Why does our body oxidize?
Essential to life on Earth, the element Oxygen plays important roles in cellular metabolism. However, it has a harmful effect known as cellular oxidation and leads to aging.
The oxidation process happens to all known matters, an example of which is the formation of rust in metals. Also the human body is under permanent oxidative stress, which has one of the leading roles in the aging process.
The formation of free radicals in cellular metabolism causes instability in certain atoms that will then associate with others that can damage cells by oxidation.
This natural occurrence varies in intensity due to different variables such as the genetics of individuals, lifestyle, food and others. It advances slowly, however leaving very noticeable consequences in our body. Other factors can have an important contribution, such as stress, tobacco, alcoholism, toxic substances, etc ...
It is known that several diseases are closely related to this event, such as emphysema, retinopathies, strokes, neoplasms, among many others.
Antioxidants are substances whose composition and molecular shape allows them to bind to free radicals of unstable atoms, preventing them from binding to the oxygen that would lead to the oxidation process.
Some of these molecules can even be produced by our body, precisely in order to protect our cells against the mechanism of oxidation, such as some enzymes, like catalase and superoxide dismutase.
However, many times the number of free radicals far exceeds our capacity to produce these antioxidants, so oxidative stress is generated, with harmful effects on our health and in particular by promoting aging. Cell membranes are damaged, the immune system weakened and even the hormonal system can change. These environments are conducive to the development of cancer cells.
There are theories that argue that in 80 to 90% of inflammatory, respiratory, oncological and neurodegenerative diseases, are connected to oxidation processes.
So, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with physical exercise, associated with a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables that promote the resistance of our body to oxidation. This healtcare could be, in a simplistic way, compared with the treatment that is made to steel so that it becomes stainless.
There are numerous antioxidants present in food, such as vitamins, polyphenols, among others, that enhance antioxidant activity. When these are not enough, supplementation with more potent antioxidants is essential.