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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Jul;20(7):4356-69. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1748-0. Epub 2013 May 1.

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

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Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli 620 024 Tamilnadu, India.


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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