To supercharge your energy and enhance longevity it’s all about your mitochondria. Read Increase Your Energy & Longevity Essential Oils to Use to come up to speed on your mitochondria.
In our last article we talked about how oxidative stress has been the burning topic among research scientists over the past two decade.
Why? Because Oxidative Stress speeds up the aging process and is the Genesis of all Disease. We also talked about research on essential oils showing their capacity as an effective intervention strategy to protect against oxidative stress.
Now, let’s look at the role antioxidants play in reducing oxidative stress and a few dietary strategies you can use.
In our last article we learned that Irwin Fridovich and his graduate student, Joe McCord discovered the Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) enzyme in 1968, establishing that the body produces its own antioxidants.
Irwin and Joe developed the “superoxide theory of oxygen toxicity,” which states, “superoxide radicals inflict major damage to the body.” It’s your SOD’s job to eliminate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), destructive free radicals.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is your body's most crucial antioxidant, as it is responsible for disarming the most dangerous free radicals of all: the highly reactive superoxide radicals (ROS).
SOD is your body’s first line of defense against aging and disease.
Fridovich discovered different types of SOD contained either copper and zinc, manganese, or iron, all of these minerals are necessary for SOD’s activity.
So, now you know antioxidants are THE primary way your mitochondria are protected from intense oxidative stress.
What you can do to boost your SOD.
- The foods that are rich sources of SOD, such as broccoli, cabbage, or marine phytoplankton, are also good sources of the minerals (zinc, copper, and manganese) that your body uses to make your own SOD. Studies have shown there is a slight boost in blood SOD from taking these supplements.
- It's always better to get your antioxidants from food rather than a pill, and superoxide dismutase, or SOD, is found in a variety of different foods.
- However, according to a 2006 article published in The Austin Chronicle and other sources your body is unable to metabolize and absorb the SOD from the food you eat.
- Instead, eat healthy food sources of SOD that contain nutrients that promote the workings of your body's own SOD.
- Studies have shown that eating organically grown foods contain higher quantities of certain nutrients known to boost SOD, as well as higher in antioxidants.
- Liver and organ meats.
- Nuts, i.e. almonds and pecans.
- Leafy green vegetables, i.e. romaine lettuce, spinach.
- Fruits, i.e. pineapple, raspberries, strawberries.
- Dark green leafy vegetables, i.e. kale.
- Lean red meats.
- Liver and organ meats.
- Dried fruits, i.e. raisins and prunes.
ANTIOXIDANT Rich Foods Contain High Amounts of:Polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural plant derivatives which exhibit remarkable multi-potent neuro-protective qualities and an ability to control and modulate:
- Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
- Heavy metal toxicity.
- Apoptosis (death of cells).
- Signal transduction (communication between cells).
- Ion channels (allow passage of ions).
- Neurotransmitters (allows transfer of nerve impulses).
POLYPHENOLIC Dietary Antioxidants:
- Resveratrol. Research on six essential oils published in the Journal of Lipid Research showed that thyme oil’s anti-inflammatory properties had the same ability to suppress the inflammatory response as the popular antioxidant resveratrol. The study attributed this anti-inflammatory effect to the presence of the chemical carvacrol which is highest in oregano oil. Thyme oil also has high amounts of carvacrol. The phenol oils are high in carvacrol.
- EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) - which belongs to a group of flavonoid phytochemicals called catechins (catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and other benefits). Green tea and black tea are relatively potent with EGCG. Both are rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer.
- Fruit polyphenols.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Grapeseed extract. A powerful antioxidant that protects the body from premature aging, disease, and decay. Scientific studies have shown that the antioxidant power of the proanthocyanidins contained in grape seeds to be 20 times greater than vitamin E and 50 times greater than vitamin C.
- Vitamin C. (please note: most supplement sources available are derived from corn and may contain GMOs).
- Vitamin E.
- Beta carotene (precursor of vitamin A). Food sources are best as studies indicate the body does not do a good job of converting beta carotene to Vitamin A.
ALTHOUGH many foods contain some antioxidants, only a few have sufficiently large quantities to be effective antioxidant sources.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Foods Rich in Vitamin E.
Nuts and seeds, i.e. almonds, sunflower seeds.
Foods Rich in Beta Carotene.
Dark leafy greens, i.e. kale, romaine lettuce.
SUPPLEMENTS to consider include:CoQ10. An antioxidant. CoQ10 provides energy to the cells. A deficiency in CoQ10 is linked with many diseases, including mitochondrial disorder.
Food Sources of CoQ10.
- Organ meats: Heart, liver and kidney.
- Some muscle meats: Beef and chicken.
- Fatty fish: Trout, herring, mackerel and sardine.
- Vegetables: Spinach, cauliflower and broccoli.
- Fruit: Oranges and strawberries.
- Legumes: Soybeans, lentils.
- Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds and pistachios.
- Brussels sprouts.
MSM. If you’re a poor consumer of vegetables you may want to consider a supplement like MSM, a source of organic sulfur. Studies have shown a “variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity."
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). A powerful antioxidant, NAC acts as a free radical scavenger, especially oxygen radicals. Read a brief study on the various uses of N-Acetyle Cysteine.
Key role of NAC is to increase intracellular glutathione, which is then pumped into the mitochondria. As we’ve discussed, glutathione is critical for protection of mitochondria from oxidative damage.
Essential Oils. Numerous research studies show the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity of essential oils to prevent against free radical damage.
Essential Oils and Their Major Compounds in the Treatment of Chronic Inflammation: A Review of Antioxidant Potential in Preclinical Studies and Molecular Mechanisms.
This systematic review suggests that essential oils (EOs) and their major compounds have potential for treatment of inflammatory diseases, especially in chronic inflammatory conditions. The main action reported in this review when using essential oil therapy for chronic inflammations was the reduction of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and the reduction in expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Another study showed the anti-inflammatory potential associated with the antioxidant activity of EOs. Of the majority compounds studied, most are classified as monoterpenes.
The major components of the essential oils of lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemon, grapefruit, and frankincense were linalyl acetate (28.2%), menthol (33.4%), 1,8-cineole (46.1%), limonene (64.5 and 94.2%), and p-menth-2-en-ol (34.5%). The highest free radical-scavenging activity was obtained by lavender essential oil, limonene (lemon and grapefruit) and peppermint essential oil.
Molecular mechanisms of action of essential oils activity showed decreased intracellular oxidative stress.
You can enjoy the antioxidant benefits of essential oils simply through inhaling their scent, or use them for topical application and absorption through the skin in a warm bath.