Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals are without any doubt closely related to Redox Signaling Molecules. You may have been confronted with it in various conversations on the topic. We hear a lot talking about it, but do we completely understand their significance?
I love to give you a short overview of a complex topic. Chemically spoken, “Oxidation” is the process of removing electrons from an atom or molecule. A lack of one of their components may be destructive o toxic. We know this oxidation process from rusting iron. In our case, the responsible agent is oxygen, but it could also be another oxidizing agent like chlorine for example.
How can oxygen that we need to live be toxic? It is not the oxygen itself but the amount of it. The corrosive and toxic process starts when having a high concentration of it in our body. While burning food with oxygen we get energy. This means we combine digested food with oxygen from the air we breathe. Although this Is a controlled metabolic process it – unfortunately – creates toxic site elements like free radicals which are unstable molecules or atoms. On their attempt to achieve stability they withdraw electrons from any other molecules they find on their way. Acting like this they create on this track even more unstable molecules that consequently attack those which are adjacent to them. You may imagine this as domino-like chain reactions.
Over time the chain dissipates. But before doing so it has gone through vital components of the cells like a tornado, causing extensive damage, similar to that caused by ionizing radiation.