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Storm Clouds and Silver Linings: What Can We Do About Oxidative Stress?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘oxidative stress’ bandied around…but what is it exactly? Why is it important for your health? Do wireless exposures cause oxidative stress? In this guest post Diane Craig explores all these questions and more. And she shares 6 ways you can be proactive and protect yourself:

In a recent guest blog post to Electricsense, I’d referenced a 2015 review study, “Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation” [1], but what exactly does oxidative stress mean for us?

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress’s dictionary definition is “A condition of increased oxidant production in animal cells characterized by the release of free radicals and resulting in cellular degeneration.” [2]

I looked at several pubmed.gov articles to find a clearer explanation, but their non-dictionary words also didn’t help me understand. An article at Healthline [3] did:

“Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules. Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body because they react so easily with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation. They can be beneficial or harmful.

“Antioxidants are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This causes the free radical to stabilize and become less reactive….

“When functioning properly, free radicals can help fight off pathogens….

“When there are more free radicals present than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, the free radicals can start doing damage to fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body…. [T]hat damage can lead to a vast number of diseases [1] over time.” [3]

[Lloyd comment: Oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, which can cause chronic inflammation which is associated with a long list of diseases including cancer.]

Here’s the silver lining: According to Healthline, we can minimize our oxidative stresses by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits helps. Regular exercise helps. Not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke help. Getting enough sleep helps. [3]

Among other factors, Healthline recommends “being aware of … chemical exposure[s], such as pesticides used on food or in gardening.” Even cleaning supplies can contain chemicals. [3]

Healthline also advises “avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure.” [3]

Our skin can burn if we’re exposed to the sun’s radiation for too long a period of time. X-rays and other medical tests expose us to radiation. But what about radiation from wireless transmissions?

Does wireless radiation create oxidative stress?

The “Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation” review study had examined “100 currently available peer-reviewed studies dealing with oxidative effects of low-intensity radio frequency radiation….” [1]

Otherwise known as RFR, radio frequency radiation [2] is the radiation that wireless transmissions produce.

The review found that 93 of the studies “confirmed that RFR induces oxidative effects in biological systems.” [1] [Lloyd comment: I’ll take that as a yes, wireless exposures most certainly can cause oxidative stress.]

The review concluded with these words:

“[O]ur analysis demonstrates that low-intensity RFR is an expressive oxidative agent for living cells with a high pathogenic potential and that the oxidative stress induced by RFR exposure should be recognized as one of the primary mechanisms of the biological activity of this kind of radiation.” [1]

I didn’t read the full text before I cited this review study, because the text I needed wasn’t available online for free. Instead, I made a judgment after reading only the abstract. I decided it was reasonable for me to trust that 93% of 100 study results provided a strong basis for the review-study-authors’ conclusions, and nowhere did I find information that contradicted them.

Are there additional factors that cause oxidative stress?

Already, climate change has resulted in more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than has been present in more than 800,000,000 years. [4] More carbon dioxide means there’s less oxygen. [4]

The “cranky uncle” at Skeptical Science (the site that called my attention to these facts) wants folks to use their critical thinking skills before they decide whether scientific evidence supports the notion that human activities have caused climate change. Anyone who is on the fence on this issue can access his article at reference [4].

Besides climate change effects, oxidative stress has been connected with glyphosate in Roundup [5], mold [6], parasites [7]…. This list gets lots longer, so I decided to learn more about oxidative stress in just one pathogen. I asked:

Does Lyme Disease cause oxidative stress?

In a 2015 study titled New insights into Lyme disease [8], the researchers explain that the

“results have shown a significant rise in mitochondrial superoxide, indicative of a state of oxidative stress in the PBMCs [peripheral blood mononuclear cells] of Lyme borreliosis patients. In these same patients we have presented evidence of a significant decrease in levels of cytosolic ionized calcium in PBMCs. Taken together, we hypothesize that these imbalances could cause oxidative stress, depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane, disruption of intracellular communication, and a release of pro-inflammatory cytokines [33]. All of which could ultimately contribute to a condition of mitochondrial dysfunction.” [8]

An article published by lyme.disease.org adds that “it has been proven that Lyme patients have decreased mitochondrial function.” [9]

This second article goes on to help Lyme disease patients find some silver linings, by explaining that there are “Proven [positive] Effects Of Deep Relaxation On Mitochondria.” Among other effects, “Relaxation … lowers oxidative stress, freeing our mitochondria to produce energy again.” [9]

Here I’m quoting information from a secondary source without consulting the primary-source research studies. In this case, I trust my source partly because the article was published by a registered non-profit organization, and non-profit organizations have to jump through a lot of hoops to qualify for that status. Beyond that…

I’d read Kris Newby’s 2019 book, Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons.[10] That investigative report reads like a non-fiction who-done-it that takes Lyme research into another dimension.

