Katherine Bond

April 24, 2012

3 Min Read
In Handling Inflammation, First Address Oxidative Stress

A major understanding is on the horizon when it comes to the inter-play of oxidative stress and unhealthy levels of inflammation. One thing always leads to  another; a way that it can be perceived is like a juvenile food fight, one thing goes array, and the next thing you know, a full-blown food fight has occurred, and the instigator has been forgotten. Oxidative stress can develop in the same manner as a food fight. A lifestyle filled with smoking, poor nutrition, unhealthy levels of stress or being over-weight may contribute to oxidative stress —the primary source of unhealthy levels of inflammation.

One cannot discuss inflammation management without first addressing oxidative stress. When not managed correctly, oxidative stress may be the potential cause of unhealthy levels of inflammation. In an attempt to control oxidative stress the body responds by developing unhealthy levels of inflammation in blood vessels and organs. Because un-healthy levels of inflammation hinder the body’s natural immune response, the body can only manage unhealthy levels of inflammation for a short period of time. However, if there continues to be oxidative stress then there continues to be unmanageable, or chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress needs to be managed first, then unhealthy levels of inflammation can begin to be addressed.

Unhealthy levels of inflammation have been linked to the majority of serious, current day chronic health conditions, even conditions effecting cardiovascular health. LDL cholesterol, specifically LDL oxidation, is recognized as an important initial stage in the etiology of coronary heart disease. Therefore, preventing LDL oxidation is believed to slow the progression and reduce the risk of coronary heart health issues (Rao, et al. 1999). Currently, patients can ask their doctors to test their Oxidized LDL levels —another significant, soon-to-be biomarker for heart health.

One thing leads to another, and the awareness of oxidative stress has led to the enthusiastic use of antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to have positive benefits on maintaining cardiovascular health. Going back to food, except this time the food we eat versus the food we throw away, plays an important role in providing our body with the essential antioxidants needed to manage oxidative stress and keep it from contributing to unhealthy levels of inflammation. The function of antioxidants is not to remove harmful oxidants entirely, but instead, to keep them at a level below which will trigger an unhealthy inflammatory response (Pashkow, 2011).

Fruits such as grapes contain several micronutrient phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties. Evidence indicates that populations consuming grapes and grape products like red wine have lower incidence of coronary heart disease, such as the French population. Grape skin extract may also decrease incidence of coronary heart conditions through the antioxidant activity of resveratrol.

Resveratrol belongs to a class of compounds called stilbenes, which have been reported to inhibit LDL oxidation and platelet aggregation. Stilbene derivatives of resveratrol are reported to be highly active antioxidants. 

BioVin, a full spectrum grape extract, has been shown to “…enhance the body’s DNA repair system against cell damage by acting as an anti-inflammatory and anti–mutagenic agent,” according to Dr. Puya Yazdi, medical director at Cyvex. “Studies suggest that compounds found in grapes play a role in enhancing the antioxidant capacity of blood, and protecting proteins and LDL cholesterol against oxidative damage which could lead to unhealthy levels of inflammation.”

Stepping back, and addressing the cause is the best first step when trying to address inflammation management. So many times the root of the problem is overlooked.  

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