#58: Why and How To Measure For This Cell DNA Damaging Type of Stress

#58: Why and How To Measure For This Cell DNA Damaging Type of Stress



Welcome to the Be Fab Be You Made Simple Podcast. I am your host Maria Horstmann. I am also the founder of BeFabBeYou.com. I created this podcast because it’s a way I can empower YOU to optimize your weight and health so you rediscover vitality, happiness, and lead a fulfilling life. And if you are among the super busy, stressed out and carb and sugar lovers, I understand you. I hear you loud and clear.

Shout out to you for listening, for sharing this episode with your friends, and for leaving us a review in iTunes. Your review will help the show grow and reach other awesome people like you. Thanks in advance for doing that.

During the past episodes 54, 55 , 56, and 57, I shared info about metabolic health, biomarkers of metabolic health, and how insulin and insulin resistance impact these biomarkers. I am ready to shift gears to talk about other underlining processes that not only wreak metabolism but also increase our risk factors of most chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, several cancers, respiratory diseases, and others.


Let me introduce you to oxidative stress and inflammation. In today’s episode, I will focus on oxidative stress, what it is, how you can minimize it, and how you can test for it. Next time, I will talk about inflammation, the relationship between these two processes, and more.

The topic of inflammation makes the headlines a lot more often than oxidative stress.  Both processes are super important and deserve a lot of respect because as much as they exist to defend us and heal us when in excess, both have the power to damage our cells, tissues, and organs leading to many diseases. Each process happens through different mechanisms, one can lead to the other and when that happens, there is serious chaos going on.

If only…you want to feel healthy and age beautifully, you want to make wise lifestyle choices to minimize contributing to this chaos. If only…

OK…have you seen the movie “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? There’s a scene Tom Hanks pays Meg Ryan an unsolicited and unwanted house visit. She has a nasty cold. He sits on the edge of her bed, looks into her eyes, and says “If only…” I won’t tell you more about it. This just came to my mind as I said “If only…”. I love that movie; makes me smile every time I watch it. And yes, I’ve seen it many times since it was released in 1998😊

Oh right, let me get back to today’s awesome topic of health…

The words inflammation and oxidative stress are often portrait as pure villains. That’s not the complete story and I want you to know they play an important healthy role in the body. Our immune cells use processes of inflammation and oxidative stress to protect us against bacteria, viruses, allergens, toxic chemicals, radiation, etc.

These processes are also in place to help the body heal these daily attacks. However, it’s when these natural ‘protective’ occurrences get out of equilibrium and stay that way for some time, damage inside our bodies occurs.

Now that we got that out of the way…

What role does excessive oxidative stress have in metabolic health?

Metabolic syndrome is often characterized by oxidative stress, a condition in which an imbalance results between the production and inactivation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals. Oxidative stress happens when there is excessive production of free radicals. What we want to maintain a balance between pro and anti-oxidative reactions in the body.

The more our oxidative stress load increases, the higher we are at risk of catching a chronic disease because the increase of free radicals can destroy the cell membranes, damage DNA, and ultimately block energy production. Insulin resistance increases oxidative stress.

Let me step back up for a second.

What is a free radical?

Free radicals are derived from natural physiological metabolic processes in body such as digestion of foods, metabolism of alcohol and drugs, breathing, energy production, and from inflammation from obesity, food sensitivities, insulin resistance, and more.

Free radicals are also a result of exposure to chemicals, smoking, toxins, chemicals, air pollution, and even excretion of pathogenic bacteria through diarrhea.

A free radical is a molecule in an unstable state because it is missing an electron, and to gain that stability, they want to snatch an electron or energy from molecules nearby.

This leads to the destruction of cellular structures as the molecules start stealing electrons from each other. When our cells can no longer keep up with the free radicals stealing electrons, it causes oxidative stress overload. Suckers and robbers!!!

How do we stop this craziness?

Say hello to….antioxidants—our natural savers!!!

I bet you’ve heard of antioxidants foods rich in antioxidants—most of them are bright and colorful that don’t come in a package. These foods are rich in vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene.

They stabilize a hungry free radical molecule by lending an electron. This stabilization process happens through a chemical property of the vitamin E, for example, rather than a specific nutritional property of the foods.  I know…this sounds complicated.

The bottom line is…as far as food, eat your rainbow. Help your body defense itself because each one of us is exposed to an insane amount of pro-oxidative factors.

Phew…that was a lot!!!

If for some reason you feel I dumped stress on you, rest assure I have great news for you…

First, your lifestyle choices such as nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise, supplementation, and toxins play a powerful role in keeping these oxidative stress and inflammation under control.

Second, you can measure oxidative stress and levels of cellular damage. Isn’t it amazing?

If you are asking why would you measure and want to know? Heck, let me give you a few reasons?

  • You value your health and love yourself.
  • You are committed to experiencing optimal health.
  • You have dreams, things to do, places to go, and recognize that without health and innate energy, it’ll be hard to accomplish these things with joy or even accomplish them, period.
  • You want to know where you stand so you can make changes to your lifestyle so you get results faster.
  • You are tired of the trial and error. You are tired of getting some results but still not feeling great and comfortable in your own skin.

If I have AGREED to at least ONE of these reason and you have been exposed to many of the stressors we discussed earlier, you will want to test whether elevated oxidative stress has damaged your DNA in your cell.

Without getting too technical, there are two ways we can measure cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals. One is by measuring damage to cell membranes via lipid peroxidation. The other is by measuring the damage done in the cell interior via DNA oxidation. And the latter is a simple and fairly inexpensive way I suggest and help my clients get tested to learn what’s going with their cells.

The biomarker 8-OHdG shows the cumulative cellular oxidative stress, produced by DNA oxidative damage due to a couple of more complicated reactions happening inside our bodies.

An elevated level of 8-OHdG is an opportunity for healing. This lab is not diagnostic and although you need a practitioner like me with a relationship with the laboratory, I do not treat or diagnose. Like any lab result, unless results are clinically correlated to you, they’re just numbers. When results are correlated, as a health coach, I can guide someone to use natural remedies.

If you decide to ask your doctor about it, don’t be upset if he/she is clueless and even say this type of lab is no sense. This type of screening isn’t covered by most insurance because is considered preventive and non-diagnostic. Unfortunately, most physicians often do not look that deep and treat symptoms by prescribing medications.

Personally and professionally, I am about taking full responsibility for my health. I want to know what’s going inside me as much as possible so I can take appropriate matters. I am not going to let an insurance company or someone dictate what I can or not do. Plus, I don’t want to wait until I am diagnosed with something.


If you would like more information about doing a Metabolic Wellness Profile test that includes levels of 8-OHdG and other biomarkers of liver and gut dysfunction, go to www.BeFabBeYou.com to schedule a call with me.

By the way, I wanted to tell you that I’ve done a Metabolic Wellness Profile test not long ago. I was happy to see very low levels of 8-OHdG. I am committed to keeping protecting my cells, tissues, and organs. I would love to help you do that same.

As part of my health transformation program, I will help you implement protocols based on natural therapies protocols and habits in the areas of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and supplementation to address your complaints so you feel in control of your own health and great in your own skin again.

Alright, alright, alright…That’s it for today. Stay tuned because we will chat about inflammation and a lot more.

And of course, I’d love to hear from you, your experiences, questions, and comments. Go to www.BeFabBeYou.com/podcastquestion to send me a note.

Talk to you soon! Tchat tchau.

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