What are free radicals? What do they have to do with my animal’s well-being?
To first understand the connection, we must have a brief look at basic biology and chemistry. According to scientific research (as you may remember from high school science class), cells are made up of molecules which are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of a nucleus, neutrons, protons, and electrons. Each proton (positively charged) is paired with an electron (negatively charged) particle. They balance out the chemistry of the atom. Once the atom is full of protons and electrons, the molecules will split and enter a newly formed shell of an atom by way of “bonding” together. Atoms are always seeking stability in terms of containing an equal number of protons and electrons. Strong molecules split and pair equally. When weaker bonds split, the result is an unpaired molecule- a free radical.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY ANIMAL?
Free radicals play an important role in the biological functions of your animal. They are responsible for aiding white blood cells with “eating” bacteria and other pathogens in the body. However mostly they act in an unpredictable and DESTRUCTIVE way. Free radicals are very likely present in animals with chronic allergies and chronic muscle soreness/joint pain. When free-radicals are formed, they behave in an irrational way, trying desperately to pair with any other molecule they can find. They are very unstable and seek balance. If the free radical is successful in “stealing” another pair’s molecule, the third molecule then becomes a free radical. Ordinarily, this chain of events would not compromise the well-being of your animal friend. However, this series of events can cause a cascading event, wreaking havoc and eventually harming once cell after another. Free radicals can result in serious tissue damage and severe inflammation of the joints and tissues. Aging is also a significant opportunity for free-radical damage to occur within your animal as the body is producing fewer antibodies to combat the damage. Once the chain of compromised cells begins, it can, if untreated, lead to certain types of cancers, irreparable organ damage and other terminal illness.
WHAT CAUSES FREE RADICALS?
There are many known causes of free radicals in the body; both human and animal. Have you ever torn a muscle? Maybe walked up too many stairs or lifted too heavy of a weight at the gym and felt it two days later? This is a classic example of tissue damage. Physical pain from tissue damage is a result of too many free radicals running around the body. When we tear our muscles (even on purpose at the gym!), we are creating the fabric from which free radicals are born.
Another common cause of free radicals in the body is a compromised immune system. Because of the effect that free-radicals have on cells, in an already weakened immune system, the free radicals (if not treated) can cause serious damage to muscles and have even been linked to some types of cancers.
Free radicals are connected to all types of pollution; air, water and food chemicals, and even the cleanliness of the animal’s home. Be aware of your environment and do your best to allow your animal a clean, safe environment. It is especially imperative to feed your animal fresh, clean food and water daily. It may be a good idea to look into supplementing your animal’s diet with diatomaceous earth or colloidal silver which are known detoxifiers of the body. Diatomaceous earth has been known to cleanse the digestive tract of all pollutants that have stuck to the intestines and colon from nutrient-poor foods, chemicals in tap water and other ingested substances. Colloidal silver has been linked to the relief of allergens that cause mucous by eliminating the oxygen that the bacteria need to survive. Colloidal silver kills pathogens which are what cause allergies, cold and flu symptoms. Pathogens are created through a weakened immune system and rampant free radicals.
Free radicals have been linked to poor eating habits, nutrient-poor diets, alcohol and drug abuse (in people that is!) lack of exercise and lack of rest between exercise sessions, poor sleeping habits, stressful environments and stressful lifestyles. Remember animals are affected by stress far more deeply than humans are. It’s crucial that we allow them an outlet for their stress.
FREE RADICAL DAMAGE PREVENTION
The easiest way for you and your animal friends to prevent free radical damage is to consume as many antioxidants as possible. Antioxidants are molecular compounds that slow down or stall the process of oxidation; the process in which free radicals are formed. It’s not a coincidence that antioxidants are said to help prevent cancer. This is due to the negative effects of free radicals on weak cells, enabling cancer to occur. Some examples of foods rich in antioxidants are:
a) Darker coloured vegetables- Broccoli, Kale, Carrots, Red Peppers, Yams, Red Cabbage
b) Berries- Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Goji
c) Vitamins E, A, C, Beta carotene
g) Dark chocolate
Obviously some of these are not appropriate for your animal friends. Contrary to popular belief, feeding thoroughly cooked green veggies to your cat and dog is healthy and beneficial. You may also add herbs and spices such as turmeric, milk thistle and astralagus as a supplement to your animal’s regular diet to wage against free radical damage. Cooking fish without spices and sauces and feeding it to your animal is a great way to keep the free radicals at bay. Please note: cooked fish alone is not a complete meal for your animal friend. The cooked fish is complementary to the animal’s regular meals.
Another way to prevent free radical damage is to ensure your animal friend has a balanced diet free of inflammatory substances and as many whole foods as possible. What may be surprising to many cat & dog food consumers is that the brands of food that professionals recommend are frighteningly high in inflammatory substances and frighteningly low in whole foods. Any label that reads “pork by-product, corn gluten, modified corn starch”, etc is NOT going to help to keep free radicals at bay. In fact, these are just the types of ingredients that cause free radicals. Be sure to find food with labels that read “deboned chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, kelp” etc. to help alleviate free radical damage, it is also worth the consideration to cook your animal’s food- should you be available to do so. Essentially, the more whole foods they eat, the healthier they’ll be!
It is equally as important to provide your animal with clean, fresh filtered or spring water daily. Tap water is full of toxic heavy metals and chemicals from water treatment plants. These heavy metals and chemicals can also easily cause free radical production in the body. Regular exercise and rest are key components of maintaining healthy cells in your animal friend’s body. The lesser the animal is stressed, the lesser the possibility of damage.
Regular energy healing work is absolutely beneficial to animals. Each and every cell of an animal’s (and person’s) body has physical and non-physical counterparts. By engaging in regular energy work with your animal, the high frequency energy will begin to break down the negative energy in the non-physical cellular counterparts and over time begin to combat the negative free radical energy that has infiltrated the animal’s healthy cells.
Regular energy work helps to break down energy blockages that have formed in an animal or person due to stress from any and all sources. Regular energy work also helps to boost the immune system. A boosted immune system means that fewer, if any pathogens (remember- pathogens are the causes of allergies, colds, flus and other chronic ailments) can permeate the animal’s immune system and cause free radical production in the body.
By ensuring that we are taking steps to battle against free radical damage, we are creating greater likelihood of longevity and a far better quality of life for our beloved animal companions!
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