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Antioxidant

Antioxidant

Moringa Oleifera contains 46 Antioxidants, which are substances that possess the capacity to neutralise Free Radicals. The build up of Free Radicals is associated with many human diseases.

The active principles of Moringa Oleífera are in straightforward relation with what is going on in our organism between Free Radicals and Antioxidants.

Free Radicals

Free Radicals are unstable oxygen compounds that attack brain and body cells.

They are aggressive substances that rob electrons from other molecules such as proteins, lipids and genetic material. This electron theft is called Oxidation and brings about formation of new unstable molecules, which means tissue damage and premature ageing.

Free Radicals become authentic bullets that fight against mitochondrial membranes, that are the power station of our cells. These damaged cells turn into toxins that infiltrate in other cells and may cause DNA damage, that is to say, the genetic material might be altered.

In nervous cells Free Radicals stir up the ebb of Dendrites, which are the main information receptors. Also, they prevent presynaptic action potentials from triggering action potentials in the postsynaptic neuron. This means the Synapse, that is the way cells communicate each other, goes missing. The altered communication among nervous cells may lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ALS.

Any organ of our organism get out of the harmful effects of aggressive oxygen compounds. Due to the high activity of the brain and to its high consumption of oxygen and nutrients, it is prone to generate more Free Radicals than in the rest of organs. Also, fat cells are very predisposed to undergo Oxidation, and the brain’s percentage of fat is 60%.

The oxidation of LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) provokes its accumulation around the inner arterial walls, causing atherosclerosis, which mainly affects the brain.

Therefore, if the Free Radicals effect in the brain is that much destructive, the mitochondria (we’ve already said it is the power station of our cells, the one that captains the energy) emits a signal by means of ‘suicide proteins’, which are the primary agents of programmed cell death, a process termed apoptosis.

Hence it happens that nervous cells (neurons) die, not the biological body, and this is the main mechanism of Alzheimer. The person affected will suffer from mental and psychic disconnection.

Unlike Alzheimer’s, in Parkinson’s harm occurs mainly in the biological body, losing corporal control capacities.

We continue talking about its adversaries, the Antioxidants.

Antioxidants

An Antioxidant is a molecule that is able to delay or prevent other molecules’ oxidation.

The oxidation process is a chemical reaction in which electrons are transferred from a reducing agent (reductant) to an oxidizing agent (oxidant). Oxidation reactions can produce Free Radicals that trigger chain reactions that damage the cells.

Despite of the fact that oxidation reactions are essential for life, they are also detrimental. Low levels of antioxidants as well as the inhibition of antioxidant enzymes bring about oxidative stress and can damage or kill cells. Oxidative stress is considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of several human illnesses.

Antioxidants are the natural opponents of Free Radicals, providing them with electrons that carry out a stabilisation and neutralisation role.

The undergone antioxidant process consists of the absorption of the Free Radicals. Antioxidants shield the body from cerebro-vascular accident (CVA). Also, they are a firm protection for the brain against deterioration and degeneration.

The way for measuring Antioxidants is called ‘ORAC values’ which determines its qualitative and quantitative features.

Among the Antioxidants that powerfully protect the brain against Free Radicals are: Alpha-carotene, Beta-carotene, Lycopene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Moringa Oleifera is the queen of Antioxidants: it has the highest ORAC value among all studied plants.

It is important to highlight some of the Antioxidant benefits such as the power to prevent cancer or to protect the eyes against muscular degeneration. Additionally, they protect the skin, help against excessive inflammation, allergies, atherosclerosis, asthma, fight against digestive and gastrointestinal system malaise, diminish cholesterol, they have diuretic effect, also strengthen the liver and have an excellent capacity to reduce the oxidative DNA damage.

Consulted bibliography:

-Potenciales aplicaciones de la Moringa Oleífera. Una revisión crítica.

Pastos y Forrajes vol.36 no.2 Matanzas.

Carlos Martín, G. Martín, A. García, Teresa Fernández, Ena Hernández y Jürgen Puls.

– Moringa (Moringaoleifera) seed extract and the prevention of oxidative stress.

In: Nuts & seeds in health and disease prevention. Elsevier Inc. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. p. 776. 2011. / Flora, S.J.S. & Pachauri.

-Concomitant administration of Moringaoleifera seed powder in the remediation of arsenic-induced oxidative stress in mouse.

Cell Biology Intern. 31:44 2007. /Gupta, R.; Dubey, D.K.; Kannan, G.M. & Flora, S.J.S.

-Effect of season and production location on antioxidant activity of M. oleifera leaves grown in Pakistan.

J Food Comp. Analysis. 19:544. 2006. / Iqbal, S. &Bhanger, M.I.

-Physico-chemical and antioxidant properties of Moringaoleifera seed oil.

Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 10:409. 2011. / Ogbunugafor, H.A.

-Singh, B.N. et al. Oxidative DNA damage protective activity, antioxidant and anti-quorum sensing potentials of Moringaoleifera.

Food Chem. Toxicol. 47:1109. 2009. / Singh, B.N.