What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is the imbalance between antioxidants and prooxidants, with excess amounts of free radicals (like reactive oxygen species (ROS)) and insufficient amounts of antioxidants (e.g. vitamins C and E).
Our body naturally produces ROS as part of our metabolic and detoxification processes, and our immune system also produces ROS to help defend against pathogens when we have an infection or an injury to our tissues.
When our body can regulate and balance prooxidants and antioxidants, there won't be excess levels of oxidative stress and our cells and organs can function normally. However, the amounts of prooxidants will increase when the body is exposed to chronic infections, environmental toxins, and a poor diet like a high AGE diet. Suppose our body's ability to produce antioxidants is compromised (e.g. due to genetics) and we don’t consume enough antioxidants from our diet. In that case, oxidative stress will increase, and many chronic health conditions and diseases can evolve.
What are the negative health impacts of oxidative stress?
Where does oxidative stress come from?
More about environmental toxins.
More about infections.
How to balance the redox reactions and stay healthy?
The key to balancing prooxidants and antioxidants is to minimize exposure to prooxidants and ensure adequate antioxidant intake from our diet.
How to minimize exposure to prooxidants?
A low AGE diet.
An anti-inflammatory diet.
Limit consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol, etc.
An environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Reduce the use of plastic products, buy organic, and avoid personal care products and cleaning products with environmental hormones/toxins.
Lower infectious load, by:
Improving and regulating immune functions.
Eliminating or controlling infections, especially chronic infections.
How to ensure an adequate intake of antioxidants?
A well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants like:
Vitamins A, C, E, and carotenoids.
Flavonoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols, resveratrol.
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Pizzino, Gabriele, et al. "Oxidative stress: harms and benefits for human health." Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2017 (2017).
Golbidi, Saeid, and Ismail Laher. "Antioxidant therapy in human endocrine disorders." Med Sci Monit 16.1 (2010): 9-24.
Nicolson, Garth L. "Mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic disease: treatment with natural supplements." Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal 13.4 (2014): 35.