Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress

Environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, bad diet, alcohol abuse, inadequate physical exercise, chronic consumption of medicines, infections,… these are only some causes of oxidative stress. Theoxidative stressis a chemical stress caused by an unbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidant system. In particular the oxidative stress is caused by an excess of free radicals in the body.
The free radicals play important functions for our body – such as the elimination of pathogenic bacteria, the regulation of blood pressure, the transmission of signals – but if they are in excess they can attack vital biological molecules (such as cell membranes lipids, enzymatic proteins and even DNA, depositary of genetic information).
Therefore the excess of free radicals can further the appearance or accelerate the progression of very common diseases, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, obesity, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis and some kind of tumours.
Moreover an increase of free radicals - often secondary to a deficiency of antioxidants, however widely present in fruits and vegetables - may contribute to the premature aging of the organism

How to measure the oxidative stress

Unfortunately the oxidative stress, contrary to a common disease, does not give rise to specific clinical manifestations. For this reason the oxidative stress can be identified only if, in the presence of a number of risk factors, the clinician suspects their presence and invites the potential patient to undergo some basic laboratory tests on a small sample of blood, such as the d-ROMs Test and BAP Test.
In particular, d-ROMs Test is used to determine the oxidant capacity of plasma, mainly due to the level of hydroperoxides (a subclass of reactive oxygen metabolites, ROM). The hydroperoxides are amplifiers and are considered markers of cell damage by free radicals.
The BAP Test (Biological Antioxidant Potential) is used to determine the efficiency of the plasma barrier opposes the attack of free radicals. BAP Test allow to measure endogenous and exogenous antioxidants.
An increase in the values of d-ROMs Test and/or a reduction of the values of the BAP Test are indicative of a condition of oxidative stress. With these tests, it is possible to formulate a laboratory diagnosis of oxidative stress more precise and reliable, where the two opposite components, the pro- and anti-oxidant that can be assessed separately. In other words, it is possible to determine in real time whether oxidative stress is due to an increased production and/or a decreased ability to eliminate free radicals. In this way monitoring of antioxidant therapy can rest upon a more solid base and come out of the empirical stage.

How to fight oxidative stress

The treatment of oxidative stress requires the identification of the causes and mechanisms that probably determine it.
If there is an increased production of free radicals in the body, it is necessary to identify the primary metabolic source who is responsible and try to keep it under control (e.g. to reduce inflammation, to improve tissue perfusion, to reduce the burden of toxins, etc...). However if the antioxidant defenses are reduced, we must restore them through a suitable way of life characterized by an antioxidant diet, a regular and not excessive physical exercise, the reduction of smoking, alcohol and stress.
As a matter of fact the antioxidants have to defend our body from the effect of exuberant amounts of free radicals. Some of these (e.g. superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase) are endogenous, that is they are produced by the body and they constitute a very important part. Others antioxidants are exogenous, such as vitamins C and Vitamin E, some coloured substances found in fruits and vegetables (e.g. flavonoids) or oils (polyphenols) and they must be introduced from outside with the diet.
When the antioxidants are not enough in our body, it is possible to require the introduction of specific supplements by the competent doctor.


DIACRON INTERNATIONAL s.r.l is the leader company in research and evaluation of oxidative stress. Our company produces and sells analytical dedicated instruments, kits and accessories for oxidative stress assessment in Human, Veterinary and Agrifood fields.