Genomics and Oxidative Stress
Oxidative Stress. A hot topic in helping to address many health issues related to our modern lifestyles. Oxidative stress, and it’s constant companion inflammation, are responsible for many of the chronic illnesses associated with aging that we see today – including Alzheimer’s Disease. Antioxidants are designed to help.
If you take or have ever considered taking supplements to boost your antioxidant system, here are some key questions for you:
- Which antioxidants are right for you?
- How much you need?
- Can you get all the antioxidants you need from food?
- How do you know?
Genomic testing is able to answer these questions with much more specificity than best guess, or trial-and-error approaches.
We all generate free radicals—highly reactive, unstable molecules produced as a consequence of normal metabolism. Hydrogen peroxide is just one of many that you may have heard about. Free radicals can damage cells and even DNA unless they are neutralized by antioxidants such as vitamin A, Vitamin E, or Vitamin C, which are all part of the antioxidant response.
These vitamins and minerals are key players in this process to protect cell membranes, mitochondria, and even your DNA from the toxic effects of these free radicals. If not neutralized, free radicals are associated with increased cancer risk and signs of aging – including Alzheimer’s disease.
But just taking vitamins is not enough. We also have a highly effective internal system that is even more powerful than vitamins. This system is called the antioxidant cascade, and is led by Nrf2 – the “master antioxidant”. We need both systems to be functioning optimally in order to combat all of the free radicals we encounter every day.
Here’s a great way to visualize the process of oxidation:
The apple above is analogous to what happens in cells that are unable to quench free radicals. Over time, left exposed to these free radicals (oxygen being one), the cells die and turn brown.
Genes – the codes contained in our DNA– are responsible for running all aspects of our antioxidant defense system. Understanding how certain genes impact free radical quenching may hold the key to slowing down or even reversing the chronic diseases and premature aging.
One gene in particular is considered “the master antioxidant gene”: Nrf2. Nrf2 is pivotal in maintaining a balance between antioxidant genes, protecting our cells and our DNA – it even signals cancer fighting genes to turn on. It triggers the start of the entire antioxidant cascade, involving more than a half dozen other genes.
If the function of one or more of these genes is impaired by SNPs, the antioxidant pathway becomes impaired. The more SNPs, the greater the effect. Depending on which genes are affected, and how much oxidative stress is being generated by diet and lifestyle, additional support with specific antioxidants and nutrient cofactors may be beneficial.
But without genomic testing, we are left to guess which nutrients and antioxidants, in what amounts, and in which delivery systems are needed. And every person is different. That’s a lot of unnecessary trial and error that can get very expensive very quickly … and may not even provide the desired effect you are paying for.
That’s why every evaluation through our Center starts with comprehensive genomic testing. With the most robust testing designed to provide clear and actionable information, we have a ton of data to work with. But you are not data – you are a living, breathing person. So then we integrate your results within our GENESIS Matrix® framework to create a truly personalized road-map – including diet, lifestyle and medication choices – for helping you achieve the best health possible – mind, body and spirit.
Curious to learn how we can help you? Request your complimentary consult today.