When’s the last time you dusted your house?
Ya…. It’s been a hot minute for me too.
But even though I may not dust behind my TV more than a few times a year I do actively clean out the figurative dust that accumulates in my body- “dust” meaning oxidative stress.
Free radicals, antioxidants, oxidative stress are all buzz words in the media, and I notice many influencers throwing these words around without having a clear understanding of what they mean.
My goal for this blog is to:
Give you a clear understanding of what free radicals, antioxidants, and oxidative stress are
How they affect your health
What the secret to the fountain of youth is (hint: “the _____ is the powerhouse of the cell”)
FREE RADICALS are a natural byproduct of metabolism and environmental factors.
Just like a house that inevitably accumulates dust, we all accumulate free radicals. Dust is unstable in your home, just like free radicals are unstable. Certain behaviors make more dust in your home, just like certain behaviors create more free radical “dust” in your bodies: smoking, radiation, inflammatory foods.
ANTIOXIDANTS “suck up” the free radicals (by absorbing their chaos, they donate an extra electron to the free radicals, making them inert). The more you vacuum, the nicer your home feels and you’re more likely to enjoy living in it. Likewise, the more antioxidants you have in your body, keeping it clean and tidy, the healthier you’ll feel.
OXIDATIVE STRESS prevents your ability to neutralize free radicals. It effectively “turns off” the switch on your vacuum so you can’t eliminate the dust. Aging, illness, and alcohol are common instigators of oxidative stress. Cell membranes are the most vulnerable cellular components to oxidative stress. When the cellular membrane comes in contact with an oxidative stressor, the integrity of the entire cell is at stake.
By now you’ve connected the dots and understand that oxidative stress can wreak havoc on your body and the more oxidative stress you have the earlier you age. This is because oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA which cause you to feel and look older than your actual age.
SYMPTOMS OF OXIDATIVE STRESS:
Muscle/ Joint pain
Brain Fog/Memory loss
Gray hair and wrinkles
Headaches and sensitivity to noise
Susceptibility to infections
What I Do to Keep My Energy High and Oxidative Stress Low:
My number one “secret” to eradicating oxidative stress and maintaining a youthful spirit and energy is to thoughtfully care for my mitochondria.
Full disclosure: I love mitochondria almost as much as I love a cup of coffee and canceled plans- read on if you want to be part of the love fest too!
The health of your mitochondria are of utmost importance in aging and age-related diseases. Tissues with the densest population of mitochondria are muscle and brain tissue, and this makes sense, considering our bodies’ energy expenditure is the highest in these locations.
Mitochondria produce ATP for energy as a result of an acute awareness of their chemical environment, but they also produce the toxic reactive oxygen species as a byproduct of oxidative phosphorylation. They’re the Tattle Tales of your body’s internal health.
Eat poorly and don’t exercise? Your mitochondria will produce less ATP and more ROS, you’ll suffer brain fog, easy fatigue, and premature aging.
Good news, though: just because you survived off of Ramen noodles and sugary Powerade in college, doesn’t mean these defective mitochondria will last forever! You’re constantly producing newer generations that are literally a product of their own environment.
If you surround mitochondria in proper nutrients that support their own internal functions, you’ll enjoy:
Improved energy levels
Increased BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) to boost cognition
Quality health with longevity baked right in the crust!
Imagine if we support our mighty mitochondria fully and we learn their distress signals, how we can maintain a healthy balance and save ourselves from poor health and early signs of aging!
This is why it's important to have things such as:
*Regular manipulation (proper joint and tissue alignment)
*Stillness (to calm your nervous system)
*Nutrition (to feed your body with anti-inflammatory signals)
*Aerobic exercise (to challenge your mitochondria to get busy and make new baby mito's)!
When we OPTIMIZE our mighty mitochondria and let them do what they are meant to do, we feel healthier and younger! And that, my love, is the fountain of youth!