Oxidative stress is involved in different pathophysiological states, such as aging, inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, by damaging several cellular and tissue components including proteins, DNA and fats. Over the last decade, remarkable progress has been made to realize that oxidative stress and chronic, low-grade inflammation are major risk factors underlying brain aging.
What is oxidative stress?
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. It is linked to over 200 chronic diseases with heart disease, arthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease as “front runners”.
However, even healthy people need to worry about oxidative stress. It is estimated that our cells are “terrorized by” 600 quadrillion free radical attacks per day; it’s 600 with 15 zeroes!
Yes, indeed, I want to live long and happy and with clear mind.
Browsing the Internet in search of oxidative stress definition, I came across the paper: The Role of Oxidative Stress-Induced Epigenetic Alterations in Amyloid-B Production in Alzheimer’s Disease. It fascinated me: Epigenetic alterations? What is epigenetic?
Epigenetics literally means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells “read” genes. Epigenetic changes are indeed, inflicted by chemical pollutants, dietary components, temperature changes and other external stresses, aka oxidative stress.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent type of dementia with over five million people affected in the United States and 35 million worldwide.
The major hallmark of AD pathogenesis is the presence of amyloid plaques and special neuronal tangles, which leads to the loss of signal transduction between the nerve cells (neurons). In AD one possible vehicle for deposition and accumulation of this abnormal protein, called amyloid, is oxidative stress (OS), mediated by the production of free radicals. And clearly free radicals can lead to epigenetic cellular modification, leading to amyloid plaque formation.
Therapies that include a diet with high levels of antioxidants could both guard against deleterious epigenetic changes and alleviate the devastating clinical manifestations of AD.
What is the “punch line” in all of this “medical verbiage”?
Let’s prevent and fight dementia via eating nutrient dense foods full of proper fats, like plenty of avocados, coconut oil, essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 8 oils, found in wild salmon, chia, flax and hemp seeds. Let’s exercise, play puzzles and solve crosswords.
Let’s laugh a lot and be happy!
Please find attached couple papers on AD and epigenetics as well as my power point presentation with some notes.
1.The Role of Oxidative Stress-Induced Epigenetic Alterations in Amyloid-B Production in Alzheimer’s Disease
2. Epigenetics and environment: emerging patterns and implications, Nature 2012.
3. OS aging and diease, april 21 2016 no ABC
Note: Thank you Karen Spenser for giving me the opportunity to lecture on oxidative stress, aging and disease at ATCO Electric.