Diabetes and Oxidative Stress
Most researchers are in basic agreement that the theory of oxidative stress is central to explaining the cause of diabetes. To understand the theory, one must first conceptualize that a "free radical" is any atom or molecule which has an "unpaired electron" in it's outer ring. Because it is lacking an electron, it is unstable and very much wants to find one electron to fill its need. This "free radical" will steal an electron from any other molecule it encounters that is more willing to give one up . . . and thus it becomes satisfied . . . but now the victim molecule has become a free radical itself and so it now will look for another victim molecule to steal it's much desired electron from . . . thus propagating this cycle over and over again. This cycle is called "the chain reaction of free radicals".
The chief danger of free radicals comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs.
To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle antioxidants are: glutathione, SOD (superoxide dismutase), beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, CoQ10, melatonin, and alpha lipoic acid.
According to the theory of oxidative stress, free radicals run rampant through the body reeking havoc. In the case of type 1 diabetes . . . damaging beta cells in the pancreas, negatively impacting their ability to produce insulin . . . in the case if type 2 diabetes . . . damaging cell membranes, leading to a breakdown in intercellular signaling.
And if that were not bad enough . . . free radicals deplete our body's reserve of antioxidants . . . further contributing to the problem.
This is why it is so important to lower the oxidative stress with better diet, more exercise, improved lifestyle; and to take all the antioxidant supplements known to neutralize the excess free radicals.
There is still a lot to learn about the causes of diabetes, but what is known, is that our bodies may begin to malfunction five to seven years before we are ever diagnosed with diabetes. That is why researchers believe that nearly 30-50% of the people who have diabetes don't even know it.
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