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Free radicals, radical-associated diseases, environment-related diseases

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for doctors and patients

Everyone enjoys many amenities and achievements of the "modern" high-tech industrial nations. But is often forgotten that the price is for a richly laden with pollutants environment. The list and chemical composition of these pollutants (xenobiotics) long, its origin is different (household, workplace, Food Chain, traffic, etc.) (Tab. 1).
It is worth mentioning that, so to speak voluntarily performed, stress and damage to the organism with the pollutants of cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption!

Health from environmental pollutants

Common to all environmental pollutants, however, is that it can lead to certain adverse health effects in humans. These impairments ranging from general malaise such as malaise, fatigue, irritability, headache, indigestion, joint and muscle pain to chronic, sometimes not return irreversible diseases (atherosclerosis, cancer, lung disease, etc.).

Recent research in chronic environmental pollution showed no relationship between dose and effect, ie, physical complaints are not greater, the higher the load. All that matters is the duration of the pollutant effect! Also, no organ relatedness reveals. The same pollutants can cause different diseases in different people.

Knowledge of pollutant effects on human health are usually acquired through animal testing. This is very problematic for mehrerlei view and the results are very transferable to humans. A rat is for example able to form even vitamin C.

Environmental pollutants as radical

Metabolic processes in the human body are nothing but complex biochemical reaction processes. This produces among other highly reactive molecules known as free radicals.

Free radicals have one or more unpaired electrons and are, therefore, chemically speaking, very aggressive. They act means of oxidation ("burning") tend to chain reactions and may be of any biological structure (eg. As amino acids, cell membranes, genetic material) attack, cause damage or even destroy. Free radicals snatch the attacked molecule or atom an electron and thereby making it even becomes a free radical. Free radicals are so strong Oxidaktien and mediated reactions they oxidations, which occur mostly in the form of a chain reaction. Most environmental pollutants cause now referred to as "oxidative stress" to an increased formation of free radicals, in technical language.

The medicine now knows a number of diseases that are directly related to an oxidative stress (free radical-associated diseases) (Tab. 3).

Cell protection by anti-oxidants

In principle, the organism sets these oxidations reductions compared to, so as to render free radicals harmless. Many micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, glutathione, cysteine, flavonoids, etc.) have a reducing effect by donating an electron to the free radical and thus mitigate it. Is a substance made of medical-biochemical point of view as anti-oxidants.

They thus protect the cell and ultimately the entire organism against attacks and related damage by free radicals.

Free radicals as helpers and healers

Free radicals but also have an important protective function in the human body. They are used by white blood cells (immune system) is generated and used for destruction of bacteria, viruses, and malignant cells (precursor cancer) and are therefore, in physiological limits, for humans indispensable.

So harmful is only an excess of free radicals.

Biochemical laboratory scale for diagnosis

Various biochemical laboratory parameters can be determined (Tab. 2) From the viewpoint of environmental pollution and the environment-related diseases.

In particular, the determination of the Kryptopyrrols in the urine (cryptopyrroluria) should be noted. People with a cryptopyrroluria are particularly vulnerable to environmental contaminants. These genetic, metabolic disorder is found in about 10% of the population.

Rather difficult experience has shown that the direct pollutant detection and its identification as a disease-causing cause.

Further important is the analysis of Glutathionsystems and the amino acid methionine.

The tripeptide glutathione, consisting of the amino acids glycine, cysteine and glutamine is the most important for humans intracellular reducing substance. Both are for detoxification reactions in the human organism is of paramount importance. Therefore very often to be found in environment-related diseases is a lack of these substances, especially when methionine.

Prevention and protection through a healthy lifestyle

It goes without saying that the environmental impact can hardly escape, with the exception of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption!

