Oxidation is a normal bodily function, utilizing the oxygen we breathe for our cells to produce energy. That same process also produces free radicals that are meant to stimulate cell repairs, but when they outnumber the necessary antioxidants in the body, this can cause stress on individual cells. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals exceed the amounts of antioxidants in your body.
Oxidation also happens when cells utilize glucose to make energy, when the immune system is fighting off bacteria and creating inflammation and when we detoxify from everyday pollutants. If your body lacks antioxidants, it’s a field day for the free radicals.
Here are some of the signs of oxidative stress:
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin issues
- Susceptibility to infection
- Vision problems
Oxidative stress can be a cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, insomnia and other ailments. It can flare up to red light levels when you are physically or emotionally stressed.
The more sugar you eat, the more oxidation occurs. Watch your blood sugar by eating smaller, frequent meals. Cut out most sugar and processed foods and go organic whenever you can to cut out pesticides and other toxins. Exercise or meditate, whatever you prefer to lower your stress levels.
As the body ages, it gets harder to balance between cellular damage and repair. The main way a body repairs cell damage is to signal the production of antioxidant enzymes through the Nrf2 pathway. Nrf2 is a protein that is in each cell of the body, waiting to be activated. Antioxidants trigger nrf2 to begin cell repairs. These antioxidant enzymes are powerful enough to neutralize up to one million free radicals per second. This is the most effective way to combat aging and disease.
A variety of foods are powerful activators of the Nrf2 pathway. Plant foods are the richest source. Here are some of the best:
- Bok choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green tea
- Nuts and seeds
- Olives and olive oil
For those who have issues with any of the above listed foods, supplementation can be used as long as it is regulated by your doctor. You would want to take a soy-free, non-GMO phosphatidylcholine to increase glutathione absorption.