Functional Medicine

What is Nrf2 Activation?


DNA supports approximately 20,000 genes, each holding a program for the creation of a protein or enzyme required for a healthy lifestyle. Every one of these patterns needs to be constantly regulated by a sort of “promoter” which manages exactly how much of each substance and/or chemical is generated and under which conditions these will also develop.

By connecting to a particular kind of the switch-like promoter areas, known as the Antioxidant Response Element, or ARE, the Nrf2 factor supports the speed of creation for hundreds of distinct genes which enable the cells to survive under stressful circumstances. These genes then generate a selection of antioxidant enzymes which develop a defense network by neutralizing oxidants and by cleaning up the toxic by-products left behind in their production, in addition to helping restore the damage they caused.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Several oxidants like the superoxide radical, or O2-., and hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, have been created through the practice of burning off the substances and/or chemicals which sustain the human body. The human body possesses antioxidant enzymes which neutralize and detoxify reactive foods and drinks we consume. The Nrf2 modulates their production to keep equilibrium and underscores the demand for all these enzymes. This balance can be interrupted by a couple of factors, including age.

As we age, the human body creates less Nrf2 and this delicate equilibrium can gradually begin to turn towards the oxidative side, a state referred to as oxidative stress. Disease may also cause the overproduction of oxidants. Infections, allergies, and autoimmune disorders can additionally trigger our immune cells to create reactive oxidants, such as O2-. , H2O2, OH and HOCl, where healthy cells become damaged and respond with inflammation. Diseases associated with aging, including heart attacks, stroke, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, also increase the development of oxidants, generating stress and an inflammation response.

What are Nrf2 Activators?

The Nrf2 protein, also called a transcription factor due to the way it can support and control enzymes and genes, is the secret element of a sequence of biochemical reactions within the cell which reacts to modifications in cognitive equilibrium as well as oxidative balance. The sensing elements of this pathway modify and discharge Nrf2, triggering it so it might spread into the nucleus of the cell towards the DNA. The Nrf2 may alternatively turn on or switch off the genes and enzymes it supports to protect the cell.

Fortunately, a variety of substances which are Nrf2 activators develop through the consumption of certain plants and extracts utilized centuries ago in Chinese and Native American traditional remedies. These phytochemicals seem to be equally as powerful with fewer side-effects, as the Nrf2-activating pharmaceutical products which are being used today.

Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor, more commonly known as Nrf2, is a transcription factor which protects the cell by regulating genes, enzymes and antioxidant responses. Transcription factors are a type of protein which attach to DNA to promote the creation of specific substances and chemicals, including glutathione S-transferases, or GSTs. Nrf2 activation induces the production of active proteins which exhibit a powerful antioxidant capacity to help decrease oxidative stress. 

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

The Science Behind Nrf2 Activation

Once the initial Nrf2-activating dietary supplement was created in 2004, minimal information was known concerning the function of the Nrf2 pathway. Approximately 200 newspapers in the literature on Nrf2, also known as nuclear factor-like 2 or NFE2L2, existed and researchers were only just starting to discover the antioxidant response of Nrf2 in mammals. As of 2017, however, over 9,300 academic research studies on this “master regulator,” have been printed.

In reality, Nrf2 regulates many antioxidant enzymes which don’t correlate to the genes, instead, they offer protection against a variety of stress-related circumstances which are encountered by cells, organs and ultimately organisms, under healthy and pathological conditions. Based on this new quantity of information from published academic research studies, researchers can now develop better Nrf2 dietary supplements.

As of 2007, research studies have demonstrated the complex function of the Nrf2 pathway. Nrf2 activators have been found to mimic factors of different structures within the human body. Through these pathways, Nrf2 activators have been equipped to feel changing conditions throughout the cell in order to keep balance and respond to the evolving requirements of the genes.

Why Use Nrf2-Activating Supplements?

As Nrf2-activation abilities diminish with age in organisms, changes may begin to occur. Research studies have demonstrated that the focus of Nrf2 in cells declines with age, showing increased markers of oxidative stress. A variety of age-related diseases like atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, and Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s diseases can develop due to these changes. Oxidative stress has been found with these health issues.

By stimulating the cell’s capacity to increase the production of Nrf2 activators, Nrf2 dietary supplements can help revive the human body’s own ability to counteract the effects of oxidative stress. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, are one of the most readily oxidized molecules and they’re particularly vulnerable to suffer damage from free radicals. Thiobarbituric acid, or TBARS, production can increase with age, indicating heightened oxidative stress along with a drop in Nrf2-regulated pathways.

Biologically, gene induction is a really slow mechanism, generally requiring hours to transfer through a pathway. As a result, many enzymes possess their very own on/off switches which could be triggered in minutes by different regulatory enzymes. Researchers have developed proprietary compositions of Nrf2 activators which utilize this knowledge base of activation. Nrf2 activation is composed not just of the Nrf2 transcription factor being discharged from its inhibitor and migrating to the cell nucleus, but also binding to specific DNA sequences to encourage cytoprotective gene expression, regulating the pace at that Nrf2 is taken out of the nucleus.

Understanding the elimination procedure and the activation of Nrf2 in the human body has allowed researchers to build combinations of different Nrf2 activators to accomplish the reflection of genes through its modulation. The combination of the knowledge base, together with the wide variety of other research studies has helped produce Nrf2 activators for use as dietary supplements. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal health issues. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topic Discussion: Relieving Knee Pain without Surgery

Knee pain is a well-known symptom which can occur due to a variety of knee injuries and/or conditions, including sports injuries. The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body as it is made-up of the intersection of four bones, four ligaments, various tendons, two menisci, and cartilage. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the most common causes of knee pain include patellar subluxation, patellar tendinitis or jumper’s knee, and Osgood-Schlatter disease. Although knee pain is most likely to occur in people over 60 years old, knee pain can also occur in children and adolescents. Knee pain can be treated at home following the RICE methods, however, severe knee injuries may require immediate medical attention, including chiropractic care.

EXTRA EXTRA | IMPORTANT TOPIC: Recommended El Paso, TX Chiropractor


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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "What is Nrf2 Activation?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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