Free Radicals and Kundalini

Longevity = maximum ATP (energy) with a minimum of free radical production

Free radicals are reactive oxygen molecules that have lost an electron in interactions with other molecules. As a result, these molecules are extremely unstable and they race around stealing electrons from other molecules creating more free radicals in the process, damaging cell components. Free radicals are produced by normal cellular processes, and the majority are produced during the production of ATP in the mitochondria. Other normal cellular enzymatic processes create free radicals include phagocytosis, inflammation, in prostaglandin synthesis, in the cytochrome P450 system and in reactions involving iron and other transition metals. Free radicals are also created from: exercise, sunlight, cigarette smoke, alcohol, pesticides, air pollution, stress, electromagnetic radiation.

The body produces several free radical quenching enzymes as its first line of defense. They are superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Additionally the body uses antioxidant vitamins, minerals and substances found in food to counteract free radicals. Half the protein produced in the body every day is enzymes and our endogenous antioxidant Superoxide dismutase is the fifth most abundant protein in the body.

Intestinal bacteria produce SOD and other vitamins like biotin and B12. Chlorine in drinking water, birth control pills, other steroids, antibiotics and even negative thinking will reduce intestinal bacteria and promote candida yeast growth. Thus the hormonal swings that are inevitable with kundalini awakenings could promote intestinal conditions that interfere with the body's free radical defense system.

There is an increase of free radical production in the body during metamorphosis because of increased hormone and neurotransmitter use and breakdown, increased metabolism and nerve energy flow, increased oxygen and glucose consumption, increased immune function, the increase breakdown and growth of cells, increase in stress hormone production and the impairment of normal digestion due to sympathetic-nervous-system hyperactivation. All these factors raise the free radical load on the bodymind during active kundalini. Free radicals overtax the immune system and keep it so busy fighting the breakdown of the body's own cells that it cannot fight off viruses, microbes, and infections that attack it from without.

It is likely that we will be stressed during an awakening in experiencing the extreme chemistry and expanded levels of perception. Having a spiritual practice would reduce this secondary stress by making us more adapted to changes in the autonomic nervous system and state. This stress would further over-excite the body and produce a flow of free radicals. High levels of cortisol cause cells to shift from maintenance to energy creation. Even muscle tissue is broken down for use as fuel during fight or flight chemistry. Also the breakdown of cortisol and adrenaline produces free radicals. Stress therefore is synonymous with oxidative damage.

How well we weather a kundalini crisis is partly determined by our antioxidant reserves, our blood-sugar/glycation history and our mineral and enzyme reserves. If our protein structures are strong and we have strong free radical defenses, then extra energy can pass through our system without excess friction or damage. Glucose is burned in the powerhouses of the cells, known as mitochondria to generate 90% of the energy used in the cell. Free radicals and ROS are created as toxic waste in this process. Consider also that since greater energy is generated and used during an awakening the numbers of mitochondria must correspondingly increase. The faster oxygen is used to burn glucose, the faster free radicals are produced as toxic waste.

The brain is susceptible to free radical damage due to the high content of polyunsaturated fats and high mitochondrial content. Levels of vitamin C in the brain are 50 times higher than elsewhere in the body to protect brain tissue and neurotransmitters from oxidation. The free radical damage to proteins in neurons reduces their efficiency. Raising antioxidant levels not only allows damaged proteins to repair, but increases neurotransmitter levels as well. Preventing morbid down swings or permanent neurological damage from kundalini awakening is a matter of increasing our ability to cope with these higher levels of free radicals.

To protect the brain from free radical damage during the heightened nerve flow we need to take hydrophobic (water repelling) antioxidants like pine bark, vitamin C-Ester and alpha lipoic acid, as the blood brain barrier is impervious to hydrophilic (water loving) substances. We must aim to get more antioxidant protection into the cerebrospinal fluid.

