- Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
- If it occurs naturally from exercise or temporarily to fight infection or repair tissue damage, it’s good, however long-term oxidative stress can be dangerous.
- Long-term oxidative stress puts a person at risk for heart failure, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, hypertension, and chronic inflammation.
- We can prevent oxidative stress by making healthy lifestyle choices, from regular exercise to eating healthier.
We’re all familiar with stress and likely deal with it on a weekly, if not daily basis. It can be short lived, or last for days or weeks at a time. The fact is, we all deal with it on some level, whether our problems are big or small. One form of stress most people likely haven’t heard of is oxidative stress which is the result of an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Most of the effects we commonly associate with stress are mental (i.e. anxiety, nervousness, fear), however with oxidative stress the effects are physical. While these can sometimes be beneficial, long-term oxidative stress damages the body’s cells, proteins, and DNA. Here’s a look into what oxidative stress is, the effects, and how we can prevent it…
What is Oxidative Stress?
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. “The body’s cells produce free radicals during normal metabolic processes,” writes Medical News Today. “However, cells also produce antioxidants that neutralize these free radicals.” Most of the time, our body is able to balance antioxidants and free radicals.
The development of oxidative stress and excess free radical production can be a result of diet, lifestyle choices, certain conditions, or environmental factors (i.e. pollution and radiation). Our body can also naturally trigger oxidative stress as a temporary immune response. This usually leads to inflammation that subsides after our immune system fights off an infection or repairs an injury, explains Medical News Today. However, unnatural or long-term oxidative stress can be harmful.