What's oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress happens when the amount of oxidants exceeds the number of antioxidants. That’s when oxidation damages our cells, proteins and our DNA (genes) causing premature ageing and chronic disease. The process of oxidation happens as our bodies metabolise the oxygen that we breathe and our cells produce energy from it. This process also produces free radicals –which interact with the molecules within our cells resulting in damage (or stress) to nearby cells, mitochondria, and DNA (our genes). Free radicals are normal and necessary to some degree. In addition to causing some damage, they also stimulate repair. It is only when the amount of free radicals produced overwhelms the repair processes that it becomes an issue. That is what we call oxidative stress.
Oxidation happens under a number of circumstances including when our cells use glucose to make energy when the immune system is fighting off bacteria and creating inflammation when our bodies detoxify pollutants, pesticides, and cigarette smoke when we are physically and/or emotionally stressed.
As long as you have enough antioxidants, a careful balance is maintained and damage is prevented. Antioxidants are oxidant scavengers! They neutralise oxidants so they can't do damage. Antioxidants are found naturally in your body in the form of enzymes plus you can increase your antioxidant intake by eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables daily. We call this eating like a rainbow!
To find out if you have the signs of too much oxidative stress, take our OXIDATIVE STRESS quiz. The aim here is to get you to think about what the signs of oxidative stress 'look' like.
How to manage your oxidative stress levels
We like to look at oxidative stress in terms of many integrated choices from your DNA up. We believe that the best way to limit or manage your oxidative stress levels to find out 'what' your genetic predisposition is to oxidative stress. The DNA HEALTH test analyses key genes that determine your body's ability to manage oxidation. Once you have this information, you can start to personalise your daily nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices to limit excess oxidation. Why is this important? Well, too much oxidative stress results in premature ageing (from the inside out) and research shows that it is one of the major contributors to lifestyle-related, chronic diseases.
'Joining circles' around your DNA
Your nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices will determine how well or how poorly you manage oxidative stress. In short, food that is high in trans fats, sugar, preservatives and colourants will increase oxidative stress. Using personal care and beauty products that contain chemical ingredients are raise oxidative stress levels together with stress and excessive exercise.
To find out how to remedy this, we have put together an integrated OXIDATIVE STRESS SHOP where you can start to 'hone' your health choices to ensure managed oxidative stress and optimal wellness.
My DNA. My CHOICES.
Dr Heidi & Margie