Oxidative Stress: Aging You Faster, Poorly and Painfully

What is Oxidative Stress? 

cigarette butts

Oxidative stress can either be a normal part of cell metabolism inside our body or it can be generated from sources outside of our body. Internal oxidative stress is generated when our cells use oxygen in the creation of energy. Free radicals are created as a natural part of ATP production (energy), which is more manageable than the bombardment of free radicals our body receives from outside sources.



Some examples of external oxidative stress are:

  • Polluted air
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Regular use of NSAIDS/medications.2
  • Intense and prolonged exercising also induces oxidative stress because of the generation of free radicals while skeletal muscles contract.3
  • Alcohol consumption promotes the generation of oxidative stress, and interferes with the body’s normal mechanisms of defense against free radical damage.4

How Is Oxidative Stress Generated?

black and white picture of sad girl

As briefly mentioned above, when our cells use oxygen to create energy, free radicals are created as a consequence of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production by the mitochondria. From this creation of ATP, it generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) & reactive nitrogen species (RNS). This is both good and bad; both toxic and beneficial. At low or moderate levels, ROS and RNS have beneficial effects on cellular responses and immune function. At high concentrations, they generate oxidative stress which inflames the body and creates a state of disease. Some diseases that are directly related to having HIGH oxidative stress are: type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, auto-immune disorders, accelerated aging (premature wrinkles, looking older than your age, poor skin elasticity, shortened telomeres), rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, neurodegenerative & atherosclerosis.2,7

The Role of Antioxidants in Preventing Oxidative Stress

fruits and vegetables

Antioxidants halt free radical production and protect our delicate tissues which would be gravely damaged by excess oxidative stress.6 Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants. Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day excluding starchy vegetables will reverse disease, prevent excess oxidative stress and inflammation.1,5



If You’re Not Getting Enough Fruits & Vegetables

3 bottles of juice plus

Most of us are not getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diet each day. One of the ways that we can help to fill in that gap is by taking a greens powder with dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

Check out: Vibrant Health Essential Daily Green Food or NuMedica’s Power Greens, which offers 25+ servings of fruits and vegetables!

Another excellent way is by taking Juice Plus. Theses are 100% organic, non-GMO dehydrated fruits, vegetables and berries in a capsule. Juice Plus has been around for about 25 years and they have peer reviewed studies published in 20 medical journals proving effects of this food based supplement with different disease states. It’s quite amazing. Currently there are 4 new studies underway, more science to add to the list!

I do all of these things, I alternate the two powders, try to juice celery and other veggies/fruits throughout the week – but I always consistently take the Juice Plus. It’s proven to blunt the oxidative stress that is associated with so many inflammatory conditions.


All of these are great tasting ways you can incorporate more plant power into your day!




  1. Pem, D., & Jeewon, R. (2015). Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions. Iran J Public Health,44(10), 1309-1321. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4644575/.
  2. Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health. Int J Biomed Sci.,4(2), 89-96. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/.
  3. Powers, S. K., & Jackson, M. J. (2008). Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Cellular Mechanisms and Impact on Muscle Force Production. Physiological Reviews,88(4), 1243-1276. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909187/.
  4. Wu, D., & Cederbaum, A. I. (2004). Alcohol, Oxidative Stress, and Free Radical Damage. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm
  5. Xie, Z., Lin, H., Fang, R., Shen, W., Li, S., & Chen, B. (2015). Effects of a fruit-vegetable dietary pattern on oxidative stress and genetic damage in coke oven workers: A cross-sectional study. Environmental Health,14(1). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428115/.
  6. Young, I. S., & Woodside, J. V. (2001). Antioxidants in Health and Disease. J Clin Pathol.,54(3), 176-86. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11253127.
  7. Liguori, I. (2018). Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clin Interv Agin. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5927356/.

Author: Melissa Mullin