Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and antioxidant defenses.  The body’s cells produce free radicals, which are nitrogen- or oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons , during normal metabolic processes.  Meanwhile, cells also produce antioxidants that neutralize these free radicals to prevent excessive cell and tissue damage. In general, the body is able to maintain a balance between antioxidants and free radicals.  However, this balance could be disrupted under certain conditions or environmental stress or infection, and uncontrolled oxidative stress can accelerate the aging process.
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