Have you ever noticed a slice of apple become brown, or a piece of meat go rancid? If so, you’ve witnessed something called oxidation. This natural process happens to all cells, including the cells of our bodies. But there’s also something called “oxidative stress”, in which the production of reactive oxygen is out of balance with the body’s ability to repair the damage. Some cells attempt to repair themselves, rather than simply dying and being replaced. This can cause peroxides and other free radicals to build up, and they damage the cell (including its proteins, lipids, and DNA).
Oxidation happens all the time, even in healthy people. Between one and two percen of the body’s cells are damaged at any point in time, but the body produces antioxidants to keep them in check. But our modern lifestyles include exposure to many toxins that increase oxidative stress over time, such as cigarette smoke, alcohol, air pollution, and pesticides in our food.
And so, the accumulation of oxidative stress over a person’s lifetime can increase the chances of abnormal cellular function. One such example is when a cell’s DNA is so damaged that it begins to rapidly reproduce in an uncontrolled way. That process can become what we call cancer. Or, the cells might simply remain damaged by free radicals and become more prone to disease over time.
Unfortunately, these toxins and the oxidative stress created by them can cause damage to the skin, leading to premature signs of aging. Diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease have all been linked to toxic substances and oxidative stress.
So what can you do to fight back against free radicals? First, reduce your exposure to potential toxins. And second, increase consumption of nutrients that provide antioxidants to your body, like vitamins A, C, and E. We recommend that you pursue a well-rounded, anti-aging diet rather then relying upon supplements, but supplements are sometimes appropriate as well.
To learn more about an anti-aging diet along with aesthetic treatments to address the signs of aging, give us a call. We will schedule a consultation and help you decide upon the best way to proceed.