Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) -- unstable and highly reactive molecules also known as free radicals -- and antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that stop harmful free radicals from damaging cells and are part of the body's natural defenses. Low levels of antioxidants give ROS free rein to wreak havoc to cell components, resulting in inflammation that could become chronic. Chronic inflammation is a common factor in many diseases, including cancer.
For their study, the researchers compared the antioxidant properties of the water (LGSW) and ethanol (LGSE) extracts of L. glauca by determining the compounds responsible for their antioxidant activities. They also assessed the antioxidant properties of both extracts using 2,2?-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays.
The researchers reported that both LGSW and LGSE strongly inhibited lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation refers to oxidative damage caused by free radicals that affects cell membranes, lipoproteins and other lipid-containing molecules in conditions with oxidative stress. Compared with LGSW, LGSE increased the viability of Chang cells (liver cell line) and decreased intracellular ROS levels after treatment with tert-butyl hydroperoxide to induce oxidative stress. LGSE also increased the activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, by increasing their expression in a zebrafish model of oxidative stress.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the ethanol extract of L. glauca can protect cells against oxidative stress, thanks to its antioxidant polyphenol and flavonoid content.
Although cells naturally produce free radicals as part of normal metabolic processes, they also produce antioxidants to counter these harmful molecules and maintain balance. However, several factors could trigger an imbalance in their production, such as poor diet and lifestyle choices, as well as environmental factors like pollution and UV radiation. Smoking, alcohol consumption and certain medications also increase your risk of chronic oxidative stress. (Related: Have you tested your levels of oxidative stress and anti-oxidant biomarkers?)
Fortunately, there are natural ways to help your body reduce or prevent oxidative stress and associated diseases. Here are some lifestyle and dietary measures for you to follow: (h/t to MedicalNewsToday.com)
Oxidative stress has serious health consequences, but it is preventable. To maintain good health and reduce your risk of developing diseases, maintain a healthy body weight, exercise regularly and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.