Understanding Antioxidants, Free Radicals, Oxidative Stress

Understanding Antioxidants, Free Radicals, Oxidative Stress



So, you can see you can’t possibly avoid free radicals. All you can do is make sure you have enough antioxidants to minimize the damage.

THE PROBLEM: Overview of Oxidative Stress

*Oxidative Stress (CELL Damage) occurs when oxidation balance is upset by increases production of oxidants, or by decreased availability of antioxidants

*Humans produce three antioxidant enzymes naturally: Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), and Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH)

*Humans produce about 0.3 molecules of Superoxide (Free radicals) daily

*As people age, the body’s natural production of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) cannot keep up with increasing levels of free radicals

Antioxidants can be defined as molecules that prevent/delay oxidation and neutralize free radicals. Common examples of oxidation are seen when bananas or apples are cut open and exposed to the air and they begin to brown. Oxidation also happens inside the body at a cellular level during normal metabolic processes, but can be accelerated due to various exposures or when antioxidant levels are too low.


Free radicals are molecules that are unstable as a result of having an unpaired electron and sources that create free radicals are common: exposure to ultraviolet light, radiation, air pollution, chemicals, tobacco, alcohol consumption, and in the oral environment include bleaching agents, dental cements, composite fillings, and metals used in dental procedures.


The imbalance of too much oxidative stress can lead to damage of the DNA, RNA, and protein enzymes. Chronic inflammatory processes also induce oxidative stress, thereby generating ROS. Particularly vulnerable molecules in the cell wall are unsaturated lipids.


Development and/or progression of many conditions have been linked to excessive oxidative stress and include: kidney disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, asthma, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and aging. (Sources link~ http://www.dentistrytoday.com/articles-hygiene/8271-understanding-antioxidants-using-various-arsenals-to-impact-the-oral-environment)

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