Particular importance in this area to a healthy lifestyle based on three main pillars:

  • physical Activity
  • proper diet
  • Peace of mind


Physical Activity

Above all, American studies have proven very nice the many benefits of regular physical activity for health promotion. In particular by the anti-oxidative protection system of the people is strengthened. Even the regular (faster) walk counts already on physical activity. Not recommended in health sport, any form of extreme physical stress (eg. As marathon). This leads, on the contrary, to increased free radical formation and oxidative stress!

Proper diet

The basic principles of a proper diet are more organic whole foods and whole grains and less meat or sausage and refined sugar. Central importance is attached to an adequate daily intake of anti-oxidative micronutrients, such as those contained abundant in fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

The oft-cited "balanced diet" for the appropriate micronutrient intake is more of a dream of many "specialists" and theorists. The reality regarding the eating habits of many people in this country is that they are qualitatively and quantitatively feed incorrectly and therefore do not reach the required daily intake of anti-oxidative micronutrients! Based on our systematic micronutrient analyzes in blood and food chemistry studies can prove it easily!

For this purpose a small example: In order to prevent cancer, the American Cancer Research Institute recommends (National Cancer Institute), daily 5 (five) servings of fruits or vegetables to eat in order to ensure sufficient supply of anti-oxidative micronutrients. There certainly are not very many people who follow the recommendation!

The special importance of micronutrients is their indispensability to humans (Tab. 4). You must be consumed in the diet because the human body can not produce them itself. All micronutrients is more common that they are truly multi-talented with diverse functions in the complex human metabolic process.

One of the main functions of numerous micronutrients is, as described above, in its effect as an important anti-oxidants in the human body!

Straight from the perspective of environmental pollutants daily, additional intake of a (low-dose!) Micronutrient preparation (vitamins, minerals, trace elements), then, in addition to a possible balanced and varied diet, thoroughly recommended.

It has been shown, for example, that vitamin C effectively counteracts lead accumulation in bone and brain or that vitamin E and the trace element selenium are effective helper against pollutants from the air. Smoking households is also the purchase of an electrostatic air filter for the elimination of air pollutants recommended.

Must be warned at this point, however, before an uncontrolled intake of micronutrients in its "Guttünchen"! In particular, the trace elements are problematic in this regard.

Talk to your doctor!

Peace of mind

In this case, there is no general recommendations. Each person must develop its individual strategy to find the mental balance! A key to this is certainly the slogan "back to nature". There's just in Austria many ways to enjoy the beauty, peace and power of nature and so to find emotional balance.

Tab. 1

Examples of environmental pollutants

  • formaldehyde
  • Heavy metals (V. A. lead, cadmium, mercury)
  • Nitrogen-containing compounds (nitrates)
  • Halogenated / chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • radiation
  • electrosmog
  • u.v.a.m.


Tab. 2

Laboratory analyzes of environmental-borne illnesses (selection)

  • Total plasma tables redox capacity to Rice-Evans
  • malondialdehyde
  • vitamins
  • Zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, magnesium
  • Kryptopyrrol in the urine (+ Vit. B6 in the blood)
  • Total cholesterol, triglycerides
  • Lactate, pyruvate (idle, load)
  • glutathione
  • homocysteine
  • Inesterase


Tab. 3

Radical-associated diseases (oxidative stress)

  • cancer
  • Atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (heart, brain)
  • osteoarthritis
  • lung diseases
  • AIDS
  • Diseases of the central nervous system
  • Premature aging (skin, brain, eye, etc.)
  • liver damage
  • allergies
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases ("rheumatism")


Tab. 4

Important micronutrients

  • Vitamins (z. B. A, beta-carotene, C, E, B complex, folic acid)
  • Minerals (such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium)
  • Trace elements (eg selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, chromium)
  • Certain proteins and amino acids (eg. As methionine, cysteine, glutamate)
  • Phytochemicals (z. B. Flavonoids, allicin, indoles, saponin)
  • Coenzymes (z. B. coenzyme Q 10)
  • Fatty acids (eg. As omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Variety of other substances (eg. As choline, ginseng, lecithin, propolis, algae).



Dr. Bodo Kuklinski

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