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Oxidative Stress Leading to Inflammation

Oxidative Stress Leading to Inflammation

Oxidative stress leading to Inflammation, next stop, disease.

Going bigger, is not necessarily better.

Many of us have the very best intentions with our health. We try to eat right, exercise, take supplements,  make choices we deem to be healthy. However, we frequently think more is better:  more restrictive with our food choices,  more intense workouts, more supplements. Let’s all examine our choices from the perspective of inflammation. First a background to

Genetics vs. Epigenetics 

Genetics: The genes within our DNA we get from Mamma and Papa. These do not change.

Enter a BIG However:

Oxidative stress leading to inflammationEpigenetics: Tags on our DNA – which dramatically influences the way our DNA function, for better or for worse. This is where lifestyle exposures affect our gene expression, our health. This explains why identical twins, born with the same genetic material, can age very differently, based on their environment and lifestyle. 

Our epigenome comprises all of the tags (epigenetic changes)  that have been added to our genome regulating the expression of the genes within our genome. 

Epigenetic modifications remain as cells divide and can be inherited through the generations

Point to ponder…The role of epigenetics in our evolution as a species?

Epigenetics influences which genes are switched-on, or expressed, passing on the way the genes are used. 

Lifestyle can modify epigenetics;  diet, obesity, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental pollutants, EMF, psychological stress, shift work, chemicals in diet……

Let’s look at the BRCA genes. These genes, associated with breast and other cancers, are genes that produce a tumor suppressing protein. This protein protects the cell by repairing any damages to the DNA. When there is a mutation in the BRCA genes, this protein does not function properly. The cell is now more susceptible to alterations that may lead to cancer. Epigenetics is a strong determinant over the development of cancer. The good news here: Epigenetic modifications are a central focus in researching  prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. “Epi-drugs” are now be researched. 

Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress has been my field of research for 30 years. Shortly after I got into fitness, I was intrigued on why exercise and nutrition influence our health so greatly. I knew it wasn’t just in the size jeans we wear, but in our genes. I have been blessed to work with a number of researchers over the years in the field of oxidative stress and the development of disease. Many years ago I evolved my fitness business into medical fitness and encompassed lifestyle habits to lower oxidative stress leading to inflammation. 

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Simply summarized, oxidative stress is electron thievery. Electrons are stable when coupled. oxidative stress leading to inflammationSingle electrons, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can couple. Really is a wicked dating scene inside our cells!  The electron thievery causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Oxidative stress happens when our redox state, is tipped with free radicals outnumbering available antioxidants. 

Learn more on Pubmed about oxidative stress leading to inflammation and disease.

Sources of Oxidative Stress (OS): 

OS has both endogenous (from within) and exogenous (from our world) sources.

Endogenous: Cellular metabolism. Now start thinking carefully here for the rest of the article. Energy production happens in the mitochondria of our cells. Our currency or energy is ATP. OS is a natural by-product of ATP. ……When do we produce more ATP?

The body’s natural immune response can also trigger oxidative stress temporarily.


Exogenous: No coincidence, the same list we have above for lifestyle influences on epigenetics. 

Long-term oxidative stress damages the body’s cells, proteins, and DNA. OS strongly  contributes to aging and is accepted to be at the root of many of our chronic conditions including diabetes, cancers, heart and vascular disease, depression, neurodegenerative disease,  arthritis, Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance, IBD……More and more of our chronic issues are being linked to oxidative stress as it can lead to chronic inflammation. 

Inflammation – Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s means of fighting against invaders, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, to self repair. Chronic inflammation puts the body in a constant state of alert.

Inflammation triggered by oxidative stress is the cause of many chronic diseases, as summarized above. 

CRP is an inflammatory marker. It is valued as the most clinically useful and the best marker of inflammation and is respected as a valuable tool in the prediction of cardiovascular risk.

Chronic Diseases continues to be on the Rise

Our bodies inner antioxidant system was not designed “back in the day” to manage our current barrage of OS fire from our environment and lifestyle choices. We evolved with an inner antioxidant system to manage our endogenous OS, which weakens with age and exhaustion!

According to the WHO, chronic disease is on the rise worldwide. An aging population, obesity-induced oxidative stress and changes in our environment and our lifestyle choices are contributing to this steady increase.

