The Antioxidant System
Masterclass With Masterjohn: The Antioxidant System is a 14-lesson course on the antioxidant system and the nutrients that power it.
Antioxidants are profoundly important to our health, yet just as profoundly misunderstood.
First, free radicals and other oxidants are actually good for us in the right amount and context. They support our thyroid health and our immune system, they help us regulate our energy metabolism, and they help us get lean and fit in response to exercise. In the wrong context, however, they can make us sick, contributing to aging skin, diabetes, thyroid diseases, and many other aspects of ill health. The role of the antioxidant system isn't to stop these oxidants in their tracks; it's to direct them into their healthful roles and prevent them from causing harm.
Second, nourishing the antioxidant system is about a lot more than fruits, vegetables, and the latest trendy superfoods. It's also about protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, and B vitamins. It's about a well rounded, nutrient-dense diet.
If we want to be able to harness the antioxidant system to support our health, we need to understand how it works.
This is a 14-lesson series on the nuts and bolts of the antioxidant system, complete with videos, slides, and transcripts so that you can pick whatever format works best for you and learn how the system works at your own pace.
The audio and video of the first three lessons of this course are available to everyone for preview, and the premium features are available to preview for the first lesson. Premium features after lesson 1, and all parts of lessons 4-14, are for Masterpass members only. To learn more about the Masterpass, click here.
Here are the fourteen lessons:
In this "Masterclass With Masterjohn" video series, we look in depth at this system and how it helps drive reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide away from their pathological roles and toward their physiological roles.
Lesson one covers the physiological roles, taking as examples the following. In the oxidative burst (respiratory burst), superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and hypochlorous acid are generated within the phagosome of phagocytes to kill and digest pathogens.
In the thyroid follicle lumen, copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide are used to oxidize ionic iodine to diatomic iodine. In response to excess energy or the demand to produce large amounts of ATP, mitochondria generate more ROS and the ROS help restore energy balance by 1) inhibiting aconitase and shunting citrate into the cytosol where it is used for fatty acid synthesis instead of being used for ATP production, 2) inhibiting glucose uptake and the entry of fatty acids into the mitochondrion for beta-oxidation, 3) increased mitochondrial biogenesis, and 4) increased production of antioxidant defenses.
In lesson one, we covered how free radicals and other reactive oxygen species can promote health. In this lesson, we look at how they can cause disease. It's all about context.
How the antioxidant defense system uses zinc, copper, manganese, heme iron, selenium, glutathione, vitamins E and C, and glutathione to direct oxidants away from their disease-producing pathological roles and toward their physiological health-promoting roles.
This is an introduction to the basics of vitamin E, covering its chemistry, the importance of the vitamin E-to-PUFA ratio, the best food sources, and the interactions between different forms of vitamin E such as alpha- and gamma-tocopherol.
This lesson is on the role of vitamin C in the antioxidant defense system, its interaction with smoking and vitamin E, and how its chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology can help us understand its distribution and stability in natural foods.
This lesson provides an introduction to glutathione, including its roles in the antioxidant defense system, detoxification, and the control of protein function through controlling disulfide bond formation. We look at the relationship between acetaminophen use and asthma risk as a way of making the material relevant to health.
Last time we introduced glutathione, the master antioxidant and a central detoxifier and regulator of protein function. Now we take a look at how nutrition and metabolic health impact glutathione status.
Hormesis is the principle that a little bit of something bad is good for us because of how we respond to it. The "phytochemicals" in plant foods offer the perfect example of this principle. Here's how it works.
In this lesson, we look at the contribution of oxidative stress to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the ability of green tea to counteract it by acting as a hormetic stressor through the Nrf2 pathway.
Glucose is the ultimate antioxidant. In this lesson, we look at how energy is transferred from glucose to the antioxidant system using the help of B vitamins, and discuss why a large range of carbohydrate intakes is likely to provide equivalent support to this pathway.
This lesson covers the contribution of two critical enzymes -- glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and transketolase -- to antioxidant defense, and takes a deeper look at the roles of thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin.
Having completed our breakdown of the antioxidant system, this lesson now turns to the question of how we can use it to prevent and reverse heart disease.
In this lesson, we pull apart the studies used to argue that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat protects against heart disease and dig deep into the controversy.
This last lesson in the course summarizes and reviews what we've covered and elaborates on the dietary sources of the minerals involved, ultimately converging on the importance of a well rounded nutrient-dense diet and close attention to what may be the missing link in any given person's health.