How Does the Body Handle Oxidative Stress?

The human body produces antioxidant enzymes, such as vitamin E, zinc, arginine, vitamin C, vitamin A, taurine, creatine and selenium, to combat oxidative stress. However, when the condition worsens, a free radical attack occurs that may lead to neurological degeneration, according to a 2009 article in Current Neuropharmacology. The enzymes produced by the human body include glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase.

Cellular oxidation is measured by determining the amount of oxidized glutathione in cellular waste. Cells get rid of glutathione as a reaction to oxidative stress, according to Science Daily. Many of the effects of oxidative stress relate to the natural aging process.

Increased oxidative stress is associated with several diseases, including asthma, diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, chronic kidney disease, down syndrome, lung disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, according to Clinical Chemistry. Many diseases caused by oxidative stress have biomarkers that point to the cause.

NetDoctor explains that increasing someone's intake of antioxidants decreases free radicals caused by oxidation, as well as environmental factors, such as pollution, sunlight and smoking. Cells, membranes, genes and proteins repair easier with antioxidants, and these nutrients, in turn, can help prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress.