They must be supplied in the diet. That’s why nutritionists encourage us to eat a balanced diet consisting of 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Additional Protection!

As nutritional scientists continue to explore this realm of antioxidants, and their ability to offset free radical damage, some amazing compounds are being discovered like:

  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid – This powerful compound does double duty. Not only can it neutralize free radicals but it can also restore the antioxidant properties of vitamins C and E. Alpha-Lipoic Acid stimulates the body’s production of glutathione and assists in the absorption of coenzyme Q10. It helps to detoxify the liver, prevent cataract formation, protect nerve tissue, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and aid cells in metabolizing sugar.

  • Anthocyanidins – This is a phytochemical that helps to lower blood pressure, inhibit clot formation, enhance vision, strengthen collagen, and enhance the blood supply to the nervous system. It can provide up to fifty times the protection of vitamin E and ten times the protection of vitamin C.

  • Coenzyme Q10 – This compound has a structure similar to vitamin E. It’s critically important for cellular energy because it aids in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. Since most free radicals are created in the oxidative process of creating energy, coenzyme Q10 plays a significant role in stopping free radical damage.
  • Flavonoids – Flavonoids are chemical compounds that plants produce to protect themselves. They have very powerful antioxidant properties. There are more than 4,000 chemically unique flavonoids with many of them having greater effectiveness than vitamins C and E or beta-carotene. Science is just beginning to discover this amazing world of flavoniods.

  • Glutathione Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced in the liver from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine. Glutathione neutralizes the oxygen molecule before it can harm the cell. Additionally, it can combine with other molecules like selenium to create other powerful antioxidants. Glutathione is critically important to your health. It protects individual cells as well as the tissues of the arteries, brain, heart, immune system, kidneys, eyes, liver, lungs, and skin.

  • Melatonin – This hormone has the ability to penetrate the cell’s mitochondria and protect it from free radical damage. Most of the cell’s energy is produced by the mitochondria. Since energy production creates free radicals, compounds specific to the mitochondria play a huge role in protecting cell function.

  • OPCs – Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins are unique flavonoids that can cross the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain and spinal nerves against free radical damage. OPCs are found in plant life. The two main sources are pine bark extract (commonly called Pycnogenol) and grape seed extract.

  • Polyphenols – This is a phytochemical produced by plants. They have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and other health-enhancing properties.

  • Selenium – This is an essential trace mineral which partners with vitamin E to provide oxidative protection. Use caution when taking supplemental selenium. The recommended maximum safe dosage is 400 micrograms daily.

  • Superoxide Dismutase – This is an enzyme that helps to revitalize cells and reduce the rate of cell destruction. It’s particular important in neutralizing the most dangerous free radicals called superoxide radicals. These free radicals breakdown the synovial fluid which lubricates the body’s joints leading to joint friction and inflammation.

  • Zinc – This mineral’s main function is in the prevention of fat oxidation.

Final Notes

This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding antioxidants. This post doesn’t even cover some of the newly discovered super foods like Brazilian Acai which have tremendous anti aging properties and heart health benefits. It’s important to note that antioxidants work synergistically in providing their protection against free radical damage. Thus, it’s better to take smaller doses of a variety of these compounds than just a large amount of only one type. For most fruits and vegetables the majority of the beneficial properties are contained in the skin.

Since free radical damage is the leading cause of many cardiovascular health issues it makes perfect sense to consume foods and products that contain antioxidants. This reduces free radical damage to help slow down the oxidative damage done to your endothelial cells. Cells that are critically important to the proper production of nitric oxide, your body’s master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system..

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer is a Wellness Educator who has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicago area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about Antioxidants contained in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Can Heart Attacks Be Prevented?

Heart AttackWhen I wrote the title for this post I immediately thought of my father who passed away in 1987 of a massive heart attack. He died while on a fishing trip in Minnesota. He was sitting in the cabin with his friends eating his favorite snack. Popcorn loaded with butter. He died at the young age of 67.

Like his father who died of a heart attack and his mom who died of a heart attack, he followed their pathway. Was it genetics and heredity that caused this event? Or, was it lifestyle and food choices? Most likely a combination of both with a greater emphasis on food choices.