One way of interpreting the die-off being that it is a temporary collapse in which our ability to cope with the free radical oxidation load, specifically in the mitochondria of the nerves and the tissue in general. This overload often forces complete bed rest until the body's free radical defenses win out and the bodymind can begin to reinstate normal functioning. The average die-off therefore takes 3-5 days for this recuperation to occur. The shock and die-off phase of awakening constitutes a free radical oxidation crisis that we can attempt to adapt to by increasing antioxidant intake and upping our stress reduction techniques at this time.

Die-offs however should not be prevented because they are needed to dissolve the present structure and make way for the new. Thus die-off is an "essential" part of the process, however we do not have to be set back and regress if we know how to successfully weather these changes. If we have adequate mineral, enzyme and antioxidant reserves we will be able to weather the catabolic stages without complete collapse and damage, to achieve a higher level of resurrection. Once we intimately know the process of biological transmutation we can achieve a greater adaptation and higher-homeostasis.

Free radical interference with the ability of mitochondria to produce energy is no doubt implicated in various periods of intense fatigue that often accompany kundalini awakening. This must be one of the many processes occurring during the die-off period, when free radical overload is at max. The fatigue periods could also be brought on by free radical interference with nerve transmission. For serious fatigue situations try B-complex vitamins, alpha-lipoic acid, Co Q10 or Idebenone and magnesium along with NADH.

When there is inadequate exogenous and indigenous antioxidants cellular decay and ageing occurs. In fact the decline in faculty that occurs with age is largely because free radicals interfere with the messages transmitted by neurotransmitters, thus affecting reflexes, organ regulation, muscle contractions, blood flow, memory and learning ability. This is why the concentration of vitamin C in the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, is 50 times greater than in other tissues of the body.

Despite their destructive power, free radicals are in fact used by the body for useful purposes. Their killing power is used by the white blood cells to destroy invading organisms. Ironically it is the free radicals that the macrophages use in their fight against arterial cholesterol which kills them and turns them to foam cells thus producing arteriosclerosis. Free radicals also play a role in the synthesis of major biomolecules--proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids and in the detoxification of chemicals inside organelles in the interior of cells. Free radical reactions play a part in the generation of cellular energy in the mitochondria. So you see that free radicals are indispensable to life, but they need to be managed so that their usefulness outweighs their destruction.

Billions of free radicals are being produced in the body at any time. Our attitude and state of mind can actually contribute to our level of oxidative damage. For example each molecule of adrenaline produces two oxygen radicals as it metabolizes in the body, therefore too much stress can increase our oxidation damage and overwork our immune system. Stress also increases our endorphin production which in turn suppresses our nervous, immune and hormonal systems.

One of the best ways we can counter and overcome the stress in our lives is through regular exercise. However not all exercise is good for fighting the free radical war. In fact excessive exercise for which the body is not prepared for can actually cause extensive oxidative damage. Free radical production goes up during exhausting, high intensity workouts and such free radical activity is associated with oxidative damage in the muscles, liver, blood and other tissues. Hence at the heaviest training levels there is increased susceptibility to cancer, heart attacks, cataracts, premature aging and decreased immunity. Some of the reasons why there is increased free radical damage during exercise are: the consumption of oxygen goes up 10-20 times, there is an increased output of Superoxide radicals by mitochondria, there is oxygen deprivation from the increased demand by tissues and the bodies antioxidant defenses are over burdened. There is an increase in free radical production in both excess oxygen and lack of oxygen conditions.

Regular lower intensity exercise minimizes the production of free radicals while strengthening the indigenous antioxidants and enzymes. Without regular exercise the body's internal defenses against free radicals (SOD, GSH, Catalase) may become too fragile for the antioxidants in our food and supplements to have their full affect. Sedentary people are twice as likely to get cancer and heart disease as active individuals. Trained muscles are resistant to oxidative damage because of the increased supply of the bodies own antioxidants. Regular training prepares the bodymind to better handle unexpected physical and emotional stresses and strains. That is exercise builds up our resistance to free radical damage from all stressors. Fast walking at the pace of 12-15 minutes per mile is ideal for returning optimum endurance benefits, without creating excess free radicals and damaging tissues. Fast walking can be as effective as jogging without the risk of injury. To strengthen our endogenous free radical defenses we need to do at least 30 continuous minutes of brisk walking three times a week. Besides this we also need to do some weight bearing strengthening exercise and some stretching as well. By maintaining strength and subtly we prevent the aches, pains and free radicals that come from physical stress to an unconditioned body.

