What is oxidative stress?

What is oxidative stress?
What is oxidative stress?

Dear reader, we present to you our beauty columnist Inessa Tsarkova!

Inessa is an active nutritionist, gastroenterologist, therapist, naturopath and aromatherapist, health coach, integrative medicine doctor with a holistic approach. And now he will share with us his knowledge in the field of both physical and mental health, nutrition and much more.

Harmony and balance are the basic conditions for a happy and long life. There have always been, are and will be factors that “attack” us and want to “harm” us, factors that want to destroy us, and factors that, on the contrary, protect us and help maintain life.

Inessa Tsarkova

The eternal struggle between good and evil, darkness and light, the forces of destruction and creation. The same confrontation is constantly going on at the cellular level, and our task is to help “defeat” the light creative forces, which will preserve our youth and prevent the development of diseases. These “good” forces at the cellular level are called “antioxidants”, but they fight against “destroyers” called “free radicals”.

What does the term “oxidative stress” mean?

Free radicals can be beneficial. They are produced by cells in small amounts (normally no more than 5%). These are the so-called primary oxidants: OO-superoxide, NO-nitroxide, ubiquinone-Q. With their help, our cells, for example, phagocytes and beneficial bacteria (primarily bifidum and propionic bacteria), ensure the functioning of the immune system – destroying pathogenic microorganisms, inhibiting viral attacks and the growth of cancer cells; and in the mitochondria (our energy stations) electrons are transferred. Every second, both destructive free radicals and antioxidants that stop their effects are formed in the body (and also come from outside).

Violation of their ratio in favor of free radicals (or oxidants) is called oxidative stress, which leads to aging and disease.

What are the dangers of oxidative stress?

With increased oxidant production and antioxidant deficiency, reactive molecules are formed that begin to produce more aggressive secondary free radicals (for example, the hydroxyl-OH radical from hydrogen peroxide and lipid radicals from the oxidation of fatty acids in cell membranes). . They are absolute “pests” and do not perform any useful functions. These “tyrants” begin to steal electrons from healthy cells and turn them into tertiary radicals. As a result, their structures in cells are damaged: lipid membranes, proteins, DNA. They start to work poorly and crash. For example, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy and arthritis, and diabetes develop. It is free radicals that are responsible for skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles, the development of cataracts and glaucoma, impaired brain nutrition and depression, the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, maintaining chronic inflammation and even triggering cancerous degeneration of cells. .

Who are free radicals? These are “bad”, “hooligan” molecules that are missing one electron. This makes them unbalanced and they begin to “take” it from others. At the same time, affected molecules from which a free electron has been removed also become unstable and tend to gain an electron from their neighbors. This sets off an avalanche-like chain reaction of the oxidative cascade, which is a barrage of destructive processes that damage our cells. But only special “saviors”, namely antioxidants, can stop this “disgrace”. They have a free, “extra” electron and they happily share it with the “victims”. Thus, peace and harmony arise in the cellular kingdom. Antioxidants that donate their electrons are replenished by a neighboring antioxidant (so they always work in pairs) and are ready to go back into action and continue protecting our cells.

How to determine the presence of oxidative stress in your body?

If the balance is disrupted, the state of the brain is affected first. Headaches may occur, concentration and performance may decrease, chronic fatigue and apathy may develop. Prolonged oxidative stress, irritability and depression, frequent and prolonged infections, and recurrent joint pain are common. Disorders occur in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, muscle pain and weakness occur, autoimmune diseases are triggered, blood vessels become covered with cholesterol plaques. Oxidative stress has a detrimental effect on hormonal and reproductive health, leading to the destruction of collagen fibers, leading to the development of varicose veins and rapid aging of the skin.

