Anti-Aging Health

Oxidative stress -do you have it?

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: September 6, 2018
oxidative stress

Oxidative stress-know what it is? Betcha have it!

Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.

oxidative stress

I WILL explain what this means.

Oxidative stress (often called OS) is what happens when your body does not have enough antioxidants to neutralize free radicals.

In fact OS is one of the three things you can easily fix to avoid most diseases and age slower, look younger and more!


What are antioxidants?


Every cell that utilizes enzymes and oxygen to perform functions is exposed to oxygen free radical reactions that have the potential to cause serious damage to the cell.

Antioxidants are molecules present in cells that prevent these reactions by donating an electron to the free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants is the underlying basis of oxidative stress. Just as an apple not coated with lemon turns brown when exposed to air, our cells can “rust” when we have oxidative stress- caused by unopposed free radicals.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are the unstable molecules that react with other substances in your body to damage cells or create abnormal ones.

Free radicals can chemically interact with cell components such as DNA, proteins or lipids and steal their electrons in order to become stabilized.

This, in turn, destabilizes the cell component molecules which then seek and steal an electron from another molecule, therefore triggering a large chain of free radical reactions.

Free radicals are unavoidable and are created naturally as your body performs its everyday functions.

What Causes Free Radicals?

Free radicals are a byproduct of energy consumption in our mitochondria, the factories that produce energy in each of our cells. As we breathe, we can’t help but make some free radicals, but many other factors in your lifestyle and environment can also contribute to their production, such as:

Exposure to tobacco smoke:

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 toxic chemicals that lead to oxidative stress. In fact one cigarette produces millions and millions of free radicals.

Exercising too much:

Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but too much can increase the oxidative stress in our bodies. In general, more than 60 minutes per day is considered excessive. Elite athletes need to be careful of this and supplement appropriately. Bodybuilders who use AAS’s and supplements to help them gain more lean body mass such as acetyl-l-carnitine and l-glutamine are at high risk and all need to be on heavy supplementation.

Bad diet:

Eating too many calories, sugars and/or refined carbohydrates. When we eat more unhealthy food, our mitochondria (cells that make energy-ATP) release more “exhaust,” creating higher levels of free radicals as they burn fuel from food for energy.

Excessive stress:

Stress and the stress hormone cortisol increases inflammation, which further increases free radical production.

Excessive alcohol consumption:

Drinking alcohol increases your levels of inflammatory cytokines which are inflammatory molecules that are linked to oxidative stress.

Eating charcoal-broiled foods:

These contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can contribute to oxidative stress.

Exposure to air pollutants:

l-carnitine bodybuilding supplements help OSAir pollution, industrial pollution and even allergens increase oxidation in our bodies.

Chronic infections:

Dental infections are a good example of  hidden infections that contribute to oxidative stress. Why? If you have root canals you will not feel apical abcesses-so get a panoramic X-ray annually.

Ionizing radiation and EMF’s:

Exposure to the sun, x-rays, radon, hair dryers, cellphones, airplanes, electric blankets and waterbed heaters can contribute to oxidative stress.

Lack of sleep:

Sleep deprivation increases oxidative stress through a complex series of chemical reactions.

Exposure to fungal toxins:

Environmental molds (like those in bathrooms and basements) and internal molds and fungi (those related to your gut) can produce mycotoxins that increase oxidative stress.

Poor GI-tract detoxification:

When the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins from food (like when you eat too much sugar) or the environment (like exposure to pesticides or mercury), it becomes inflamed and produces more free radicals. This is why I have all patients and AWS annual consultation members on a spray-detox regimen as well as pre and probiotics.

Why be concerned about oxidative stress?

antioxidants are a natural cure for fibromyalgia

Oxidative stress leads to many pathological conditions in the body.

Some of these include neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease can start out as short term memory loss. In fact there is an enormous correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and oxidative stress. It can cause gene mutations and cancers too.


It is associated with fibromyalgia, with anti-oxidants being one type of fibromyalgia natural treatment supplement. It’s even associated with  chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is closely associated with atherosclerotic disorders of the heart and blood vessels. It is associated with all inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and much more.

How common is oxidative stress?

