Why is Oxidative Stress so important in studies on aging?

Oxidative damage causes a net stress on the normal body functions, leading to a gradual loss of vital physiological functions, later in life.  This process is commonly believed to occur as a result of “aging process

The level of oxidative stress is determined by the balance between the rate at which oxidative damage is induced (input) and the rate at which it is efficiently repaired and removed (output) (see Figure. 1). The rate at which damage is caused is determined by how fast the reactive oxygen species are generated and then inactivated by endogenous defense agents called antioxidants. The rate at which damage is removed is dependent on the level of repair enzymes.

The determinants of oxidative stress are regulated by an individual's unique hereditary factors, as well as his/her environment and characteristic lifestyle. Unfortunately, under the present day life-style conditions many people run an abnormally high level of oxidative stress that could increase their probability of early incidence of decline in optimum body functions.

All biological constituents of any organism are the result of “trade-offs” of benefits versus disadvantages that have occurred during millions of years of evolutionary pressure.

The different human aging processes appear to be a result of such trade-offs involving the side reactions of development and energy metabolism. For example, much is known about the harmful side reactions of aerobic metabolism processes in the mitochondria, which are very efficient in producing energy. However, free radicals or Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are also produced that are toxic by-products of these reactions. If these ROS are not destroyed, they will quickly destroy the cells that produced them.

Indeed, the general age-dependent decline in optimum health and performance (known as “Normal Aging”) appears to be the result of ROS, which is one of its major causative factors. In addition, many different types of bacterial, fungal and viral infections increase the amount of ROS generated in vivo.

Oxidative Stress (OS) is defined as the steady-state level of oxidative damage within a cell, tissue or organism caused by ROS. The degree of Oxidative Stress or the Oxidative Stress State (OSS) present in a given biological system is determined by the net result of three major factors. 

  • Initial rate of generation of ROS
  • Level of antioxidant protective processes
  • Rate of repair and general turnover or removal rate of the oxidized targets that include nucleic acids, proteins and lipids 

Many of the oxidized damage components that are produced throughout the body are transported to the serum, urine or breath. It is the ratio of damage input to damage output that determines the OSS value. Diet also offers an effective means of control, if it is known what dietary factors are most important and what is best for each individual.

To further understand the role of oxidative stress in the aging process, there is a growing need within the scientific community for:

  • Specific, reliable, non-invasive and cost-effective biomarker assays that are effective in measuring small changes of OSS
  • A unique, integrated set of these assays that can be used to calculate the overall OSS of an individual

Genox Corporation helps the scientific community to meet their needs by offering products and analytic test services to measure the oxidative stress biomarkers.

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