Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More On ATO's

Simplifying Antioxidants
At O.N.E., we have some pretty basic beliefs. We believe that education is a prime responsibility that we embrace. We believe in responsible beverage industry leadership, environmental sustainability, and good corporate citizenship. We believe that nutritional information to help maintain good health should be clear, accurate, and easy to understand.

So in an effort to simplify antioxidants, we are introducing a new acronym - ATOs - as an easy to use abbreviation for antioxidants.

Taking a step back
We have all heard that antioxidants can protect us against free radical damage. But what does this really mean? In order to understand anti-oxidants, we must first understand oxidation and our bodies’ response to toxins.

Our bodies are made up of billions of cells. Cells are made up of smaller components called molecules and atoms. An atom’s center - or nucleus - is where our DNA is stored. The atom’s outermost shell is made up of pairs of electrons. When one electron is separated from the atom, it becomes unstable. Each unpaired electron begins the process of oxidation within the cell. We’ve all seen oxidation at work: just think of an apple that turns brown when the peel is broken.

During oxidation the atom is looking around frantically for healthy electrons to replace its lost one(s). If it can, it will “steal” an electron from another molecule to become whole again. This creates a new oxidized cell.

Free Radicals
Unstable atoms are called free radicals. Free radicals are produced in the natural course of oxygen utilization and energy production. Free radical production is increased by negative environmental influences, such as pollution Free radicals are highly reactive and short-lived. They are not particular about where they get their electrons - a healthy cell (reducing the body’s total number of healthy cells), or an already compromised cell (making it nearly impossible for that cell to recover). The danger lies in the reaction between free radicals and parts of your cell, such as the cell membrane and DNA.

What are Antioxidants? (ATOs)
Antioxidants (ATOs) are substances that can be produced by our body (like Lipoic Acids, CoQ10, and Glutethione), andoccur naturally in our foods. Some of the most commonly known ATOs are vitamins A, C, E, and selenium, as well as phytochemicals (plant compounds) such as flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and lycopene. ATOs are thought to be effective in reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, and premature skin degeneration.

Antioxidants (ATOs) to the rescue
The good news is that ATOs are believed to prevent or slow down the oxidative damage to your body. ATOs act as “scavengers” to prevent cell oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. They seek out and clean up free radicals before they have a chance to do harm. ATOs stop the chain reaction of oxidation by removing free radical intermediates and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves.

Who Needs ATOs?
The simple answer is everyone. When you eat, breathe, walk, talk, or even just get out of bed in the morning, some of your body’s cells break down and become susceptible to free radical damage. If you add physical or environmental stress, such as exercise, work stress, air travel, or exposure to toxins, now you really need ATO support.

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