What Are Free Radicals and Why Are They Bad?

I mentioned free radicals in my posts: https://universal-health-products.com/what-are-the-hea…urmeric-curcumin/ and‎ https://universal-health-products.com/what-is-red-tea/
‎The focuses of these posts are on products that, among other things, help to prevent and eliminate free radicals because of the antioxidants they contain and how to obtain them.

But what are free radicals and why are they bad?

What are free radicals

To define free radicals, the body is always under attack from a condition called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress begins when oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons are usually in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, search to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells. I’ll elaborate more later.

Why are they bad

Free radicals are associated with human diseases, including some major life changers which I’ll mention later. They also may have a link to aging, because of what has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage.

Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the foods we eat (e.g. cooked and process meats), the air we breathe, the medicationss we take, and the water we drink. These substances include alcohol, cigarette and cigar smoke, fried foods, tobacco pesticides and air pollutants.

Free radicals ar the natural byproducts of chemical processes, such as metabolism. Yet, free radicals are essential to life. for example, the body’s ability to turn air and food into chemical energy depends on a chain reaction of free radicals. Free radicals are also a crucial part of the immune system, as they travel throughout the body attacking foreign invaders. The problem is that when built up, they harm the cells of the body. As I like to say, too much of a good thing is a bad thing!

Once free radicals are produced, a chain reaction can occur. The first free radical pulls an electron from a molecule, weakening that molecule and turns it into a free radical. That molecule then takes an electron from another one,

weakening it and turning it into a free radical. This outcome, causing a domino effect, can eventually disrupt and harm the entire cell. This free radical chain reaction may lead to broken cell membranes, which can change what enters and exits the cell. This chain reaction may change the structure of a lipid, making it more likely to become trapped in an artery. These damaged molecules may mutate and grow tumors. Or, could change DNA code.

The oxidative stress mentioned earlier, occurs when there are too many free radicals and too much cellular damage. Several studies throughout the last few decades have suggested that oxidative stress plays a role in the development of many conditions, including macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, emphysema, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ulcers and all inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and lupus. Free radicals are also associated with aging. “The theory of aging regarding free radicals states that we tend to age as a result of free radical harm over time. Free radicals can damage DNA’s instructional code, causing our new cells to grow incorrectly, which leads to aging.

There are no official symptoms of oxidative stress. However, according to naturopathic doctors, symptoms include
headaches, noise sensitivity, fatigue, memory loss and brain fog, muscle and joint pain, vision problems and decreased immunity, wrinkles and gray hair, In a word, aging.

Antioxidants and free radicals

I mentioned antioxidants in the beginning. They are the strongest defense against free radicals.  Antioxidants ar molecules in cells that stop free radicals from taking electrons and inflicting harm. They are able to give an electron to a free radical without becoming weakened themselves, thus stopping the free radical chain reaction. “Antioxidants ar natural substances whose job is to scrub up free radicals. Antioxidants finish up the radical waste within the cells.

Well-known antioxidants include beta-carotene and other carotenoids, lutein, resveratrol, vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene and other phytonutrients.

Our body produces some antioxidants on its own, but in inadequate quantities. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals and too few antioxidants.

Antioxidants can also be acquired through diet. “Antioxidants are plentiful in fruits and veggies, especially the colorful ones.  Some examples include berries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, nuts and green tea. There are also supplements that contain powerful antioxidants. For more information see my post: https://universal-health-products.com/what-are-the-hea…urmeric-curcumin/

Antioxidants became into view in the Nineteen Nineties when scientists began to understand the potential effects of free radicals on cancer development, atherosclerosis and other chronic conditions. During the subsequent decades, many studies have been conducted on the effects of antioxidants with mixed results. Scientists don’t fully perceive the mixed results from the trials or the precise mechanism that causes antioxidants to be effective or ineffective against free radicals. But it’s safer to lean towards consuming antioxidants than not. Better safe than sorry!!

Also, note that regular exercise can also build up antioxidant defenses. The key is regular exercise. Intense initial cardio exercise causes chemical reactions that make free radicals form at a faster rate leading to initial exercise-induced oxidative stress. Therefore, out of shape and infrequent exercisers who do a spontaneous bout of intense physical activity may invoke oxidative stress, while those who are consistently active have no need to worry.

Good Health!

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What Are Essential Oils and What Are They Used For

What are essential oils

A term I’ve heard on occasion but didn’t pay much attention to is “essential oils.” But suddenly my curiosity has risen because it seems that I’m hearing it more often. So I couldn’t help but wonder, what are essential oils and what are they used for? Also, what are essential oils and do they work?

Essential oils are compounds removed from plants. The oils confine the plant’s scent and flavor, also known as its essence. Unique fragrant compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence.

Essential oils are attained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical means, such as cold pressing. The way the oils are processed is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.

