“Oxidative stress” is mainly caused by sugars, proteins and fats being ‘burnt’ in cells, and this burning of ‘fuel’ releases energy that powers our muscles and keeps us alive, so it’s pretty essential for us! However the general scientific belief is that damage to cells (and the DNA in them) from this oxidation process is the principal cause of aging, and one of the few proven ways to lengthen life is to greatly restrict calorie intake as burning fewer calories reduces the amount of oxidation (damage) the body is exposed to. Oxidative stress doesn’t just speed up the aging process, it can also be a challenge to fertility and is particularly a problem wheni:
- There are many ‘free radicals’ or other types of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which damage cells
- The body’s ability to repair the damage they cause is reduced
Healthy bodies have a relative balance between
iRole of oxidative stress in female reproduction. Agarwal A, Gupta S, Sharma RK. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005 Jul 14;3:28.
iiOxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Ames BN, Shigenaga MK, Hagen TM. (1993) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 90(17):7915-7922. Review. PMID 8367443
iiiDNA oxidation matters: the HPLC-electrochemical detection assay of 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine and 8-oxo-guanine. Helbock HJ, et al. (1998) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 95(1): 288-293. PMID 9419368
ivModulation of renal xanthine oxidoreductase in aging: gene expression and reactive oxygen species generation. Chung HY, et al. The Journal Of Nutrition, Health & Aging. 1999;3(1):19-23.
vImpairment of BRCA1-related DNA double-strand break repair leads to ovarian aging in mice and humans. Titus S, et al. (2013). Sci Transl Med 5(172):172ra21. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004925. PMID: 23408054
viThe ageing ovary and uterus: new biological insights S.M. Nelson et al. Hum. Reprod. Update (January/February 2013) 19 (1): 67-83.
viiTotal anti-oxidant status: a biochemical predictor of human male fertility A. L. Adeel et al. AndrologiaVolume 44, Issue Supplement s1, pages 20–25, May 2012. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2010.01131.
viii Analysis of follicular fluid and serum markers of oxidative stress in women with infertility related to endometriosisLaura Prieto, et al. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 98, Issue 1, July 2012, Pages 126–130
ixProlonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids Deepika Nehra, et al. Aging Cell Volume 11, Issue 6, pages 1046–1054, December 2012
xMeasuring the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine in improving female fertility. Wing T, Sedlmeier E. J Chin Med 2006;80:26—32.