Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals: The Silent Killers

Did you know that there were two types of inflammation, acute and chronic?

Acute inflammation is where you have an injury to an area and it inflames, you have tissue damage. Chronic inflammation is a state where your body is at or above inflammatory threshold. It is a systemic thing, whole body. When you get a person who is in a high inflammatory state and an acute inflammatory episode occurs it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. I would argue that that is the thing we have the least control over is that inflammatory state. People in a heightened inflammatory state will have a bigger reaction of pain and it will linger longer.”

“What are causes of the chronic inflammatory state?”

  • Genetics – “yes but it is a factor that we cannot control”
  • Disease – “yes, but we also have a chicken and egg situation there”
  • Habits
  • Diet
  • Drugs
  • Environmental – air, water
  • Occupational
  • Emotional – stress and cortisol
  • Bio toxins – yeasts, molds and fungus
  • Sleep
  • Lifestyle choices – smoking, obesity, sun stress, alcohol, dining out

“Are we in agreement that all these things lead to inflammation. Does anyone know how or why physiologically?”

“The toxins that are body is introduced to on a daily basis create free radicals and oxidative stress which results in inflammation. Chronic inflammation is becoming known as the “silent killer” or the “silent epidemic”. It is linked with most all disease states. The body defends against free radicals by its antioxidant network.”

“How can we effect the toxic assault on the body. We have one Education, but education of what?”

Any one have a clue?

Here is a hint: “Antioxidants battle chronic inflammation.”

Still got nothing?

What about Nutrition?

For all intents and purposes this is the only way we have to battle chronic inflammation and it is something that has been missing from my practice.

There’s a key problem with nutrition. People turn a blind eye and deaf ear to it. We all know that most of America is overweight, but nobody is willing to listen let alone act on it.

It takes 8-12 serving of fruits and vegetables per DAY to get to the level of antioxidants that the body needs to defend against toxic overload.

Who is going to be willing to do that in our society. There are too many factors working against it.

  1. TIME – best way to get that many Fruits and vegetables is to juice and to do that the best time is first thing in the am. Now you have to get up a half hour earlier.
  2. Cost – has to be organic. Industrial fruits and vegetables are not only devoid of antioxidants, but are laden with chemicals that will increase the toxic load.
  3. Lifestyle – lifestyle changes are arguably the hardest habit change for a human to make.
  4. Palate changes. Let me try to pry you away from your salty, sweet and bitter obsessions. Retraining movement habits is one thing, but retraining taste is another. It is something that brings people so much comfort and pleasure.


Nevertheless, our mission at AID Performance Physical Therapy is to ‘empower people to make better health and wellness decisions’.

How are we going to do this for you?

We are going to take a functional medicine approach to this problem. That has several components: one decrease the toxic load on the body, two decrease the inflammation and lastly feed the body what it needs to thrive.

This problem is not going to go away, in fact it will get worse and worse as the toxins increase around us and the food supply gets worse. It is our belief that we are going to be dealing with people who are more in an inflammatory state than ever before. This is something we need to get a handle on to help you, my friends, achieve health and wellness.

How are we going to do this you might be asking? We suggest that you decrease the toxic load and improve dietary choices. The hope is that you will do little bits that will make a difference to bring yourself down below threshold. Every little bit is going to help. The problem is that most of you need a control alt delete, you know a reboot.

Stayed tuned for my health and wellness tips…this conversation is not over.

If you have any immediate questions regarding the content of this blog, if you think this applies to you or you are looking to get a head start on the traditional New Year’s Resolutions give me a call at 703-723-6758.

Andrew Dombek, PT, MSPT, CMTPT, CGFI

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