Oxidative Stress: A Three Part Series

Part I. Supercharge Your Heart Health – Top 4 Antioxidant Supplements Revealed!

This blog is part of a series delving into Oxidative Stress as a main driver for disease and inflammation. We will cover the role oxidative stress plays in a range of degenerative and inflammatory conditions and the game-changing role antioxidants play in supporting the body against these conditions.

To understand Oxidative stress we must discuss not just what it is but also how the body has a defense mechanism specially designed to protect against its harmful effects.

Oxidative stress starts with oxygen. When we think of oxygen, we normally just consider the bright side. 

The breath of fresh air that we deeply inhale into our lungs that then gets carried via the blood all around the body and is then used in an intricate series of reactions in every cell to produce energy.

 We hardly consider the dark side, and there is one - the damage oxygen, or more accurately, oxidation can cause. 

Most of us have never even heard of this part. How serious is this damage?

Oxidative stress is the underlying cause of almost all chronic degenerative disease! Ever looked at a photo with 2 individuals 50-60 years apart in age, like a multi-generation family portrait? Ever paid attention to the difference in texture and appearance of skin between someone in their teens and someone in their 70s or 80s? This is due to oxidative stress damage. The same exact thing occurs on the inside of our bodies.

Oxidative Stress

Think of it this way. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals (harmful products of oxidation) and the body’s antioxidant defense system. Yes, our body has a system using antioxidants to balance out the damage. 

When free radicals are generated and are not balanced out (or mopped up if you will) by antioxidants, you get damage to cellular components like DNA and proteins. As already mentioned, this is the underlying cause and the potential start of so many chronic conditions.

In Part I of this series, we are going to look at what antioxidants best support heart health and how this can play a role in supporting those who have a history of heart disease. Below we have our top 4 picks to boost your antioxidant levels.

Oxidative Stress & Imflammation

Every day we all hear reminders and horror stories of the seriousness and finality of heart disease. We all probably know relatively healthy people that passed away suddenly from a heart attack with no warning – silent killer. 

The original culprits, as you may have read or heard, include cholesterol. How many of us have been told by our doctor that one of the keys to preventing heart disease is keeping bad cholesterol levels low. I was shocked when my research into antioxidants told a different story. 

The real villain was oxidative stress. This seemed to cause inflammation of the blood vessels and there seemed to be a strong correlation between the inflammation of the blood vessels brought about by oxidative stress and all underlying causes of heart disease including heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, and aneurysm. 

I should point out now that the research explained by this blog article is based on Dr. Ray D. Strand’s (M.D.) research and writing on oxidative stress. Dr. Strand is a medical doctor, researcher, and author based in the USA with a subspecialty in oxidative stress, the role it plays as an underlying major driver in many degenerative and chronic diseases, and how to combat it best using preventative, powerful antioxidant supplementations. 

His findings, amongst other medical researchers and doctors, are revolutionary to the treatment and prevention of heart disease. He claimed that part of this issue is the oxidative stress, the inflammation it causes, and how it can turn cholesterol bad.

Rather than relying on cholesterol-lowering medications alone, he incorporated a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and taking strong, high-quality antioxidant supplements for a far superior outcome in his patients.

Dr. Ray D. Strand's Oxidative Stress Research

Dr. Strand explains that in the 1980s we believed that not all cholesterol was bad. HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins) are actually good, and the higher it is, the better. LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) is bad, can build up along artery walls, forming plaque and narrow or block the artery. 

This is why when your doctor orders a blood test, it looks at the total cholesterol level but the ratio of good cholesterol as well.

This is common knowledge. Ready for the bit not many are aware of? LDL is not “bad”. In fact, it is integral in many important processes such as making cell membranes and producing different hormones. 

Problems only seemed to happen when free radicals (oxidative stress) occurs to LDL native to the body and damages it, changes it, and modifies it to a type of LDL cholesterol that actually is bad. 

Research then showed that with enough antioxidants to quell oxidation, this damage to LDL is quelled. This was such breakthrough research it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1989 by a Dr. Daniel Steinberg.

Importance Of antioxidants

Over the years, lots of studies supported the idea of oxidation causing LDL to become “bad” not that it was actually bad on its own. 