What we now call Lyme disease is named after an outbreak of tick-borne “Lyme arthritis, first documented near the township of Lyme, Connecticut.” [10] Lyme disease then spread like wildfire — “Wildfire” being the book’s Chapter 23 title [10]. To introduce Chapter 23, Newby cited a 2007 research study, “Discernment Between Deliberate and Natural Infectious Disease Outbreaks.” [11]

I looked up the study. It also reads exactly like a non-fiction who-done-it.

The researchers established that 11 clues could indicate a deliberate bioterrorism event, “an accidental release of an agent,” and “outbreaks of infections…alleged to have been deliberately initiated rather than natural….” [11] They are:

“Clue no. 1 – A highly unusual event with large numbers of casualties… Clue no. 2 – Higher morbidity or mortality than is expected…
Clue no. 3 – Uncommon disease…
Clue no. 4 – Point-source outbreak…
Clue no. 5 – Multiple epidemics…
Clue no. 6 – Lower attack rates in protected individuals…
Clue no. 7 – Dead animals…
Clue no. 8 – Reverse spread [from humans to animals rather than vice-versa]… Clue no. 9 – Unusual disease manifestation…
Clue no. 10 – Downwind plume pattern… and
Clue no. 11 – Direct evidence…” [11]

The authors then reviewed six disease outbreaks between 1979 and 2000 that met from 3 to 7 of these clues. They did not include the Lyme disease arthritis outbreak that began about 1975. However, by citing this study, Newby makes her readers aware that this outbreak also meets at least 5 of these clues.

The silver lining here is that epidemiologists and other personnel since 2007 are able to consider these clues as a group, immediately after an outbreak. Even when outbreaks are natural, rapid responses lead to better outcomes.

Jared Diamond’s still-relevant 1997 book, Guns, Germs. and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” [12] won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.

Regarding germs, the book identified as “[t]he greatest single epidemic in human history” the “influenza that killed 21 million [21,000,000] people at the end of the First World War” [[12], page 202]. More people died from this disease than from the battles.

The number of deaths from covid-19, as of July 12, 2021, was 4,053,789. That’s 2.157% of 187,935,574 worldwide Covid-19 cases. Of these, 171,823,178 are reported to have recovered. [13] (Read more about Covid-19 here [3])

Here’s my next question:

Do modern-day influenzas and covid-19 cause oxidative stress?

For both, the answer is yes.

A 2017 review study’s abstract explained that

“Virus-induced oxidative stress plays an important role in the regulation of the host immune system. In this review, we provide backgrounds of the pathogenic mechanism of oxidative stress induced by influenza virus and the specific oxidant-sensitive pathways, and highlight that antioxidant is one of the effective strategies against influenza virus infection.” [14]

In 2020, a brief article titled COVID-19 infection and oxidative stress: an under-explored approach for prevention and treatment? [15] evaluated 13 studies relating to oxidative stress. The authors of those 13 studies “read and agreed to the final manuscript.” [15] The article states,

“SARS-CoV2, probably like other RNA viruses [4] can trigger an oxidative stress. This hypothesis can easily be checked by the dosage of oxidative stress markers in the blood of sick people of COVID-19….

“[W]e propose to reduce their level of oxidative stress by providing them with substances that increase their antioxidant system….

“There are also many antioxidants [in] food….

“[F]ood additives … could also be tested.”

In addition, an “injectable” antioxidant “has shown its effectiveness in hemorrhagic dengue fever, another RNA virus infection.” [15]

Every human on our planet has been affected by the events of the past more-than-a-year. Covid-19 storm clouds still hover, but these 13 studies eventually may provide some silver linings, perhaps by lessening symptoms for vaccinated folks and supporting other recovery treatments for the unvaccinated.

Can Proactive Steps Help Us Reduce Our Oxidative Stresses?

