Monday, June 20, 2011

#Antioxidants and Free Radicals and their roles

Information found herein is an online collaboration from several sources. All fully cited and credit attributed to the source from which it was gathered.   

Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C and E, and other substances. Many of these antioxidant substances come from fruits and vegetables (Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet, National Cancer Institute dot com).

The brain is especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals (Robert Lee Hotz, LA Times, Autism Today dot com).

Glutathione - levels of this protective antioxidant were abnormally low in many autistic children (Robert Lee Hotz, LA Times, "Research yields autism clues", Apr 2005).

Many autistic children share a chronic flaw in the body's natural defenses against oxygen free radicals - corrosive molecules in the body that can severely damage developing brain cells (Robert Lee Hotz, LA Times, "Study Links Free Radicals to the Spectrum of Autism", Apr 2005).

Antioxidants act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease (The Biggest Loser dot com (Australia), "What are antioxidants?").

Antioxidants, present in many foods, are molecules that prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissue.

You can also get free radicals from external environmental factors, such as cigarette smoke, radiation, ultraviolet light, certain drugs, exercise, pesticides and industrial solvents (E How dot com, Health, Nick Ng, "What are free radicals?", April 2011).
Free radical accumulation in your body causes many diseases including heart disease, cancer and arthritis, as well as premature aging  (E How dot com, Health, Nick Ng, "What are free radicals?", April 2011). 

It is already known that children with autism are likely to have more oxidative stress, or difficulty in managing free radicals, than children who do not have autism. It is also known that children with autism have unusual blood circulation  (Healing Thresholds, Correlation with Oxidative Stress, Arch Neurol., by Yao, Y., Walsh WJ, McGinnis WR, and Pratico D., published in 2006, summarized Oct 21, 2006).

Oxidative stress, defined as a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and antioxidant defenses (Pub Med dot gov, "What is oxidative stress?", Betteridge, DJ, Feb 2000).

One of the alternative medications currently used to fight autism is the coQ10, also known as the Coenzyme Q10. The CoQ10 protects the brain from free radicals (The Free Library dot com, CoQ10 and Its Role in the Fight Against Autism", May 2009). 

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