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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oxidative Stress - What You Need to Know to Protect Your Health

Although we need oxygen to live, high concentrations of it are toxic and damage our cells. Our normal metabolic processes, toxins in the air we breathe, water we drink, foods we eat and stress we are subjected to all create toxic byproducts called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that do a lot of damage to the cells of the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress which damages all the vital parts of our cells, including the proteins, lipids and even our DNA. Mutations in DNA is what we now know causes a variety of diseases and sicknesses.

Our body has a natural built in response system to deal with free radicals and oxidative stress called our Antioxidant Response Element (ARE). Our body creates its own antioxidants through this system, which are far more powerful then antioxidants we get through the foods we eat. Antioxidants from foods are called indirect antioxidants and they neutralize free radicals at a ratio of 1:1 every second; each one antioxidant is capable of neutralizing one free radical. However, our own antioxidants, direct antioxidants which are produced by our ARE, are able to neutralize free radicals at a 1:1 million ratio every second! This response system works highly effectively, but begins to naturally decline around the age of 20. This in part, is due to the sheer number of free radicals our body is exposed to on a daily basis. Free radicals are everywhere, they are in the air, our water, the foods we eat, in the products we use, they are literally everywhere, so you can begin to understand the burden they place on our body.

Oxidative stress is caused when there is an imbalance between the damage being done by free radicals and our body’s ability to neutralize and repair the resulting damage from these harmful molecules. In humans, oxidative stress is involved in over 200 diseases, such as atherosclerosis, MS, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and just about every other nasty health condition under the sun. Oxidative stress is also responsible for the process of aging. Aging and age-related diseases are simply a reflection of our body’s inability to cope effectively with oxidative stress over time and the imbalance between our own antioxidant defenses and number of free radicals in our body. Oxidative stress also increases as our body begins to deal with sickness and disease. This increase in oxidative stress increases inflammation and exasperates symptoms. By reducing oxidative stress disease and sickness symptoms can lessen and even reverse.

The good news is that by activating the body’s own antioxidants in combination with eating a diet high in natural antioxidants while reducing our exposure to toxins through holistic living strategies, we can prevent many of these age related diseases and slow the process of cellular aging. One such way to activate our own internal Antioxidant Response Element (ARE) is through the activation of a little messenger protein called Nrf2, which is housed within each of our cells. Nrf2 is a messenger that communicates directly with our DNA and tells it to activate our ARE and produce more antioxidants such as glutathione and SOD. Increasing our own antioxidants is especially important as we age, because as we learned, our own internal antioxidant system naturally declines after age 20. By activating Nrf2 and allowing it to activate our own ARE, our ability to neutralize free radicals can be restored and cellular damage can be prevented and even reversed.


Combating oxidative stress naturally is extremely important in the natural prevention and reversal of sickness and disease as well as increasing energy and vitality!  
To learn more about natural Nrf2 activation and the reversal and prevention of oxidative stress please visit: