In the last post, we established that oxidative stress occurs when there is inappropriate activation of the immune system as in multiple sclerosis. This oxidative stress can be just as damaging as the disease process itself. In this post, I'd like to focus on a broad counter-measure to the hazards of oxidative stress. A flippant, generic response may simply be, "increase ingestion of antioxidants and take a good broad-spectrum antioxidant supplement."
But in order to approach our therapy with "eyes wide open," we need to consider oxidative stress in a broader sense, not just in multiple sclerosis patients.
1. Hyperglycemia induces oxidative stress. Life Sci 2010 Aug 14;87(7-8):197-214
2. Pollution causes oxidative stress. Biomarkers 2010 Sep;15(6):538-45.
3. Smoking causes oxidative stress. Biomarkers 2009 Jul;14 Suppl 1:90-6
4. Trans fats (cookies, cakes and pies )cause oxidative stress. Lipids 2007 Sep; 429):787-99.
5. Chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress. World J Gastroenterol 2010 Dec 28;16(48):6035-43
The list goes on and on and on. The point is; if you are a human being, you are subject to many triggers that promote oxidative stress. This is true whether you are a man or woman, adult or child, with MS or without MS. While we have built in antioxidant systems, they require the intake of healthy foods.
If you have MS, not only do you have an immune disorder that promotes oxidative stress, you also live in a world that promotes oxidative stress. You are subject to a "double whammy." What this means, if we are being honest, is that while other people may choose to eat junk food or enjoy other vices "in moderation", you are not "other people." Those "other people" eating junk food "in moderation" are very likely to suffer other ill health consequences. The health statistics in the United States seem to bear that fact out.
I strongly encourage you to be absolutely disciplined in your diet. The amount of fresh vegetables you consume should make other people think you are weird. Your avoidance of junk foods and other vices should make others think you are weird. Multiple sclerosis is a dramatic disease and its successful management requires dramatic actions. A salad a day is not enough; you must be extreme.
Imagine a raging forest fire destroying acres of beautiful land. Then imagine a group of campers 2 miles away gathering wood to start a campfire. What if they argued, "Don't worry. The fire is going the other way. Things are OK on this side of the forest." It's absurd isn't it? Your immune system is that raging fire. Don't tempt it by adding fuel to the flames.