Antioxidants To The Resuce
Mycotoxins Cause Oxidative Stress
Mycotoxins have been implicated in causing damage through creation of oxidative stress from induction of reaction oxygen species by the toxins. Some of the mycotoxins shown to have negative health effects caused by oxidative damage are patulin, fusarochromanone, ochratoxin A, aflatoxin B1, deoxynivalenol, nivalenol, fumonisin B1, and zearalenone.
Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Are Normal In Bodies
In aerobic organisms, oxidative activity is normal, and produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) (we also produce reactive nitrogen species) which are a part of the bodies homeostasis (Covarrubias, 2008). Reactive oxygen species are kept in check by the activity of antioxidants and if not ROS are known to cause damage to the DNA, proteins, and lipids (Gulam and Ahsan, 2006). Some ROS are produced in the body through normal body processes, while others are derived from outside of the body such as those formed by ionizing radiation or mycotoxins.
How The Body Makes ROS
Some of the bodily processes that create ROS are the mitochondrial activity, cytochrome P450 metabolism, peroxisomes, and inflammatory cell activation (Inoue et al., 2003). The mitochondria-produced ROS are the superoxide anion (O•−2), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and the hydroxyl radical (⋅OH). It is normal for cells to have a balance between ROS production and antioxidant defense activity.
Excess ROS Are Unhealthy
An excess of ROS directly modifies or degenerates cellular macromolecules, causing lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and DNA damage.
The Nervous System: Redox regulation is now recognized as an important factor in acute and chronic neural dysfunction. In neural tissues, excess ROS can ultimately lead to brain injury. In neurodegenerative diseases, the increased ROS leads to neuronal dysfunction. In the early events of Alzehimers's Disease, ROS are related to Aβ-induced nerve injury, as well as the abnormal phosphorylation of tau proteins. Accumulation of ROS exacerbates dopaminergic neuronal death in the substantia nigra of PD patients. In neuronal excitotoxicity, stroke, and neurodegenerative disease, increased extracellular glutamate levels bring about calcium overload, as well as mitochondrial dysfunction. Many of the mycotoxins studied have been shown to cause accumulation of ROS and indeed many mycotoxins affect the nervous system. Here are some of the neurologic signs and symptoms seen with mold illness.
- Dizziness or Light headed
- Mental confusion
- Poor concentration
- Poor short term memory
- Forget what you are doing
- Can't remember names or words
- Poor word recall
- Brain Fog
- Decreased learning ability
- Real thirsty
- Low blood pressure
- Poor temp regulation
- Numbness, Tingling
- Vibrations or buzzings in one place or mobile
- Static electricity zaps more than other people
- Parkinson's like symptoms
- Mood swings
- Body temperature regulation issues
- Difficult concentration
- Lack of sex drive
- POTs or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is seen in some people.
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis is an antioxidant herb that specifically enhances gluathione antioxidant response which is very helpful in mycotoxin illness as well as many other toxins. Neuroinflammation has been proven to contribute to the etiology of hypoxia-ischemia neural injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Neural dysfunction shares common molecular mechanisms that include inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and endoplasmic reticulum stress. All issues with mold illness. Schisandra and its constituents have been shown to have a neuroprotective effect on nerual dysfunction by alleviating inflammation.
How The Body Protects Against ROS Damage
The antioxidant mechanisms that regulate the ROS levels, are based on enzyme and non-enzyme systems. Enzyme systems rely mainly on super oxide dismutase, catalase, peroxiredoxin, thioredoxins, and glutathione S-transferase , while non-enzymatic systems would include many dietary compounds as well as body made substances such as carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and melatonin (Rahman, 2007, Smilin Bell Aseervatham et al., 2013). Primary enzymatic antioxidants are supreoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione preoxidase.
Cause Of Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is created wthen there are more ROS's than there are antioxidants. Oxidative stress causes a wide number of diseases, including obesity, atherosclerosis, heart failure, uremic cardiomyopathy, kidney pathologies, hypertension, neurological disease, and cancer. Antioxidants need co-factors, that activate enzymes by binding to their catalytic sites to be able to work. In case of antioxidant enzymes, these co-factors may include the following:
- Coenzyme Q10
- B vitamins
- Transition metals Cu, Mn, Fe, and Zn (Khalid, 2007).
Some aluminosilicate clays have also been associated with antioxidative effects. I mention this as they are also useful in binding some toxins such as aflatoxins (varying degrees bind to other mycotoxins) and heavy metals.
Many herbs used to decrease the inflammation of mold related illness are antioxidants. In fact most of them. A few of my favorites include, but are not limited to the following:
Green Tea - Camellia sinensis
Turmeric - Curcuma longa
Milk Thistle - Silybum marinaum
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
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