Oxidative Stress and Health: Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Conditions


Scientists and the general public have increasingly demonstrated a keen interest in oxidative stress in humans with reliable research linking oxidative stress to a myriad of serious health complications. Such complications are those conditions affecting the brain of which Alzheimer’s is an example. Various research reports have supported this argument with studies highlighting the fact that indeed most patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions are also experiencing long-term oxidative stress1.

Furthermore, molecular biology researchers have put forward that free radicals, which are the primary catalysts of oxidative stress are also involved in the development of Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions. Therefore in as much as the specific cause of Alzheimer’s is yet to be discovered, it is important to strive to reduce oxidative stress as part of treatment for Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions. This new scientific knowledge has led to the increased need for healthier consumption with scientists warning against modern processed foods.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
The most widespread form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a condition which greatly impairs memory and thinking. The disease is progressive and degrading and occurs in the brain. Dementia is considered a syndrome as it is as a result of a variety of symptoms. These typically include a deterioration of reasoning, communication, memory and judgment, and behavioral and mood changes. Alzheimer’s disease develops slowly, affecting different areas of the brain. As it progresses, different abilities become impaired. Consequently, a person’s behavior and abilities begin to change. The person begins to lose some of his/her abilities.

There exists in every organ of the human body, a natural self-repair system. Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions develop when this natural self-repair and self-healing system in the brain becomes overwhelmed. It is this system that is responsible for maintaining the healthy state of the nerve cells. This means that oxidative stress, which is the immediate consequence of such an imbalance, is a major causal factor of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions.

While the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease develop progressively and may go discovered for a long time, there are a number of factors that if present at the same time may suggest the presence of the disease. These symptoms include language problems, difficulty with abstract reasoning, mood and behavioral changes, diminished judgment, personality adjustments, problems accomplishing well-known tasks, lack of initiative, misplacing items, poor orientation of time or surroundings, and loss of memory resulting in difficulty to undertake daily activities. Each of these symptoms occurring individually or in part, however, does not mean the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to not assume without testing as these factors may be as a result of other brain conditions.

What is Oxidative Stress?
Oxidative stress describes a situation in which the glutathione levels in the body are reduced such that an imbalance is created between the accumulation of free radicals and the production of antioxidant defenses. Oxidative stress means that the body’s ability to eliminate toxins presented by free radicals is weakened making it incapable of repairing the damage caused by these free radicals. Research has proven that short-term oxidative stress can significantly impact aging through mitohormesis. However, prolonged oxidative stress encourages increased production of these free radicals. Eventually, the accumulated free radicals in the body become too much causing the self-repair system of antioxidant defense to degrade. This causes a distortion in the workings of the cells of the body.

Oxidative Stress and Brain Disease
There exists sufficient scientific evidence of the exposure of Alzheimer’s patients’ brains’ exposure to oxidative stress as the disease progresses. Oxidative stress is presented as a shift in the balance between the body’s antioxidant defense mechanism and the rate of accumulation of free radicals in the body organs such as the brain. These two elements are considered to impact the process of age-associated neuro-degradation majorly and are largely responsible for a decline in those functions of the brain which are related to logic.

The fact that oxidative stress is a part of Alzheimer’s disease is evidenced by high amounts of oxidized proteins, peroxided lipids, and final products of advanced glycation and presence of toxic species. The nuclear and mitochondrial DNA may also be modified. Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions relating to the decline in memory are associated to a weaker system of brain and plasma antioxidants defense.

The oxidative damage suffered by patients of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions is linked to extremely high levels of Amyloid-β and the deposition of neurofibrillary tangles. Available scientific research has shown that bio metals such as zinc, iron and copper which are present in Amyloid-β play a key part in neuro degradation2.

There exists a definite correlation between accumulation of Amyloid-β and oxidative stress. According to scientific evidence, is known to stimulate an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, Amyloid-β can corrupt mitochondria and this may also further enhance the production of these reactive oxygen species (free radicals). The effects of this increased production and hence abnormal accumulation of free radicals on the brain is manifested through increased lipid peroxidation. As a consequence, the levels of Glutathione and Vitamin E in the body are diminished. Note that glutathione is the body’s primary antioxidant which is produced naturally in all organs including the brain. This evidence was observed through a study of a mouse model whereby a mouse with Alzheimer’s disease was tested. The increased formation of reactive oxygen species has been found to increase dysfunction of mitochondria and this eventually leads to apoptosis3.

The brain generally has high energy output as a result of the activities involved in its functioning. This is associated with a higher production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) which may subside the ability of the body’s antioxidant mechanism to eliminate the toxins presented by these free radicals. This enhanced accumulation of free radicals and hence oxidative stress is what impairs the cognitive functioning of the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions such as front temporal dementia, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. In treating Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions, it is therefore important to alleviate oxidative stress. However, the genetic factors stimulating oxidative stress are beyond our control. We can seek to consume foods that are considered as more healthy and maintain a generally healthy lifestyle while maintaining optimal levels of glutathione by supplementing with high quality bio-available supplements. In order to maintain optimal glutathione levels, consider supplementing with Nano Gluathione. Click the link below to receive up to 40% on your first purchase.

Staff Writer