A preamble to our post on ozone therapy; first we need to understand what oxidative stress is.
-By Dr Clement G. Plaatjies
What is oxidation?
There are many chemical reactions occurring in your body at any given time. These reactions are happening so that bodily functions can be carried out. Simply put, oxidation occurs when an electron is donated during a chemical reaction. When this happens, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are necessary to ensure normal functioning of the body but, they have to be kept in check. This is the job of antioxidants, which has the simple job of donating an electron to free radicals to restore stability and balance. And balance, or homeostasis in medical terms, is what the body strives for.
What is oxidative stress?
When the aforementioned balance is tipped in one direction, havoc may ensue. Oxidative stress is the term given to the state in which there are more free radicals than can be balanced by antioxidants. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules and the donation of an electron by antioxidants renders them more chemically stable. Free radicals have the ability to react with fat (lipids), DNA and proteins within the cell. When this happens, normal cell function is hindered. This could lead to neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as systemic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and even some cancers. Oxidative stress is also related to premature aging.
What are antioxidants?
As mentioned before, antioxidants are basically electron donors. There are MANY antioxidants, or free radical scavengers, in the body. Some are produced by the body itself and some can be taken orally.
Foods rich in antioxidants include:
- Berries (of any kind) and cherries
- Green tea
And many more.
Supplementary antioxidants include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Co-enzyme Q10 (especially when combined with ozone therapy)
The important point to remember here is that there needs to be a balance between free radicals and antioxidants, both of which are essential for normal body functioning. The commercial drive towards consuming more antioxidants makes it difficult to know which end of the scale you’re tipping. This is where ozone therapy may be beneficial. Ozone has the unique property wherein in creates free radicals which stimulates the body’s own natural production of antioxidants. This restores the homeostasis reducing oxidative stress.