How to Reduce Oxidative Stress to Lower PainApr 07, 2022
You’ve probably heard the term oxidative stress, but did you know that oxidative stress and chronic pain go together?
Lowering oxidative stress can help lower inflammation which in turn lowers pain. Read on to discover some ways you can be your body’s friend by lowering oxidative stress.
The body creates oxidation naturally as oxygen is used to fuel our cells.
Mitochondria are the energy producers in every cell in our body. They are like little furnaces, and like any furnace, they give off ‘exhaust’ as a by-product of making that energy. The by-product is called reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals.
(Chemistry geek alert!) Free radicals are oxygen molecules with an unequal number of electrons which makes them easily react with molecules in the cell membranes. This causes a cascade of chemical reactions, called oxidation.
Normally the body can deal with free radicals produced by the mitochondria by detoxifying with antioxidants.
Our modern lifestyle with processed food, exposure to a wide range of chemicals and lack of exercise contributes to the production of free radicals.
Oxidative stress happens when the body can’t keep up with the production of free radicals. An imbalance occurs between the accumulation of free radicals and the ability of the body to detoxify these reactive products.
In other words, we have more free radicals than antioxidants. This hinders the cell’s ability to regenerate and repair, eventually accelerating aging and causing disease.
What are the signs of oxidative stress?
Brain issues like brain fog, poor memory, frequent headaches
Muscle and joint pain
Wrinkles, poor skin,
Unstable blood sugar
Illness including autoimmune, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease
If you are experiencing several of these symptoms of oxidative stress, your body needs your help.
When I look back at my life, I can see now that I had signs of oxidative stress long before the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in 2016.
In my early 20’s, when I was taking engineering in university, I was under a lot of stress with the workload and feeling like I wasn’t smart enough to be there. I worked REALLY hard, and I got through, but it was stressful. That was when I started having neck and shoulder pain, I had to get glasses and I would get belly cramps.
Later, as a working mother with three amazing kids (who had a lot of extra-curricular activities) I tried to do it all: running the chess club at school, president of the swim club, manager of swim meets and other volunteering on top of my full-time job teaching engineering at a local college.
I began to have trouble sleeping, I had breakouts, my hair thinned and started to grey, and I was seriously worried about ‘senior’s moments’ when I was only in my forties.
If only I knew then what I know now about oxidative stress!
Lowering oxidative stress is paramount if you have inflammation and pain, and that’s why I’m sharing this with you.
You can prevent, lower and reverse oxidative stress by making better lifestyle choices.
Here are some ways to lower oxidative stress:
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants
Avoiding processed foods, especially sugars, chemicals and processed oils (canola, corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed oil and rice bran oil)
Exercising regularly (but not too much!)
Lowering stress in your life
Improving your ability to deal with stress through breathwork, meditation, journaling, or other relaxing activities
Avoiding or reducing exposure to toxins (including alcohol), chemicals, pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs)
Maintaining a healthy body weight since excess fat cells can increase free radical production
Foods rich in antioxidants include dark chocolate, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, artichokes, red cabbage, beets and beans.
It’s always best to get nutrients, including antioxidants, from food, but if you continue to experience symptoms of oxidative stress, you may want to consider supplementation. The top antioxidant supplements include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid and many more.
I’ve recently started experimenting with an antioxidant called C60, or carboxyfullerene. It’s a molecule made up of 60 carbon atoms which can bond with up to 6 electrons, making it a powerful antioxidant. The one I’m taking has been prepared without solvents, which is an important thing to look for with a C60 product. What I noticed after about two weeks was improved sleep (including more vivid dreams), more energy and clearer thinking.
I’ll let you know if I see any reduction in inflammation over the longer term. There isn’t a whole lot of scientific research on C60 yet, but early studies look promising [1 , 2 ]. If you’re interested in learning more about the product I’m trying, watch my interview with the owner on my podcast.
Keep in mind that it’s always best to start with the lifestyle changes I mentioned above, rather than expecting a supplement to take care of things. Supplements really are that: supplements to all the other things you do for your health.
Taking care of yourself, learning to love yourself and prioritizing YOU are the first steps in helping you and your body heal from oxidative stress.
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to pain and inflammation. If you want to release stress and lower pain, download my FREE Relief With Peace audio bundle here.
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All information in this post is based on my personal experiences. Please discuss any changes to your diet with your healthcare team. No information in this article is meant to replace medical advice. Please read my Terms and Conditions.