Oxidative stress and free radicals

Monday 19 August 2013

As the word “stress” suggests, oxidative stress describes a negative condition, i.e. a metabolic situation where the concentration of reactive oxygen species – of free radicals – is extraordinary high.

Each and every of more than 10 billions of cells in the human body requires oxygen in order to produce energy in the mitochondria and to maintain active all functions of the body. But during energy production, harmful free radicals are also produced. Inside the body, about 1-3 % of the respiratory air are transformed into these short-life and extraordinary reactive oxygen molecules. If they occur in excessive quantities they are harmful to our body. But these molecules do also appear outside the human body, among others by environmental toxins, ozone and imbalanced nutrition.

A normal cell protects itself – by means of the so-called antioxidants – against the negative effects caused by free radicals. These antioxidants inhibit the radical chain reactions. In healthy, normal cells there is an equilibrium between free radicals and antioxidants. If this equilibrium is disturbed, if free radicals gain control, oxidative stress is talked about.

The consequences of oxidative stress are manifold, from the damage of cell structures, by favoring the aging process and by their participation in the nascency of disease*.

In order to prevent oxidative stress and thus disease and premature aging, it is recommended to ingest important antioxidants, e.g. with nutrition, particularly by fresh fruit and vegetable.

* “From the perspective of the disturbed homeostasis (self-regulation) between the formation and neutralisation of radicals, practically all diseases can be defined as radical diseases.” (Prof. Böhles, Report by the German Medical Association [Deutscher Kassenarztverband], 1995)

Sources, all recalled July 4, 2012