FREE RADICALS, OXIDATIVE STRESS AND NRF2 ANTIOXIDANT PATHWAYS
I am someone who thrives on simplicity so in this article I am going to try to put this into laymens terms what these three things are and why they are important to understanding your health.
We breathe in Oxygen and we take in nutrients. This is what creates the fuel to feed our cells and create the necessary energy to power our life. (Sleeping, eating, exercising, breathing, thinking) This process also creates waste products (by products) and these are called Oxygen Free Radicals.
Everyone produces these Free Radicals and they are constantly being formed in your body. Antioxidants are enzymes (molecules) that neutralise Free Radicals.
This balance of Free Radicals versus Antioxidants is very important. If your body produces too many Free Radicals it leads to a state called Oxidative Stress.
Prolonged oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. When damage is done to your DNA your risk of cancer increases, and some scientists have theorized that it plays a pivotal role in the aging process along with increasing risks of other major illnesses.
Like all things it is about balance. Free Radicals are actually needed for a number of important functions to maintain health, an example being the immune systems ability to fight infection. This fact alone makes it worthwhile to learn more about there role.
It is well established that oxidative DNA damage is responsible for cancer development. See below for more details.
To summarise - too many Free Radicals creates Oxidative Stress, not enough and your body will also suffer.
When we are young and healthy our bodies can take care of the balance between cellular damage, repair and rejuvenation more easily.
Scientists have now discovered that one of the ways the body takes care of repairing damage is to signal the production of antioxidant enzymes or survival genes through something known as the NRF2 pathway. It is our bodies built in Antioxidant defence system.
NRF2 is a powerful protein that is latent within each cell in your body. It is unable to move or operate until it is released by an NRF2 activator. Once it has been released it migrates into the cell nucleus and bonds to the DNA at the location of the Antioxidant Response Element (ARE) or also called HARE (Human Antioxidant Response Element) which is the master regulator of the total antioxidant system that is available in ALL human cells.
In our modern world many factors can disrupt the balance. We are faced with environmental factors and stresses like never before, along with modern diets that lack the nutritional requirement we need, and as mentioned earlier aging in and of itself changes our bodies ability to repair damage and heal itself.
Up until recently eating foods high in Antioxidants has been the main method of neutralising these Free Radical imbalances. Berries, juices, Vitamin C and Vitamin E being the main sources. The downside is it takes one Antoxidant molecule to combat one Free Radical molecule, as the ratio is 1:1
So just how many Free Radicals might we have at any one time?
We have roughly 37.2 Trillion cells, with each cell having potentially millions of Free Radicals.
THAT’S POTENTIALLY 3,720,000,000,000,000,000 (3.72 quintillion) Free Radicals in our bodies.
A punnet of Blueberries has 6,700 antioxidants, so it is not going to even come close to bringing back the balance.
ACTIVATING THE NRF2 PATHWAY IS A WAY BETTER CHOICE
As we mentioned earlier Science has discovered a built in pathway within our own cells that combats Free Radical damage. When our NRF2 pathway is activated in the nucleus it turns on the production of antioxidant enzymes such as Catalase, Glutathione Peroxidase and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). These antioxidant enzymes are powerful enough to neutralise millions of free radicals. This one to one million ratio proves to be a far more effective approach in combating aging and disease. Makes sense really.
So what activates the NRF2 pathway?
THE DISCOVERY OF NUTRIGENOMICS
In November 2001 nutritional research turned a corner with an approach to studying nutrition and genetic expression. It was discovered that a variety of foods are powerful activators of gene expression, including the NRF2 pathway.
The term Biohacking, and Nutrigenomics, Nutri (nutrition) genomics (genes) was born. After testing over 2500 varieties of herbs Life Vantage finally cracked the code to activate the Nrf2 Pathway, and Protandim NRF2 was born.
A natural product that combines 5 plant extracts in the right configuration to activate the NRF2 pathway and reduce Oxidative Stress. It’s the blending of these key ingredients that have shown greater effectiveness than the individual ingredients themselves in achieving optimum results.
This is a brilliant video for anyone wanting to know more - hosted by Dr Gail Pearson
What is even more impressive is the fact that there are over 20 peer reviewed Pub Med papers showing the effectiveness of Protandim NRF2 in reducing oxidative stress by up to 40%
This is a few years ago now but ABC reporters tried to debunk nrf2 and the results were surprising even to them.
If you would like copies of the Peer Reviewed journals please contact me directly and I will forward them to you.