Oxidative Stress is an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in your body, which leads to tissue and organ damage. Oxidative stress happens naturally in our bodies and plays a major role in our aging process as well. Several contributing factors lead to increased free radical production and oxidative stress. Foods such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and greasy foods increase free radical production and oxidative stress may result. Other factors include inflammation, smoking, UV light, ozone, pollution, and poor sleep.
To protect against oxidative stress, we need several vitamins including A, C, E, and K. Vitamins and minerals work together in the body to provide many functions including energy production, maintenance of the nervous system, protection of cellular DNA, and regulation of the immune system. In addition, the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and K also play important roles in preventing free radical damage. If sufficient vitamin C is present in your diet, it can prevent oxidation. Vitamins such as and K are found in many fruits and vegetables.
When free radicals occur, it is said that oxidation happens faster during times of stress or chronic low-grade fever. During these times, the oxidizing enzymes in our bodies begin to speed up, causing an increase in free-radical activity. Curing the problem is necessary because there will be no way to reverse the oxidation process when it has already occurred. It is impossible to stop the oxidation process once it has occurred.
The body uses oxygen for a variety of purposes including breathing, respiration, and aerobic metabolism. Oxygen is transported to all cells in the human body by capillaries and lymphatics, by blood and lymph fluid, and is required for a variety of cell functions. However, despite being the silent expert, oxygen is also very reactive, attacking many cells before they are able to complete their work. It is important to keep cells supplied with oxygen and free from by-products that can interfere with their function. Enzymes can’t fight oxidation on their own and eventually weakened enzymes or a cell that is undernourished will be unable to do its job and might die.
It is believed that chronic inflammation is a contributing factor in causing oxidative stress since free radicals begin damaging cells when they are chronically exposed to the toxins of cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains millions of chemicals and toxins, some of which are carcinogens, as well as hundreds of toxic chemicals and other toxins. Cancer-causing compounds may be released into the air, the food we eat, and in the urine of smokers. Quitting smoking reduces the level of oxidative stress in your body, but not enough to reduce the likelihood of cancer.
Oxidative Stress can affect any organ in your body. In the liver, where most of the oxidative stress happens, inflammation can cause the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other chemicals, such as cortisol. Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Pro-inflammation also affects the immune system and is associated with diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, herpes, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. These conditions all have the same characteristic – chronic inflammation.
It is important to maintain a healthy and proper balance between physiological stress and environmental toxins and inflammation. A balanced system is necessary to effectively deal with the threat of disease and maintain optimal health. If one part of the system is compromised by an excess of free radicals, the whole system is harmed and oxidative stress persists. Therefore, it is essential that anti-oxidants are present in our diet, and we should always be taking care to eliminate environmental toxins. The most effective anti-oxidant is found in flaxseed oil, which provides amazing anti-oxidant protection against oxidative stress, and several studies have proven that it is beneficial for the cardiovascular system, the brain, the lymphatic system, the immune system, the reproductive system, and the detoxification organs.
Flaxseed oil contains numerous essential fatty acids and other plant sterols, which are very effective in improving the overall health of the immune and cardiovascular systems by neutralizing the free radicals that damage the cells. It is now believed that antioxidants may prevent or even reverse the process of aging. The evidence is mounting that oxidative stress is the main factor that increases the risk of degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease and it is, therefore, important to know how to manage this process so as to live a long and disease-free life.