What is Oxidative Stress and how to Analyze it?
What is Oxidative Stress?
Free radicals and antioxidants play an important role in the healthy functioning of your body. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between the production of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
The cells in our body develop free radicals when the metabolic processes are driven in a normal manner. Moreover, the cells are also responsible for producing antioxidants that balance these free radicals.
Usually, our body manages to balance free radicals and antioxidants. Nevertheless, the occurrence of oxidative stress in the body is natural and affects the aging process.
It can be both useful or toxic to the body.
Factors contributing to oxidative stress
Various factors result in producing an uneven number of free radicals. They include:
• Intake of food
• Environmental elements pollution and radiation
• Other conditions
The natural immune response of the body can temporarily lead to the formation of oxidative stress in the body. The occurrence of such stress can cause mild inflammation, which recovers, thanks to the immunity that increases healing injuries or infections. Still, if this is not prevented, it accelerates the aging process which can result in various health conditions.
What are free radicals and antioxidants?
A free radical can be defined as an oxygen-containing molecule that consists of unpaired electrons. For example superoxide radicals, hydroxyl radicals, and nitric oxide radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive with the other molecules.
Cells that use oxygen and enzymes for functioning are open to oxygen free radical reactions that can harm the cells. Antioxidants are defined as the molecules present in cells that avoid harmful reactions. They give an electron to free radicals without lessening themselves.
Adverse effects of oxidative stress on human health
Oxidation is a natural process of our body. Oxidative stress occurs due to an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Proper functioning between both these activities can lead to fighting off pathogens. Pathogens are harmful and can cause infections.
When the free radicals are more than the antioxidants present in the body, it harms the DNA, fatty tissue, and proteins.
The body is formed primarily from proteins, DNA, and lipids. Damage to these elements can cause several diseases later on in life, such as:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Neurodegenerative diseases
• Inflammatory diseases
• Alzheimer disease
• Neurodegenerative diseases
• Chronic diseases
• Cardiovascular disease
Oxidative stress can harm the formation of cellular structures including lipids, lipoproteins, deoxyribonucleic acid, proteins, and membranes. The harmful condition exists when the formation of free radicals and the ability of cells to fight them off is imbalanced.
For example, an excess of peroxynitrite and hydroxyl radicals can result in lipid peroxidation that can damage the lipoproteins and cell membranes. The hydroxyl radical is extremely reactive and is caused due to the Fenton reaction and decomposition of peroxynitrite. This causes the production of conjugated diene and malondialdehyde compounds that are mutagenic and cytotoxic.
In this radical chain reaction, the transmission of lipid peroxidation is instantaneous and transforms lipid molecules extensively. The direct reduction of O2 forms of hydrogen peroxide. Oxidative stress can damage the proteins as well, because of the conformational modifications that could regulate the loss of their enzymatic movement.
How to prevent oxidative stress
It is impossible to eradicate oxidative stress but the levels of antioxidants can be increased and the formation of free radicals decreased to combat it.
To prevent it, people, especially the elderly, can make sure they manage oxidative stress and increase their life expectancy by obtaining a lot of antioxidants from their diet, and by exercising. For example with a lot of fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress, reduce the risk of these diseases, and to stay young.
Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants
- Dark Chocolate – with high cacao content.
- Nuts – Pecans
- Blueberries and Red Berries
- Artichokes – both petals and hearts
- Chia seeds
- Sweet Potato
- Dark green vegetables such as Kale
Nevertheless, it is impossible to avoid exposure to oxidative damage completely. For older adults, it is necessary to take medical advice to prevent diseases in their bodies.
How to analyze oxidative stress
The TBARS (Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances) assay has become the assay of choice for screening and monitoring lipid peroxidation. Which is a major indicator of oxidative stress?
The assay can be used with many types of samples including drugs, food products, and material of human and animal origin. It provides standardized and reproducible results.
This test has contributed paramount data concerning free radical activity in disease condition and has benefited for antioxidant analysis of several compounds. With all its assistance, TBARS is the most widely used assay for the determination of lipid peroxidation.
Early discharge of lipoprotein fractions from a sample causes a reduction in interfering soluble TBARS. However, in the case of increased TBARS, a more precise assay such as HPLC, should be performed.
The OXItek TBARS Kit maintains a reproducible and standardized assay with constant results. Each of the many reagents, in addition to an MDA standard, is quality controlled as a kit.
Supplementary in-house controls can be involved in every test run. The OXItek TBARS Assay Kit is designed for the research purpose only.
All kit reagents should be ideally stored at 2-8°C. Use the components before the expiry date mentioned on the box.
Know more about how to explore oxidative stress markers and metabolites in human and animal samples, as well as samples exposed to drugs and foods. Contact Helvetica Health Care today to learn more about the methods to reduce oxidative stress and damage.