Greyish skin tone, weakened immune system, constant fatigue are signs of early rather than natural aging. Early aging of the body is caused by oxidative stress! This process affects us all our lives, especially today, when the conditions contributing to oxidative stress are only growing.
What is oxidative stress and what affects it?
Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals – chemical compounds (by-products of metabolism) that occur as we breathe, do sports, eat, tan etc. Since free radicals stimulate various biochemical processes (cell life cycle, participation in functioning of the immune system), the body needs to have them at a certain level. The level of free radicals is controlled by antioxidants - molecules neutralising them. While these elements are in balance, our body is healthy and able to quickly regenerate, we look and feel good.
Unfortunately, this balance is very delicate – the condition, when the level of free radicals is not within normal limits and they start to have negative effect, is called oxidative stress. Free radicals interact with molecules of cells, collagen and DNA degrading cell envelopes and causing oxidative damage to DNA.
Consequences of oxidative stress
Visually oxidative stress is most clearly reflected on our skin, it looks dull and dry, ages faster and is unable to protect us from effects of the external environment. However, oxidative stress affects not only our appearance – these are only visual consequences. Free radicals affect our whole body contributing to the development of different diseases. Our immune system, connective tissues, cardiovascular system, eye and skin suffer. Negative effects of oxidative stress most commonly manifest as accelerated aging of the body, early skin aging, atherosclerosis, the development of skin cancer and tumours, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cataract, immune system disorders, hepatic and renal disorders.
Eliminate the problem before you have it!
Preventive measures are essential in preserving youth and health – the possibility to identify and prevent risks before the disease or its symptoms. Genetic tests allow to identify each person’s risk factors in terms of different health problems and body peculiarities.
The risk of oxidative stress can be determined using DNA analyses:
The OXIgen genetic test is recommended for people with chronic fatigue, physical and intellectual stress, chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, as well as - people who smoke or abuse alcohol, use medicines in a long term or have had chemotherapy, radiation therapy, as well as women, who use oral contraception.
Although stress, fast-phased lifestyle and environmental pollution have become our constant companions, our body has not adapted to that. We need antioxidants, mental and physical balance! Oxidative stress can be avoided primarily by changing our lifestyle and eating habits.
Factors contributing to oxidative stress:
- Stress, excessive mental overload,
- Excessive tanning,
- Physical overload, fasting,
- Long diseases and inflammations, surgeries, injuries,
- Smoking, abuse of medicines and alcohol,
- Environmental pollution,
- Radiation (sunlight, TV, computer and telephone monitors),
- Chemical additives in food, low quality food.
- Have a balanced diet (many fruits and vegetables),
- Reduce intake of highly processed food (“fast-food”, quick snacks, sweets, fried food, fizzy drinks, packed juice, etc.),
- Avoid negative stress,
- Be physically active,
- Keep your body weight at a healthy level (but do not starve and do not overwork physically!),
- Quit smoking,
- Avoid excessive tanning,
- Stay in fresh air and unpolluted environment as much as possible.
Where do we find antioxidants?
Daily diet is essential in preserving youth and health. Balanced diet provides the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals promoting synthesis of respective hormones in our body.
- Melatonin – hormone of sleep, strong antioxidant.
- Rice, tomatoes, oat flakes, barley, oranges, pineapples and bananas contribute to synthesis of melatonin in the body.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – red sweet pepper, broccoli, leaf cabbage, cauliflower, strawberries, pineapples, kiwi.
- Vitamin A (carotene) – orange, red and dark green vegetables, liver, fish, egg yolk.
- Vitamin B9 (folium acid) – leaf lettuce, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, green peas, wheat, fruit, berries, liver.
- Vitamin E (tocopherol) – unrefined vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, corn, sea buckthorn and other), grain and pea sprouts, tomatoes, nuts, spinach, parsley and other.
- Selenium – beans, nuts, fish and sea food, barley, oats, tomatoes, meat, egg yolk, olive oil, and other.
- Zinc – oysters, beef/veal, pumpkin seeds, chickpea, chicken, cashew, spinach, kefir, eggs, cacao powder.
- Manganese – whole-grain products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, dried fruit.
- Copper – whole-grain products, green leafy vegetables, fish, meat.
Excessive, unsupervised doses of antioxidants have a negative effect on the body. Specialists urge not self-diagnose. The first step to reduce oxidative stress is healthy lifestyle and balanced diet, however, antioxidants sometimes need to be taken additionally. Before you take extra supplements consult a specialist regarding your current health condition and the complex solution needed.