Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is the process of cellular damage that occurs when free radicals and reactive oxygen species interact with biological molecules like DNA, lipids, membranes, or proteins. Oxidative stress is thought to be the root of aging, and a driver of disease. 

Conditions Related to Oxidative Stress

  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory disease 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Neurological disease
  • Cardiovascular disease

Oxidative stress occurs when levels of free radicals and reactive oxygen species accumulate to the point that antioxidants can not keep them in check.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5927356/ 

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are molecules that have an incomplete, unstable outer shell of electrons. This makes them seek out other complete molecules and steal an electron in their outer ring. Once that happens, the molecule is left with an incomplete outer shell and is then a free radical itself. This chain reaction eventually ends in cellular damage. 

Antioxidants are able to step in and put a halt to this process by donating an electron to the free radical without turning into a free radical.[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5551541/ 

This is why many scientists describe oxidative stress as an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants.

It is also why researchers have studied the role that increasing antioxidant intake can play in preventing disease. In theory, if antioxidants can combat free radical damage, then increasing the number of them in the body should prevent a situation where imbalance can occur — thereby slowing the aging process and potentially even preventing disease.[3]https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/oxidative-stress