12 things in your home that Lead to Heart Disease
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Stop What Causes Oxidative Stress Fast

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When you think of threats to your body, you most likely conjure images of knife-wielding muggers, cancer, or wild animals, but did you know that your cells are under attack every day? 

Processed foods, chemical exposure, and environmental factors are all part of modern-day life and are all sources of oxidative stress. While you can’t avoid oxidative stress entirely, it is critical to identify and limit areas of exposure in your life as it can lead to several ailments — including AFib.

What is oxidative stress?

When antioxidant levels are too low in the body, oxidative stress takes over. Think about rust and how it deteriorates metal. It becomes weak, discolored, and develops holes. That’s oxidation in progress. 

The same thing can happen in your body. But instead of rust, you get tissue damage. The cause of oxidative stress is free radicals, the unstable molecules that contain oxygen. 

You do need some free radicals. They stimulate critical bodily processes and can help the immune system function or even allow the heart to pump blood faster in stressful situations. Yet too many free radicals can cause a serious imbalance. Free radicals can damage and change the instructions coded in a strand of DNA. They may even cause cell death and inflammation — the precursor of many lifelong diseases. 

So, what causes an imbalance of free radicals? Extremely low levels of antioxidants. But simply supplementing with antioxidants won’t fully treat the problem. To stop oxidative stress, you need to look at the underlying causes.

How does oxidative stress affect the heart?

When free radicals overwhelm antioxidant defense systems, cellular and molecular abnormalities occur. This ultimately leads to heart disease. In fact, oxidative stress is an underlying cause of atrial fibrillation (AFib). If untreated, AFib can cause stroke or death. 

According to Clinical Trials, current treatments for AFib are not very effective. Often, people experience frequent relapses of abnormal heartbeats. One reason for the high relapse rate is that the treatments may not address the underlying cause of AFib. 

A study published in the journal AHA found that risk factors of AFib are similar to those of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis (thickening or hardening of the arteries) is known to develop because of oxidative stress. In fact, other risk factors linked with AFib and associated with oxidative stress include:

  • Aging
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery

Top causes of oxidative stress

If you exercise or have some inflammation in your body, you naturally produce some free radicals. This is normal and part of your body’s complex way of keeping itself healthy. The problem is, other factors like diet and the environment can multiply free radicals. Here are some of the top causes of oxidative stress.   


You may have wondered why ozone advisories warn you to avoid outdoor activities like mowing the lawn or driving your car. Exhaust and gasoline vapors contain nitrogen oxides. These volatile compounds, together with heat and sunlight, are the main cause of ozone — better known as smog.  

Unfortunately, smog is one of the worst-controlled pollutants in the US, according to the American Lung Association. And it’s one of the most dangerous when it comes to oxidative stress and your health. 

Ozone develops in the atmosphere from exhaust, smokestacks, and many other sources and can be seriously detrimental to health. 

Research from Toxicological Sciences found that animals exposed to low doses of ozone for 15 to 90 days developed oxidative stress. Another study, published in Circulation, looked at ozone-polluted air and cardiovascular changes. Study participants were 25 healthy adults aged 19 to 33.  

Each participant was exposed to air with ozone or clean air for two hours. Exposures were at least two weeks apart. During each session, participants moved between 15-minute periods of cycling and rest. Researchers found changes in heart-related function immediately after ozone exposure. Another study published in the journal Environmental Perspectives found that long-term exposure to ambient ozone speeds up the development of atherosclerosis.

Toxic chemicals

Most people are exposed to toxic chemicals like pesticides and cleaners on a daily basis. Exposure to these compounds leads to oxidative stress and can be seriously harmful. 

Strong evidence suggests that chemical toxins, particularly in the workplace, cause an overproduction of free radicals. But the chemicals in your home could also cause oxidative stress.     

Household chemicals, such as toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, and various products used in gardening, cause significant oxidative stress. Even the chlorine in your pool can do some damage when absorbed through the skin or inhaled.  

Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the long-term use of household spray and scented products. Researchers found a link between chemical exposure and reduced heart rate variability (HRV). 

HRV refers to variations that naturally occur in the beat-to-beat intervals of the heart as you breathe in and out. The more variation, the better. AFib, however, is a heart rhythm disorder. The study found that older adult women had the highest risk.

Too much sugar

Too much sugar in your diet and your system becomes overwhelmed. The cells’ response to insulin begins to fail. This means you are left with all of that extra glucose in the bloodstream. As a result, your body increases the production of free radicals. This increases inflammation, damaging your cells and causing oxidative stress. The more sugar you eat, the more oxidation occurs.

The liver, where the body detoxifies, also becomes overwhelmed with too much sugar. This leads to further inflammation, causing the body to produce even more free radicals. 

All sugar, including white, brown, corn syrup, and other sweeteners — found in processed foods and beverages — are linked with cardiovascular diseases. A study published in the International Journal of Angiology concluded that added sugars induce several cardiovascular conditions, including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

How to protect yourself from oxidative stress

You can’t completely stop oxidative stress. But you aren’t defenseless against free radicals, either. There are things you can do to minimize the effects on your body.

Get your antioxidants

Antioxidants work to deactivate free radicals by binding to oxidants This stops the free radical damage in its tracks. Diets high in antioxidant-rich foods are linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. Natural antioxidants are found in foods, such as:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries
  • Dark leafy green vegetables – kale and spinach  
  • Dark orange, red, yellow, and green vegetables 
  • Nuts and seeds

Remember, always eat organic!

Keep an eye on smog alerts

Ozone or smog levels are usually highest in the afternoon and early evening on hot, sunny days. Environmental conservation authorities generally inform the public whenever ozone concentrations are elevated. Check your local area for advisories.

  • Try to limit your outdoor activities during peak ozone hours whenever you can.
  • If possible, exercise outdoors in the morning hours when ozone levels are generally lower. 

Be cautious with chemicals 

This includes all cleaning chemicals. Switch to natural, homemade cleaning solutions such as vinegar and baking soda for your home. If you have to use chemicals in a work situation, wear gloves and a face mask to reduce exposure.  You should also stick to organic produce or grow your own with organic compost to avoid pesticides and other garden toxins. 

Next steps

Your cells are being threatened daily. But you can stop oxidative stress by managing stressors that throw your antioxidants and free radicals out of balance. Consider our Envirotoxins test to help assess your toxic burden and start your journey towards heart health. Getting a handle on oxidative stress means getting a handle on AFib. 

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.


Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.