Digging Deeper…..We talk about obesity being an issue in disease. At the cellular level, adipocytes produce ROS. But we have a chicken or the egg issue. There are many researchers suggesting that oxidative stress causes obesity……the plot thickens……

Suffice it to say, controlling oxidative stress is paramount to a “healthy lifestyle.”  What we need to do, is discover the many hidden cause of oxidative stress and extinguish the fires of chronic inflammation, best we can. 

NRF2 Activation  to lower oxidative stress

Oxidative stress leading to inflammation,  perhaps the most unknown cause of chronic illness outside the research world. Yes, many people know to eat their rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Fabulous!  How many people know about the NRF2 pathway inside the body?  The NRF2 pathway produces our own homegrown antioxidants, which lower oxidative stress at a 1,000,000:1 ratio relative to eating antioxidants. Taking antioxidant supplements  can have dangerous side effects. We are far safer to activate our NRF2 pathway.

Contact me to take our oxidative stress assessment, and learn how to activate your NRF2 pathway.

“Nrf2 may well become the most extraordinary therapeutic and most extraordinary preventative breakthrough in the history of medicine.” Washington State University


Healthy Lifestyle?

Exercise: This section is difficult, but needs to be discussed.  I am NOT the Grinch that maligned exercise.  I am a major exercise and physical activity enthusiast. The gym is my play ground, I have a gym in my home, and yes, we do not need a gym to get exercise, the world is our gym. Especially in the current times of social distancing, we can get physical activity in a number of fun, invigorating ways. 

Bottom line:

Bottom line: Too much exercise in terms of intensity and duration is proven to increase oxidative stress. Yes, exercise and physical activity are a necessity for every aspect of health. Exercise has been proven to lower oxidative stress, cardio vascular risk, but the mechanisms of this are still being studied. 

  • It has been proven that starting “on an exercise program”, then quitting abruptly increases OS. Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Diet plus exercise is far more effective in lowering OS, than exercise alone. 
  • Exercise has better control on lowering oxidative stress in people who have higher levels of CRP (inflammatory marker). 
  • Exhaustive and prolonged exercise promotes the generation of ROS, depletion of antioxidants and vitamins,  induces oxidative stress, renal impairment and inflammation.
  • Prolonged aerobic exercise is linked to dramatic increases in oxidative stress
  • Less studied thus far, intense hypertrophy training (heavy weight lifting) has been shown to increase oxidative stress….
  • Muscle mass is imperative for healthy aging, balanced training is key.  

More exercise in terms of duration and intensity could lose the beneficial effects of exercise. It is very important for those engaging in stressful exercise to support their antioxidant supply to combat OS. 


Pedantic Diets: 

There are many examples here.

Our body needs  a variety of amino acids to function efficiently. Bioavailability of these amino acids varies amongst food sources.

There are a number of benefits to particularly picked on foods such as dairy and red meat. We need to feed out bodies the nutrients, amino acids it needs.   Let’s look at some research on a few popular diets. 

  • Keto diet: Ketogenic diets have shown to increase inflammatory markers.
  • Paleo diet: can be good in some respects by eliminating sugar, alcohol, but if not done carefully Paleo-ers have been shown to be deficient in fiber and certain minerals and vitamins which is hurtful to gut health, and yes pro inflammatory.
  • Vegan diets: Again, proceed with intense caution. Vegan diets tend to be very carb heavy. Our grains are not what they used to be. Genetic modification and toxins abound, and our soil is not what it used to be as a source of minerals.  Very sorry: The digestibility and bioavailability of protein in plant foods is inferior to meat, fish and dairy products.  What no omega 3s in fish????
  • A 2018 study showed that long term diets excessively low, or high in carbohydrates are both linked with a shorter lifespan.
  • Orthorexia: Very few orthorexic people will admit to this disorder. Orthorexia is the obsessive fixation on healthy food and healthy eating, excessive exercise.  People with orthorexia are often on a restrictive diet. There are many chronic conditions associated with orthorexia, yes, including being pro inflammatory. 

