Longevity Blog

Chronic Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Free Radical Damage


Access to fresh produce, clean water, advanced medicine, technological innovations and economic progress give us a unique opportunity in history to live a vibrant and healthy life. However, we are also exposed to a wide range of environmental pollutants, pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, heavy metals, stress, smoke and other toxic chemicals, including those produced internally by the body.

Toxicity in our food, water, air and thoughts create oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic diseases and even death. When our bodies are under physical and emotional stress, detoxify pollutants (smoke, pesticides, germicides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.), combat infections through inflammation, or when cells use glucose to make energy we create oxidative stress. Higher sugar consumption means greater oxidative stress.

Free radicals are naturally produced by the body as a result of metabolism and energy production processes. They are a biological response to environmental toxins, inflammation, and physical exercise. Free radicals can lead to mutation and DNA damage as they are missing one or more electrons, making them attack other molecules to replace their missing electrons. Their reaction to other cell structures is called “oxidation” as the process of stealing electrons from other molecules turns them also to free radicals, leaving a trail of damage. Unless the body offers adequate antioxidant protection, the risk of oxidative stress can lead to accelerated tissue and organ damage and aging, including serious diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other age-related disorders.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to oxidative stress and a reduction in cellular antioxidant protection. Oxidative stress results out of an imbalance between overproduction of free radicals and depletion of antioxidants to neutralize their damage, since antioxidants donate electrons. Antioxidants provide a key role in protecting the body from the risk of chronic and age-related diseases.



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