(I) Practice Self-Care

I’d recently finished Hans Rosling’s 2018 book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. [16]

In Factfulness, Rosling coaxes us to practice “thinking tools” [[16] page 6], so we can “get the big picture right.” [[16] page 6] He talks about the ways our instincts can mislead us, and how we can avoid being misled. Rosling entertains us with true stories, about sword swallowing, the three-letter-word “Grandpa never talked about” [[16] page 166] and men with machetes, among many more. He then encourages us to use 10 “thinking tools” [[16] page 6] to evaluate the many stories that touch our own lives. His hope is that we will then replace an “overdramatic worldview [that’s] stressful and misleading” [[16], page 13] with a “fact-based worldview” [[16], p 15].

I’m not the only person who carries baggage from the past, exercises “negativity instincts” [[16] page 47] in the present, and fears problems that might happen in the future. As a matter of self- care, we can practice “factfulness” to reduce these stresses, overcome our biases, and seek and find solutions to the challenges we encounter.

(II) Educate

Lifelong learning involves actively seeking, investigating and absorbing new knowledge. It also involves communication: Asking questions. Addressing complications and contradictions. And… Admitting mistakes.

After learning about oxidative stress for this article, I still didn’t know from the last article [4] why one sage plant had withered when another hadn’t. Both were healthy when Hub and I saw them one day. The next day, their garden was closed for maintenance. When we visited the garden again on the third day, the sage nearest the path was injured.

I assumed someone must have sprayed an herbicide to keep the paths clear, something that had happened every year in another nature area.

Word of my suspicion got back to the head gardener. He denied this had happened, and his word got back to me.

Later, Hub and I came across the second-head gardener. I asked if he could explain the situation. He couldn’t; he could only reiterate that there had been no spray. The maintenance day had taken place weeks before summer arrived, but, to end the conversation on a light note, I said, “Well, it must have been the heat then.”

His face lit up. “It was a REALLY hot day,” he replied.

Hub and I had spent most of that day indoors, so we weren’t aware that the outside temperature on maintenance day had risen to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On our next visit to the garden at about noontime, I checked the plants.

Sure enough: the injured sage was in full sun that time of day; the still-healthy plant still was partly shaded by surrounding trees.

What I learned: Factfulness is right when Rosling tells me that I can’t make assumptions based on the past (Factfulness calls this my “generalization instinct.” [[16], page 144]). What I can do is apologize when I learn that I’ve made a mistake. So I asked the second-hand gardener to communicate to the head gardener my apology, that I’d mistaken climate change consequences for chemical spraying consequences.

(III) Develop Perspective

However, climate change consequences, chemical spraying consequences and wireless radiation exposures all create oxidative stresses for living cells. What can we do about this?

In June 2021, National Public Radio (NPR) reported on a new way to prevent “mass environmental destruction,” otherwise called “ecocide.” An international crime law has been proposed. [17]

According to NPR, the word “ecocide” was coined in 1970. It was first proposed as an international crime two years later. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 1998. [17]

The ICC’s Rome Statute currently covers four international crimes: “genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.” [17]
..
Stop Ecocide Foundation’s co-founder, Jojo Mehta, told NPR that by adding ecocide as a fifth crime, “[E]ffectively you’re looking at something that has, at least in part, potential to be a crime against nature, not just a crime against people.” [17]

Here’s the definitions the Stop Ecocide Foundation propose for a new law:

““[E]cocide” means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.

“Wanton” means with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social and economic benefits anticipated;

“Severe” means damage which involves very serious adverse changes, disruption or harm to any element of the environment, including grave impacts on human life or natural, cultural or economic resources;

“Widespread” means damage which extends beyond a limited geographic area, crosses state boundaries, or is suffered by an entire ecosystem or species or a large number of human beings;

“Long-term” means damage which is irreversible or which cannot be redressed through natural recovery within a reasonable period of time;

“Environment” means the earth, its biosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, as well as outer space.” [18]

If one of the 123 ICC member countries submits an ecocide proposal to the ICC before December 2021, the ICC could vote to adopt an ecocide law as early as the end of this year. This process also could take much longer. [17] Rather than fearing this negative possibility, let’s recognize its silver lining: An important process has been started.

