Nrf2 is all over the news and there’s a lot of good reasons why. In this article we’re going to talk about the most powerful antioxidant that no one is talking about: Nrf2.
First with the nitty gritty: What is NRF2?
Nrf2 stands for Nuclear factor erythroid 2 [NF-E2]-related factor 2– long name right? But jam packed in this long name is a pretty amazing set of qualities that you should absolutely know about!
Nrf2 is a protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation. Think about it this way: The light bulbs that are illuminating the room you are in are turned on by the light switch on the wall.
Nrf2 is the light switch.
Nrf2 turns on the light switch and activates the antioxidants in your body, making them more powerful, and more beneficial.
Through regulation of the expression of antioxidant proteins, Nrf2 is able to supercharge the benefit from your vitamins, fruits, veggies and other supplements. Nrf2 is the expansion pack of the antioxidant world!
What is Nrf2 Used For?
As you can imagine, Nrf2 is useful in any condition where inflammation and oxidative stress is involved (which is basically everything).
It is a useful treatment for diseases that are caused by oxidative stress. Some of these diseases include liver disease (for example: acetaminophen hepatotoxicity, aka: liver injury caused by an overdose of acetaminophen), alcohol-induced liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), neurodegeneration, and other neurological diseases, psychological conditions, and even cancer (Qiang, 2013).
By boosting Nfr2 activation, it will help you to minimize oxidative stress in your cells. Oxidative stress can lead to various problems including diseases such as: “Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and several cancers” (Gardner, 2018).
If you do not have enough Nfr2, you can become more sensitive to chemical carcinogens and chemical toxins which lead to increased inflammation in the lung, and brain, and increase your risk of chronic disease (Gardner, 2018).
Another benefit of Nrf2 is that it protects your body from the effects of stress and helps you live longer.
Nrf2 also turns on genes that help you detox. According to Gardner (2018), Nrf2 turns on over 200 genes that are related to detoxification. Therefore, if you have any history or evidence of toxic exposure, than Nrf2 might just the ticket for helping you detox quickly.
Nrf2 is Important for The Health of Your DNA and Genes
Some genes that are dependent on Nrf2 in order to be activated. These genes are: NQ01, Aldo-Keto Reductases (AKRs), Sulfotransferases (SULFs), and Ferritin (Gardner, 2018).
Nrf2 also works with a region of DNA called “Antioxidant Response Element” or ARE (Gardner, 2018). Nrf2 and ARE bind together and helps the gene make proteins that help rapidly clear oxidative stress (Gardner, 2018).
Where Does Nrf2 Come From?
Your body makes Nrf2, but there are also foods that you can ingest, that are also high in this protein.
Foods high in Nrf2 include: blueberries, grapes, avocados, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, onions, and broccoli (“Boost Your Nrf2 Activation with These Foods”, 2017). Not only are there foods that can boost your Nrf2, but there are also phytonutrients (nutrients from plants) that can boost it as well. Some of these include turmeric/curcumin, sulforaphane (found in broccoli sprouts), vitamins, fish oil (DHA), and ashwagandha (withania somnifera). Others are bacopa, green tea leaf, milk thistle, black pepper, and pine bark (“Boost Your Nrf2 Activation with These Foods”, 2017).
Nfr2 is a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for balanced stress. If you tend to be more stressed or if you are going through a stressful period, this antioxidant might be right for you!