(NaturalNews) Oxidative stress is a constant force in our everyday life. When our body is able to handle and adapt effectively to the oxidative stressors we are able to get stronger and healthier. However, when the stressors become too much for our body to adapt to, we get weaker and sicker.
Elevated oxidative stress is the major factor in degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases. These occur over many years of inability to successfully adapt to the oxidative stressors. This happens when the body's antioxidant defenses are insufficient to neutralize dangerous free radical compounds called reactive oxygen species (ROS).
What are free radicals and anti-oxidants?
These free radicals are unstable molecular species produced during basic metabolic functions ranging from immune function to mitochondrial energy generation to liver detoxification. Free radicals are unstable due to the outer unpaired electrons in their molecular structure. These electrons are able to interact and alter any compound in their direct environment.
To protect against the damaging effects of these free radicals the cells utilize antioxidants. This includes exogenous or dietary anti-oxidants such as citrus bioflavonoids, proanthocyanins from berries, polyphenols found in green tea, chocolate and coffee and carotenoids found in foods like egg yolk, wild-caught salmon and carrots.
The body also produces endogenous derived anti-oxidants such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase. These are produced within the cells and help to protect the outer cell membrane, the DNA and the energy-producing mitochondria of the body.
The effect of anti-oxidants in the body
These anti-oxidants have a powerful anti-inflammatory action in the body and protect the cells, tissues and organs from inflammatory and oxidative stressors. This is a critical player in healthy aging, high quality of life and chronic disease prevention.
Anti-oxidant needs can vary between individuals and so clinical testing has been developed in order to assess an individual's level of oxidative stress and anti-oxidant compounds. This testing allows the practitioner to pinpoint the key deficiencies that are limiting the body's ability to adapt and heal.
Key measurement should include the major endogenous anti-oxidants and the ratio of biochemical metabolites. This includes glutathione, cysteine, cysteine/cystine ratio, sulfate and cysteine/sulfate ratio, and total antioxidant capacity. The test should also look at major anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Finally, the test should analyze levels of cell damage such as lipid peroxidases.
The importance of quenching oxidative stress
Free radicals and resulting oxidative stress are a necessary part of life and stimulate growth and adaption throughout the body. An individual with optimized anti-oxidant protection will successfully adapt to the normal oxidative stress levels place on the body from normal metabolism and the environment.
An individual with inadequate anti-oxidant protection will not be able to successfully adapt to oxidative stress demands and will develop serious health issues over time. Chronically elevated oxidative stress levels are a lethal process that can persist silently and insidiously break-down the body long before major symptoms occur.
Evaluating the body's ability to produce and utilize anti-oxidants can be done in a comprehensive fashion. This includes biomarkers for anti-oxidant reserves, enzyme function and cellular damage. The full comprehensive panels allow for clinicians to assess the entire picture of oxidative stress and anti-oxidant protection.
About the author: Dr David Jockers is a Maximized Living doctor and owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia where he specializes in functional nutrition, functional medicine and corrective chiropractic care to get to the underlying cause of major health problems.
His website features great articles on natural health and incredible recipes. He is the author of the best-selling book SuperCharge Your Brain - the complete guide to radically improve your mood, memory and mindset. He has over 36,000 active followers on his social media and email newsletter and is a big influencer in the Primal Health movement.
Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance consultations and health coaching to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. For more information got to www.drjockers.com