Japan SOD Research Organization

Information on action, impediments and elimination of reactive oxygen species has been summarized from Dr. Niwa’s book and other official reference materials such as publications, conferences and various newspapers.

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Reactive oxygen species and their damaging effects

What are reactive oxygen species?

Reactive oxygen species are highly reactive substances
The oxygen that we breathe in daily has a stable number of electrons and is shaped in a way that prevents it from reacting easily to other substances. Reactive oxygen species, however, have an unstable number of electrons, and are easily reactive to other substances.
Examples of reactive oxygen species
There are many kinds of reactive oxygen species, but the best known is hydrogen peroxide. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to a wound, it reacts immediately and creates foam which kills bacteria. There is an exchange of electrons between the hydrogen peroxide and the bacteria, and the bacteria die as a result. Similarly reactive oxygen species produced in the body as a result of factors such as aging, react to our cell structures and organs, and cause damage to them.
Damages caused by reactive oxygen species (excess reactive oxygen species are “a Jekyll and Hyde”)
If the amount of reactive oxygen species produced in the body is adequate, they are useful in killing bacteria and viruses which enter our body. If internal production is in excess, the reactive oxygen species attack not only the foreign substances (such as bacteria and viruses) but also the normal interior walls of our blood vessels and our internal organs. This is why reactive oxygen species are often referred to as “a Jekyll and Hyde”. Reactive oxygen species produced in the body, no matter how small in quantity, accumulate over long periods of time, and cause damage to the DNA of our cells’ nuclei. As a result, normal cells are unable to reproduce, and develop into cancer, and / or other serious diseases that are passed down to the next generation causing deformities.
Reactive oxygen species create peroxidized lipids
Reactive oxygen species in the blood vessels react with lipids to cause lipid peroxidation. These lipids stick to the blood vessel walls and make the vessels narrow and weak. As a result, progressive hardening of the arteries and narrowing of the blood vessels may increase the development of cerebral thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It can also lead to cerebral hemorrhage.

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