Health Benefits of Antioxidants In Chronic Pain Relief

  1. Free Radicals and Inflammation
  2. Antioxidants and Inflammation
  3. Managing Inflammation Through Diet
  4. What Do Antioxidants Prevent?

The health
benefits of antioxidants are often touted by food and vitamin companies that
claim their products fight the formation of free radicals. What you may not
realize is that free radicals are not only associated with diseases like cancer
and heart disease. Antioxidants are also important in addressing chronic pain
because they can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. You can increase
your intake of antioxidants through the right food choices like dark green
leafy vegetables and colorful fruits.

Radicals and Inflammation are Partners in Chronic Pain

radicals can do a lot of damage to your body. They are unstable atoms with
missing electrons, so they bond to different atoms to try and achieve balance.
As the unstable free radicals seek out other atoms for bonding to restore
stability, oxidative stress develops.

stress and inflammation are believed to be the mediums for chronic pain, per
research to date. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between healthy cell
activity and the normal cellular antioxidant process. One can be induced by the
other since the two processes are interrelated. The imbalance leads to
inflammation, and inflammation is common in many conditions causing chronic
pain. They include but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (i.e.,
    Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.)
  • Diseases associated with aging
    (i.e., arthritis, immune dysfunction, etc.)

The process
of atoms taking electrons from other atoms not only contributes to disease,
including inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis; it can also weaken
muscles, ligaments and tendons. A recent study found that oxidative stress and
inflammation promote intervertebral disc degeneration (ISS). The longer
oxidative stress exists, the higher the potential of developing tissue problems
and the more persistent the inflammation. The longer inflammation lasts, the
more likely it will contribute to chronic pain.

and Inflammation

oxidative stress contributes to inflammation, then reducing the production of
free radicals is an important strategy for reducing inflammation causing chronic pain. Inflammation is an immune response
in which immune cells consume more oxygen which then promotes a cycle of the
production of pro-inflammatory mediators.

various processes promote oxidative stress, like air pollution and smoking, your diet is a major influencer.
Poor nutritional choices can increase free radicals and interfere with
the normal antioxidant system your body initiates to neutralize free radicals.

are molecules that can fight the formation of free radicals. They are essential
to life, and it is important to maintain the right balance.

Though your
body produces antioxidants, your lifestyle has a direct impact on the process.
If you want to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation to manage chronic pain,
you want to take steps to eliminate or minimize the things that are known to
lead to the production of too many free radicals that lead to oxidative stress.
They include but are not limited to the following.

  • Excessive alcohol
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Excessive intake of certain metals,
    including iron, zinc, copper or magnesium
  • Excessive sunbathing due to exposure
    to ultraviolet rays
  • Poor diet that includes foods like
    processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and margarine, lard and

One of the
most important ways to avoid oxidative stress and minimize inflammation that
causes chronic pain is to eat a diet that includes foods high in antioxidants.

Managing Inflammation Through Diet

include vitamins A, C and E and lycopene, beta-carotene, selenium and lutein.
Most of these antioxidants can be found in food.

A study on
musculoskeletal disorders that are common in people who are aging found that
chronic pain predicts disability. Study participants worked with a dietary counselor to follow
a diet that included:

  • 1 gram of protein for each kilogram
    of body weight
  • Foods that are rich in glutamic
    acids, i.e., soy, egg and cod
  • Foods rich in tryptophan, i.e.,
    peanuts and milk
  • Magnesium and vitamin D supplements
    (if needed)
  • Consuming fish or omega-3 fatty
    acids every week
  • Botanicals like gingerol and

researchers found that nutrition and necessary supplements can play a role in
pain management for seniors who are experiencing muscle mass loss and frailty
which leads to chronic pain. Many foods are high in antioxidants, so you can
eat a varied diet. Following are some food examples.

  • Berries – blueberries, blackberries,
    raspberries, cranberries, strawberries
  • Beans – red kidney beans, pinto
    beans, black beans
  • Fruit – apples, plums, oranges,
    watermelon, tomatoes, red grapes, figs, apricots
  • Nuts – pecans, hazelnuts, cashews,
    almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts
  • Vegetables – Spinach, broccoli,
    cabbage, sweet potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, kale, collard greens, russet
  • Cereals – oatmeal, corn flakes,
    granola bars
  • Spices and herbs – cinnamon, cumin,
    turmeric, ginger, chili powder, curry powder, paprika, coriander, oregano, dill
    weed, basil

You can
consult with your doctor to develop a diet that includes antioxidants to
address a particular medical issue or chronic pain. For example, people with
osteoarthritis may eat a diet with plenty of fruit and vitamin C supplements
because research has found these foods and supplements provide
the right antioxidants for arthritis.

Do Antioxidants Prevent?

protect your tissues against oxidative stress and systemic inflammation, cell
damage due to free radical formation. They help your cells remain healthy which
can ease chronic pain, and evidence is growing they slow the aging process. How
many antioxidants do we need? According to the USDA, studies have found that a
daily intake of 3,000-5,000 ORAC units (a measurement unit) can significantly impact the antioxidant capacity of

Your doctor
can help you design a diet that meets this minimum or delivers more depending
on your health needs. Antioxidant therapy can help people with chronic pain
avoid the use of opioids in many cases. The sooner you add antioxidants to your
diet, the better.

Talk to
your Sapna pain clinic specialist about the power of antioxidants to
address chronic pain and adding antioxidant therapy to your chronic pain
management treatment plan.



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