As we breathe our bodies are constantly reacting with the oxygen they take in. One consequence of this is the production of highly reactive molecules known as free radicals. When free radicals appear, they interact and affect the other molecules within a cell. The result is oxidative damage to the cells, which has been linked to the body’s aging process as well as diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen within the body and the body’s ability to detoxify these reactions or repair the damage they cause. At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we bring an innovative approach to digestive care by assessing our patients’ level of oxidative stress and helping them take measures to reduce its damage to tissue.
Oxidative Stress and Diseases
While the exact relationship between oxidative stress and disease is not fully known, oxidative stress is thought to be an important cause of a variety of diseases. Some of the most common are:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Certain types of cancer
Proper management of your oxidative stress levels can help lower your risk for these and other conditions related to oxidative stress and free radicals within the body.
Antioxidants are used to defend against and counteract oxidative stress. They work by neutralizing the free radicals created by oxidative stress. The ability of each person’s body to create antioxidants is different, but it is directly affected by activities such as smoking and diet.
At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we help you determine how to get the antioxidants you need to fight oxidative stress and prevent disease. Because your internal production of antioxidants is not enough to neutralize all the free radicals on its own, you need to help your body defend itself. You can do this through an increase in certain dietary antioxidants. Common examples of food-based antioxidants are:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Beta carotene
Some foods that are high in antioxidants are:
- Citrus fruits
For a more comprehensive assessment of your antioxidant needs, schedule an appointment with LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where does oxidative stress come from?
A: Oxidative stress comes from a variety of sources including air pollution, tobacco smoke, and ultraviolet light. In addition to these sources, it also occurs naturally as part of food digestion and cell respiration.
Q: What makes oxidative stress so dangerous?
A: Oxidative stress is dangerous because it produces molecules that can damage the components of your cells, including the proteins, lipids, and DNA.
Q: Why is it so important to get tested for oxidative stress?
A: Under normal conditions your body can generally balance the negative affects of oxidative stress. But if this natural system falters, you can be exposed to harmful affects of oxidative stress, leading to potentially serious damage.
Contact a Los Angeles Gastroenterologist
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