This test utilizes a urine sample in order to evaluate the body’s oxidative stress status and antoxidant reserve. It can help practitioners identify underlying causes and perpetuating factors for many clinical disorders and to customize specific treatment programs.
Free Radicals & Antioxidants
In the course of normal human activity – energy production, detoxification of pollutants and immunologic defense mechanisms, free radicals are produced. These free radicals are unstable molecules that can extract an electron from a neighboring molecule, causing damage in the process. Unchecked free radical production accelerates the pathogenesis of human disease and aging. These free radicals are counter-balanced by the anti-oxidants present in our foods (and supplements).
Dietary antioxidants (such as proanthocyanidins found in blueberries and bioflavonoids found in citrus fruits), as well as the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, provide critical protection against free radical damage. Oxidative stress results when this delicate prooxidant/ antioxidant equilibrium is disrupted in favor of the pro-oxidant (free radical) state.
Evidence is accumulating that oxidative stress is involved in many pathological processes, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Macular degeneration
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Environmental sensitivity
- Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
In a chain-like reaction, free radicals can cause cellular damage by oxidizing nucleic acids, proteins, and membrane lipids. Cellular mitochondria play an important role in aging and disease by being both a significant source of radicals and a primary site of free radical damage. Antioxidants blunt the production of compounds that create inflammation in the body.
Oxidative Stress Testing
To assess equilibrium between oxidative damage and antioxidant reserve, it is necessary to address the RESERVE capacity that provides protection; the ENZYMES that quench the free radicals; and evaluate the DAMAGE that free radical production has already caused.
- A urine sample to measure free radical damage, including lipid peroxides (oxidative damage to cell membranes) and 8-hydroxy-deoxyGuanosine (oxidative damage to DNA).
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