Exercise Causing Damage to Your Body?
Exercise creates free radicals
which cause cell damaging, oxidative stress. Taking supplement with antioxidants will prevent cellular damage while
strengthening your body's defenses.
By Mark Glazier - President, Nutrabio.com, Inc.
The benefits of exercise
are widely known and understood, but unfortunately, the potential negative
affects have only recently been addressed in the athletic community. Could
exercise actually be causing damage to your body? Itís ironic, but itís
true. Exercise causes elevated aerobic metabolism, which in turn increases
the production of killer molecules known as free radicals.
A free radical is a
molecule thatís missing at least one electron in its outermost orbit, which
causes it to be negatively charged. Like most things in nature, free
radicals seek to remain neutral, and in an effort to achieve this balance
they bump up against healthy cells in your body and steal electrons from
them. This process is similar to an electric shock that leaves the once
healthy cell, damaged and mutated.
Unfortunately the process
doesnít stop after damaging the first cell. This newly damaged molecule is
now missing an electron and becomes a free radical. Each free radical that
is created zaps electrons from healthy molecules to form new free radicals,
thus creating a chain reaction that damages thousands of cells along its
Scared? I hope so,
because scientists now believe that free radical damage increases cellular
deterioration, which is associated with accelerated aging, cancer, diabetes
and coronary artery disease. This is ironic because the human body is
designed to regenerate most of its cells. Our bones, skin and blood cells
all regenerate over time to slow the aging process. Free radicals, however,
replace cellular regeneration with cellular degeneration, which ultimately
accelerates the aging process.
Free radical damage has
become more prevalent in our society as witnessed by the increase in cancer
victims in recent years. Environmental pollutants like smog, cigarette smoke
and car exhaust all contain free radical molecules, and as our exposure to
these increase, so does our chances of degenerative diseases. Worse yet,
research shows that mental stress is one of the highest causes of free
The good news is that
under normal conditions your body has the inherent ability to defend against
free radicals by producing three substances; glutathione, catalase and
superoxide dismutase. These substances are known as antioxidants, which work
as free radical scavengers, seeking out free radicals and donating the
electrons needed to neutralize them, thereby quenching their need to search
out and destroy healthy cells.
The problem occurs when
free radical production exceeds the bodyís ability to produce antioxidants.
This can happen during intense exercise when athletes can use from 10 to 20
times the amount of oxygen then that of a sedentary person. During exercise,
the conversion of fat and sugar into energy occurs through a process known
as oxidation. During this process, most of the oxygen combines with hydrogen
to produce water. However, about 5% of the oxygen forms free radicals.
Imagine that, every time
you breath, free radicals are formed. This process of oxidation is similar
to what you see when metal rusts or an apple slice turns brown from exposure
to air. Once again, your body can defend against normal levels of free
radicals, but if you exercise intensely, live in a polluted area, or have a
stressful life, as most of you and your students do, then supplementing your
diet with antioxidants may be of great value.
A well balanced diet with
plenty of fruits and vegetables is important and will help, but alone itís
just not enough. Factory processing, additives and pesticides all work to
destroy antioxidants within our foods and nutrient depleted soils no longer
provide us with the nutrient rich foods that our grandparents enjoyed.
The following list of
antioxidants play an important role in free radical protection, especially
for the active athlete: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, selenium, coenzyme
Q10 and glutathione.
Eating a well balanced
diet and a taking strong Multi-Vitamin/Mineral/Antioxidant Supplement each
day should be considered for adequate antioxidant protection and to promote
optimum performance and long-term health. Thereís a saying, ďTake care of
your body for the first 50 years of your life, and it will take care of you
for next 50.Ē Antioxidant protection and good diet is a great way to start.