Oxidative Stress

Understanding the Causes and Consequences


Oxidative stress is a process that occurs within our bodies when we have an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and lead to various health issues. Antioxidants, on the other hand, are molecules that neutralize free radicals and protect our bodies from oxidative stress.


As we know, human beings breathe the air of the atmosphere, which, in turn, is made up of different gases, including the most important for human life: Oxygen.

We human beings introduce air through our respiratory tracts, this air reaches our lungs and there something we call “Gas Exchange” occurs, in which the Carbon Dioxide that is in our blood, a waste product of the cells of our body, passes to the lung, and the air with oxygen that is in the lung passes into the blood, thus oxygenating the blood so that it later travels throughout the body nourishing our cells with oxygen and that these, in turn, can carry out their cellular respiration and continue to live.

This process happens between 16 and 20 times per minute every day of our lives.

But...What is Oxidative Stress?

To understand oxidative stress, we first need to know what free radicals are.

 

Oxygen free radicals are formed when an oxygen molecule interacts with other compounds in the body and breaks down into smaller molecules. By fragmenting, these new molecules lack chemical stability and, in excess, can become harmful to the body.

 

The formation of free radicals is a normal process in the body, it happens all the time, every minute of our lives. However, it is usually not a problem until there are too many free radicals circulating in our blood and damaging our organs and our body is unable to control it. 

 

Our body controls these free radicals with the so-called ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that interact with free radicals, bind to them, and neutralize them, preventing them from causing damage.

What things produce free radicals?

As we mentioned, the formation of free radicals is a normal process in the body. It only becomes a problem when they are in excess and the body is unable to control them because our antioxidants are not enough.

 

The most common forms of free radical formation are:

 

Cellular respiration: 

That is, the simple fact that our cells breathe causes free radicals by itself. Our cells, when breathing, produce the energy they need to perform their functions and keep us alive.

 

Radiation exposure: 

It is known that exposure to ultraviolet rays (sun rays) produces a greater production of free radicals. For this reason, in addition to reducing skin cancer, the use of sunscreen is highly recommended.

 

Food and Drinks: 

The most important thing! Fried foods, excessive red meat, eating Trans fats (junk food), sodas, and excessive alcohol (no wine) are related to a large production of free radicals in the body. Therefore, a diet preponderant in foods of this type and devoid of antioxidants promotes that you live in constant oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a natural process that occurs in our bodies, but an excess of it can lead to serious health issues. 

 By following a healthy lifestyle and incorporating antioxidant-rich foods and supplements, we can reduce oxidative stress and promote overall health and well-being. So take care of your body, and it will take care of you!

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