The human body is made up of trillions of cells, and cellular health is the overall status of how well these cells are functioning.
Cells are the body’s building blocks. They control all of the body’s functions (such as metabolism, movement, repair, and organ-specific functions) at the microscopic level. When cellular health is optimal, cellular (and bodily) functions are optimal. The reverse is also true, suboptimal cellular health leads to suboptimal function.
Over time, cellular components are impacted by oxidative stress. As we age we may be even more susceptible because:
1. oxidative stress increases with age
2. oxidative-stress–mediated cellular changes accumulate over time
3. the body’s natural support processes become less efficient with age
Lifestyle choices, like eating a healthy diet, staying active, and managing stress, promote good cellular health. However, no one’s lifestyle is perfect, and everyone is impacted by the aging process. Supplements designed to mitigate these impacts can help sustain good cellular health for longer.
Antioxidants are substances that prevent reactions caused by reactive oxygen species or free radicals. The body makes its own antioxidants, and antioxidants can also be consumed via foods or supplements.
Reactive oxygen species and free radicals are present in all cells and are a normal part of cellular function. Antioxidants help control the levels of reactive oxygen species to prevent oxidative stress.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of compounds, are antioxidants. Well-known antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, and flavonoids.
Oxidative stress is a situation where there are more reactive oxygen species than antioxidants available to control them. In times of oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species react with other molecules in the cell, sometimes forming even more reactive compounds that can interfere with normal cellular component structure and function.
Reactive oxygen species are present in all cells and are a normal part of cellular function. Oxidative stress results from an imbalance of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants within the cell. This can occur due to greater production of reactive oxygen species or reduced antioxidant capacity. Both sides of this equation can be impacted by aging and lifestyle factors (diet, activity levels, stress, and environmental exposures).
Oxidative stress impacts everyone. Though oxidative stress is a normal part of physiological function, it’s important for everyone to minimize unnecessary oxidative stress and protect against its effects.
Reactive oxygen species or ROS are normal, natural byproducts of oxygen metabolism in mitochondria (their production can be affected by diet, exercise, obesity, and more). Environmental sources like smoking, pollution, UV light, and alcohol consumption also generate ROS. Normal levels of ROS are important for cellular signaling and immune defense however, sustained excess ROS levels lead to excessive oxidative stress which can inhibit normal functioning.
Free radicals are atoms or molecules that contain an unpaired (free) electron. The free-electron makes the radical unstable and reactive.
Free radicals inside cells react with other molecules in the cell. These reactions sometimes form even more reactive compounds that can impair normal functioning of cellular components, affecting their structure and function.
Free radicals are not inherently bad; they’re a normal part of biology. However, when free radical levels get too high, they react with other molecules in the cell. These reactions can form even more reactive compounds that can impair normal functioning of cellular structure and function.