What is Cellular Stress?
Cellular Stress is microscopic cell damage. You may not feel the effects of cellular stress until
it’s too late. Cellular stress is the microscopic damage to our cells caused by free radicals that
disrupt normal function. Researchers have associated cellular stress with potentially negative
effects in the human body.
Cellular stress is inevitable, and it arises from rogue, unstable molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals have an unsatisfied electron pair, and they roam the body in search of other
compounds and molecules from which they can capture electrons in order to become stable.
When free radicals steal electrons from other molecules, the attacked molecule itself becomes a
free radical, starting a chain reaction that can damage cells, proteins and DNA.
Sometimes, the body deliberately makes free radicals in order to neutralize viruses and
bacteria. But often, they are inadvertently created through external sources such as oxygen,
cigarette smoke, pollution and radiation. Physical activity or exercise, eating and even breathing
can produce free radicals. No matter where they come from, free radicals violently collide with
functioning cells and can damage them to the point they no longer work. Cellular stress has
been the subject of tens of thousands of research studies and papers. It has also been linked to
hundreds of health conditions.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to completely stop the production of these. The good
news is the body is equipped with antioxidants to detoxify them. SOD and another enzyme
called catalase, along with glutathione, are deployed to eliminate free radicals, and they do so
very successfully. However, as we age, the body produces fewer of these antioxidants and more
free radicals. The results of this imbalance can be severe. When free radicals overwhelm the
underproduction of antioxidant enzymes, oxidative stress occurs.
What does Cellular Stress do?
Too many damaging free radicals — or too few protective antioxidants — can wreak havoc on
cell membranes, mitochondria, and DNA, leading to tissue damage and a wide range of chronic
diseases, including cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. For more than
50 years, scientists have known the aging process to be linked to highly reactive oxygen
molecules produced during normal metabolism. These oxygen molecules, often called “free
radicals” or “reactive oxygen species” (ROS), can react with and cause damage to cellular
structures throughout the body. Particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage are cell membranes,
DNA (genetic material), and mitochondria (where cells generate energy)—and damage to these
vital areas often means that cells cannot function properly.
Cellular stress can cause you to age faster than you would normally. This is apparent in your
skin, cellular stress can cause more wrinkles, causes irritation, inflammation, and redness in
your skin, and can lead to skin cancer. In the body, cellular stress is linked to cardiovascular
disease, alzheimers, cancer and other life threatening diseases.
What is Nrf2?
At the very center of our cellular protective pathway is a protein called “Nrf2” that serves as a
“master regulator” of the body’s antioxidant response. You might think of Nrf2 as a “thermostat”
within our cells that senses the level of oxidative stress and other stressors and turns on internal
Soon after Nrf2 was identified, a flurry of scientific discoveries began to show how Nrf2 also
regulated genes involved in the production of a wide range of antioxidant enzymes (including
SOD, glutathione, and catalase), and detoxification or ‘‘stress-response’’ genes. These
protective pathways are involved in seemingly unrelated areas of health from immune function
to tissue optimization to cognitive function – but they all share in common the Nrf2 “switch” that
enables cells to protect themselves from both internal and external environmental challenges. In
effect, Nrf2 activation enables our cells to make their own “medicines” to help us survive – and
thrive – in stressful situations.
If you would like more information about Nrf2 contact me.
Instant Pot Shrimp Boil Recipe
- 1 1/2 pound baby red potatoes
- 1 package (1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds) smoked Andouille
sausage cut into 2 inch chucks
- 3 ears corn halved
- 1 and 1/2 pounds medium Shrimp (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 16 ounces of water or Beer
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 lemon to squeeze juice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Place potatoes, corn, sausage and Old Bay seasoning into a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot. Top with water or Beer.
- Select manual setting to 5 minutes. When finished cooking, quick release pressure.
- Add Shrimp (place lid on Instant Pot) turn Instant Pot to sauté for 3 minutes or until Shrimp is cooked.
- Add butter, let melt. Squeeze lemon over all ingredients.
- Serve immediately, add more butter, hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning and fresh chopped parsley if desired.