Causes of Oxidative Stress – Things to Know
Oxidative stress can affect everyone, but what are the essential things to know about this form of stress for your health? Find out here!
Oxidative stress occurs when there is a high level of oxidation in the cells; that is, it occurs at a higher rate than usual. Therefore, we can suffer from different conditions and even severe diseases. The effects of this process can be seen more easily on the skin and hair, but it occurs throughout our bodies.
Knowing the full details about this situation will help you avoid it as much as possible and recognize the symptoms to act as soon as possible, and continue to maintain your health in good condition.
What Are Oxidative Stress and Oxidation?
Oxidation, free radicals, and antioxidants are common in our bodies, although they can also come from external sources. All this occurs in a normal way by the simple fact of being alive. That is to say, and they are components and results of the organism's cellular activity.
Specifically and straightforwardly, we find that in the mitochondria, the part of the cells in which the necessary nutrient and oxygen exchange occurs, chemical reactions take place that provides us with the necessary energy for the cells to develop their activity. But, during this process, reactions occur, and specific components intervene that must be known to know what this type of stress that occurs in cells is. Thus, below we explain what is necessary for this:
Oxygen is vital for life, but every time we breathe to obtain it in our body, various chemical reactions occur, including oxidation. These reactions always leave residues like reactive species or free radicals. Suppose we do not control that the level of these residues remains normal and tolerable. In that case, we begin to feel affected, have less energy, age prematurely, and become more ill than normal, among other things.
Thus, oxidation is a chemical reaction in which one molecule gives an electron to another, called an oxidizing agent. In this way, the first molecule loses stability, and residues are created. We see this process in everyday things such as fruit; for example, when we leave a piece of cut apple in the air, and we see that in a short time, it has turned brown, that is, the apple has oxidized.
They are the primary residues of the reaction of the natural oxidation process. They are unstable molecules as they have a free electron, and to have stability, and they need to give or pair the electron to another molecule. By doing this, they damage other molecules and oxidize cells, altering parts of the body. This can lead to aging and degenerative effects as well as inflammation.
These help us to avoid alterations related to the aging of the organism at all levels. Antioxidants work by stopping the chemical reactions that occur during oxidation and, thus, the uncontrolled generation of free radicals. But how do they do it? The process they follow is to oxidize themselves, preventing the neighboring molecules from oxidizing.
So the definition of oxidative stress is that it is a problem that occurs when there is an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants. Thus, when oxidants exceed antioxidants, this state of stress occurs, as the body is at a disadvantage in defending itself in this situation.
Causes of Oxidative Stress
Although oxidation is a process that occurs due to the oxygen we breathe, and we cannot avoid this, which is why it is part of the natural process of being alive and aging, other external reasons unbalance the relationship between oxidizing agents and antioxidants. These are the leading causes of oxidative stress, mainly they are sources of free radicals, and many of them we can avoid:
• Inhale cigarette smoke
• Drug use, including alcohol
• Air pollution in our surroundings
• Sunlight and other UV lights
• Consume a few antioxidants or use them very quickly
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