Oxidative stress is a Phenomenon caused by an imbalance between the production and accumulation of reactive products (RPs) in cells and tissues; and the ability of the biological system to detoxify or eliminate those (RPs.)
RPs are free radicals. Highly reactive species due to having unpaired electrons. They include reactive oxygen species (ROS) reactive nitrogen species (RNS,) reactive sulfur species (RSS.) etc.
Environmental stressors (UV, ionizing radiation, pollutants, heavy metals, xenobiotics) contribute greatly to generation of RPs in the biological systems. Because of this, the supplement industry has highly popularized antioxidants (AOs,) taking a firm stand that RPs are bad and AOs good. Well, is that entirely accurate?
Not that simple.
You see, PRs play important roles in physiologic processes for example in
– cell signaling,
– protein phosphorylation
– activation of several transcription factors
– cell/tissue differentiation,
All these and many more depend on adequate RPs production, and in the right tissues,
and proper times.
Generally, it is when RP production exceeds physiologic use, and elimination capacity that harm ensues. Often leading to the destruction of cellular structures like proteins, lipids, nucleic acids. We do have rigorous evidence that oxidative stress is responsible, with varying degrees of importance, for the onset and/or progression of several chronic and degenerative diseases, like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, and so forth.
Unfortunately, the many compounds marketed as antioxidants have not really yielded much relief. With an inadequately informed public, many end up taking excessive amounts of these antioxidants, from simple things like vitamin C, D, to Beta carotene, N-acetylcysteine, Glutathione etc. However, according to a renowned biochemist, professor Barry Halliwell, “All aspects of aerobic life involve free radicals and antioxidants you cannot escape them nor should you wish to”.
While most people may be familiar with oxidative stress, most are not familiar with the concept or phenomenon of #antioxidativestress. An overabundance of bioavailable antioxidant compounds that interfere with the immune system’s ability to neutralize pathogenic threats. This is particularly important when we are all trying our best to stay healthy during this pandemic and beyond. Some people are over-supplementing. We need a balance.
How do we achieve it?
Start with a great clinician Test.
I can test your level of oxidative stress, noninvasively.
Where there is a possibility to know for sure, test, don’t assume. Whether the underlying process is physiologic or pathologic, test.
My approach: Acknowledge the problem, compound interventions, embrace functional medicine, get into your ultradian rhythm, invest in your health. Together, we’ll resolve the stress, oxidative, antioxidative, and find Homeostasis.