Monday, June 28, 2010

More on oxygen

Oxygen in the air surrounds us and we breathe it. I want to tell you what our bodies do with it. It is picked up by the blood from our lungs and is passed to all parts of the body where it is used to create energy. This enables our body cells to function. Energy is stored in the cell as a chemical substance known as ATP.Its production can roughly be compared with charging a battery. It is created automatically in proportion to its use, so the "battery" is constantly being "charged" and "discharged".

A car burns gasoline for fuel. Our bodies use glucose, the sugar that is derived by chemical mechanisms from all simple sugars. It has to be processed, as shown in this simple equation: glucose + oxygen + vitamins (and some minerals) = energy. This is a chemical process and production of energy is limited by (a) lack of fuel (starvation), lack of oxygen (suffocation) or lack of vitamins and the necessary minerals (malnutrition). Our bodies and particularly our brains become energy deficient and we are unable to function properly.

If too much gasoline and not enough oxygen goes into a car engine, the engine runs badly and black smoke in the exhaust is produced. This is because the gasoline is not completely burned. That is what happens to us when we take in foods that do not have enough vitamin/mineral content. We do not produce smoke, of course, but our bodies produce acids that are passed out through the urine. This is a common form of malnutrition in the U.S. today.

We have known for years that certain diseases occur if we have food that is lacking in vitamins, but it has been generally accepted that these diseases no longer occur because the vitamin/mineral content is normal. Unfortunately, this is not true and people are becoming ill because they do not know this. Modern doctors have come to accept that vitamin deficiency does not exist in people who are adequately fed and look for other causes of the symptoms.You can begin to see that is why this blog is entitled "Oxygen, the spark of life".

For thousands of years a disease known as beriberi has existed, particularly in Eastern cultures where rice is the staple diet. We have long known that this disease is caused by vitamin B1 deficiency in people that are taking too much carbohydrate in their diet. Brown rice is the grain surrounded by a cusp that contains the vitamins necessary for processing it in the body. White rice is starch with the cusp removed and we now know that beriberi occurred when white rice was being consumed. Starch is broken down in the body to glucose. A recent paper written in Japan reported 17 adolescents that had beriberi as a result of drinking too many carbonated sweet drinks as they gathered together at the soda fountain.

In my next post, I will show how vitamin B1 deficiency is related to our huge intake of sugar in its so many different forms.

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