What is oxidative stress

Oxidative stress in a living organism is a chemical condition in which oxidative species overcome antioxidant systems due to an imbalance between the two parts. The oxidizing species, among which the free radicals stand out, perform important functions such as the elimination of pathogenic bacteria, the regulation of arterial pressure, the transmission of signals. When free radicals are in excess, they can alter the normal functioning of vitals molecules, leading to cellular and tissue damage. If this damage it is not promptly repaired, it will facilitate the appearance or accelerate the progression of very common diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's dementia, diabetes, certain types of cancer and other pathologies.

Furthermore, an increase in free radicals promotes premature aging of the organism. Among the causes of oxidative stress are environmental pollution, incorrect diet, inadequate exercise, chronic medication intake, untreated inflammatory states, cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse.

Measuring oxidative stress

As the oxidative stress does not exhibit specific clinical manifestation it can be identified only if the clinician suspects its presence and suggest the patient to go to a laboratory and run a blood test.

Depending on the clinical situation he can suggest to request one or more Panel Carratelli test. For a comprehensive oxidative balance evaluation, it will be needed the d-ROMs Test for the evaluation of pro-oxidant status linked to one of the parameters related to the antioxidant potential (BAP Test, OXY-Adsorbent Test, -SHp Test and anti-ROMs Test).

A condition of oxidative stress will be indicated by an increase of d-ROMs values and/or a decrease of BAP Test or OXY-Adsorbent Test or -SHp Test or anti-ROMs Test values.

The results of these exams lead to an extremely accurate and reliable clinical diagnosis of oxidative stress, where the two opposite parameters (pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant) can be evaluated individually. This allows the real-time picture of the causes of oxidative stress, the increased production of free radicals or a reduced capacity of the antioxidant barrier. The antioxidant therapy monitoring can be based on solid fundamentals and not on an empiric idea.

Who should measure the oxidative stress

Panel Carratelli tests are useful as a prevention diagnostic test as they provide an indication on the general well-being of the organism. For this reason everyone should undergo an oxidative stress evaluation, even if in good health condition, as oxidative stress does not give rise to specific clinical manifestations. The tests are especially recommended if a person is:

  • exposed to pro-oxidant factors (e.g. incorrect lifestyle, pollutants in the workplace, etc..)
  • have to undergo specific treatments (e.g. dialysis, bypass, organ transplantation, pill, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc.)
  • suffer from chronic degenerative diseases (e.g. diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, etc..)

How to fight oxidative stress

The treatment of oxidative stress requires the identification of the causes and the determinative mechanisms. If there is an increased production of free radicals, it is necessary to identify the primary metabolic source responsible and try to keep it under control (e.g. to reduce inflammation, to improve tissue perfusion, to reduce the burden of toxins, etc...). On the other hand, if the antioxidant defences are reduced, we must restore them through the most appropriate antioxidant diet, regular and not excessive physical exercise, the reduction of smoking, alcohol and stress. If the antioxidant deficiency cannot be restored by nutritional interventions, it is possible that specific supplementation is required and subsequently be prescribed by the competent health professional.