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What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative Stress

What is Oxidative Stress?

As we move into newer lifestyle, the term oxidative stress and new terms such as free radicals are becoming more and more popular with each passing day. However, it is quite normal that most of us do not have the right kind of knowledge or information about it.

So it would be quite interesting to have a closer look at it and try to understand this complex subject and new terms like free radicals and oxidative stress. Put in simple words, the term oxidation is nothing but removing electrons from an atom or molecule.

Once this is done, the results can be quite dangerous and highly destructive. A simple example of oxidation is rust that accumulates on iron that is left open to the elements of nature. The main reason for iron becoming rusted is the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere. However, other oxidizing agents like chlorine can also play a major role in this process.

Understand Oxidative Process

There is no denying the fact that oxygen is simply irreplaceable and absolutely essential for human and animals. However, at the same time too much of oxygen can become a problem and it can turn into a corrosive and toxic agent. We get energy when we burning fuel with oxygen.

The fuel is the digested food and when it gets burnt with the help of oxygen it results in energy. This is a wonderfully controlled metabolic process. However, in the process of this metabolism there are a number of dangerous byproducts that also get generated. These by products are referred to as free radicals and they are well known for being highly instable atoms and molecules.

These free radicals possess the power of removing electrons from any other molecules that comes in its way. This is done as an attempt to achieve stability. In this process, many unstable molecules can be created which have a chain impact and over a period of time healthy molecules are also stripped off their electrons.

This is the main reason for many illnesses and health challenges. By the time the free radicals have completed their journey they could played havoc with our healthy cells and would have caused massive damages in the same manner as damage caused by ionizing radiation.

Causes of Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is the enormous burden that is placed on our organisms because of the constant and unending production of free radicals. These free radicals as mentioned above could be caused by the normal metabolic process and could also be caused because of some external factors such as pollutions in air, water and food. Smoking and other bad habits can only exacerbate the whole process.

How to Overcome Oxidative Problem

So, is our body helpless to fight this problem? Not in the least; if we take care to add sufficient quantities of vitamin C and vitamin E in our daily diet, we can overcome the problem.

These two vitamins play a big role in quenching the thirst of these rogue molecules by donating electrons to them. Once these molecules have their supply of electrons, they will not seek it from the neighbor molecules and hence the chain reaction of damage to other molecules will cease.


At the end of the day, managing oxidative stress depends on maintaining the right balance between free radicals and anti-oxidants. Hence, the use of food and vitamin supplements are often highly recommended, especially for people whose diets lack the required vitamins. It certainly will be very beneficial in managing aging and other related diseases.

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