Nrf2 is possibly the most important little protein that you have never heard of.
Called an “intracellular transcription factor”, Nrf2 acts as a “switch” that tells the cell that oxidative damage is occurring, and turns on your body’s defense mechanisms by activating the genes that help the cell produce protective antioxidant molecules. It occurs in the tissues of all mammals, with the highest levels in the organs of detoxification, namely the kidneys and the liver.
Successful activation of Nrf2 may be the key to good health and longevity. It is now believed that many of the molecules that have historically been thought of as potent antioxidants and cancer-fighters actually work by stimulating Nrf2. The traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and olive oil (olive oil is rich in Nrf2 stimulating phenols and terpenes); and the purple sweet potato, which is the staple of the traditional Okinawan diet (known to contribute to longevity) is very high in carotenoids and anthycyanins, also powerful Nrf2 activators.
Research into the mechanism of this little molecule is rapidly expanding, particularly the impact it has on many diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Huntington’s Disease, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nrf2 suppresses many pro-inflammatory factors, and has been shown to protect the lining of arteries from inflammation.
Diet, supplements and lifestyle modifications are currently the best way to support your body’s Nrf2. Plant foods are the richest source of pro-Nrf2 compounds:
- Garlic and onion (sulfur compounds)
- Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts (sulforaphane)
- Grapes, cranberries, blueberries, mulberries, lingonberries, bilberries, jackfruit, peanuts and chocolate! (resveratrol)
- Olives and olive oil (oleuropein)
- Pomegranate (delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin)
- Green tea (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG).
Research also suggests that organic foods are richer in antioxidants than their conventional counterparts, possibly because in the absence of potent pesticides the plant is forced to develop its own defenses in the form of various antioxidant chemicals.
- Antioxidant support
- Attenuates the expression and release of damaging cytokines such as NF-κB
- Supports the body’s natural detoxification pathways
- Methylation helps improve absorption and stability
- Powerful antioxidant support
- Supports healthy cellular function
- Produces changes associated with longer lifespan (including activation of sirtuins)
- Supports cardiovascular/neurological health
By raising Nrf2 levels, we are able to tap into one of nature’s most powerful mechanisms for the maintenance of good health. Regular consumption of these Nrf2 stimulating foods and supplements may substantially lower many of the health risks of modern living and increase our resistance to many diseases.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.