GLUTATHIONE THERAPY & FREE RADICALS
"Hold them up, Hold them up. Never do let them fall prey to the dust and the rust and the ruin that maims us and claims us and shames us all." James Taylor from 1988's Never Die Young
It's been scientifically observed that the chief pathological event in Parkinson's Disease (as well as all other neurological disorders) is the destruction of neurons by Free Radicals. That is a potent concept. But Free Radicals..... hmmmmm. Where have we heard that term before?
Free Radicals also happen to be a primary cause of CANCER; and many researchers are touting these "malicious molecules" as a contributing factor in all disease processes. For instance, the scientific journal Nutrition (Inflammation, Free Radicals, and Antioxidants) published a study one month after I got married --- back in March of 1996 --- revealing that, "It is becoming increasingly apparent that certain types of inflammatory tissue injury are mediated by reactive oxygen metabolites [Free Radicals]. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that in addition to promoting cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen metabolites may also initiate and/or amplify inflammation via the upregulation of several different genes involved in the inflammatory response, such as those that code for proinflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules. Essential nutrients such as vitamins C and E may protect against oxidant-mediated inflammation and tissue damage by virtue of their ability to scavenge free radicals..... Thus, maintaining adequate antioxidant status may provide a useful approach in attenuating the cellular injury and dysfunction observed in some inflammatory disorders."
Many doctors freely acknowledge Free Radical's role in numerous disease process. However, because there are no drugs that effectively treat Free Radicals (most drugs actually cause their formation), most doctors do not educate their patients about them or discuss them. It's just easier (and much more profitable) to continue to treat disease in the same old way they have always done ---- drugs and surgery (see YESTERDAY'S POST). All while patient's levels of Free Radicals and INFLAMMATION continue to go up up up.
HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT ARE KNOWN TO BE CAUSED
OR GREATLY INFLUENCED BY FREE RADICALS:
I could leave you an incredibly long list here --- but I'm not going to do that. Why not? Because every disease known to mankind is caused by (or at least greatly influenced by) the formation of Free Radicals. Think I'm over-hyping this subject a bit? Believe it or not, there are currently over 100,000 Scientific Studies on PubMed that reference Glutathione alone. Glutathione? We'll get there in a moment, but first I want to talk a bit more about Free Radicals.
WHAT THE HECK ARE FREE RADICALS?
Think of Free Radicals as the "Bad Guys" in the body. In medical terms, they are "unpaired electrons". Hey; electrons get lonely too. They are always looking to "pair up". So, when substances enter your body that contain large numbers of "unpaired" electrons, they are very disruptive and unstable because they have a huge attraction to other electrons. The process of these Free Radicals pairing up with other unpaired electrons, or pulling away weakly paired electrons from their electron partner, is called "Cellular Oxidation". Healthwise, it is not a good thing.
Cellular Oxidation causes tremendous cellular damage (it's part of that rust and ruin that eventually maims and claims us all --- see the quote at the top of the page). It is known to be intimately linked to things like CHRONIC DEGENERATIVE INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS, and even cellular mutations (Cancer / GENETIC MUTATIONS). The greater the ability of a substance to cause oxidation in the body (or the greater amounts of that substance you are exposed to), the greater its "Oxidative Stress" or "Oxidative Load" on the body. As you might imagine, it is important..... No, it is absolutely imperative that you understand just a little bit about the cause and prevention of free radicals.
WHERE DO FREE RADICALS COME FROM?
Sources of Free Radicals include any unusual or foreign substances coming in to your body. You know ---- things that aren't supposed to be there: DRUGS (both illegal and prescription), toxins, POOR FOOD CHOICES (white flour, SUGAR, PROCESSED FOODS, etc), TRANS FATS, chemical fumes, HEAVY METALS, CHEMICAL EXPOSURE, SMOKING, XENOESTROGENS, chemical fertilizers, additives and preservatives (HERE is an ugly one), etc, etc, etc. Recognizing substances or foods that cause Free Radicals is simple. Just ask yourself if this substance occurs naturally, and whether or not it will help me stay healthy? In other words, was it made by God or manufactured by man?
OK, OK, OK. I see that you're convinced! Free Radicals are bad ---- real bad! And now you want to know what you can do to get rid of them and reverse the damage they are causing. I'm so glad you asked.
