Imagine your gut as a cozy home, with a vibrant community of helpful bacteria and a well-functioning digestive system. But amidst this harmonious setting, there's an unwelcome guest: oxidative stress. Like an uninvited intruder, oxidative stress disrupts the peace and wreaks havoc on your gut health.
Demystifying Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress occurs when there's an imbalance between harmful molecules called free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants are the body’s defense against free radicals, but when they become overwhelmed they are unable to protect your cells properly, which results in damage to tissues and organs – which leads to disease and accelerated aging.
Free radicals are produced from normal bodily processes, but can also accumulate at toxic levels from external factors such as endocrine disrupting chemicals, pollution and poor diet.
The Gut: A Delicate Balance
Within the gut resides a vast community of bacteria known as the gut microbiota. These bacteria play a crucial role in digestion, immune function, and overall health. However, when oxidative stress strikes, it disrupts the delicate balance within this microbial community, leading to potential problems, from inflammation to bloating and gut discomfort.
Inflammation: The Unwanted Guest
Oxidative stress acts as a catalyst for inflammation in the gut. Studies have shown a clear link between oxidative stress and increased inflammation - both in the gut and on your skin. In the gut, inflammation is at the root of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome.
Leaky Gut Syndrome: When Things Get Messy
As if inflammation weren't enough, oxidative stress can also disrupt the gut’s barrier, leading to a leaky gut. The gut lining acts as a protective barrier, regulating the passage of nutrients while keeping harmful substances out. When oxidative stress weakens this barrier, it creates gaps that allow bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This can trigger an immune response and further contribute to gut-related issues and inflammation.
How to Protect and Promote Gut Health
Antioxidants – the defenders against free radicals, play a crucial role in protecting the gut. By incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet, you provide your body with an abundance of these beneficial compounds. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, helping to restore balance and reduce the harmful effects of oxidative stress on the gut.
Probiotics – Studies have shown probiotic bacteria can help boost and present antioxidant activity, reducing inflammation and damage caused by oxidation. Taking a probiotic may also help with proper nutrient absorption, which is critical to rebuilding and maintaining a healthy gut. Probiotics balance the microbiome which can help fight symptoms like bloating after meals, low stomach acid, abdominal pain, and many others.
Reduce toxin exposure – this can be challenging but totally achievable if you take a systemic approach to replacing toxic products with non-toxic alternatives. The three main culprits are pesticides in the food we eat (so choose organic), chemicals in body care and skincare (so choose Veracity!), and plastic (many choices since plastic is everywhere).
Now that you know how oxidative stress works, you can successfully evict the unwelcome guest and restore domestic bliss within your gut.