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Oxidative Stress (Oxidants)

Oxidative stress or oxidation puts a coating of oxidation (rust) around each cell, puts extra fluids between the cells, decreases cell to cell communication and decreases lymph, blood, nutrition, and chemical flow to the cells. It can be caused by ingesting too many oxidants such as msg, aspartame and sugar or it can be caused by a disease or contamination and is usually caused by both. Oxidative stress is present in every illness.  Thus it is basic to address oxidative stress with any treatment or protocal for any disease.

Understanding oxidative stress is probably the most important aspect you need to understand to restoring and maintaining good health. Sadly few in the health industry, either main stream or alternative understand the importance of oxidative stress. The main stream medical community completely ignores it and the alternative does not understand it although they often prescribe diet changes that help reduce it.

Oxygen is a free radical and can cause oxidative stress, the minute we are born we begin to die and our life span and our health may be largely be determined by our balance between oxidants and antioxidants.

Some claim we must have a ratio of 30% oxidants to 70% antioxidants to be healthy. This means understanding and controlling oxidants is one of the most important thing we need to know to be healthy.

Oxidative stress is a root cause of most diseases and is one of the primary causes of Metabolic Stress. When it is not the cause of a disease it can be caused or increased by the disease. This makes treating it and Metabolic Stress an important aspect to restoring health. A new discovery is that oxidative stress can be the root cause of depression see Brain Injury

Oxidative stress is the balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants. To better understand this process see our page on
Causes of Disease

The attribute of oxidation (which may be KappaB) creates or develops an oxidant (free radical) that is harmful to the body and the anti means it kills or removes the harmful oxidant. Thus oxidative stress is caused when the pro's are greater than the anti's. All diseases are claimed to be the result of oxidation (KappaB) and oxygen.

What is both interesting and alarming is the relationship to cancer and major diseases to oxidative stress. When is the last time your doctor warned you about oxidative stress? Probably never. Do they know about it? Absolutely they know something or even a lot about it, but may do not believe its seriousness.

Every thing in our world has a positive or a negative charge or is good or bad for us. Everything has an energy that is either positive or negative. Even a rock has energy and an electrical charge. Hold this thought for a minute while I review what is the difference between oxidation and anti-oxidants. Oxidants have an un-pared or negative. electrons with each atom. Anti-oxidants have a paired or positive electrons with each atom. Thus oxidants are negative. energy and anti-oxidants are positive energy. In health this means one saps or depletes our energy and the other adds to or builds our energy. Even a rock has this energy, so surely our food has the same positive or negative. energy.

Consider the tea leaf to better understand this concept. Did you know that Black and Green tea come from the same leaf? Green tea is from the green or raw leaf in its positive healthy state. To make Black tea they spread the green leaves in rows outside in the weather to let them turn black. In this process the leaf begins to mould and become full of micro-toxins and micro-fungi. Chemically what happens is that the anti-oxidants are killed and oxidants take their place. The same chemical process occurs with a rotting food. In order for it to rot it has to destroy the anti-oxidants. The result is that it becomes a poison or negative. state. Oxidants and anti-oxidants are opposites.

The important thing to understand is that the same chemical process occur in our body. The more oxidants we have in our body the more likely we are to become sick. Some claim that a ratio of 70% anti-oxidants vs. 30% oxidants are needed to restore or maintain our health.

If you read the above linked articles you will have seen that numerous diseases are caused by oxidants and others cause oxidation in our body. Not all diseases are caused by oxidants, yet they contribute to a negative state of our body allowing oxidants to accumulate in our body. Removing all oxidants may or may not cure all diseases, however since they are a common denominator it certainly would be wise to remove as many as we can.

There are many foods and causes of oxidation, but smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are high on the list. One item of so called food in our diets is causing unknown harm to millions, is soft drinks and so called sports or energy drinks. Artificial sweetness and food additives may also be full of oxidants.

I find it interesting that some beverage companies tout the benefits of certain grape wines. How smart is it to ingest some antioxidant grapes along with some oxidant alcohol? Why not drink the pure grape and eliminate the oxidants. It is not just alcohol that this applies to but all foods we ingest. Too often we try to change our health by adding nutrition or supplements without first eliminating oxidants.

