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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Free Radicals and Autoimmune Diseases

Cells make up your body organs. When your cells die, your body organs fail and health deteriorates; as a result, you age and die.

To maintain and sustain life, some of your cells replicate themselves continually, such as epithelial cells in your intestine, while others do not divide, such as your heart cells and neurons in your brain.

All human cells require energy and oxygen to function normally, and in this oxidative process free radicals are created. For example, when you breathe in life-giving oxygen, you also breathe out harmful carbon dioxide. This oxidative process is how your Creator has ingeniously built normal cell death into your body system to ensure your mortality. Slowly and accumulatively, these free radicals build up in your cells, leading to premature cell death.

The human body is composed of negatively and positively charged molecules, which must be balanced in order to enable these cells to function normally. When any imbalance occurs, a free radical is formed in these molecules. A free radical may damage other nearby molecules, causing them to produce more free radicals, and thus producing a free radical chain reaction.

Free radicals can also be caused by external factors: alcohol and tobacco; chemicals and pesticides from foods and pharmaceutical drugs; heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, from the environment; radiation from the sun and other sources, such as cell phones.

Oxygen free radicals and other free radicals in the human body may cause damages to cells and neurons, such as the neurons in the brain, the cumulative damage to the DNA, resulting in human cancers, heart damage in the form of plague formation on the walls of heart arteries.

Most importantly, the presence of free radicals weakens the human immune system, which is essentially a network of cells and organs that communicate with one another in order to identify the invaders and attack them so as to protect the body from diseases and infections.

A malfunctioning immune system is the major cause of autoimmune diseases, which come in many different forms with many different symptoms; there are as many as over 100 autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune cells "attack" the body's own organs and tissues, instead of protecting them from foreign invaders. As an illustration, in allergies, the body perceives something harmless, such as pollen, as potentially dangerous, and begins to produce large amounts of pollen antibody. In the next pollen encounter, the immune system "remembers" the first exposure, and consequently releases powerful chemicals causing sneezing, wheezing, and other allergic symptoms. In an autoimmune disease, the "attack" will repeat itself, and thus causing long-term damage.

For more information on how I struggled with my autoimmune disease and how I successfully overcame many of the disease symptoms, read my book My Myasthenia Gravis.

Stephen Lau 

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