These oils are concentrated and very potent. Therefore, once the aromatic chemicals have been removed, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use. Carrier oils are vegetable oils, such as coconut oil or avocado oil that have been derived from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant.

What are essential oils used for

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, a complementary therapy where various essential oils are applied to the body to aid both physical and emotional health and well-being (wellness). They are sniffed, or diluted then rubbed on the skin. They are not meant to be swallowed. Inhaling the aromas can stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell and long-term memory. What is interesting, the limbic system is heavily involved in forming memories. This will partially make a case for why acquainted smells can trigger reminiscences or emotions. It also plays a role in controlling some unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Some claim that essential oils can exert a physical effect on your body in this way. But this has not been confirmed in studies.

Aromatherapy is used to help with a wide range of health issues, from acne to asthma, depression to insomnia, and migraine to worms.

Well Known Types

There are more than 90 types of essential oils, each with its own distinctive aroma and potential health benefits.

Here’s a few of the popular ones and the health assertions associated with them:

  • Sandalwood: Used to calm nerves and help with focus.
  • Lavender: Used for stress relief.
  • Peppermint: Used to boost energy and help with digestion.
  • Jasmine: Used to help with depression, childbirth and libido
  • Chamomile: Used for improving mood and relaxation.
  • Lemon: Used to aid digestion, mood, headaches and more.
  • Ylang-Ylang: Used to treat headaches, nausea and skin conditions.
  • Tea Tree: Used to fight infections and boost immunity.
  • Bergamot: Used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema.
  • Rose: Used to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Other Uses

Essential oils have many uses outside of aromatherapy. Many people use them to scent their homes or wash things like laundry. They are additionally used as a natural scent in home-produced cosmetics and high-quality natural merchandise. It has also been suggested that they could provide a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to man-made mosquito repellents, such as DEET. However, results of their effectiveness have been mixed.

Their properties also indicate that some of them could be used industrially for extending the shelf life of foods. They also aid in healing infections, cleansing, cleaning and deodorizing. Tea Tree oil for example is used in environmentally friendly household cleaners.

In summary, aromatherapy isn’t the only use for essential oils. They can be used in and around the home, as well as industrially.

Where to buy Essential Oils

Many businesses claim that their oils are “pure” or “medical grade. Since it is an unregulated industry, the quality and composition of essential oils can vary greatly.

Therefore, the following tips might help to choose only high-quality oils:

  • Purity: Find an oil that contains only aromatic plant compounds, without additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils usually list the plant’s botanical name.
  • Quality: True essential oils are the ones that have been changed the least by the extraction process. Choose a chemical-free oil that has been extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
  • Reputation: Purchase a brand with a reputation for producing high-quality products.

Essential oils can be bought on-line. In fact, it is the best place to buy essential oils. You just need to know where to buy essential oils on line. For information on the largest on-line wellness company in North America that features essential oils with uncompromising quality, logon www.info@universal-health-products.com
to make your request.

Feel free to leave any question, comment or concern below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

 

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Protecting Our Home Environment

The word environment encompasses the conditions that surround us. It includes the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. These conditions affect the growth, health, and progress of our existence.

The word pollution represents the greatest enemy to our environment. It is the action or process of making, our land, water, air, etc dirty and not safe or suitable for use. The human actions are the major cause of pollution, mainly of an industrial nature affecting our air and water. However, as every-day individuals, we cannot control these actions. Therefore, no matter how much we hear about this issue and climate change, there isn’t much we can do about it. But there is one area of our environment we can do a lot about – our homes. There is a substantial amount of improvement needed when it comes to protecting our home environment.

In my last post, I expounded on the dangerous chemicals in our homes: https://universal-health-products.com/dangerous-chemicals-in-the-home/ I listed and explained some of the more common and dangerous ones. In this post, I’m going to go into the alternatives to make one’s home environment more people friendly.

So here we go!

Phthalates

The chemical found in may fragranced products: Air fresheners, soaps, toilet paper, etc.

Alternative: When possible choose fragrance-free or all-natural organic products. It’s recommended that we bypass aerosol or plug-in air fresheners and instead using essential oils or just opening windows to freshen the air. Also, we can consider adding more plants to our homes as they are natural air detoxifiers.

Perchloroethylene or “PERC”

The ingredient found in Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Alternative: Curtains, drapes and clothes that are labeled dry clean only can be taken to a wet cleaner instead, which uses water-based technology rather than chemical solvents. Liquid carbon dioxide has been recognized by the EPA as an environmentally preferable alternative to the more toxic dry-cleaning solvents. So try asking your dry cleaner which method they use. For a safer spot remover, look for a nontoxic brand like Ecover, or rub undiluted castile soap (based with vegetable oil) directly on stains before washing.

Triclosan

Most antibacterial liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps contain Triclosan.

