Checkout Secure

Have a Question? Call Us!

(720) 464-5733

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm MST

Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Cancer, and Aging: Here Is How They're All Linked

By Adam Trainor June 27, 2019

As we all know, oxygen is essential for (most) life.


...But were you aware that oxygen-containing radicals can be detrimental to your health and well-being?

Oxidative stress is a trending topic that has attracted a lot of attention and has been widely discussed recently in the media and the wider scientific community.

Oxidative stress has been identified as the root cause of most chronic disease- including cancer and the aging process itself.

Today we will be exploring:

• What exactly is oxidative stress

• How harmful it really is

• How it is linked to inflammatory disease, cancer, and aging.

Let's dive right in!

What Exactly is Oxidative Stress?

Let’s start with defining some key terms:

Oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.

Free radicals are something you probably haven't thought much about since high school chemistry...

A free radical is a molecule that has an unpaired electron. Electrons HATE being unpaired, and these free radicals will "steal" electrons from other molecules, wreaking all kinds of havoc.


Such species are mostly unstable and reactive, but they also can accept and donate electrons, therefore becoming oxidants and reductants.

They have a role in essential metabolic processes:

In low concentrations, they are involved in defending against microbial pathogens.

They are an important defense mechanisms for white blood cells, so while they can be harmful in some circumstances, they're also essential!

Our cells also use free radicals as important signalling molecules, but these typically exist in balance with naturally occurring antioxidants.

However, free radicals can also enter our body from the external environment. Smoking, pollution, ultraviolet light, and common (but toxic!) chemicals can all promote the accumulation of these free radicals- at greater levels than what our bodies are designed to handle.

So, while the production of free radicals is usually a natural process, external factors and genetics can cause an unnatural build-up of free radicals in your body.

External factors and genetics can cause a build-up of free radicals in the body. Smoking, pollution, ultraviolet light, and nasty chemicals can all promote their accumulation. 

Antioxidants, on the other hand, are stable molecules that can donate one of their electrons to the free radical, making it less damaging.


Antioxidants naturally occur in many vegetables and fruits – another great reason to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet!

What's the Connection Between Oxidative Stress and Inflammation, Cancer, and Aging?

So now you may be wondering:

How are these free radicals related to inflammation, or even cancer?

No worries:

Now we're going to discuss exactly how free radicals can harm our bodies..

Let’s dive deeper into how cellular oxidation, inflammation and cancer are all connected:

When the immune system interacts with antigens (harmful molecules that trigger the immune system response), reactive species (free radicals) are generated in response.

This leads to the production of cytokines and chemokines, which are important signaling molecules that can communicate with immune cells.

These are also precursor molecules for the inflammation response, which is the organism’s reaction to pathogens and physical damage. Once it is activated, the immune system keeps producing signaling molecules that trigger further free radical production.

These free radical species that containing oxygen are the main influencer molecules of the inflammatory response. Inflammation reactions continue until the damage is repaired and pathogens are no longer present, at which point free radical production is turned off.

However, if the inflammation becomes chronic, due to the long-term exposure to damaging environmental factors or an illness, free radicals are produced at a constant and unsustainable rate, exhausting your body’s antioxidant defense system. This leads to DNA damage, mutations in dividing cells, antioxidant depletion and an increase in growth factor production.

Repetitive mutation can lead to mutations in oncogenes (genes with the potential to cause cancer) and tumor growth, while growth factors can affect the growth pathways in cancer cells- leading to the uncontrolled growth of cells.


Thus, chronic inflammation is closely related to free radical production and is considered as a precursor for cancer development.

Chronic inflammation is closely related to free radical production and is considered as a precursor for cancer development.

A major free radical-producing organelle in the cell is the mitochondria (cell’s power generator) – yet, in an ironic twist of biology, mitochondria are also the organelle most susceptible to oxidative damage. 

Free radicals in a cell can also target and damage the cell membrane, proteins, and DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA is ten times more susceptible to such damage than nuclear DNA, and it has recently been discovered that mitochondria might be involved in carcinogenesis (the start of cancer formation), as it has been observed that mutations in some regions of mitochondrial DNA have been linked to various cancers.

If they attack nuclear DNA, free radicals can also activate proto-oncogenes (potential oncogenes) and inactivate tumor suppressor genes. They are also known to be a contributing factor to tumor vascularization. (Growing a blood supply is a crucial (and bad) step in tumor growth.) what’s the good news?

Well, if you could help support your body’s natural antioxidant system to buffer free radicals, you could interrupt the feedback loop of chronic inflammation, protecting your mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and preventing the mutation and growth of cancerous cells. 

It just so happens that molecular hydrogen has been shown to ramp up your body’s natural antioxidant production through activation of the NRF2 pathway.  


Ok So Cancer Makes Sense… But Do Free Radicals Make Us Age Faster?

There are two theories that explain the aging process: damage-accumulating and genetic.

The damage-accumulating theory has several possible reasonings; however, the free radical explanation appears to be the most elaborate and thorough.

The rationale is based on the fact that radicals produced during oxygen metabolism are accumulated over time.

Electrons that leak from the electron transport chain (how your cells make energy) interact with oxygen producing radicals, which can further damage mitochondria, DNA, and lipids (fats). Mitochondrial DNA damage accumulates over time, destroying the mitochondria, and therefore killing the cell and aging the organism.

To add credibility to the theory, the correlation between oxygen consumption and aging has been noticed in a variety of instances:

•  Queen bees live 50 times longer than working bees that fly actively and consume more oxygen

•  Larger animals that consume less oxygen per body unit live longer than smaller ones

•  Pigeons live 10 times longer than rats due to the slower generation of reactive species by their mitochondria

•  Species that live longer have better antioxidant protective mechanisms

    In humans, oxidative DNA damage can be measured by urinary tests and regulated with dietary and caloric adjustments. This is one of the reasons that fasting may be associated with longevity. It has been observed in many animals that enzymes from younger animals are more active and stable than those found in their older counterparts.