It is important to know your “enemies” by sight and understand where they are coming from. How does the amount of these aggressive oxidants increase in our body? Our daily habits have a huge impact on their education. And that’s exactly what you need to do above all else. First of all, this is severe and chronic psycho-emotional stress, smoking and inhalation of cigarette smoke, consumption of foods containing oxidized fats, as well as foods containing various artificial additives (dyes, preservatives, flavor enhancers). Highly processed (refined) foods such as industrial dairy products, confectionery and bakery products, fast food, fried and smoked foods can also be sources of oxidants. Oxidative stress is triggered and maintained by regular consumption of beverages with high oxidative capacity, such as soda, alcohol and coffee. Xenobiotics, often found in household chemicals, skin care cosmetics and medications, are sources of aggressive free radicals. A sedentary lifestyle and, conversely, excessive physical activity and chronic overexertion lead to the formation of excess oxidants.

Of course, their “suppliers” can also be negative environmental factors: solar radiation and radiation from the decay of radioactive substances, chlorinated water, heavy metal poisoning, polluted urban air, acid rain, soil poisoned by fertilizers, exposure to computers and televisions, exposure to ionized cations and excessively ozonated air. stay. Influencing these factors can sometimes be difficult. This means you should take care to increase your protection!

How to help the body fight oxidative stress?

To combat free radical attacks, we need to increase the amount of antioxidants in our environment. A person will be helped in this by awareness, a responsible attitude towards his health and the right choice (and there is always a choice!). You can start by giving up bad habits: smoking, alcohol, illegal substances. Replace medications (especially antibiotics, hormones, antidepressants), aggressive cosmetics and household chemicals with natural remedies. For example, pure therapeutic grade essential oils (which, among other properties, are also powerful antioxidants). You can gradually give up harmful foods by saturating your diet with foods that contain a full team of natural advocates. First of all, clean water with a high redox potential (for example, spring or hydrogen water), fresh raw plant products (sour fruits, berries, especially citrus fruits). The leaders in the amount of antioxidants are dark berries – blueberries, cherries, plums, black currants, blackberries, blueberries, black grapes. Vegetables include green, red, orange and purple berries, stems and herbs (broccoli, green radishes, kohlrabi and kale, red bell peppers, beets, carrots, red cabbage, lettuce, spinach, parsley, basil). There are also a lot of natural antiseptics – garlic and onion, wild herbs (for example, chickweed, chickweed, dandelion, quinoa), spices and herbs (turmeric, thyme, cloves, Ceylon cinnamon, ginger). Plants that grow in harsh climatic conditions, such as sea buckthorn, cedar and pine, have the strongest antioxidant systems. You can make infusions, decoctions from them, add young shoots to smoothies and salads. Therefore, it is very important to include these foods in your daily diet. Moreover, it will be useful to know that in order to “extract” valuable antioxidant substances (vitamins C, A and E, selenium, zinc, carotenoids and flavonoids) from these products, you need to destroy the loofah, which is not digested by our body. intestines – make smoothies from vegetables or fresh juices. The fiber (cake) does not need to be discarded. This “anti-juice” is extremely important and provides a substrate for the nutrition of beneficial microbes, which are also suppliers of these magic antioxidants, tireless warriors against oxidative stress.

My friends, did you know that one of the most powerful natural antioxidants in combating oxidative stress is the night hormone melatonin? To produce this, we need full and sufficient sleep. To do this, you need to try to go to bed at 21-22 hours, sleep in complete silence for at least 7 and maximum 8 hours in a cool, completely dark and humidified room.

Dear reader, do not forget to protect yourself from excessive exposure to solar radiation, use phones and other devices less (it is important not to look at bright screens, especially before going to bed), take frequent walks in the fresh air and regularly engage in pleasant physical exercises. .

Anyone who wants to prolong their youth and health needs to maintain the balance of this “scale of life” – the balance between oxidation and reduction processes, determined by the ratio of antioxidants and free radicals. And thus stop the effects of destructive oxidative stress. A loving and caring attitude towards yourself and your body can help in this. You can start by gradually improving the quality of your sleep, reducing your stress level with special practices (meditation, yoga, breathing exercises) and gradually changing your eating habits. It is important to think positively and enjoy every day. After all, our joy, feelings of love and gratitude help us cope not only with oxidative stress, but also with other misfortunes!

Source: People Talk

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