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Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw

you take a look at the risk of cardiovascular disease, and death by cardiovascular disease, versus homocysteine levels, even people in the normal range are at substantial risk from that type of damage. And the homocysteine could be dramatically reduced by taking larger doses of B-6, folate, and B-12.

David: What do you think are some of the most common mistakes that people make with regard to caring for their health?

Durk: I think one of the biggest mistakes is, if they’re taking supplements, they just take something once per day, and in the case of water-soluble vitamins– if you want to get substantial protection– you need to maintain relatively high blood levels, and you can’t do that by taking it once per day. For example, let’s take vitamin B-2. If you take a 25 mg tablet of vitamin B- 2– which is a bright fluorescent yellow vitamin– within half an hour or so your piss will be bright fluorescent yellow. But in four or five hours it’ll be essentially back to it’s pale normal self. Vitamin C leaves your body only a little bit slower than that, and the same with B-6. If a person wants to get protective levels, and to dramatically reduce their levels of homocysteine, one needs to take the water-soluble vitamins three or four times per day.

Sandy: A lot of people are taking a once-a-day RDA level type of supplement, and all you really get from that is that it prevents the classic deficiency diseases like scurvy, beri beri, and so on. You’re not going to be able to maintain high serum levels that way. This is something that a lot of people don’t know.

Durk: Another problem is sort of an a la carte approach to supplementation. They hear about this vitamin, and they take a lot of that. Then they hear about that vitamin, and they take a lot of that. And they don’t really have a rational system of nutrients. You see free-radicals have to be handled in a rather longchain to get rid of them. A free-radical is a atom or a molecule with an unpaired electron; it’s got an odd number of electrons. And because of the laws of quantum mechanics, which have to do with the symmetry of space and time, electrons like to go around in pairs, which makes free-radicals promiscuously- reactive, and that’s the problem. There’s about forty thousand different compounds in a typical living cell, and generally each compound is only supposed to react with one, two, or three other things in there, under very careful enzymatic controls. Whereas free-radicals can react with all sorts of things.

Sandy: Free-radicals are not substances that just come from outside the body like pollutants, radiation, ozone, or something like that. Free-radicals are created within our bodies by a great number of natural processes like respiration and metabolizing foods.

Durk: Yeah, and you can’t just get rid of all free-radicals, as they’re necessary for life. One of the reasons that cyanide kills you is it shorts out a series of free-radical reactions that are supposed to occur in the mitochondria.

Sandy: Yeah, it’s a perfect free-radical quencher.

Durk: And it will kill you real fast.

Sandy: Yeah– kaput!

Durk: So what you need is something that quenches free-radicals where they don’t belong, and allows them to do what they’re supposed to do where they’re supposed to be doing it. Anytime you have oxidative metabolism– anytime you’re burning something with oxygen to produce energy– free-radicals are an inherent part of that process. And when they get out of control, then you have problems.

Sandy: And anytime you increase your metabolic rate– whether from exercise or emotional excitement, or you’re on a diet and you’re burning off more fat– then you’re creating more free- radicals, and you’ve got to be able to handle that.

Durk: Now, let’s suppose you create a free-radical in the mitochondria (the cellular energy factory), and it escapes to the fatty membrane around it. That can cause peroxidation of the fat there, and you can get a chain-reaction from one free-radical which oxidizes thousands of fatty molecules. Now if you havevitamin E 

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