Chances are that when you were younger, your parents advised you to steer clear of the bad crowd; that group of mayhem-causing kids that constantly found their way into some kind of trouble. But perhaps, for some reason, the group liked you. And you found that this was both an asset and liability. You could use the group to your advantage, but you had to be careful to avoid ending up detention.
Like this dangerous group of friends, your body needs--but must carefully manage--a double-edged catalyst called oxygen. Without oxygen, we couldn't survive for more than a few minutes because of its absolutely-essential role in energy production. But its positive actions have a dark side known as the "free radical effect." Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have either combined with other molecules or picked up some extra energy in the form of a highly-energetic, free-floating electron.
Free radicals are a lot like biological cruise missiles looking for a place to land. If they land on cellular membranes, they can disrupt or destroy them, leading to cell death and the release of toxic material to surrounding cells. If they bang into DNA (genes), they can wreak havoc there causing cancer and a number of other degenerative diseases. And it is this unchecked free radical activity that drives the aging process...
While free radical activity can lead to both illness and premature aging, it is also quite necessary for optimal health! Your body needs free radicals--in controlled amounts and under certain circumstances--to fight against harmful viruses and to speed the elimination of waste products and toxins.
When we examine the state of the average American's diet (which is heavy in inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids, processed ingredients, artificial additives and pesticide residues), its no wonder that so many of us are suffering from severe "free radical overload" and don't even know it.
Are you at risk?
Because excessive free radical activity begins to build insidiously and invisibly, one of the tools we use in our Core 4 Nutrition program is a Urine Antioxidant Assessment. It's a simple, yet powerful, tool that provides you with an accurate picture of your body’s current antioxidant/free radical status. Armed with this information, it becomes possible to measure the free-radical-fighting effects of any dietary, lifestyle, fitness and/or nutritional supplement changes you might make.
How the Urine Antioxidant Assessment works.
When free radicals attack the fat layer of our cells, a chemical by-product of this damage known as MDA (malondialdehyde) is produced and excreted in our urine. Your MDA level can be assessed by simply adding a few reagent drops to a urine sample and monitoring its color change. Increased free radical damage will lead to higher levels of urinary MDA and a darker-colored sample result. This simple assessment can give you a clear indication as to whether or not your current dietary and supplementation strategies are working--or if some changes need to be made.
Optimizing your Antioxidant System
Your free radical/antioxidant balance should be viewed not as something you need to fix with more antioxidants, but as a warning light on a car dashboard—as an indicator of an imbalance that requires further investigation.
The synergistic blend of nutrients in the Core 4 Nutrition program will provide you with a full array of naturally- occurring antioxidants. When used along with the guidelines given in the Core 4 Nutrition Seeds of Success booklet and the five-step process found in the Antioxidant Restorative booklet, you will be able to significantly improve your free radical/antioxidant balance, cellular health, and overall well-being.
Step 1: Put out the fire
Step 2: Nourish your body with nutrients derived from organic whole foods
Step 3: Assess your progress
Step 4: Identify common hidden causes
Step 5: Dig deeper