Antioxidants in abundance are how we fight this! Dr. Marco Diaz, a researcher in 1997, who made an impressive review of all the studies that appeared in medical journals up until then. Concluded that people with the highest levels of antioxidants in their bodies had the least amount of coronary artery disease.

The ray of sunshine in all of this is that antioxidants and their supporting nutrients can eliminate or at least significantly reduce a significant amount of the causes of inflammation in the arteries.

Here is our guide to the top 5 Antioxidants we recommend for those that suffer from heart disease. We will discuss the key ones and the role each plays in slowing down or preventing inflammatory reactions. 

We recommend these supplements & brands in particular as it is important to ingest nutrients in the most optimal way. This means the best absorption, gentlest formulations, correct dose, and concentration.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E the most important antioxidant when it comes to hindering the process of hardening of the arteries.

Vitamin E is fat soluble, making it the most potent and important defense within the cell wall.

Vitamin E incorporates itself within the LDL cholesterol.

The higher the concentration of Vitamin E in the cell membrane of the native LDL cholesterol, the more resistant it is to being oxidized.

Remember that the LDL is mostly oxidized (causing inflammation) in the subendothelial space and not in the blood or plasma so when it migrates there you need a high quantity of fat-soluble antioxidant to help prevent the modification/oxidization of LDL – this is the best defense.

Our favorite Vitamin E supplement is THORNE Ultimate-E. This offers the Alpha form which is best for consumption, and the recommended dosage is up to 1000mg daily.

CAUTION – Vitamin E can interact with some blood thinners such as Warfarin increasing the risk of bleeding. It may also interfere with the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist first if considering taking Vitamin E while on these.

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THORNE Ultimate-E 60gelcaps
Vitamin C
According to studies, Vitamin C is the best antioxidant within the plasma or fluid as it is water-soluble.

Supplementing with Vitamin C preserves and protects the endothelium function hence preventing endothelial dysfunction – major driver behind inflammatory processes.

Helps prevent LDL oxidization.

Helps regenerate Vitamin E (& Glutathione – another potent antioxidant) so they can be used over and over again.

Our favorite Vitamin C for a long time has been LYPOSPHERIC Vitamin C by Livon Labs due to its superior absorption.

 We also recognize we have patients who dislike this form due to its distinct taste. For those, we say checkout METAGENICS Vitamin C & Zinc Powder HERE.

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Lypo Spheric Vitamin C 1000mg 30Sachets
This is one of the most potent intracellular antioxidants and is present within all cells naturally.

Studies show that patients with coronary artery disease have lower levels of glutathione.

What makes glutathione a key antioxidant is that it is contained in all the cells surround the epithelial space.

To make healthy levels of Glutathione you need:
o    Selenium
o    B2
o    Niacin
o    NAC

These improve the overall antioxidant defense mechanism.

For the best Glutathione supplements on the market check out either LYPOSPHERIC GLUTATHIONE by Livon Labs for superior absorption and quick action.

The famous color-giving ingredient of fruits and vegetables. Thousands exist. The rule of thumb is the more colorful the fruits and vegetables in your diet then the greater the variety of bioflavonoids you get.

These super antioxidants have specific anti-inflammatory effects.

Red wine and grape juice contain polyphenols - another antioxidant that reduces the oxidization of LDL cholesterol.

THE BEST bioflavinoid is understood to be grape seed extract – the best in preventing chronic inflammatory disease.

Check out THORNE Grape Seed Oil for a high dose superior grapeseed oil supplement. Try and also keep a well balanced diet for the best capturing of multiple bioflavonoids and beta-carotene which is a precursor of Vitamin A and helps support our antioxidant support mechanisms.

To conclude this Part I of our series I would like to answer a common questions that may be in the back of your mind. If antioxidants are so good for me, a powerful preventative tool, why isn’t my doctor or pharmacist recommending these?

Dr. Strand explains that often Doctors treat nutrients or supplements like drugs. This means they test the body’s response to just one nutrient at a time to learn it’s potential benefits. This ignores the synergistic benefits that supplements have. Antioxidants work best together!! As oxidative stress occurs the body needs multiple antioxidants to combat the damage and at the same time the antioxidants need all the supporting nutrients to do their job well.

Disclaimer: Please note that Mina our resident specialist pharmacist and natural practitioner  is not an MD, and does not give medical recommendations. He stresses the importance of talking to your doctor & pharmacist before making changes to your supplements.

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