I am a believer in the value of good nutritional supplementation to support our bodies in protecting our health. Here I briefly highlight two chapters of a book by Ray Strand, MD Bionutrition, The Amazing Health Benefits of Nutritional Supplements that was published in1998. The content of the book includes research from the major medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The American Medical Association, The Lancet, and others.
Dr. Strand believes that the next major breakthrough in medicine will likely be nutritional science. Like many other physicians, he recommends in his medical practice, a low fat, high fiber diet (including 5-7 fruis and vegetables daily) and moderate exercise as a balanced approach to good health. In a later book he focuses on learning to eat low glycemic foods as a way to keep the blood sugar balanced for overall health and weight control. He also actively recommends high quality, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements to assist the body to maximize a strong line of defense against degenerative disease.
While walking through a church cemetery in Minnesota in which many of my ancestors are buried, I saw illnesses such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, diphtheria, smallpox, and influenza engraved on the tombstones as causes of death. Those infectious diseases were the typical causes of death in the early part of the 20th century. Those have been replaced in our current generation by chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s dementia, cancer and many others.
We need oxygen for life to survive on this planet but there is a dark side to oxygen. In this book Dr. Strand presents information about the role of oxidative stress as one of the root causes of degenerative diseases. He says that there are now over 50 chronic degenerative diseases that medical researchers have shown to have oxidative stress as a major component and that we are ‘rusting’ inside.
An example is what we see when we cut an apple in half and it turns brown when it comes into contact with oxygen (oxidation). You probably also know that if you squeeze some lemon juice, which is a source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant, the apple is protected.
In the natural process of cellular metabolism (called oxidation) free radicals are created. They are molecules or atoms that have at least one unpaired electron in their outer orbit. They have an electrical charge that moves them to attempt to steal an electron from any other molecule or substance in the vicinity. These bursts of movement can cause damage within the cells, cell walls and vessels and even the DNA of the cell. These bursts are like a burning cinder popping out of your fireplace onto the carpet. One spark at a time doesn’t do much damage but over time the carpet gets ragged and full of little holes similar to the damage going on within our bodies.
Dr. Strand is a strong advocate for the use of antioxidants as an ally for our bodies to neutralize the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Many antioxidants are found in the fruits and vegetables we eat but not in the amounts he recommends. He provides information on what is needed and gives suggestions for doses which he considers to be optimal.
For futher information you may check:
Ray Strand, MD, Bionutrition. 1998.