Oxygen – So crucial to life itself can also have damaging consequences as well. Although we need it to live and breath, if the concentrations are too high the effects can be toxic and cause damage. Oxygen is the terminal acceptor of electrons in all living mammals. A simple illustration is how metals can rust when exposed to a process called oxidation. Oxidation being the process of the removal of electrons from a molecule. The body also can get out of balance. An imbalanced molecule is also known as a free radical.
A cell with out of control free radicals starts to become damaged. The ultimate effects are damage to all the components of the cell, namely proteins, lipids and DNA. Websites such as Pubmed.gov have thousands of studies that show the impact that this process has on malfunction, aging and disease progression.
The body has a system of defenses to protect the cell from free radical damage or Oxidative Stress. It produces amongst other things enzymes and genes known as survival genes. In the ideal environment, these enzymes neutralize the free radicals before they can cause significant damage. The younger we are the more chance the body can cope with the damage, but the older we get (aging) the less of these enzymes get created and the free radicals start to get the upper hand. Think of it, in general do more people incur disease states later in life or younger in life. The answer should be self evident to anyone reading this web site .
Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Fybromyalgia, Cancer, Heart Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are all examples of diseases that have a high correlation to Oxidative Stress.
Oxidative stress is known to cause inflammation and fibrosis (scar tissue).
This website’s purpose is to educate visitors on the topic of Oxidative Stress.
Oxygen is the terminal acceptor of electrons in all aerobically living organisms, including humans. The oxidation of energy rich compounds such as NADH and FADH2 in mitochondria during energy generation process is a fundamental process and oxygen is converted to water at the end of the respiratory chain in the mitochondria. However, in the same mitochondrial respiratory chain, incomplete reduction of oxygen leads to generation of superoxide. Superoxide is a radical, that is, a chemical species with an unpaired electron. Radicals, with lone pair of electrons, such as superoxide anion, are very reactive species and initiate further ‘cascade’ of chain reactions generation other reactive species. The superoxide radical, hydroxyl radicals are known as ‘reactive oxygen species’ (ROS) which bring about damage to organs. This process is known as oxidative damage due to ROS or simply oxidative stress. The production of superoxide by the mitochondrial respiratory chain occurs continuously during normal aerobic metabolism. It has been estimated that 1 to 2 per cent of all the electrons travelling down the mitochondrial respiratory chain never make it to the end, but instead form superoxide. In addition to the mitochondrial respiratory chain, there are other endogenous sources of superoxide production.