Diabetes and Oxidative Stress
by Michael Martinez
Most scientists and doctors agree that oxidative stress is extremely important in determining the root cause of diabetes. The theory is quite complicated, with references to biochemistry. Envision a “free radical”, which is an atom or molecule with an unpaired electron in its outer ring. This atom or molecule desperately wants to find another electron to reach a state of equilibrium. As such, this “free radical” will quickly grab an electron from the nearest molecule for diabetes cures. Of course, this converts the other molecule into a “free radical”, needing to find another electron. And so on down the line it goes, a never-ending cycle occurring over and over again.
Scientists call this cycle the “chain reaction of free radicals”. The most dangerous aspect of these rogue free radicals is the damage they wreak on DNA and the cell membrane. Think of their activity as cells running amuck, destroying everything in their path.
The body’s natural defense against free radicals is a system of antioxidants. These are molecules that aren’t affected by free radicals, and can thus sever the chain reaction prior to serious damage occurring. The most important antioxidants are the following:
Alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, glutathione, and CoQ10.
These free radicals affect the various types of diabetes in different ways:
Type 1 diabetes: Free radicals damage the important beta cells located in the pancreas, affecting their ability to produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes: Free radicals damage cell membranes, which leads to a breakdown in signaling between cells.
Furthermore, free radicals deplete the body of its store of antioxidants, adding to the problem.
All of this explains why lowering oxidative stress is so crucial. This is done by eating a more healthy diet, increasing the exercise regimen, and making sure to take a full line of antioxidant supplements.
There’s still much research to be done into the causes of diabetes. We do know, however, that the body can start to malfunction 5 to 7 years before the diagnosis of diabetes. This explains why somewhere in the range of 40% of people who have diabetes remain undiagnosed.