How Do You Handle Oxidative Stress? - Part 2

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted December 2, 2021

Dear Longevity,

When our body is under oxidative stress, there's an accumulation of free radicals in our cells which results in damage to molecules like lipids (fats) and DNA. This can cause many problems in different parts of the body including:

  • Increased atherosclerosis, which is where plaque build-ups form in arteries causing them to harden.
  • Increased risk for developing cancer and tumors because of DNA damage caused by ROS (reactive oxygen species).
  • Damages to cell membranes that lead to improper functioning in cells throughout our body.

Common Sources of Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress can be caused by many factors, including environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and chronic infections like Hepatitis. There are several other common sources of oxidative stress including:

  • Smoking tobacco.
  • Eating high-calorie meals that contain a lot of fat, which can lead to obesity and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Consuming caffeine or alcohol in excess, because these substances inhibit enzymes that produce antioxidants in our body. 
  • Consuming a poor diet which may lack the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to make antioxidants in our body.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle, because it can lead to weight gain that results in cardiovascular disease.
  • Exposure to pollutants, which can come from the workplace or even the local environment.

One of the biggest sources of oxidative stress is exposure to sunlight. UV radiation that comes from sunlight has many harmful effects on our body, including skin cancer because it promotes free radical formation in our bodies. When we are exposed to UV radiation, it causes oxidation reactions in the skin, which damage proteins like collagen. Collagen is what gives our skin its strength and elasticity. When it becomes damaged, these effects lead to wrinkles and sagging in our skin.

But What Does This Have to Do With Longevity?

Oxidative stress is a term that refers to the deterioration of our cells and tissues due to an imbalance between the production of free radicals and antioxidants. But what does this have to do with longevity? Studies show that people who experience high levels of oxidative stress during their lifetimes may be at greater risk for developing dementia or other age-related diseases later on in life. There are many ways in which we can help reduce oxidative stress, such as with antioxidant-rich foods

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ

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