There is NO utopian diet.   Our diet, exercise & lifestyle choices need to be reassessed and evolve as we age.  Examine lifestyle decisions from the perspective of inflammation. The scale, a ripped physique, skinny jeans  are not the omnipotent indicator of health.  We need to examine what we are identifying as our markers of health.  Maybe our good intentions  are weakening our inner defences. Be healthy and balanced. Balance is strength!

 Book a consult, provide employees with our OS assessment!

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack, BSc, Corporate Wellness Specialist, Chronic Care recovery, medical exercise, holistic nutrition, addiction recovery

Shira Litwack

Shira has been in chronic care management and prevention for 30 years, specializing in lifestyle habits including holistic nutrition, medical fitness and oxidative stress reduction. She is frequently called upon by the media, has her own podcast bringing current research to the public. 

She has created and provided oxidative stress assessments, to help clients identify potential health risks. From these, she designs appropriate exercise and physical activity protocols, nutrition ideas for lowering inflammation and to fall in love with fitness. 

Articles featured in:  Corporate Wellness Association, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio


Brain Training – Multitasking Brain Brawn & Health

Brain Training

Brain training while exercising…..Multitasking that is proven to build  mental muscle and physical health.

Think you are too busy with work , no time to exercise, too tired and no energy to exercise?

brain training best in corporate healthThink again. Let’s look at how achieving our health goals is brain training. We already know its a life saver. And if we have no life….then I guess time is an irrelevant variable.

No Gym required…..brain training can be performed anywhere.

Brain training requires  the neurons in the brain to:

  • Form new neurons – neurogenesis
  • Change and reorganize continuously to meet the dynamic demands of the internal and external environment is termed neuronal plasticity, or neuroplasticity.

We have hundreds of studies and meta-analyses that demonstrate a direct support of cognitive strength with physical activity….faster speed of processing, better memory and executive function. For years I have known I do my best thinking while exercising. Those who know me – know my expression “Let me cardio on it”

Focusing on Neurological Training and Physical Activity While Working out.

Those who strength train know these key factors in muscle hypertrophy. The great news is time to exercise is also time for building brain brawn.

Ingredients to  brain training, Neuroplasticity and Muscle strengthening:



•Timing (Coordination)




Neuroplastic training is accomplished working the brain and the muscles at the same time. 

This is where workstations are so valuable. I have an indoor bike with a workstation. Using my workstation I accomplish:

  • time to exercise…even on top of gym time
  • build my knee strength…motion is lotion
  • get a cardio respiratory workout – deep oxygenation
  • Get my work done
  • nurture my neurons by causing left brain, right brain, multiple areas of my brain to play nicely together.
  • Feel seriously great and productive, feel energized – what a reward

Many years ago I had the privilege of meeting a world renowned surgeon from NIH. We shared a good laugh discovering we were both on the gym floor at the same time bright and early every morning. His words will always emanate with me…”I would not think of doing surgery without my morning workout…”

Muscle and Blood glucose control.

None of us are above diabetes. We are all possible candidates. If we all knew how vital our muscle mass is in blood sugar control and diabetes prevention – I am sure more of us would make time to exercise.


The brain of depressed people processes data much slower. Our research institutions agree

the correct exercise, is a vital component to the control of depression. Depression can hamper our memory.

The correct exercise can help reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can destroy brain cells.

Physical activity is vital to circulation as we all know for heart health – but it is also vital to brain circulation…..hydration, bringing glucose to the frontal lobe, hormonal synthesis……

Refer to “Healthy Heart Practices also Benefit the Brain” Alzheimer’s & Physical Wellness.

This is just a teaser. There is vast, fascinating research on brain training, exercise and neuroplasticity. When hiring a health coach, fitness professional – make sure they are well versed in exercising body and brain simultaneously to maximize workout time, and the many benefits of exercise. You will never say no time for exercise again.

Multitasking Brain and body health optimizing employee health and productivity …….live, interactive webinars.

Interactive corporate health programs…what a wonderful way to affordably  make the world a happier, healthier place. Ask us about our digital health platform and our wearable technology program – where wellness programs are included!

Informative  ➪ Informalive


Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack – The Corporate Happy Place medical fitness professional, Corporate Wellness Specialist, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist, Addiction Recovery


Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 15 years:

Articles featured in:  European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio

Employee Engagement-Effects of Alcohol

Employee Engagement – The Role of Oxidative Stress ?

