EXERCISE INDUCED FREE RADICAL DAMAGE- THE IRONY OF OXYGEN


Physical exercise is a deliberate attempt by an individual aiming for a perfect physique and a healthy lifestyle. In current times, physical exercise is seen as a necessary piece for good health. It also has proven benefits in lowering the endocrine, cardiovascular, osteo-muscular, and immune diseases. Daily exercising has been said to have a therapeutic role during every stage of life i.e. from adulthood to maturity. However, exhaustive physical exercise is known to put the cells at risk of free radical damage or oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscular fatigue. FREE RADICALS- The life-giving oxygen turned into a deleterious life hazard. Free radicals are also termed reactive oxygen species (ROS). They are produced during normal cell functioning being a vital part of the natural physiological processes of all living creatures. These free radicals generally act as both beneficial and harmful compounds in the human body. However, when an excess accumulation of these free radicals occurs in the body, surpassing the body’s natural ability to process it then a condition is generated termed “oxidative damage” or “oxidative stress”. This term implies a haphazard, undiscriminating oxidative damage to a range of biomolecules like carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acid, and protein. Thus harming the cells, which in turn affect the bodily functions and metabolism. Oxidative stress is considered the embarking point of a wide spectrum of diseases, additionally playing a vital role in the spread of aging and degenerative disorders including autoimmune diseases, inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, and cancer. FACTORS LEADING TO THE PRODUCTION OF FREE RADICALS There are several internal and external factors including lifestyle, environmental and stress factors which are credible risk factors for free radical production. Internal factors: · Inflammation

External factors: · UV exposure · Cigarette smoke · Pollution · Certain pesticides and cleaners Apart from these, a diet with high content of fats, sugar, and alcohol is also considered a cause of free radical production.

ANTIOXIDANTS- The Free Radical Scavengers The human body is equipped with its natural means for saving itself from oxidative damage from ROS. For this purpose, the body requires antioxidants that protect or shield the cells by preventing or slowing down the damage caused by these unstable molecules. This umbrella of life-saving elements includes Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Mechanically, antioxidants neutralize the free radicals by giving up their existing electrons. This sacrifice switches ‘off’ naturally the free radical production. This helps in breaking the chain reaction that is capable of affecting other molecules in the cell. Regular low to moderate-intensity exercise enhances the antioxidant defense system to combat oxidative damage. However, heavy exercise under inadequate, undertrain supervision leads to undesirable, unfavorable nightmares of workouts primarily the excess generation of free radicals. It is important to understand over here that free radicals are an inescapable part of human life. It is necessary for them to be produced during exercise to help sensitize the muscle cells to insulin. The problem is with the intensity of such exercises which predispose the muscles under stress causing them to release these toxic substances in amounts beyond the body’s ability to be neutralized. The long-term results might include increased inflammation with metabolic conditions such as CVD and diabetes.

The basic solution to overcome this critical situation and get desirable effects from your regular workout regimes is to maintain optimum antioxidant levels alongside. The well-known ally in this tough situation is none other than a familiar friend: Vitamin C. There is no need for supplementations just adequate consumption of vitamin C in form of fresh-pressed orange juice or other citrus fruits and vegetables like amla, guava helps to maintain normal metabolism and functioning of the immune system in the course of and even after the exercise. It contains no added sugars; it keeps you hydrated and above all protects the cells from free radical oxidative cell damage. Natural food items are a better form of acquiring nutrients than overrated supplements.

As ‘balance is the key to a harmonious life and an essential sense for maintaining the quality of life, it is as much important to keep a balance in free radicals and antioxidants levels in one’s body for living a life of harmony.

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