Just like in 1987, as it is today, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease are still the number one killer of all people. So, the question is still the same:

Can a Heart Attack Be Prevented?

While the question remains the same the outcome can be significantly different!

Eleven years after my father’s death from a heart attack the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American researchers for their remarkable discovery of how the endothelial cells, which line all of your cardiovascular system, create nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system and it has a huge impact on cardiovascular health.

One of those researchers who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine is Dr. Louis J. Ignarro. In his 2005 National Bestseller entitled NO More Heart Disease, Dr. Ignarro made the following statement:

NO – as it is known by chemists – is produced by the body specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke and to maintain normal blood pressure by relaxing the arteries, thereby regulating the rate of blood flow and preventing coronaries. Nitric oxide is the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.”

Even before Dr. Ignarro’s Nobel Prize there was an event taking place that has significantly moved the discoveries made in the lab to practical clinical results in humans.

Let me introduce you to Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast or Dr. Joe as he prefers to call himself. Dr. Joe is a leading endocrinologist from Palo Alto, CA and a nationally acclaimed expert on L-arginine therapy. L-arginine is the amino acid your endothelial cells use to create nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system.

Since 1991, Dr. Joe has been personally using L-arginine and recommending it to his patients. Through his close personal association with Dr. John Cooke at the Stanford School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Research Center, Dr. Joe has been able to incorporate cutting edge vascular research done in the lab into actual patient care. True clinical application that has benefited thousands of his patients and tens of thousands of people around the world.

Dr. Joe’s clinical application of proper L-arginine therapy has benefited over 7,000 of his own patients resulting in less than 1% patient hospital admissions in 17 years. This is a phenomenal record especially then you realize that 80% of his patients are diabetics who typically have hospital admissions for cardiovascular issues. Because of this remarkable record the American Diabetes Association awarded Dr. Joe the Father of the Year Award in 2008.

Dr. Joe is the product formulator of ProArgi-9 Plus and it causes me to ask the question:

Would My Dad’s Heart Attack Have Been Prevented If He Had Access to ProArgi-9 Plus?

From all the clinical research I’ve seen and the people I’ve been able to help, I believe he would have greatly benefited from this product. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about ProArgi-9 Plus. I truly believe in this product and its ability to improve the cardiovascular health of every person.

To help you better understand how unique and powerful ProArgi-9 Plus is, I’ve created a webinar for you. Here is the link:

http://www.screencast.com/t/ZWY2MmYwOT

(Please note that the webinar presentation is 30 minutes long. Once you click on the arrow to start it, please give it 10-15 seconds to load. The remaining time is used to answer questions from those attending.)

Now you can understand why I believe so strongly in ProArgi-9 Plus. It is a remarkable product that has huge potential to benefit people. Especially those who have cardiovascular health issues.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about heart attack prevention has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

What Foods Contain L-Arginine and L-Citrulline?

I’ve written many articles about the need for L-arginine and L-citrulline. How critical they are for nitric oxide production. How your endothelial cells use these two amino acids to create nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system.

Quite frankly, you could not live without nitric oxide. It’s a critical molecule in many biological functions but especially for good cardiovascular health. So, I’m often asked:

What foods can I eat that contain L-arginine and L-citrulline?

To answer that question I went shopping, bought some foods and put together the following video. Enjoy the video and I’ll have some observations to make after you watch it:

In preparing this video I came across an excellent chart that lists food sources high in the amino acid L-arginine. I’ll provide you a link to this chart at the end of this article. It was an eye opener, even for me. It changed my thinking on dairy products and it even helped me to discover the reason why Rocky Balboa was able to beat Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies. Let’s start with some observations.

Observation 1Plant based foods are a better source of L-arginine then animal products.

The chart I found lists the L-arginine content in 100 grams of food. 100 grams is just slightly less than a ¼ pound. You’ll note that if you wanted to get 1 gram of L-arginine or more in your diet, there are 15 choices for plant products but only 5 choices for animal products.

Observation 2 – Much of the literature recommends dairy products as a good source of L-arginine yet it’s listed last on the chart.

