What is oxidative stress anyway?

Chinese version 跳至中文版

If you’re present in the health conscious community, you’ve probably heard of the term oxidative stress. But what is it really? Are antioxidants really that important? And why does oxidative stress matter more if you live in Hong Kong?

Oxidative stress, explained.

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in our body.

Free radicals are highly reactive, unstable molecules produced by our bodies.

Sometimes these molecules are produced by normal metabolic processes like enzyme reactions – one of the ways we generate free radicals is through exercise.

But often, free radicals are the result of external factors like pollution, drinking alcohol, pesticides, or having an x-ray.

Free radicals are highly reactive because they have unpaired electrons. They seek stability by reacting with the cells in our bodies to steal their electrons, or to give one of their own away.

When free radicals react with cells, it can cause a chemical chain reaction, called oxidation – which can damage our proteins, lipids, DNA and cell membranes. This is called free radical damage.

Luckily, our bodies are clever. We produce chemicals called antioxidants, like glutathione which is produced in the liver, that contain an extra electron. These super chemicals are also known as free radical scavengers and neutralise the free radical by pairing with its lonely electron.

But, when the number of free radicals in our bodies outnumber the antioxidants we produce and consume, oxidative stress occurs.

What increases risk for oxidative stress?

Though our bodies are able to neutralise certain levels of oxidative stress, they aren’t built for the toxic load that comes with modern living.

One of the major risk factors for increased oxidative stress is the level of pollution you’re exposed to.

Though there are many things to love about Hong Kong, its level of air pollution isn’t one of them. With the WHO reporting that Hong Kong only achieves 50 safe air days per year, oxidative stress is one of the key challenges facing our population.

And this isn’t only limited to Hong Kong. A recent study stated that air pollution in outdoor and indoor spaces ‘represents the single largest environmental risk to global health.’

Besides pollution, another factor that increases oxidative stress is pesticides, chemicals and other toxins which are prevalent in our everyday lives. From cleaning products to preservatives in food, our world is full of them. Here’s 10 tips to tackle common toxins.

Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking drugs and eating a diet high in sugar, fat or processed foods can also increase your levels of oxidative stress.

Over-exercising is another culprit – so if you tend to go hard with HIIT, take this as your sign to allow space for rest days. They’re equally as important as training.

High levels of radiation exposure and obesity can also increase oxidative stress.

What does oxidative stress do to my body?

Free radicals are created by the body, and in the right context, are important for biological processes, like fighting off infection, regulating cell growth and as recent research has revealed, potentially wound healing.

But when free radicals consistently outweigh antioxidants and cause oxidative stress, this puts our bodies under unnecessary strain, impairing its ability to function effectively.

Oxidative stress affects all parts of your body: from your skin, to your heart, brain, liver and all of your organs. Your brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage because of its high oxygen consumption, low antioxidant levels and increased amount of polyunsaturated fats which are more susceptible to oxidation. [1]

Oxidative stress contributes to aging and is said to play a role in the development of many health conditions – a quick google search is enough to strike fear in the heart of anyone.

And you can also thank oxidative stress for wrinkles, grey hairs, weaker immune functions as well as issues with detox, digestion and an impaired ability to absorb nutrients.

Some symptoms of oxidative stress you might notice include:

  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems and brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Low immunity and increased number of colds/flu
  • Signs of aging like wrinkles and grey hairs

So, how can I reduce oxidative stress?

Vitamins A, C and E are powerful free radical scavengers, as are glutathione, sulforaphane and curcumin.

By mopping up free radicals, antioxidants enable all process in the body to function more efficiently. Incorporating foods rich in these nutrients into your diet, or taking a supplement to boost your levels can help give your body the boost it needs to function at its best. You can buy high quality formulas recommended by our practitioners here.

If you’re looking for a quick, instant boost, IV therapy can replenish vitamin C and glutathione levels, helping cleanse your body of toxins and enrich it with antioxidants.

There are also certain tests you can do to measure your levels of oxidative stress and resilience to it.

DNA Health tests your body for oxidative stress enzymes to see how resilient your body is to this process and the ways in which it may affect your body. They also examine your oxidation and detoxification pathways and determine your risk for developing certain chronic diseases.

Great Plains Organic Acids Test reveals oxidative stress, glutathione sufficiency, and the effects that toxins may have on your mitochondria.

If you’re unsure which tests you need, we recommend you book with a naturopath to discuss your current symptoms, concerns and health goals.

[1] Oxidative stress in diseases: from a mitochondrial point of view
[2] Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health


Chinese version 中文版






有時這些分子是正常代謝過程如酶反應的結果 – 我們產生自由基的方式之一是透過運動。



當自由基與細胞發生反應時,可能引發化學鏈反應,稱為氧化 – 從而損害我們的蛋白質、脂質、DNA和細胞膜。這就是自由基損傷。








除了污染,另一個增加氧化應激的因素是我們日常生活中常見的殺蟲劑、化學物質和其他毒素。 從清潔產品到食品中的防腐劑。


過度運動也有機會增加氧化應激水平 – 所以如果你習慣做力量訓練,要注意休息和訓練一樣重要。





氧化應激影響你全身 :從皮膚、心臟、大腦、肝臟和所有器官。大腦特別容易受到氧化損害,因為它消耗大量氧氣、抗氧化劑水平低和多不飽和脂肪 – 更易氧化。[1]



  • 疲倦
  • 記憶問題和腦霧
  • 關節痛
  • 低免疫力和感冒/流感次數增加
  • 皺紋和灰髮等衰老跡象






DNA Health 檢查你的身體是否存在氧化應激酶, 以瞭解你的身體抵抗這種過程的韌性, 以及可能影響你身體的方式。還檢查你的氧化和解毒水平, 並分析存在慢性疾病的風險。

Great Plains 有機酸測驗揭示氧化應激、穀胱甘肽的充足性以及毒素可能對粒線體的影響。


[1] Oxidative stress in diseases: from a mitochondrial point of view
[2] Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health

error: Content is protected !!
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap