A freshly-cut apple turns brown, a bicycle fender becomes rusty and a copper penny suddenly turns green. Without the right protection, rust or oxidation sets in quickly. The same thing happens to the cells within our bodies. That’s why so many health articles over the last few years have focused on the importance of antioxidants. But no matter how many antioxidants are ingested, our cells can only benefit from them if the chemical makeup of the cell is in balance.
The human body is a pretty amazing creation, made up of 75-100 trillion living cells; each one performing just the right function in just the right place at just the right time. Each cell is an amazing “metropolis” of bustling activity, a city that never sleeps. Every second of every day, our cells work tirelessly to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Scientist have found that two sets of reactive molecules found naturally in cells are critical for immune function and for cells to reproduce correctly. One set fortifies the immune system and helps the cells communicate with each other. The other protects the cell and activates antioxidants. As we age, our body produces less of these molecules. Our perfectly designed cells are no longer able to function at optimum level or reproduce correctly and so we age more quickly and diseases develop.
For more than 20 years these molecules, called redox signaling molecules, have been the focus of intense scientific research. “Redox” a combination of the words “reductant” and “oxidant,” refers to the gain or loss of electrons by certain molecules within the cells. The data from this research has been considered so important that three researchers in 1998, and three different researchers in 2013, were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine for their work on the value of redox activity within human cells.
Without these signaling molecules, activities within our cells like fuel consumption, waste removal, cellular repair or regeneration (healing) could not take place. In other words, we could not long survive. Redox biochemistry is essential to all life: plant, animal and human.
Although aging slows down the natural production of these molecules within our bodies, the good news is that they can be supplemented. The right balance enables antioxidants to do their job, allows cells to operate as they were designed to and slows down the aging process.