Understanding Oxidative Stress & The Impact on your Mind and Body
We know oxidative stress is bad for us. But what exactly does it mean?
In a nutshell, oxidative stress is a supply and demand issue. We are exposed to more stressors and toxins (free radicals) than our bodies can detox (with antioxidants) in our modern world.
Oxidative stress means having more free radicals than your body can get rid of.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging. Believe it or not, the primary source of free radicals in our body is our body – through the chemical reactions that create energy production, which can lead to unstable oxygen molecules being produced. Free radicals will snatch electrons from other molecules, called oxidation, which leaves those molecules stressed and unstable. This sets the stage for chronic and degenerative diseases. External free radicals also besiege our body—environmental pollutants, sun exposure, food additives, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more.
It’s important to note that not all free radicals are harmful – they are integral to helping the immune system fight viruses and bacteria and are even generated by certain chemotherapy drugs as part of a plan to treat cancer.
The great news: our body has a system to get rid of the harmful free radicals – antioxidants!
Amazingly, antioxidants neutralize free radicals. However, when there are too many free radicals and insufficient antioxidant power, our body is under oxidative stress that can harm proteins and even DNA.
One of the hero antioxidants that our body creates – the “Master of all Antioxidants” – is a prominent free-radical fighter called Glutathione.
When you are young, and glutathione is plentiful, you don’t have to worry about oxidative stress and its consequences. As you get older, glutathione and antioxidants are lower, and oxidative stress can significantly impact your mind and body.
Some ways that oxidative stress can impact the mind and body:
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, ALS, and Huntington’s Disease. The chances of battling one of these neurodegenerative diseases increase dramatically as you get older. The cause of these diseases is a combination of genetics and environment – you may be genetically inclined to develop Alzheimer’s, but whether you do may depend on what you are exposed to during your lifetime. Researchers know that GSH depletion has been identified in ALS, Huntington’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
- Heart Disease is multifactorial, but we know that cellular damage from oxidative stress plays a role in clogging arteries. In addition, several studies have noted that diminished levels of the master antioxidant glutathione play a role in the onset of heart disease.
- Cancer causes can be varied. The development of cancer is the damage to a cell’s DNA that starts a cascade of events that lead to the disease. Most cells are prevented from ever reaching the point of malignancy by the antioxidants that subdue damage-inducing free radicals.
- Depression and Anxiety. Many doctors, including Ray Solano, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist, and board-certified nutritionist, directly connect glutathione with dopamine and serotonin levels that affect mood modulation. Scientists have determined a link between low glutathione levels and people suffering from psychological conditions, specifically a 2017 study regarding adolescent depression. Other data suggest that oxidative stress may be a factor underlying mood disorders.
Oxidative stress has been linked to many other illnesses and diseases, including viral and bacterial infections, autoimmune disease, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
The good news is that you are not powerless. Working to reduce your oxidative stress load and, in particular, by naturally increasing glutathione can be done naturally. The components are diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplements like Glutaryl, a cellular breakthrough to manage stress and toxins. These tools can help maintain and stabilize your body’s glutathione levels and ward off oxidative stress that your body faces daily.
As stated by Dr. Vishwanath Venketaraman, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology/Immunology at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, “Regular intake of glutathione can help reduce oxidative stress. Any condition that is because of oxidative stress, whether it’s aging or cancer, can all be minimized because of glutathione.”
And that’s a good thing indeed!