What is aging?

Aging is a natural process that happens to everyone as they grow older. It involves changes in our bodies and minds over time. As we age, our cells gradually become less efficient at repairing themselves, and our organs may not work as well as they used to. This can lead to various physical and cognitive changes.

While aging is a natural part of life, it can also be influenced by factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors. For example, eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, avoiding smoking, and protecting your skin from the sun can all help slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.

What is the relationship between aging and oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress is believed to be one of the key factors contributing to the aging process.

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free radicals, and the body’s ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, leading to various age-related changes and diseases.

As we age, several factors contribute to an increase in oxidative stress:

  • Decline in Antioxidant Defenses: With age, the body’s ability to produce antioxidants, as well as its efficiency in utilizing them, may decrease. Antioxidants are molecules that help neutralize free radicals and protect cells from oxidative damage.
  • Accumulation of DNA Damage: Over time, oxidative stress can lead to the accumulation of DNA damage, impairing the cell’s ability to function properly and increasing the risk of mutations. This can contribute to aging-related changes, such as cellular dysfunction, tissue degeneration, and an increased susceptibility to diseases like cancer.
  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Mitochondria, often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, are responsible for producing energy. However, they are also a major source of ROS production. With age, mitochondria may become less efficient at producing energy and more prone to generating free radicals, further exacerbating oxidative stress.
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation, which often accompanies aging, can also contribute to oxidative stress. Inflammatory processes produce ROS as part of the immune response, leading to tissue damage and contributing to age-related diseases.