Why is Oxidative Stress So Dangerous?

Imagine that you left your brand new vehicle outside in the rain and snow or left your boat to sit in corrosive saltwater for a period of months or years without protective maintenance? They’d be ruined.  Why? The corrosive rust would eat away at the body and  engine and in time would make it impossible to run.

Over a short period of time you might be able to reverse the damage. And having seen the damage, you would most likely protect it and never allow that to happen again. You would take steps minimize exposure to the elements making sure you cleaned it and kept protected so that that oxidation would not  deteriorate the beautiful paint and fragile engine parts.

But why do we not apply this level of protection to our human bodies as well?

Oxidative stress occurs when we have an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants we are exposed to on a daily basis through poor diet, toxins in the air and water, pharmaceutical drugs and other environmental factors. Like corrosive rust, the imbalance causes organ dysfunction, stiffens our joints,  harmful inflammation and accelerates premature aging. Even worse, scientific research now correlates long-term oxidative stress with chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, immune disorders and cancer.

Why is oxidative stress so difficult to manage?

 The formation of free radicals is a natural part of the body’s normal metabolic functions. They circulate within our bodies carrying one or more unpaired electrons. As part of the natural metabolic process, these free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants such as  vitamins A, C and E, and one of the most prominent super antioxidants, super oxide disumutase (SOD) as well as many other compounds, by donating an electron. This restores balance and prevents the occurrence of oxidative stress.

However, when free radicals flourish too quickly due to cigarette smoke, pesticides, air pollution, toxic chemicals or even through healthy means such as extreme exercise, their occurrence can easily outpace the balancing presence of antioxidants in the diet. And the situation becomes worse if the individual’s diet is lacking in adequate antioxidants from nutritionally dense vegetables, fruits and quality supplements.

Imagine the perfect storm that occurs if our body is subjected to smoke, toxins, high stress and lack of sleep at the same time they are eating a diet of processed foods, large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats? The damage is compounded. Just like the car or boat mentioned earlier that has been neglected, our bodies are able to rebound if we quickly return to good habits.

If we fail to do this, however,  oxidative stress begins to manifest in the form of inflammation – excess fluid and temperature “hot spots” that indicate the extra work our body is investing in the areas where challenges accumulate. We may not notice these conditions at first, but over a period of time we notice a loss of energy and vigour. We may not sleep as deeply or move as freely and write it off as a natural process of aging or a natural reaction to stress. However, the longer we fail to address the problem and take steps to reverse the damage the poorer our quality of life  and health becomes.  And, most frightening of all, the ultimate outcome is far worse than a rusted and unusable vehicle – the long-term imbalance will lead us into chronic disease and sub-optimal health.

Positive habits and sensible nutrition can help

Why would we allow this to happen, when improving the quality of the foods we eat , minimizing our exposure to toxic chemicals, together with quality nutritional supplements could completely reverse the imbalance?.  Now is the time to protect our wellness. It’s much easier to prevent the deterioration than it is to backpedal once your health begins to fail. The choice is ours to make, day by day, to move a little more, eat a little better, and focus a little more on relaxation and restorative sleep.  Taking quality supplements that contain powerful antioxidants can also really help to accelerate the return to optimal health!

 

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