(IV) Advocate for Safety and Common Sense

In his final chapter on how to best address our non-Factfulness instincts, Rosling wrote:

“I don’t get calm by looking away from problems. The five that concern me most are the
risks of

“global pandemic,
“financial collapse,
“world war,
“climate change, and
“extreme poverty.

“Why is it these problems that cause me most concern? Because they are quite likely to happen: the first three have all happened before and the other two are happening now….

“These are mega killers that we must avoid, if at all possible, by acting collaboratively and step-by-step.” [16], page 237]

Rosling died in 2017, before his first-listed concern became our reality. I like to think he would approve of the collaborative effort to stop ecocide.

We can help advocate for this step-by-step effort, by signing the Ecoside petition linked from reference [19]. .

And, for the sake of the planet and everyone’s future, we also can advocate for building telecommunication infrastructures that utilize Fiber to the Premises (FTTP). With all the manmade oxidative stressors out there already, how can it be considered okay to add more radiation from many more wireless transmissions, especially when a safer, faster, more secure and more reliable alternative already exists?

(V) Support Solutions

To help reduce earth’s oxidative stresses, Hub and I look to natural solutions and take our own small steps.

For example, we find it’s easier to use water instead of electricity to defrost food. By weighting down a frozen package inside a larger container and adding water to cover, we keep the air’s oxygen away from the food. Once the item has thawed, we move it into the refrigerator. Later, we recycle the still-clean water to our garden. We also pour water we’ve heated in a teapot over weeds. The hot water loosens the soil around the weeds, the weeds’ roots shrink away from it, and, after a short time, we pull weeds out easily without using chemicals.

Similarly, to keep ants away from the house, we spray the house’s perimeter with food-grade diatomaceous earth rather than chemical poisons.

Inside, we cool the house by turning on ceiling fans rather than the air conditioning.

And, thanks to Electricsense’s information, our computer connects with the internet only via Ethernet cable, and its wireless functions have been turned off. [5]

(VI) Create Change

When nature’s sunlight and water droplets meet in the air, one result is rainbows. Both rain and sun are necessary for rainbows’ creation.

In 2021, the Library of Congress added two rainbow recordings — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (aka Iz) ’s medley, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World”, and Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” — to its National Recording Registry. [20]

Iz sang of

“The dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true…” [21],

adding,

“The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
And also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands saying
How do you do?
They’re really saying I, I love you….” [21]

Kermit’s refrain was

“Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.” [22]

Our skies may be cloudy. We may not be able to find silver linings. But sometimes, rainbows appear instead.

Like Iz, like Kermit, if we let life’s rainbows inspire and motivate us, we can create change.

Many thanks to Diane Craig for this guest post. Comments are welcome below.

Headshot Diane CraigFor more than 30 years, Diane Craig has advocated for persons diagnosed with celiac disease. From 2013 to 2018, among other activities as a board member for the California non-profit Celiac Support Group, she helped draft a petition to the FDA to label gluten in drugs and wrote blog posts to help publicize research regarding the then-new concept of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.


Do you have an article that you would like to share with the ElectricSense community? Contact us here [6].

Sources and Bibliography

[1] I Yakymenko I, Tsybulin O, Sidorik E, Henshel D, Kyrylenko O & Kyrylenko S. (2016) Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 35:2, 186-202, DOI: 10.3109/15368378.2015.1043557. At https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15368378.2015.1043557 [7]. Accessed June 22, 2021. See also Reference [12].

[2] oxidative stress. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). At https://www.thefreedictionary.com/oxidative+stress [8]. Accessed July 10, 2021.

[3] Dix M (RN, BSN). Medically reviewed by Legg T J (PhD, CRNP). Updated on September 29, 2018. Everything You Should Know About Oxidative Stress. At https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress [9]. Accessed July 10, 2021.

[4] What is causing the increase in atmospheric CO2? No date. At https://skepticalscience.com/co2-increase-is-natural-not-human-caused.htm [10]. Accessed July 10, 2021.

[5] McCully K S. Environmental Pollution, Oxidative Stress and Thioretinaco Ozonide: Effects of Glyphosate, Fluoride and Electromagnetic Fields on Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Carcinogenesis, Atherogenesis and Aging. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2020 May;50(3):408-411. PMID: 32581036. At https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32581036/ [11]. Accessed July 14, 2021.