You would have to drink 44 ounces or just slightly less than 1 ½ quarts of milk to get 1 gram of L-arginine. Not good for those who are lactose intolerant.

Observation 3 – Most research indicates that for you to receive a therapeutic benefit from L-arginine you need to consume at least 5 grams of this amino acid at one time. So I selected 6 food items from the list that I thought would be common food choices. I did the math conversations to look at how much food you would need to eat to take in 5 grams of L-arginine. I also looked at the number of calories and grams of fat it would bring into your body. Here’s what I discovered and what I based most of the above video on:

Peanuts – 6 oz / .36 lb = 918 calories and 70 g of fat

Beans – 12 oz / .75 lb = 338 calories and 1.5 g of fat

Tuna – 10 oz / .63 lb = 528 calories and 18 g of fat

Chicken Breast – 15 oz / .92 lb = 756 calories and 5 g of fat

Salmon – 15 oz / .92 lb = 865 calories and 42 g of fat

Eggs (Whole, Raw) – 21 oz / 1.34 lbs = 915 calories and 55 g of fat

Observation 4 – Now you can see why weight lifters choose beans, tuna, and chicken breasts as their primary source of protein. It provides them with the proper amount of L-arginine with the least number of calories and grams of fat. Even though peanuts have a higher concentration of L-arginine when you factor in calories and grams of fat it’s not the first choice if you need to watch you weight.

How Rocky Balboa Beat Apollo Creed!

Observation 5 – This is the Rocky Balboa observation. Go back and watch the first movie and compare Rocky’s diet to Apollo Creed’s. Remember the scene where Rocky cracks open about a half dozen eggs into a glass and then drinks them raw, yoke and all. Whether he realized it or not (and I’m sure he and Sylvester Stallone didn’t) he was loading his body with L-arginine to improve his blood flow. This maximized his workout program and improved his cardiovascular stamina.

Observation 6 – There is not much of a choice in foods for L-citrulline. Watermelon is your one and only good food choice. You can read my article, “The Need for L-Citrulline!” to get more information on this subject.

When people realize all the food they need to eat, and the limited menu they have to choose from, they begin to ask the question:

Is it better to get these critical amino acids through food or supplementation?

Well, I’m putting the finishing touches on this video and will have it posted in a couple of days.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

P.S. Here is the URL for the chart I used in the information above:

http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/larginine-high.php

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about L-Arginine and L-Citrulline has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

ProArgi-9 Plus Instructions!

I’ve been asked by many of my clients and visitors to this website to put together a short video on ProArgi-9 PlusProArgi-9 Plus instructions. I’ve just completed this video. In it I go into detail on how to take this unique and remarkable product. A product designed to help repair the endothelial cells of your cardiovascular system; to improve their ability to properly produce nitric oxide over a long period of time.

If you remember from previous posts, nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. Additionally, nitric oxide is critical to other very important biological functions.

Here is the video. In addition to the ProArgi-9 Plus instructions I also answer several questions like:

  • How much ProArgi-9 Plus should you take?

  • When is the best time of day to take ProArgi-9 Plus? Mornings? Afternoon? Before you go to bed?

  • Can you take ProArgi-9 Plus with food?

  • Can athletes use ProArgi-9 Plus?

  • Does ProArgi-9 Plus interfere with medications?

I hope this video was helpful in understanding how to take ProArgi-9 Plus. Please feel free to share this information with family and friends.

To Order ProArgi-9 Plus!

If you’re interested in ordering ProArgi-9 Plus then please click on Quick Order Page for ProArgi-9 Plus.” Once on the page I would ask you to Bookmark it so that you can conveniently return to it whenever you need to.

I absolutely believe in this product and have witnessed its amazing ability to improve the cardiovascular health of people. With that said I’m not a doctor and would never want to replace your physician or doctor. Instead, I want to work with you and your health care provider to make sure this is right for you. If you or your health care provider have any questions, then please email me or call me. My contact information is:

dan@agingnomore.com

630-936-8079

I will try to provide you and your health care provider with the information you need to make the best decision for you. Our goal is to help as many people as possible see significant improvements in their cardiovascular system so that they can enjoy a higher quality of life.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about ProArgi-9 Plus has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.