When it comes to your health, you can hardly avoid this topic. In addition to the buzzword “oxidative stress”, the terms “free radicals” and “antioxidants” are also inextricably linked to it. Everyone has certainly heard of them at some point in their lives. But what is oxidative stress, how does it develop, how can it be prevented and what consequences does it have for our body?
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is a state of metabolism in the body. In this state, there is an imbalance between so-called radicals and radical scavengers. Free radicals” are oxygen compounds that lack an electron. This makes them very reactive. They strive to replace their missing electron with another one. To do this, they try to snatch an electron from other molecules. This in turn leads to the creation of new free radicals. A vicious circle develops. If there is an excess of aggressive oxygen compounds in the body, this chain reaction can have a negative and stressful effect on the human organism. The resulting imbalance is called oxidative stress.
Causes of oxidative stress
Actually, our body is always under a certain amount of oxidative stress. However, most people can cope with it very well. This changes when oxidative stress becomes more frequent. Disturbances in metabolic processes and damage to cells can occur. We are partly responsible for the causes and can influence them ourselves. Among other things, a modern lifestyle can contribute to oxidative stress. Perhaps it is because there is a lot to do at work. Sometimes you get sick in exactly these situations. It could be the stress itself that is a factor in the immune system being stressed in the situation. Today’s way of life is not good for our cells and regeneration. Oxidative stress can be caused by smoking or alcohol consumption, among other things. But lack of sleep, a diet low in vital substances or the excessive consumption of sugar can also contribute to it. In addition, there is physical and psychological stress. For example, through overexertion, too many overtime hours and stress at work, or even competitive sports. Psychological stress can be caused by grief, pressure to perform at work or heartbreak, among other things. But there are also some diseases that cause oxidative stress. Various inflammations and infections, allergies, immune system disorders, diabetes, rheumatism or Alzheimer’s disease.
How to avoid oxidative stress
Not all diseases can be prevented. What can be prevented, however, is an unhealthy lifestyle and too much stress in everyday life. So avoid alcohol and smoking as much as possible, and eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you are constantly overtired in everyday life, the alarm bells should ring and you should, if possible, shift down a gear.