Oxidants cause rust on steel and our automobile paint to oxidize. The same occurs within our bodies. Oxidation forms around our cells and interferers with cell to cell communication. So before you tank up on anti-oxidants to change this you must first eliminate oxidants. You cannot expect to out balance the negative by ingesting lots of anti-oxidants unless you first remove the oxidants. Some oxidants are essential for our lives, such as breathing oxygen so we cannot and should not eliminate all of them, but we darn well better eliminate all we can, if we expect to stay healthy or overcome any disease.

Note: comments in [these colored brackets] and bold text is to help interpret the following article with difficult medical language.

1."Public Med PMID: 8660387 The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, "Albany Medical College, NY 12208, USA.  Biochem Soc Symp. 1995;61:1-31 "The paradox of aerobic life, or the 'Oxygen Paradox', is that higher eukaryotic aerobic [oxygen breathing] organisms (this includes humans] cannot exist without oxygen, yet oxygen is inherently dangerous to their [our] existence [the same process that gives us life, damages body tissues]. This 'dark side' of oxygen relates directly to the fact that each oxygen atom has one unpaired electron in its outer valence shell, and molecular oxygen has two unpaired electrons. Thus atomic oxygen is a free radical and molecular oxygen is a [free] bi-radical. Concerted tetravalent reduction of oxygen by the mitochondrial electron-transport chain, to produce water, is considered to be a relatively safe process; however, the univalent reduction of oxygen generates reactive intermediates. The reductive environment of the cellular milieu provides ample opportunities for oxygen to undergo unscheduled univalent reduction. Thus the superoxide anion radical, hydrogen peroxide and the extremely reactive hydroxyl radical [three free radicals that do oxidative damage and drive Diabetes] are common products of life in an aerobic environment, and these agents appear to be responsible for oxygen toxicity [damage done to body tissues by the process of life]. To survive in such an unfriendly oxygen environment, living organisms generate--or garner from their surroundings--a variety of water- and lipid-soluble antioxidant compounds [everything before this is P#1] [Vit. A, E & C are just three of many antioxidants we get from food]. Additionally, a series of antioxidant enzymes, whose role is to intercept and inactivate reactive oxygen intermediates [oxygen free radicals], is synthesized by all known aerobic organisms(P#2) [the human body has a very complex system to protect us from damage]. Although extremely important, the antioxidant enzymes and compounds are not completely effective in preventing oxidative damage. To deal with the damage that does still occur, a series of damage removal/repair enzymes [from our immune system), for proteins, lipids and DNA, is synthesized(P#2] [our immune system makes inflammatory agents that remove damaged tissue & replaces it with new, the entire process must be carefully and tightly controlled, if not the immune system goes hyperactive and adds to the damage process] Finally, since oxidative [and other] stress levels may vary from time to time [injury, infection, smoke, toxins, over work, poor diet, etc produce more damaged tissue that needs to be removed & replaced] , organisms are able to adapt to such fluctuating stresses by inducing the [increased] synthesis of antioxidant enzymes and damage removal/repair enzymes(P#2) [the Immune/inflammatory system that removes/replaces damaged tissue must increase production dramatically to keep up with damage]. In a perfect world the story would end here; unfortunately, biology is seldom so precise. The reality appears to be that, despite the valiant antioxidant and repair mechanisms described above, oxidative damage remains an inescapable outcome of aerobic existence.[from here to bottom is all P#1] In recent years oxidative [and other] stress has been implicated in a wide variety of degenerative processes, diseases and syndromes] oxidative stress damage from oxygen radicals activates and drives the destructive process of Diabetes, a properly controlled immune system would stop the process. Unfortunately the Diabetic body is unable to give proper control and the immune/inflammatory system adds an uncontrolled inflammatory immune system attack to compound the process], including the following: mutagenesis, cell transformation and cancer; atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes and ischaemia/reperfusion injury; chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus [lupus is from a genetic defect allowing high levels of hydroxyl radicals, rampant production of defective autoantibodies and poor immune / inflammatory system control] and psoriatic arthritis(and diabetes); acute inflammatory problems, such as wound healing; [proper wound healing is from the properly controlled immune system removal/replacement of damaged tissue] photo-oxidative stresses to the eye, such as cataract; central-nervous system disorders, such as certain forms of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, certain glutathione peroxidase-linked adolescent seizures, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's dementia [all underlined diseases have oxidative damage and an overactive, uncontrolled immune system driving or at least adding to the disease process] and a wide variety of age-related disorders, perhaps even including factors underlying the aging process itself. Some of these oxidation-linked diseases or disorders can be exacerbated, perhaps even initiated, by numerous environmental pro-oxidants and/or pro-oxidant drugs and foods [anything that produces damage will stimulate a strong immune system inflammatory response and make it harder to control]. Alternatively, compounds found in certain foods may be able to significantly bolster biological resistance against oxidants. Currently, great interest centers on the possible protective value of a wide variety of plant-derived antioxidant compounds, particularly those from fruits and vegetables [anything that protects the body, lowers the demand on the immune system, making it easer to control].

