When threatened, the tissues of your body respond with inflammation in order to maintain stability and permit healing. Bio-chemicals in your white blood cells increase the blood flow to the area of injury or infection causing redness, warmth, and swelling. That’s why you have a fever when sick, why your finger swells if you don’t remove a splinter promptly, or why your eyes get red and itchy when the air isn’t clean.
This is a normal process … but, and it’s a big but, when inflammation is chronic, existing all of the time, the natural inflammatory response starts to damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. The consequences are wide-reaching, including DNA damage, and cell death. Chronic inflammation is implicated in the development of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, cognitive decline, obesity, as well as eye diseases and conditions.
Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
When the body is exposed to intrusion of toxins, foreign materials, pollutants, UV radiation, or a host of other infiltrators, various components of the cell oxidize. Oxidation causes stress and this phenomenon is called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress also occurs in response to emotional or physical trauma.1
The body’s natural response to oxidative stress is to activate the immune system, resulting in inflammation. So, the roles of inflammation and oxidative stress are intertwined. Oxidative stress and inflammation can induce each other; sometimes oxidative stress causes inflammation; sometimes inflammation causes oxidative stress.2 The body protects against excessive oxidative stress caused by free radicals (pro-oxidants), by means of antioxidants.
Antioxidants Fight Oxidative Stress
Antioxidants in our diet and supplemental nutritional support provide ingredients for fighting excess inflammation and oxidative stress. These include enzymes, phytonutrients (lycopene9 lutein,10 and astaxanthin11), and vitamin and vitamin-like compounds.
Other nutrients and spices that help reduce inflammation include omega-3 fatty acids12 (such as fish oil), holy basil, turmeric (curcumin), ginger, MSM, CBD oil, cayenne pepper, cloves, rosemary, sage, black pepper, green tea, and spirulina. A well-balanced diet, combined with good eating habits, promotes the best possible absorption of nutrients. The Vision Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet. It is based upon the Mediterranean diet and is an alkalizing diet. Moderate daily exercise not only supports our muscular system and physical strength, but it supports every system of the body, including the visual system, circulation, respiration, digestion, the immune system, brain functioning, and hormonal balance. Managing stress and anxiety are also important, as these have been found to contribute to chronic inflammation. Lifestyle habits are important; for example, it can make a significant difference if you stop smoking and wear ultraviolet-blocking sunglasses.
Note that inflammation and oxidative stress can be major contributing factors or even causes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases along with other types of dementia related diseases, and discussed further in Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases Naturally