The health of our body is maintained by the equilibrium of redox control. Excessive external factors can disturb this equilibrium triggering disease and illnesses. Most of the diseases are caused by oxidative stress due to active oxygen, other free radicals, and lipid peroxides. Active oxygen, though vital to our body, cause considerable damage to the essential components of human body and disturbs the physiologically important functions of proteins, lipids, enzymes and DNA bearing the genetic code. DNA damage caused by oxidative stress is particularly dangerous and has the potential to lead to serious disorders.
Redox control means maintaining the balance between active oxygen species and antioxidant enzymes. A biomarker indicates if the redox system is functioning properly in our body. Active oxygen species are vital for life, however, once this active oxygen exceeds a certain level; it causes considerable damage to our cells and threatens our health. Normally about 2% of oxygen inhaled by our respiratory system turns into active oxygen in our body and is used to protect us against external attack from bacteria, germs, viruses and other foreign substances. However, when levels of active oxygen species are increased by tobacco, alcohol, ultra-violet rays, air pollution, food additives, emotional stress, etc., excessive active oxygen starts attacking not only dangerous substances but also normal functioning cells, damaging proteins, lipids, enzymes, and DNA. This state is called oxidative stress. As long as a balance exists between oxidative stress and our antioxidant system, our body is maintained in a healthy state. However, excessive oxidative stress or inadequacy in a normal cell’s antioxidant defense system (or both) can cause the cell to experience oxidative stress. Tumor cells usually have an imbalanced redox status resulting in the damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids. Higher levels of DNA damage and deficient DNA repair may predispose individuals to cancer, aging, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Intracellular redox environment plays an important role in the maintenance of proper cellular homeostasis and functions. Disturbances in redox equilibrium of cells lead to pro-inflammatory conditions and these inflammatory conditions can induce carcinogenesis or increase the malignant potential of a tumor. Oxidative stress or tissue damage can trigger TLR family of receptors involved in altering the innate immune system.