2."University of Valencia: "Oxidative stress may be defined as an imbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant agents, in favour of the former (Sies, 1986); this imbalance may be due to an excess of pro-oxidant agents, a deficiency of antioxidant agents or both factors simultaneously. The origin of oxidative stress is an alteration of the redox status in cells, leading to a cellular response to counteract the oxidising action (Sies, 1986). Pro-oxidant agents are all those that can directly or indirectly oxidise molecules. The most important pro-oxidant agents in biological systems are those derived from oxygen, more commonly known as reactive oxygen species."

3."Wikipedia "Oxidation reactions (pro-oxidants) can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols or polyphenols." Wikipedia definition of pro-oxidants

4."Wikipedia: Pro-oxidants are chemicals that induce oxidative stress, either through creating reactive oxygen species or inhibiting antioxidant systems.[1] The oxidative stress produced by these chemicals can damage cells and tissues, for example an overdose of the analgesic paracetamol (acetaminophen) can cause fatal damage to the liver, partly through its production of reactive oxygen species.[2][3] Some substances can act as either antioxidants, or pro-oxidants, depending on the specific set of conditions.[4] Some of the conditions that are important include the concentration of the chemical and if oxygen or transition metals are present. While thermodynamically very favored, reduction of molecular oxygen or peroxide to superoxide or hydroxyl radical is fortunately spin forbidden. This greatly reduces the rates of these reactions, thus allowing aerobic life to exist. As a result, the reduction of oxygen typically involves either the initial formation of singlet oxygen, or spin-orbit coupling through a reduction of a transition-series metal such as manganese, iron, or copper. This reduced metal then transfers the single electron to molecular oxygen or peroxide.Wikipedia definition of antioxidiants

5."OXIS International "Many free radicals are the result of naturally occurring processes such as oxygen metabolism and inflammatory processes."

6."The Weston Price Foundation "Oxidative Stress (OS) is not, in and of itself, a disease but a condition that can lead to or accelerate it. OS occurs when the available supply of the body's antioxidants is insufficient to handle and neutralize free radicals of different types. The result is massive cell damage that can result in cellular mutations, tissue breakdown and immune compromise."

7."Smoking causes Oxidative Stress "There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress"

8."Wikipedia: "Pro-oxidants are chemicals that induce oxidative stress, either through creating reactive oxygen species or inhibiting antioxidant systems.[1] The oxidative stress produced by these chemicals can damage cells and tissues,..."

9. "Anilitical Research Lab: "Free or unbound copper, however, is quite toxic. Copper is a powerful oxidant, meaning it can inflame the tissues and cause oxidant damage."  Also See our page on copper

10. "Laboratory of Natural Medicinal Compounds, Migal-Galilee Technology Center, Kiryat Shmona, Israel.

Oxidative stress (OS) is linked to the development of human diseases. Early identification of OS-associated diseases is essential in the control of their progression and treatment. Efforts have been undertaken to identify reliable endogenous markers, which correlate with the progression of a disease in an organ undergoing OS. An ideal biomarker must be validated, utilize noninvasive sampling, and have a simple, specific and highly sensitive detection method. Among the currently used markers assessing OS, are those that are nonspecific (peroxide value [PV], conjugated dienes [CD], thiobarbitoric acid reactive substances [TBARS]), and others that measure end-products of oxidized degradation biomolecules (isoprostanes, oxysterols, keto-proteins, 8-oxodeoxyguanosine), whose accumulation is not necessarily correlated with augmented OS. The search for a more reliable marker necessitates new approaches to fulfill such requirements and overcome many of the obstacles associated with the current markers. We suggest a new strategy of using designed exogenous novel reporters, constructed from endogenous subunits, that are sensitive to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) and commonly known to react with them, forming specific oxidized products. These subunits are tyrosine (representing proteins), bonded covalently to linoleic acid (representing polyunsaturated fatty acids) forming an amide bond, which can be further connected through an ester bond to a third unit, either to cholesterol (representing sterols) or to 2'-deoxyguanosine (representing DNA). Oxidation of the designed probe can outline, in real time, the formation of oxidation products and distinguish them from intrinsic biomolecules, provide information about the relative subunit susceptibilities to a specific oxidant challenge, and allow for the assessment of the utility of intervention, such as antioxidant supplementation. By utilizing such markers, it may be possible to correlate between the damaged fingerprints of the marker and the specific pathological conditions. The above markers were tested to characterize OS in in vitro and in in vivo experiments, such as in those carried out in human fluids (blood, serum, saliva), tissues (brain or muscle homogenates), and cells (macrophages, astrocytes, neurons), pertaining to OS-associated diseases, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.PMID: 19082934 PMID: 19082934

Summary: When the terms oxidation and redux have been used in the past I was totally confused and wondered not only what it means but why it is important to health. The short explanation is that chemical reactions called oxidation cause damage to our cells just like rust on steel. It is the attachment of damaging electrons to our cells. The term redux is the chemical removal of the rust like attachments. Oxidation is claimed to be one of the two causes of every disease.

Wilkipedia: "Oxidizing and reducing agents Substances that have the ability to oxidize other substances are said to be oxidative and are known as oxidizing agents, oxidants or oxidizers. Put in another way, the oxidant removes electrons from another substance, and is thus reduced itself. And because it "accepts" electrons it is also called an electron acceptor. Oxidants are usually chemical substances with elements in high oxidation numbers (e.g., H2O2, MnO4-, CrO3, Cr2O72-, OsO4) or highly electronegative substances that can gain one or two extra electrons by oxidizing a substance (O, F, Cl, Br).Substances that have the ability to reduce other substances are said to be reductive and are known as reducing agents, reductants, or reducers. Put in another way, the reductant transfers electrons to another substance, and is thus oxidized itself."

Blurtit: "The chemical process of oxidation occurs when a particular material or a compound combines with oxygen, and in the process, gives up a few of its electrons. As a rule, an addition of oxygen has to compulsorily be with a certain amount of reduction. Examples of oxidation include burning and rusting although, both occur at very different speeds. Oxidation reactions are also known as Redox (the word come from reduction-oxidation) reactions, those in which the oxidation number of atoms is altered. Therefore oxidation essentially refers to the loss of an electron by an atom, a molecule or an ion."

11. Lester Packer & Enrique Cadenas, titled "Oxidants and antioxidants revisited. New Concepts of Oxidative Stress." department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, 1985.

My review. They define Oxidative Stress as; "imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants...leads to cell and tissue injury". They review the term 'reactive oxygen species'.  Quote: "(NO) a free radical generated by a variety of cell types by nitric oxide synthases (NOS)" For non professional purposes this part of their study simply states that it is along with other signaling processes caused the most rapid reactions in biology, and yields a potent non-radical called peroxynitrate.  They then state nearly all diseases involve free-radicals. Quote; "Both reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are involved in the redox regulation of cell functions" Wikipedia defines Redox as; "chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed." link  Redox generally means oxidation is being reduced and becomes less of a problem.  

They state in a very deep scientific manner that hydrogen peroxide may impede oxidation for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Quote, "Hydrogen peroxide is probably the most important redox signaling molecule that among others, can activate NF-KB,"  NF-KB means Kappa B.  If I am reading their report correctly, they claim Hydrogen peroxide can stop oxidation for the listed diseases better than any other thing they have studied. This is a great shock to me, as I am been a vigorous opponent of Hydrogen peroxide.

They review findings in a study by Jones indicating that measuring cystiene and cystine, thioredoxin (reduced) thioredoxin (oxidized) allow a means to determine the level of oxidation in a person.  They state another measuring process with a ratio of glutathionylated/deglutathionylated proteins.

The important aspects of this research report is that

  • Oxidative stress is the root or foundation, either causing or a result of almost every disease, delaying wound healing, causing tumors and skin cancer.
  • Researchers are finding ways to measure Oxidative stress in the human body.
  • Their list of natural items to fight Oxidative stress

Pub Med source if you want to purchase the report:

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