Nrf2 in plain English
There are many scientific articles explaining in great detail and using long scientific words that are difficult to understand. If you’d like one of those articles click here.
For the rest of you still reading, here is a quick overview of what Nrf2 is and why there is such a buzz around the topic.
When the body is “in tune” it regulates itself in “miraculous” ways. Similar to the regulator that governs your air conditioning and heating in your home. Your body has it’s own “perfect environment” and up-regulates or down-regulates its own genes to keep itself in harmony just like if the house is too cold the heating switches on until the correct temperature is reached or vice versa with the air-conditioning. So if the body requires more enzymes to fight an illness it knows to produce the right amount of “survival” genes to fight that particular illness.
This all works well and good, until it doesn’t. Like when the heating unit gets old, or perhaps the filter is clogged up. Perhaps it gets inefficient with age and is unable to detect the “ideal temperature”. The body likewise gets out of sync through various factors, such as illness or disease, stress, pollution and toxins, inadequate nutrition and so forth.
These stressors result in malfunction, aging and disease as well as inflammation and fibrosis (scar tissue). The body is unable to up-regulate or down-regulate the survival genes like it could before. Cell damage (oxidative stress) occurs, and that’s when things become overwhelming. Another analogy that I have found useful is like when the garbage removal service personnel go on strike and garbage stats piling up in homes and the streets of a city. Pretty gross, right? Well that’s similar to the garbage that piles up in the body when it is out of sync. And to make matters worse, sometimes it goes silently undetected causing multiple years of damage before it manifests itself.
So what has this to do with Nrf2?
Each cell in the body has its own regulation unit. Various pathways govern the efficient operation of the unit. One of those pathways (the Nrf2 pathways) ensures the body maintains the correct amount and balance of the survival genes. When the body is young and healthy, it works well, like a brand new air-conditioner. The trouble is that in our early twenties aging begins to set in. And as our bodies begin that aging process, the regulator gets less efficient. The older one gets the more the body becomes overwhelmed with cell damage, illness, disease and its resulting inflammation and fibrosis. As mentioned earlier much of this goes on unnoticed, but at some point the warning signs begin to appear. This is manifest with lower Nrf2 activation in the cells.
So what can be done to improve the situation?
Traditionally the health solution touted by health care companies has been to push supplements such as vitamins and antioxidants, and while they may be important for overall nutrition, they are inadequate to slow down the damage resulting from inefficient Nrf2 activation in the cells. Perhaps they are like using a small paper fan to keep the whole house cool. When Dr. Joe McCord discovered this Nrf2 pathway and also the mechanism to trigger the mechanism back into a finely tuned condition again, a new tool was discovered to fight malfunction, aging and disease in the body. This tool became known as “Nrf2 activation”.
There are many foods are Nrf2 activators. The Nrf2 Activators section of this site display the latest/top scientific papers referenced from Pubmed.
Regarding supplements to activate Nrf2, sometimes it is more practical to take a supplement and more cost effective to buy a supplement.
The product with the most scientific research on Pubmed that Dr. McCord developed to activate Nrf2 (called Protandim), and there have been over 25 studies published on the effectiveness of this particular supplement on all kinds of disease and aging conditions. There are other supplements and pharmaceutical drugs on the market, but Protandim is the leader in scientific research at this point in time. Here is a summary page of the studies of Protandim on Pubmed.
To summarize then,
Nrf2 activation is a field of research capturing the imagination of the medical world. It is the subject of full conferences attended by reputable scientists and organizations worldwide. Universities are also studying the effects of Nrf2 activators on health conditions.
In a study published by Washington State University, they state that ” While no doubt it is too early to make a conclusion, it is difficult to escape the suggestion, from Tables i and 4 (see the full study), that we may be on the verge of a new literature on health effects of Nrf2 which may well become the most extraordinary therapeutic and most extraordinary preventive breakthrough in the history of medicine. It is our opinion that raising Nrf2 is likely to be the most important health promoting approach into the foreseeable future.”
This site is here to educate on the topic of Nrf2, but we leave the conclusion of whether it is right for you to discuss with a medical professional whio understands and is familiar with your unique situation.