    The same pattern can be seen in mitochondria: they contain many enzymes involved in energy production, and it has been reported that the activity of those specific enzymes also decreases with age.

    Such changes can be linked to prolonged oxidative stress, and additional studies in0 animals report a decrease in antioxidant activity with increased age.

    These findings all help support the conclusion that protein damage by free radicals contributes to aging.


    To Sum It All Up…

    I hope that you were able to learn some fun new facts, but if you’re totally overwhelmed by all the scientific jargon, here are the key take-home messages to keep in mind:

    •  Reactive species are molecules with far-reaching effects

    •  Their accumulation and imbalance with antioxidants can lead to oxidative stress

    •  Oxidative stress has been scientifically proven to be linked with inflammation and tumor formation and is considered a precursor for cancer development

    •  Reactive species may also have a significant role in aging.

      The Bottom Line?

      To minimize the negative effects of oxidative stress, it’s always a good idea to:

          1. Incorporate some healthy greens and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet!


          2. Minimize the exposure to harmful environmental factors like smoking, pollution, EMF exposure, etc.;

          3. Support your body at the cellular level with Molecular Hydrogen tablets proven to neutralize harmful free radicals and boost the internal antioxidant system.

      For those of you who want to find out more about this topic, checking out the references for this article (below) is a great way to get started!


      Khansari, N., Shakiba, Y. and Mahmoudi, M. (2009). Chronic Inflammation and Oxidative Stress as a Major Cause of Age-Related Diseases and Cancer. Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery, 3(1), pp.73-80.

      Reuter, S., Gupta, S., Chaturvedi, M. and Aggarwal, B. (2010). Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: How are they linked?. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 49(11), pp.1603-1616.

      Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A. and Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants, and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 4(8), p.118.

      Aaronson, S. (1991). Growth factors and cancer. Science, 254(5035), pp.1146-1153.

      Honma, T., Tsuduki, T., Sugawara, S., Kitano, Y., Ito, J., Kijima, R., Tsubata, M., Nakagawa, K. and Miyazawa, T. (2013). Aging decreases antioxidant effects and increases lipid peroxidation in the Apolipoprotein E deficient mouse. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 52(3), pp.234-240.

      Older Post Newer Post


      Leave a comment

      Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


      I agree to subscribe to updates from Vital-Reaction -

      Why Use Molecular Hydrogen Tablets and Inhalation Machines?

      In the body, H2 molecular hydrogen eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and allowing the body to maintain optimal functionality and achieve balance.

      At Vital Reaction, our H2 supplement is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule, which works rapidly to promote wellness and balance within the body, without adversely affecting cell signaling.

      Moleculary Hydrogen, a unique antioxidant

      Molecular hydrogen (H₂) is a unique antioxidant with the potential to revolutionize the self-care industry. By boosting your intake of this ordinary element (made extraordinary through our availability technology), you can reap multiple benefits. In the body, H₂ molecular hydrogen eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and allowing the body to maintain optimal functionality and achieve balance.

      Due to its extremely small size and superb bioavailability, a hydrogen supplement easily and rapidly travels far and wide throughout the body. It’s able to cross cell membranes, penetrating well into the cytoplasm of your cells and mopping up rogue free radicals. H₂ is a molecular hydrogen antioxidant that also crosses the blood brain-barrier with ease, and accesses parts of the cell that other antioxidants are incapable of reaching.

      At Vital Reaction, our H₂ supplement is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule, which works rapidly to promote wellness and balance within the body, without adversely affecting cell signaling.

      Free Radicals Cannot Be Eliminated — But They Can Be Limited

      Free radicals are generated naturally — and inevitably — deep within our cells. They are a natural byproduct of the fundamental processes that enable us to generate energy from the foods we consume. There’s a reason we say we are “burning calories.” This energy-generating process literally uses oxygen to “burn” the molecules obtained from the food we ingest for fuel.

      This process generates free radicals. In some instances, the immune system uses these highly reactive and potentially damaging molecules to attack foreign invaders and maintain robust immune function — so free radicals are not entirely negative.

      As always, though, balance is everything. Many lifestyle activities — ranging from inactivity, to consuming fried foods, to avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables, to breathing polluted air — can affect one’s balance of antioxidants and free radicals.

      Social Proof buy Molecular Hydrogen Tablets at

      Molecular Hydrogen Tablets and Inhalation Machines From Vital Reaction

      Consumable H₂ molecular hydrogen from Vital Reaction affords you the opportunity to boost your supply of one of nature’s most versatile, potent antioxidants. It’s the natural way to combat inflammation and promote healthful balance.

      Vital Reaction offers high-quality molecular hydrogen products, including tablets and hydrogen inhalers. Tablets can be dissolved in drinking water for a quick boost, as part of your daily health regimen. With Vital Reaction, you get the most hydrogen per serving of any product on the market.

      The most powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, molecular hydrogen, offers these benefits:

    • Improve cognitive function
    • Reduce inflammation 
    • Promote cellular health
    • Increase energy
    • Have better skin health and tone
    • Improve sleeping patterns
    • Enhance athletic performance + decrease recovery time
    • Support healthy weight management
    • Hydrate at the cellular level
    • Prevent hangovers
    • Order Today

      Take charge of your health — and/or the health of your patients. Shop our molecular hydrogen supplements and inhalers today.

      Added to cart!
      Free shipping when you order over XX You Have Qualified for Free Shipping Spend $x to Unlock Free Shipping You Have Achieved Free Shipping You Have Achieved Free Shipping Free shipping when you order over XX ou Have Qualified for Free Shipping