Due to all of the causes mentioned above, you can just imagine and even think of your own situation-how many free-radical-causing situations are you in? Now think about how many servings of non-GMO organic fruits and veggies you eat daily. Is it 12 or more?

If not, you have oxidative stress. And guess what, so does just about everyone who isn’t doing some sort of juicing or supplementing. The soil has not been re-mineralized correctly since the 1940’s in the U.S. to grow the nutritious fruits and vegetables we had back in our childhood. Have you found a tomato that tastes like a tomato? I have-in Europe-but not here. So there is generally no getting around the “supplementation thing” and we’ll talk about that in a minute.

Can you measure oxidative stress?

In fact, you can. Urinary Isoprostanes are one way. This is a long complicated explanation so just know it’s one way.

Raman Spectroscopy is the other way.

The technology of a  Resonant Raman Spectroscopy scanner has been used for many years in research laboratories- most notably in researching ocular disorders.

A Scanner measures carotenoid (types of A vitamins) levels in human tissue at the skin surface using optical signals. These signals identify the unique molecular structure of carotenoids, allowing their measurement without interference by other molecular substances.

The Scanner technology works on the principle of light and the fundamental particle of light is a photon. White light has photons of different wavelengths, which are represented by colors. The Scanner produces a narrow beam of light in which all of the photons are the same color-blue.

The blue light has a wavelength of 478 nanometers (nm). When a 478 nm photon of light comes into contact with a carotenoid, there is “excitation.” The energy level of a 478 nm photon becomes excited to 518 nm, the wavelength associated with green light. The only molecule in nature that can shift a 478 nm photon to a 518 nm photon is a carotenoid. And that is how the measurement is done. As 478 nm photons strike carotenoids in the skin, they are reflected back as 518 nm photons.

This is how the carotenoid concentration in your skin is measured. The number of photons reflected at the 518 nm wavelength is proportional to the concentration of carotenoids in the skin and then these green photons are then counted. The amount of carotenoids you have “stored” is proportionate to your total body anti-oxidant level. Voila!

 So do you need to have oxidative stress measured?

In an ideal world, yes, but I have found a way to correlate my raman spec scanner scores on patients which their with the oxidative stress quiz scores. I always have (scanned) patients take the quiz to make sure I continue to see a correlation between the score of my patients and the quiz scores of my AWS annual consultation services members. The quiz is on the home page and you can take it for free to see where you stand. It’s the quiz in “module 1” on the symptom checker NAV click.

Antioxidants are your key to reducing oxidative stress:

Vitamin E, polyphenols, beta-carotene and other vitamins are all potent antioxidants that protect you from free radical damage and improve your health and immunity. Yes, there are many foods and vitamins that provide antioxidants but you want them in your foods and your supplements.

Antioxidants are the nutrients found in foods such as:

Fruits and vegetables, miso soup, fermented foods and liquids.

Antioxidants are found in some herbs:

Pycnogenol or grape seed extract, ginkgo, ginger, green tea polyphenols, turmeric and rosemary

The easy oxidative stress solution:

glutamine bodybuilding powder mixes nicely with these OS powders

After searching personally and professionally for the cure to oxidative stress and trying GOOD supplements which supplied plenty of anti-oxidants it hit me that mere vitamins do not contain the “good things” real food contains. And there was just no way I could eat 15 servings of fruits/veggies every day.

Nor could I take the daily time to pick up fresh veggies, wash, prepare and juice them. And that was super expensive, anyway.

My patients all agreed, and I found that the perfect answer was a blend of organic non-GMO dried and powdered fruits and veggies which could be made into a tasty daily drink or two was the answer for me, my family, my patients and my AWS annual consultation members.

Yes, there are other ways to accomplish this feat. You can use a vita-mixer (not a juicer-too much fructose) or find other powders on the market. Just know that it takes quite a bit of effort to get the nutrients you need due to soil depletion, GMO organisms, pesticide levels and more.


1 Comment

  1. I took that quiz on the home page and read this article and boy DO I have oxidative stress. I just bought the reds and greens 3 pack and am going to drink this twice a day. If I have any questions I see that I can get you on chat. Great! Thank you for such amazing information!

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