Alternative: Use detergents and soaps with short ingredient lists, and avoid antibacterial products containing triclosan for home use. As for hand sanitizers, choose one that is alcohol-based and contains no triclosan.

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”

Usually in fabric softener liquids and sheets, and most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”

Alternative: we don’t have to have fabric softener or dryer sheets to soften clothes or get rid of static: Simple vinegar works just as well. “Vinegar is the natural fabric softener of choice for many reasons, it’s nontoxic, and it removes soap residue in the rinse cycle as well as helps to prevent static cling in the dryer. White vinegar is the best choice for general cleaning; other types can stain.

Alternatives to chemical disinfectants abound as well, including antibacterial, antifungal tea-tree oil. Simply mix a few drops of tea-tree oil and a tablespoon of vinegar with water in a spray bottle for a safe, germ killing, and all-purpose cleaner. A couple of drops of lavender essential oil can be added for fragrance.

Butoxyethanol

Window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners are the guilty perpetrators for this ingredient.

Alternative: Clean mirrors and windows with newspaper and diluted vinegar. For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple cleaning compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers. You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils. See the link below for info on essential oils.

Ammonia

Commonly found in polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry; also in glass and all-purpose cleaners.

Alternatives: Would you believe…Vodka! It is known to produce a reflective shine on any metal or mirrored surface. And people drink this stuff!! Here’s another one… toothpaste – makes an outstanding silver polish! Gees!!

Sodium Hydroxide

This one is a beaut. It hangs out in oven cleaners and drain openers.

Alternative: You can clean the greasiest oven with baking-soda paste. However, it will take a little more time and elbow grease. For clogged drains, we can use a mechanical “snake” tool, or try this: pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain and plug it for 30 minutes. After the bubbles die down, run hot water down the drain to clear the debris.

Formaldehyde

Here’s one I didn’t cover in my last post but is far from innocent. It’s not so much in household cleaners but commonly found in: lotions, shampoos, sun block, soap bars, cosmetics, body wash, toothpaste, baby wipes, and bubble bath.

It might surprise you to know that much of the shelving, furniture, wall finishes, carpet, cabinetry and flooring in our homes could contain this dangerous chemical. Formaldehyde can also be found in building materials such as paneling, plywood and insulation to name a few.

Most products contain only very small amounts of harmful chemicals. The danger lies in our modern habits of using many of these products, and for a long time. As we surround ourselves with more and more formaldehyde-containing products our exposure level increases. Similarly, the longer we expose ourselves to these products the more exposure we are getting. Is it any wonder why we’re so sick, especially as we age?

Alternative: we have to look for products that are “readily biodegradable” and “non-toxic to humans and aquatic life.

The Solution:

We have to take responsibility and not rely on companies and the government for our home environmental health. We can accomplish this by controlling our home environment and by making better health choices. The first step is getting these chemicals out of our homes. Cleaning and personal care products can be easily replaced with natural alternatives (remember to look for products that are “readily biodegradable” and “non-toxic to humans and aquatic life”)

Connect to a wellness company

Once you’ve gotten rid of the chemicals, replace them easily through a wellness organization. A comprehensive wellness company can supply you with products that are chemical and preservative free. From floor, kitchen and bathroom cleaners to smoothies and snack bars. Essential oils too—the works! Keep your home truly clean – dirt and chemical free. It is the most convenient way to protect our home environment for ourselves and our families.

Wellness begins at home!

For information on the largest on-line wellness shopping club in North America, email your request to www.info @universal-health-products.com

Feel free to leave any question comment or concern below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

 

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Dangerous Chemicals in the Home

Common Household Chemical
One of the Dangerous Chemicals in the Home

Some of us are more health conscious than others. Those who are, tend to focus on their consumption of food, drinks, and exercise regimes. But what are we doing to control our environments, mainly in our homes? What about the dangerous chemicals in the home?

Many of us are unaware of the dangerous chemicals we use in our homes. But the fact of the matter is there are dangerous chemicals in household products. We clean our kitchens with these products: dish washing detergents (both hand and automatic dishwashers), sink cleaners, floor cleaners, counter top disinfectants and oven cleaners. We scrub our bathrooms with: cleansers, bathtub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and we clean our medicine cabinet mirrors with window cleaner. We shampoo our carpets, scrub our walls and clean our windows, all with chemicals. We don’t think twice about it! But we need to be aware that there are dangerous chemicals in everyday products and of the dangers in household chemicals.

The core of the issue

According to environmental experts, there is an average of sixty-two (62) toxic chemicals in most homes that we are exposed to on a regular basis. This includes phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners. These ingredients are linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity (adverse effects on the nervous system) and hormone disruption. This is the result of dangerous chemicals in the home.