Institute for Employment Studies report quantified employee engagement: Organizations increasing engagement investment by just 10% can increase profits by approximately US $2,100 per employee, per year.

With all of the possible best efforts by an organization to create a culture of employee engagement, health and wellness, it can easily be sabotaged by the effects of …….oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is rarely addressed, and if it is usually only once again by addressing the outer being. Truth is, this can sometimes create more oxidative stress on the body.

Employee Engagement Effects of Alcohol employee wellness Best In Corporate HealthChronic inflammation is a wildfire raging in the body. The blood vessels and internal organs and systems are affected. This inflammatory process leads to free radical damage and oxidative stress and is a culprit in aging, mental focus, depression & all of our chronic diseases. Our focus must be on addressing the cellular level of health.

There are hundreds of oxidative stressors attacking the body each day. What we need to do is to implement a plan to reduce exposure to the stressors, and strengthen the body to protect itself from bombardment.

Oxidative stressors weaken both physiological and psychological function in a number of ways, and are accepted as the root of chronic disease and ultimately longevity.

A thorough health & wellness program is one that helps employees over time with realistic

Corporate wellness programs from the cell with Best In Corporate Health
Employee wellness programs usually focus on the outer 2 layers. Inflammation and oxidative stress attacks the Cell-Being

implementation and integration of healthier lifestyle strategies. In a fast placed workplace environment combined with the challenges of balancing family, stress, anxiety and mood disturbances are the norm. Facts are not enough – in fact feeding a list of facts, “shoulds” and “should-nots” is irritating. Unfortunately, people frequently turn to the immediate “fixes” such as alcohol, poor food choices, sedentary activities which increase the oxidative load on the body… leading to more stress….more fixes…….the path of addiction. The insidious part, people rarely see this cycle, until they the body has been weakened by an illness.

Some of the more common oxidative stressors, that we can control include:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • UV
  • Certain medications
  • certain food choices
  • lack of exercise/the wrong exercise/
  • chemical exposure
  • pollutants

This is a very general list. Oxidative stress is not simple and straight forward, and of course will affect different people based on their own body’s ability to neutralize.

Consider alcohol: According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism & National Survey on Drug Use and Health 52.7% of the population fall in the range of moderate drinking+.

A recently released study (Society for the study of Addiction) Finally has labelled alcohol as a “cause” of cancer, not just a “link”. The myth of drinking “a glass of wine a day for health” has been proven to be incorrect. Alcohol and cancer is finally accepted as fact. The meta analysis was carried out in New Zealand and published in the Journal of Addiction. Alcohol-induced oxidative stress, happens with a single drink, and sobriety is no indicator of damage.

However, we are not helpless, there are a number of ways we can lower our overall, cumulative oxidative stress load.

Health & wellness programs need to reach far beyond the preaching of eating healthy and exercising. Helping each individual person identify oxidative stressors in their life is the missing link, even in those who have the very best intentions following the healthiest of lifestyles….

Creating a positive, motivating workplace environment is of course a part of employee engagement. However, the ability of an employee to “engage” is within that individual person.

Employee engagement = Corporate Culture + Employee culture (aka cell health)


Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack: BSc Psychology & Chemistry, medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , holistic nutritionist, medical exercise specialist

Shira Litwack calls herself the “CHE – Chief Health Enthusiast” of Best in Corporate Health. Shira has assembled over  30 health and fitness professionals to bring you unique corporate wellness programs designed around your employees. No more one size fits none corporate health programs, no long guilt lists of shoulds and should nots – fun, engaging programs where “installation” is an integral part of all programs. The health coaches cover a wide range of specialties from nutrition, exercise, balancing lifestyle, family harmony, addiction recovery, disease prevention and recovery…..contact us to plan your corporate wellness solutions

     Webinars         Speaking         Retreats              Health Coaching

Remember, BICH processes include partners at no extra charge and are measurable!

Shira has been interviewed on: City TV, CTV, National Public Radio, Sirius XM Dr. Rehab Dr. Jonathan Whiteson & The Sports Medicine Show, Living Cancer Free, Web Talk Radio, Voice America, Obesity Control Center, Investment Executive.

Employee wellness Best In Corporate HealthArticles Featured In: FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) Willow, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Medical Fitness Network, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer