Scrabble tiles spelling out oxidative stress on a blue background.

Understanding Oxidative Stress

Does anyone remember high school biology and the study of the Amoeba, a single celled microbe.  Some can cause issues in humans but more to the point of thinking about a single cell, and its functions. The human body contains approximately 30 trillion cells, each with their own structure and function.  That huge long boring discussion on the one cell amoeba can now come in handy!

Often you will hear about warnings regarding oxidative stress as something detrimental to the body, thinking about the word, oxidative, if you guessed that it must have something to do with the involvement of oxygen, you would be correct.  If you thought that it was a term used to discuss oxygen reactions, you would also be correct.  But the term has now evolved into a general term to discuss the chemical process where electrons are lost.  This is the general term for Oxidative Stress.

All cells work in harmony to carry out the basic functions necessary for humans to survive.  The term Free Radicals are a natural occurring process in the body.  But there needs to be balance if there are high levels of free radicals this can cause damage to cells.  Science knows that this can cause health issues.   Antioxidants are mostly found in plant foods.  They are a natural occurring molecule that help neutralize an imbalance of free radicals. Oxidative stress is a condition that may occur when there are too many free radicals in the body and not enough antioxidants to get rid of them.

Oxidative Stress is not all bad, our bodies need some modest levels of oxidative stress for several essential processes, this includes immune function, so there is some good.  An example of this is how oxidative stress combats bacterial infections by surrounding the bacteria with H202, this kills the unwanted organism.  We want some oxidative stress but not an imbalance.

There has been some recent research studying the role of oxidative stress in mental disorders.  There have been thoughts that oxidative stress is the primary cause of some mental health, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease to name a few.  Discoveries of some antioxidant therapies hold great promise for some patients.

So think of the one cell amoeba and realize how complex the functions of 30 trillion cells can be , treat you body well cause it is working hard!

Questions? Just ask me, info@mindhealthconnect.ca

REF- Nutrient Power, William Walsh

June 15, 2023
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