Green tea extract is popular for its antioxidants, but to understand the role of it, we must understand what a free-radical is.
What is a Free Radical?
Free radicals are molecules that possess unpaired electrons; electrons which are constantly in search of another for pairing. So, these molecules are in an unstable state and therefore are highly reactive with other surrounding molecules or compounds.
A free radical is a cellular killer that wreaks havoc by damaging DNA or other organic constituents to induce various oxidative damages, corroding cell membranes, damaging or altering biochemical salts in the cell or destroying the cell completely.
These reactions inside the body are considered to be one of the irreversible causes of aging process, onset of cancer, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, possible allergies and a host of other ailments. The link between free radicals and the ageing process is one of the greatest findings in the medical history.
The free radical process in our bodies can be compared to the process that causes a sliced apple to turn brown when exposed to air. When this process goes out of hand, it can cause hardening of arteries, macular degeneration, malignant tumors and even a complete degeneration of the body.
Free radicals are very very deadly because, a single one can destroy a strand of DNA, an enzyme or an entire cell. It can unleash a devastating chain reaction, in the fraction of a second that can produce another million of potential free radicals. Radical oxygen and the resultant lipid peroxides in foods and in cosmetics are also detrimental to our health.
Causes of free radicals
Stress Factors: Infection, disease, stress, trauma, medicinal side effects, smoking and ageing.
Internal Causes: Our body constantly produces numerous free radicals as a byproduct of normal metabolic process.
External causes: Pollution, passive smoking, carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust, toxic waste, pesticides, herbicides, ultra violet light to name a few.
Free radicals: Free radicals cause many more free radicals as a chain reaction, when it steals an electron to balance itself.
Free radical Types
There are many types of free radicals, but the following are the most potent and common.
Superoxide Radical: It attacks the mitochondrion of the cell and snatches the free electron to pair itself, as a result, the mitochondrion dies. Mitochondria inside the cell cook protein and oxygen into energy for the cell, so, without any food the cell dies.
Singlet Oxygen: Though, technically can not be called a free radical, it is equally potent to cause havoc in the cell.
Lipid peroxyl Radical: This attacks the cell membrane and establishes a chain reaction to completely damage it. Then the cell bursts open and spews the protoplasm and other content and dies.
Hydroxyl Radical: This preys on enzymes, unsaturated fats and proteins in the cell membranes.
Then what is the solution?
The only way so far known to us is by supplementing our body with antioxidants we can minimize the damage.
What is an Antioxidant?
These are compounds which stops the chain reaction and renders the free radicals harmless.
Some antioxidants, called metabolic enzymes are created by the body internally to counter the free radicals, but the process gradually stops before we even reach 30 years of age.
So, the only solution with us is to get it in food from plants. Green tea extract gives us plenty of this.
Some of the popular ones include Vitamin E and C, Beta Carotene, Alpha Carotene and the Proanthocyanidins. Antioxidants are specialists and for different free radicals we need a different type. However, the Beta Carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A as needed to strengthen the immunity system and promote healthy cell growth. The synthentically manufactured ones to be avoided at any cost, as they may cause serious problem
Beta Carotenes are plant phytonutrients that protects the plants from solar UV rays.
Alpha Carotenes have very strong inhibitory effects on proliferation of various types of cancer cells such as those affecting lungs, mouth, bladder, breasts and cervix etc. Gingko Biloba is known as the brain antioxidant, is useful in helping to improve concentration and memory.
Antioxidants in Green Tea Extracts
Antioxidants found in green tea are polyphenols, also found in grape seeds and pine bark extracts, but in lesser concentration. These polyphenols are mostly flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. The main proanthocyanidins are catechins and the most powerful of the catechins is Epigallocatechin Gallate(EGCG).
EGCG is found in the highest concentration in green tea.
EGCG : What it can do?
Eliminates the immortality of cancer cells
Prevents tumors from developing blood vessels(which it needs to survive)
Destroys the causes of Leukemia, Breast and Prostate Cancer
First known natural telomerase inhibitor
Reverses the damages of Heart Disease
Regulates Blood Sugar
Totally prevents Cancer causing DNA damages in smokers (Lungs cancer)
Great benefits for the Brain as well, Effective MAO inhibitor,
Protects against brain cell death from glucose oxidase,
Prevents so many adverse functioning of brain in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Adding milk or cream to green tea decoction or green tea extract seems to destroy all antioxidant properties.