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Environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle influence oxidative stress in humans—an overview

Abstract

Oxygen is the most essential molecule for life; since it is a strong oxidizing agent, it can aggravate the damage within the cell by a series of oxidative events including the generation of free radicals. Antioxidative agents are the only defense mechanism to neutralize these free radicals. Free radicals are not only generated internally in our body system but also trough external sources like environmental pollution, toxic metals, cigarette smoke, pesticides, etc., which add damage to our body system. Inhaling these toxic chemicals in the environment has become unavoidable in modern civilization. Antioxidants of plant origin with free radical scavenging properties could have great importance as therapeutic agents in several diseases caused by environmental pollution. This review summarizes the generation of reactive oxygen species and damage to cells by exposure to external factors, unhealthy lifestyle, and role of herbal plants in scavenging these reactive oxygen species.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Bharathidasan University, for their support and motivation.

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Correspondence to T. Sivasudha.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Aseervatham, G.S.B., Sivasudha, T., Jeyadevi, R. et al. Environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle influence oxidative stress in humans—an overview. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20, 4356–4369 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-1748-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-1748-0

Keywords

  • Free radicals
  • Antioxidants
  • Environmental stress
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Metal toxicity