Free radicals do most of their damage to the outer layer of the cell because free radicals are drawn to areas that have the greatest density of molecules, hence the richest source of electrons. And since the cell membrane has the greatest concentration of molecules, it would be the primary target of the free radical. Since the outer portion of the cell is mostly fat, we need fat-soluble antioxidants to protect our cell membranes. So along with stable (non-reactive) fat intake you will also need to have a good supply of fat soluble antioxidants to protect the cell membranes such as Vitamin C ‘Ester,' Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE, Vitamin E Tocotrienol, CoQ10, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Glutathione, NADH, Pycnogenol, Propolis.

Free radical damage to the cell membranes causes dehydration of the interior of the cells and edema or fluid collecting outside of the cells. Once the cell membrane becomes damaged by free radicals, it becomes unable to let nutrients in and wastes out. Wastes and salts, such as potassium, begin to take up increasing amounts of space within the cell. As a result the cell's water supply is pushed out, and the cell becomes dehydrated.

The sleep hormone Melatonin is a major physiological antioxidant (and hormone) by directly reacting with hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals, or by stimulating the expression of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, or glutathione reductase. Melatonin has also been reported to inhibit nitric oxide synthetase.

There is an upcoming cancer cure that uses Vitamin C + Vitamin K in a specific ratio to create an oxidation environment that essentially blows up cancer cells. It can get rid of cancerous growths within one month. Vitamin C on the micro-level acts as an antioxidant, but combined with Vit K on the macro-level it oxidizes the cancer cell membranes and destroys their DNA.

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Mitochondria produce the NADH necessary for the Oxidative Phosphorylation of food stuffs into ATP. It is NADH, which captures the electrons thrown off during Krebs' cycle oxidation and shuttles them to the electron transport side chain energy production cycle. Whether it is produced internally within the cell or enters the body from a dietary supplement, NADH will trigger increased cellular energy production. Energy is stored in the NADH molecule, and when it reacts with oxygen, energy is produced in the form of ATP. One NADH molecule leads to the formation of three ATP molecules. In addition NADH creates more energy when it reacts with oxygen and water forming nicotinamide (also known as vitamin B3) and ADP.

Free radicals interfere with cellular energy production by destroying enzymes and mitochondria. NADH is a high-energy hydrogen that occurs naturally in all our cells. NADH transfers the Hydrogen to oxidized (or damaged) glutathione to restore normal glutathione, and it can regenerate other important antioxidants as well. In the nucleus of the cell there is only one compound that can activate the nucleus DNA repair system: that compound is NADH. The better the DNA repair system functions the better our protection from chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, arteriosclerosis and immunodeficiencies.

The brain must produce and use 20% of the body's total ATP production in order to maintain normal function; depression reflects a lowering of the brain's energy status. Through its multiple roles in producing ATP energy, NADH energizes the brain thereby reducing depression, seizure and psychosis. Besides increasing brain energy NADH also increases the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline, which along with serotonin are frequently diminished during depression (brain cells use dopamine to make noradrenaline). And since NADH's spares tryptophan, more tryptophan is available for conversion to serotonin. For depression take NADH along with DL Phenylalinine, tyrosine and tryptophan or 5-HTP

NADH can be made in the liver and other cells from vitamin B3, so rather than the expensive activated form you could just take 50-100mg of vitamin B3 per day. NADH can also be made from the amino acid L-Tryptophan using 60mg tryptophan for 1mg B3. Tryptophan being the precursor to serotonin.

Fabulous article on activated B3 (NADH)



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