According the CDC, 85% of people will have one or more chronic diseases by the time they hit the age of 65. If you look at the leading causes of death on the CDC’s website, 8/10 causes have known links to oxidative stress. (The functional neurologist in me can make the argument that suicide could be linked to neurotransmitter imbalance and oxidative stress.) Oxidative stress is the imbalance between destructive free radicals and regenerative antioxidants. Oxidative stress combined with abnormal joint biomechanics (including muscle imbalance, repetitive stress, and weight gain) is the key reason why we degenerate as we age. Oxidative stress is all about balancing electrons. Free radicals are oxygen containing molecules (hence the term oxidation) with an uneven number of electrons. Because of their uneven number of electrons, it causes them to react easily with other molecules. Free radicals can cause large chain reactions in your body, leading to degeneration and disease. (there are a few instances where oxidative stress is actually helpful, like breaking down pathogens) Antioxidants are helpful because they can donate an electron without making themselves unstable. This can cause the free radical to stabilize and fight against breakdown. While regenerative medicine is a viable alternative to restoring joint function in joints destroyed by oxidative stress (osteoarthritis), there are a few things you can do to slow down the degenerative process.
1- Exercise. Moderate exercise can increase natural antioxidant levels, help you to lose weight, and help with neurotransmitter production. Everyone’s body is different so not one exercise is perfect for everyone. I have literally had people start just by walking to the mailbox. You should consult with a functional medicine expert before starting any exercise program.
2- Eat right. I know. You’re tired of hearing it. It is so confusing because there is so bad information on what is “healthy”. Foods that deplete your antioxidants are all sodas (diet sodas, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar), refined carbohydrates, and all processed foods. Foods that are high in antioxidants are stone fruits, broccoli, dark leafy greens, fish, and nuts. (One of the reasons why organic foods is preferred is because pesticides increase free radical production.) We generally steer people towards either a ketogenic diet or a paleo type diet.
3- Take care of your gut bugs. Your gut is full of bacteria that is often called your microbiome. As gross as that sounds, you can’t live without them, and they can’t live without you. There is a constant battle with your beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria. Excess gas, bloating, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, and joint pain are all symptoms that your beneficial bacteria are losing that battle. When the pathogenic bacteria take over, we lose hydrogen production and free radical production ensues. Probiotics are essential in making sure the odds are stacked in the beneficial bacteria’s favor. Do not buy your probiotics from the grocery/box store. They are often full of chemicals and lack the enzymes needed to get them to the colon. The best probiotics I have found come from https://www.master-supplements.com. They have a 30-day reset for your gut that is very simple and affordable. In fact, if you use the code BRADY at checkout, it costs about a dollar per day, per person.
4- Increasing hydrogen levels in your body is extremely important. Oxidative stress is toxic to your beneficial gut bacteria. When your gut bacteria are damaged, they no longer produce hydrogen. Hydrogen acts as a selective antioxidant, meaning it only reacts with the free radical Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS damages cells and leads to degeneration. The best way to increase your hydrogen is by dissolving it into your drinking water. Synergyscience.com makes the best units available and can be purchased for your home. It only requires 8 oz of water per day to see remarkable differences.
There you have it. 4 simple things you can do to decrease your oxidative stress. For questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me.