HOW DO I COMBAT FREE RADICALS?
Remember that we told you Free Radicals are unpaired electrons that cause something called Oxidative Stress in the body? (slowly nod your head yes) Remember also when I told you that Free Radicals are the body's "Bad Guys"? Well, the body's "Good Guys" are Anti-Oxidants. Antioxidants prevent cellular oxidation. They also help neutralize Free Radicals. As you might imagine, this is a good thing. But now the question becomes, "Where do I find Anti-Oxidants?"
For one, you can find them on the shelves of your local health food store --- at least that's what the labels of bottle after bottle of "all natural" supplements tell us. There is a problem with this approach. Antioxidants in isolation (i.e. taken from their naturally occurring food source) are not usually the best way to go. Not by a long shot (HERE is an example of what I mean). This is because most of the compounds found in these supplements are chemically fractionated synthetics. What do I mean by this? For examples of this phenomenon, you can read THIS or THIS.
SOURCES OF ANTI-OXIDANTS:
Thankfully your body produces small amounts of some very powerful anti-oxidants. But the the rest must come from your diet. What was it mom always used to say.....? "Now little Johnnie / little Susie..... You - eat - your - vegetables!" What can I say? Mom was right again! The problem is, scientific research is telling us that we are not eating our fruits and vegetables.
Several years ago, a government study reported that 1/3 of all American children get no (none, zero, nada, zilch) weekly servings of fresh vegetables ---- unless you count Fries & Ketchup as a vegetable (which the USDA does for purposes of SCHOOL LUNCHES). Current Dietary Guidelines (which probably err on the low side) call for five to thirteen servings of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables a day (commercial canning kills anything beneficial). This translates into almost ten servings (4½ cups) of fruits and vegetables each day for a person eating a 2,000 calorie diet. If you are not getting this amount of fruits and vegetables, ask us about our "Greens" product called GREENS FIRST. There are some superior products on the market which are great --- if you enjoy the taste of pond scum.
The bottom line is that your dietary sources of Anti-Oxidants must come from food or from supplements that are made of food ---- not "Synthetic Supplements". Antioxidants can come in the form of Whole Food Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, or plant-derived nutrients called phytonutrients. Plant-derived phytonutrients are powerful Anti-Oxidants. Because Free Radical-caused Oxidative Stress either causes, or significantly contributes to every single disease process that can occur in the body, eating more Phytochemical-dense foods will help you get better faster ---- no matter what kind of health problem you are dealing with (as long as you do not have a sensitivity to that food)! Here is a short list.
You may recognize many of these substances as "ANTI-INFLAMMATORY" as well.
The problem is, most of us have forgotten to heed mom's advice. We have strayed from the straight and narrow path of the garden, and far too often found ourselves wandering in the Junk Food isles of the grocery store. We have GOTTEN IN THE HABIT of eating garbage. No, I take that back. Much of what we throw out as "garbage" is actually more nutrient-dense than what we have been eating. Like Dr. Janet Lang likes to say, "We would be better off eating the box and throwing away the contents." By the way, did you catch the name of the last phytochemical on the list? Glutathione. Let's discuss it a bit.
Glutathione is one of the most potent Anti-Oxidants on the planet. In fact, it is frequently referred to as "The Mother of all Anti-Oxidants". Glutathione levels are diminished by several things including Chronic Illness and poor diet. They are also diminished as a natural by-product of the aging process. It can become a vicious cycle. As poor diet and ill health cause the body to use up its stores of Glutathione, diminished levels of Glutathione make it increasingly difficult for your body to fight off sickness and disease. And all the while, age contributes to the cycle.
Depleted levels of Glutathione are, over time, manifested in the form of illness and aging. But in all honesty, one's age plays a smaller part than one might think in this phenomenon. Why do you think that so many older people look so young---- and vice versa.
When the rate of nutritionally-produced Glutathione by the body reaches a level lower than the rate at which the Glutathione is being used up in destroying disease-causing Free Radicals, it can dramatically affect your ability to maintain your health --- let alone restore it.
This is why Glutathione therapy is such an important part of any BRAIN-BASED THERAPY program. Replenishing Glutathione levels, as you can tell, is an important part of getting healthy. Be warned though; Glutathione cannot be effectively taken in pill form, as it is destroyed quickly by stomach acid.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).