If you ever feel that you’re not as healthy as you should be or always feeling very tired, it is most likely due to oxidative stress.
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
The process of oxidation happens as our bodies metabolize (or process) the oxygen that we breathe and our cells produce energy from it. This process also produces free radicals –molecules that interact with the molecules within our cells resulting in damage (or stress) to nearby cells, mitochondria and DNA.
Free radicals are normal and necessary to some degree. In addition to causing some damage, they also stimulate repair. It is only when too many free radicals are produced, and they overwhelm the repair processes, that it becomes an issue. That is what we call oxidative stress.
Oxidation happens under a number of circumstances including:
- when our cells use glucose to make energy
- when the immune system is fighting off bacteria and creating inflammation
- when our bodies detoxify pollutants, pesticides, and cigarette smoke
In fact, there are millions of processes taking place in our bodies at any one moment that can result in oxidation.
Oxidation also increases when we are physically and/or emotionally stressed. I am not very good in handling emotional and physical stress, thus I kick myself to exercise five times a week, reduce meat intake, eat more fruits and vegetables and religiously take my most trusted supplements.
What are free radicals?
A free radicals is an oxygen containing molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive with other molecules.
Oxygen by-products are relatively unreactive but some of these can undergo metabolism within the biological system to give rise to these highly reactive oxidants. Not all reactive oxygen species are harmful to the body. Some of them are useful in killing invading pathogens or microbes.
However, free radicals can chemically interact with cell components such as DNA, protein or lipid and steal their electrons in order to become stabilized. This, in turn, destabilizes the cell component molecules which then seek and steal an electron from another molecule, therefore triggering a large chain of free radical reactions.
What are antioxidants?
Every cell that utilizes enzymes and oxygen to perform functions is exposed to oxygen free radical reactions that have the potential to cause serious damage to the cell. Antioxidants are molecules present in cells that prevent these reactions by donating an electron to the free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants is the underlying basis of oxidative stress.
Damaged caused by oxidative stress
Oxidative stress leads to many pathophysiological conditions in the body. Some of these include neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, gene mutations and cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fragile X syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.
Signs of oxidative stress occurring in your body
- Memory loss and/or brain fog
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Wrinkles and grey hair
- Decreased eye sight
- Headaches and sensitivity to noise
- Susceptibility to infections
How to reduce oxidative stress?
You need to boost your antioxidant defense system so that it can become balanced with free radical production. Here are some ways to reduce oxidative stress:
1) Decreasing Exposure to Oxidation
Oxidation increases when we are exposed to stress, toxins, and infections. It is also increased by sugar and chemicals, so the more you can minimize your exposure to these things, the better – so choosing organic foods and avoiding toxins in your environment makes a big difference. Reducing stress helps too and can be done with what I refer to as “daily stress remedies”.
2) Boost my body with IZUMIO hydrogen water.
Many claim that they take the best antioxidant formula supplements and although some are effective, none of them have the ability to act in the multiple ways that molecular hydrogen does inside your cells.
3) Avoid sugar and processed foods while balancing your blood sugar levels
When the body has to process sugar it also creates oxidation and the more sugar we eat, the more oxidation happens. Processed foods often contain sugar and/or other chemicals that also result in oxidation. Eating large and infrequent meals also creates more oxidative stress, so balancing your blood sugar by eating smaller, frequent meals, also helps.
4) Prevent infections
When the immune system is fighting off an infection, it ends up creating oxidation which is why, when you get sick, it drains your body of energy. I know I am about to fall sick when I feel lethargic, sleepy and extremely thirsty. That is when I will pump in antioxidants and hydrogen water into my body, while cutting down on meat, processed food and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.
5) Allow time for daily stress remedies
It seems so simple, but it really pays off. That’s why you need to find time to take breaks in the day – to give your body a chance to recover. Be sure to honor the breaks in your schedule (or create them) and take them as a chance to enjoy the outdoors, breathe, and re-center. These are some ideas for daily stress remedies:
- Exercise – rain or shine, I make time to exercise 5x a week in the form of swimming and jogging.
- Talking with a friend
- Enjoying nature
- Watching a funny show
- Taking a walk.
- Engaging in whatever activities that give you pleasure. Retail therapy helps me a lot in de-stressing!
6) Avoid toxins
Choose organic foods and avoid cigarettes, candles, hair and nail salons, carpet, exhaust fumes and plastic. Check your personal care and cleaning products for toxic ingredients and replace them with non-toxic alternatives. Sulfate and paraben are some of the harsh chemicals in shampoos that you should avoid.
7) Increasing Antioxidants
No matter what you to do avoid them, you are going to be exposed to some toxins and stress, so your next step is to increase the antioxidants you have in your system either by helping your body make more, or by consuming them in food or supplements. Antioxidants’ role is to block oxidation. They squelch it and make it non-harmful to our body.
One supplement that I am currently consuming and find that it helps to strengthen my immune system and that of my kids is Super Lutein.
SUPER LUTEIN delivers six carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, crocetin, a-carotene, B-carotene and lycopene), anthocyanin and DHA to the body.
The first seven are all phytochemicals, and the last is an omega-3 fatty acid derived from fish oil. The carotenoids and anthocyanin are antioxidants that actively play a part in neutralizing the free radicals created through oxidizing processes triggered by the ingestion of toxins and other harmful substances. This helps to prevent damage to vital organs, maintain healthy skin and vision, and help protect the body from illness and disease.