Understanding oxidative stress (1)

June 10, 2020
I bring you all my wonderful readers of this column, warm greetings on this wonderful day of June, 2020. I am sure it has been well with you and your family and I say with all certainty that it is good to be back. No doubt a lot of water has passed under the bridge as the saying goes and a lot of knowledge has also been acquired. Now I am ready to share this knowledge with us and it is my hope that it will give us a new lease of life. I am beginning with oxidative stress, the cause of several, serious, life threatening diseases (especially the chronic degenerative diseases), whose prevention and treatment is as simple as the food you eat and the water you drink. Please permit me to reproduce part of one of my posts in the past here:

Ongoing research which started about 50 years ago has shown that oxidative stress is the cause of several chronic degenerative diseases that afflict the human being. These diseases include cardiovascular conditions such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, heart attack and heart failure. Others are glomerulonephritis, chronic renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and depression. Also included in the list, are such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, aging and cancer. Macular degeneration, cataract and pre-eclampsia are also known to be associated with oxidative stress.

These are diseases that are referred to as chronic degenerative diseases. These diseases are caused by free radicals through a process of oxidation known as oxidative stress. I consider this number of diseases as significant and these are some of the most common diseases that afflict the human being. I am of the opinion that we should pay maximum attention to it, understanding how it works and how to treat it or handle it. These are very serious diseases but knowledge of how to prevent and cure them is as simple as what you eat and drink: eatng healthy living foods and drinking the right kind of water.

What exactly is oxidation?
When water drops continuously on an iron, it becomes rusty after a period. That’s oxidation. If you slice an apple into two and leave it exposed to the atmosphere, it turns brown after a period. That is oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction which also occurs in spoilt food or rotten meat. The sliced apple that turns brown will eventually become rotten.

Let us look more closely at the free radical. Normally an atom has a nucleus and two electrons that circulate in the outer orbit of the atom. Occasionally, an atom gets released with an unpaired electron in the outer orbit. Such an atom is called a FREE RADICAL. Since it has one electron instead of two, it is unbalanced and very aggressive looking for an electron from a nearby cell membrane. Free radicals which are also referred to as reactive oxygen species (ROS) commonly attack cell membranes, nuclear membranes and DNA inside the nucleus of the cell. Any structure from where the free radical snatches an electron becomes a free radical and destroyed by the process of oxidative stress. This will eventually set up a viscous cycle which will lead to damage and destruction of the cell and ultimately to a chronic disease. Free radicals can be compared to smoke that comes out of fire. Energy is produced in the mitochondria in every cell in the body by oxidation of food by the oxygen we breathe. Just like smoke from fire so do we have free radicals released from the chemical reaction in the mitochondria. Free radicals are waste products from physiological chemical reactions that take place in the mitochondria in every cell of the body for the production energy.

By Paul Nana

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