[6] Wu H, Wong J W C. The role of oxidative stress in the growth of the indoor mold Cladosporium cladosporioides under water dynamics. Indoor Air. 2020 Jan;30(1):117-125. doi: 10.1111/ina.12613. Epub 2019 Nov 6. PMID: 31618482. At https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31618482/ [12]. Accessed July 14, 2021.

[7] Rocamora F, Zhu L, Liong K Y, Dondorp A, Miotto O, Mok S, Bozdech Z. Oxidative stress and protein damage responses mediate artemisinin resistance in malaria parasites. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Mar 14;14(3):e1006930. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006930. PMID: 29538461; PMCID: PMC5868857. At https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29538461/ [13]. Accessed July 14, 2021.

[8] Peacock B N, Gherezghiher T B, Hilario J D, Kellermann G H. New insights into Lyme disease. Redox Biol. 2015;5:66-70. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2015.03.002. At https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392059/ [14]. Accessed June 30, 2021. No follow-up article by any of authors on this subject June 30, 2021.

[9] Curley S. Lyme, Mitochondria and the Power of the Heart. August 10, 2018. At https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-mitochondria-heart/ [15]. Accessed July 8, 2021.

[10] Newby, K. Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons (© 2019 Kris Newby). New York NY. HarperCollins Publishers. Accessed through July 14, 2021.

[11] Dembek Z F, Kortepeter M G, Pavlin J A. Discernment between deliberate and natural infectious disease outbreaks [published correction appears in Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Aug;135(6):1055]. Epidemiol Infect. 2007;135(3):353-371. doi:10.1017/S0950268806007011. At https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870591/ [16]. Accessed July 14, 2021.

[12] Diamond J. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (© 2005 Jared Diamond). New York NY. W W Norton & Company, Inc. Accessed through July 14, 2021.

[13] worldometers.info. Worldometers (dot) info. Coronavirus. Dover DE. July 12, 2021. At https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ [17]. Accessed July 12, 2021.

[14] Liu M, Chen F, Liu T, Chen F, Liu S, Yang J. The role of oxidative stress in influenza virus infection. Microbes Infect. 2017 Dec;19(12):580-586. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Sep 14. PMID: 28918004. At https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28918004/ [18]. Accessed July 13, 2021.

[15] Ntyonga-Pono MP. COVID-19 infection and oxidative stress: an under-explored approach for prevention and treatment?. Pan Afr Med J. 2020;35(Suppl 2):12. Published 2020 Apr 29. doi:10.11604/pamj.2020.35.2.22877. At https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7266475/ [19]. Accessed July 13, 2021.

[16] [2] Rosling H with Rosling O and Rönnlund A R. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (© 2018 by Factfulness AB). New York NY. Flatiron Books. Accessed through July 14, 2021.

[17] Fischels J. How 165 Words Could Make Mass Environmental Destruction An International Crime. June 27, 2021. At https://www.npr.org/2021/06/27/1010402568/ [20]ecocide-environment- destruction-international-crime-criminal-court. Accessed June 27, 2021.

[18] Stop Ecocide Foundation. Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide: Commentary and Core Text. June 2021. At https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ca2608ab914493c64ef1f6d/t/60d1e6e604fae2201d03407f/1624368879048/ [21] SE+Foundation+Commentary+and+core+text+rev+6.pdf. Accessed June 27, 2021.

[19] Stop Ecocide Foundation. How You Can Help. No date. At https://www.stopecocide.earth/become [22]. Accessed July 14, 2021.

[20] United States Library of Congress. National Recording Registry Adds ‘Rhythm Nation’ Among 25 New Selections. March 24, 2021. At https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-21-015/national-recording-registry-adds-rhythm-nation-among-25-new-selections/ [23]2021-03-24/. Accessed July 12, 2021.

[21] Medley of Over the Rainbow (Lyrics by Harburg E Y 1939) and What a Wonderful World (Lyrics by Thiele B [pseudonym Douglas G] and Weiss G D 1967). Albums
Ka ʻAnoʻi 1990 and Facing Future 1993. At https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/israelkamakawiwoole/overtherainbow.html [24]. Accessed July 12, 2021.

[22] Lyrics by Williams P and Ascher K. Rainbow Connection. 1979. The Muppet Movie: Original Sound Track Album. At https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sleepingatlast/rainbowconnection.html [25]. Accessed July 12, 2021.