02 Feb Oxidative stress: The importance of redox balance
Many normal processes in the animal and the human bodies, such as certain immune reactions, breathing, converting fats into energy or digesting food, produce harmful compounds called free radicals.
Atoms are stable when have an even number of electrons. Free radicals are molecules that contain an atom with an unpaired electron (has an odd number of electrons) and thus it is highly unstable and reactive.
ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) are a group of free radicals that contain oxygen. The most important ROS are the hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). RNS (Reactive Nitrogen Species) are another group of free radicals that contain nitrogen, being nitric oxide (NO) the most common.
At low to moderate amounts, free radicals are beneficial for the body. In example, they are involved in the destruction of pathogenic bacteria by the immune system. However, they can also damage all kinds of biological molecules (DNA, RNA, cholesterol, lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins), especially when they are present in excessive amounts.
The excess of free radicals is destroyed by the body’s antioxidant defense system. There are three levels of defense:
- The first level is responsible for free radical detoxification at the very beginning of their formation. It consists of antioxidant enzymes that break down free radicals, such superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase.
- The second level is made of free radical scavenging antioxidants such as vitamin E, ascorbic acid and glutathione (GSH). These scavengers neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons.
- The third level consists of a system that repairs or destroys damaged molecules.
The redox balance
In healthy humans and animals, protection against the harmful effects of free radicals is achieved through maintaining a delicate equilibrium between the production of free radicals, that are needed for certain physiological processes, and their destruction through the antioxidant defense system. This equilibrium is called “the redox balance”.
Whenever the redox balance is disrupted, either due to an overproduction of free radicals or because of a malfunction of the antioxidant defense system, free radicals trigger a harmful chain reaction that damages all kinds of biological molecules. This chain reaction is called oxidative stress, and it is involved in the origin of many inflammatory diseases, as we will discuss in the following article.
Products of choice
PhytoMax© is a combination of vitamins, chelated calcium, microminerals and essential oils to be given through drinking water. It is intended for layers and breeders to:
- Maintain the levels of calcium and magnesium needed for optimal egg production.
- Reinforce skeletal health.
- Prevent cage fatigue.
- Stimulate the hepatic metabolism and the immune system.
- Improve the quality of the egg and the health of day-old chicks.
- Avoid the drop of the laying rate produced by stress (management, vaccines, hot weather, etc…)
- At the start of the laying period, to boost productivity.
- Prolong the productive life of the hen.
PhytoShield© is an oral emulsion that contains essential oils, electrolytes and vitamins intended to promote growth, reduce oxidative stress, and keep the animals hydrated.
PlusBreathe© contains essential oils with natural antiseptic, antioxidant, expectorant and mucolytic activity. It has a refreshing taste.
It is indicated to improve the functioning of the respiratory system and to mitigate heat stress in birds, ruminants, pigs and rabbits of all ages. It can also be nebulized in the farm environment.
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Certain health statements may not be applicable in your region.