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Free Radical Disease/Protein and DNA Degradation

Free radicals are chemicals produced in foods and in the body from exposure to heat, light, oxygen, oxidizing minerals, and various toxins. They are like sparks that can ignite biochemical fires that incite inflammatory reactions (the body’s effort to contend with such fires) and can negatively impact all healthy functions. Free radicals are quenched (neutralized) by antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, plant polyphenols and other elements, and vitamin C. The sugars cleaved from starches disrupt metabolism such that free radicals and their chain-reaction inflammatory signals attack tissue and even genetic material. Starches extracted from plants — such as commonly used in “Grain Free” foods — do not contain the important antioxidants. Sugar from starch can also compete with vitamin C for cellular uptake, in effect blocking the body’s fire engines from reaching the fires.

• “Reducing sugars react nonenzymatically with protein amino groups to initiate a process called nonenzymatic browning…nucleic acids also can undergo nonenzymatic modification by sugars…sugars can react with DNA to produce significant structural and biological alterations…” Bucala, R., et al. Modification of DNA by reducing sugars: a possible mechanism for nucleic acid aging and age-related dysfunction in gene expression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 81 (1), 105-109, 1984.
• “…modifications of proteins by reducing sugars can alter both physical characteristics and biological functions…” Lee, A. T., et al. In vitro and in vivo reactions of nucleic acids with reducing sugars. Mutation Research, 238 (3), 185-191, 1990.
• “…glucose may autooxidize generating free radicals…hypothesized to induce important cellular abnormalities…” Donnini, D., et al. Glucose May Induce Cell Death through a Free Radical-Mediated Mechanism. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 219 (2), 412-417, 1996.
• “…Hyperglycemia is a widely known cause of enhanced free radical concentration…acute increase in the blood glucose level may impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in living organisms…insulin resistance may be accompanied by intracellular production of free radicals…” Ceriello, A. Oxidative stress and glycemic regulation. Metabolism, 49 (2), 27-29, 2000.
• “Free radical-induced damage to DNA in vivo can result in deleterious biological consequences such as the initiation and promotion of cancer…” Dizdaroglu, M. Chemical determination of free radical-induced damage to DNA. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 10 (3-4), 225-242, 1991.
• “…Oxidative damage to DNA causes not only strand breaks, but also formation of specific base adducts…oxidative damage also inactivates certain enzymes…“ Floyd, R. A., and J. M. Carney. Free radical damage to protein and DNA: Mechanisms involved and relevant observations on brain undergoing oxidative stress. Annals of Neurology, 32 (S1), S22-S27, 2004.


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