There are chemicals in our products that are banned in Europe because of their toxicity. However, in the US, there’s no federal regulation of chemicals in household products. In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market, according to scientists at a well-known activist group.

Producers of these products contend that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t likely to be a problem. However, when we’re exposed to them routinely, and in combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the risks. While a few products cause immediate reactions from acute exposure (e.g. headaches from fumes, skin burns from accidental contact), different problems arise with repeated contact. Chronic exposure adds to the body’s toxic burden. That term represents the number of chemicals stored in body tissues at a given time. This toxic body burden is the major worry in relation to toxic chemicals in the home.

While no one can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals totally, the danger is daily, weekly, chronic exposure over a lifetime. While it is true to be exposed to a chemical for an insignificant number of times wouldn’t cause harm, over time some chemicals build up enough or cause enough harm in your body to trigger a disease consequence. The body burden concept sheds light on the fact that pollution is not just accumulating in our air and water it’s also accumulating in us!

The dangerous chemicals in household products

Next we’ll take a look at some of the greatest toxic ingredients found in common household products.

Phthalates

Many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper contain phthalates. You probably won’t see the word on a label. However, if you see the word fragrance, phthalates are probably present.

Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Men with higher concentrations in their blood had correspondingly reduced sperm counts. Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem. The skin has no safeguards against toxins as the digestive system. Therefore, absorbed chemicals go straight to organs. [Nice!]

Perchloroethylene: “PERC”

This chemical is contained in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Perc is a Neurotoxin and the EPA classifies it as a possible carcinogen as well. People exposed to perc continually such as those who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms. In fact, the EPA has ordered a phase-out of perc machines in residential buildings by 2020. California plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023. It is most often exposed through inhalation. The odor on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner is a sure sign and also the fumes that linger after cleaning carpets. We all have to use the dry cleaner to one extent or another. It’s best to remove the plastic cover and allow items to air out before using them.

Triclosan

This one is found in most liquid dish washing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”

Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. There no evidence that it makes us healthier or safer. The concern is overusing these antibacterial chemicals — that’s how microbes develop resistance. Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic to algae. It is a probable carcinogen and is being investigated whether it may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”

These gems are usually found in fabric softener liquids and sheets, and most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”

Quats are another type of antimicrobial. Therefore, they pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant. A study of contact dermatitis found quats to be one of the leading causes. They are also suspected as a cause for respiratory disorders: There’s evidence that even healthy people who are exposed to quats on a regular basis develop asthma as a result. [Nice!]

2-Butoxyethanol

You’ll find these in window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.

2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners and gives them their characteristic sweet smell (all that’s sweet isn’t sugar). It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that don’t mess around. Law does not require 2-butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label In addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. Although there is a standard on 2-butoxyethanol for workplace safety, if we’re cleaning our homes in a confined area, such as an unventilated bathroom, we can actually end up getting this chemical in the air at levels that are higher than workplace safety standards. [Watch out!]

Ammonia

Commonly found in: polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry; also in glass cleaners.

Since ammonia evaporates and doesn’t leave streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window cleaners. But there’s a price for the sparkle. Ammonia is a powerful irritant. Its effects are immediate. Those most affected are those who have asthma, and the elderly with lung issues and respiratory problems. It’s almost always inhaled. Those who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis and asthma. I once inhaled a little more ammonia than I should have while doing a household chore and I developed one of the nastiest colds ever. Ammonia can also create a horribly smelling, poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.

Chlorine

Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whitener, household tap water is where this chemical resides.

There are many avenues of exposure with chlorine. We’re getting exposed through fumes and possibly through skin when we clean with it, but because it’s also in city water to get rid of bacteria, we’re also getting exposed when you take a shower or bath. The health risks from chlorine can be acute as well as chronic; it’s a respiratory irritant at an acute level. But the chronic effects are what people don’t realize: It can be a serious thyroid disrupter.

Sodium Hydroxide

This scary one is mainly found in oven cleaners and drain openers.

Commonly known as lye, sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. If it touches your skin or gets into your eyes, it can cause severe burns. Routes of exposure are skin contact and inhalation. Inhaling sodium hydroxide cuts your breath and can cause a sore throat that lasts for days.

How to avoid exposure

Wellness begins at home!

The best way to avoid being exposed to all the above toxins is to avoid them altogether. It’s a good idea to get these toxins out of our homes. This is best achieved by getting involved into today’s wellness movement. Wellness changes our environment to a proactive one instead of a reactive one. In my post/article https://universal-health-products.com/protecting-our-home-environment/ I detail alternatives to the common chemicals that we’re exposed to.

The most convenient way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive wellness company that offers a host of chemical and preservative free products. These range from household cleaners to delicious and nutritional smoothies!

For information on the best on-line wellness companies in North America featuring chemical free household products , send your request via email to info@universal-health-products.com

Please feel free to leave any question or comment below.

Good Health!

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