Oxidations are chemical reactions under the consumption of oxygen. In the body, they are crucial, especially in connection with the energy production in glycolysis. The body's own oxidations produce oxidation waste, which is associated with aging processes and various diseases.

What is the oxidation?

Oxidations are chemical reactions under the consumption of oxygen. In the body, they are crucial, especially in connection with the energy production in glycolysis.

The term oxidation was coined by the chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier. He described the association of elements or chemical compounds with oxygen. Later, the term was extended to include reactions of dehydrogenation in which compounds are deprived of a hydrogen atom. Especially the dehydration is an important process of biochemistry.

For example, in biochemical processes, organic compounds are often deprived of hydrogen atoms by coenzymes such as NAD, NADP, or FAD. As an oxidation in the biochemistry ultimately an electron transfer reaction is known in which a reducing agent emits electrons to an oxidizing agent. The reducing agent is thus "oxidized".

Oxidations in the human body are basically associated with reduction reactions. This principle is described in the context of the redox reaction. Reductions and oxidations are thus always to be understood only as partial reactions of the common redox reaction. The redox reaction thus corresponds to a combination of oxidation and reduction which transfers electrons from the reducing agent to the oxidant.

In the narrower sense, any chemical reaction that consumes oxygen is called biochemical oxidation. In a broader sense, oxidation is any biochemical reaction involving electron transfer.

Function & Task

Oxidation corresponds to the emission of electrons. Reduction is the absorption of the released electrons. Together, these processes are referred to as the redox reaction and form the basis of every type of energy production. The oxidation thus releases the energy that is absorbed during the reduction.

Glucose is an easily stored energy source and at the same time an important building block for cells. Glucose molecules form amino acids and other vital compounds. The term glycolysis in biochemistry refers to the oxidation of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down in the body into their individual building blocks, ie glucose and fructose molecules.

Within cells, fructose is converted to glucose relatively quickly. In the cells, glucose of the empirical formula C6H12O6 is consumed under the consumption of oxygen of the molecular formula O2 for the production of energy, whereby carbon dioxide with the empirical formula CO2 and water with the formula H2O arise. This oxidation of the glucose molecule thus leads to oxygen and decomposes hydrogen.

The goal of any oxidation of this kind is the extraction of the energy supplier ATP. The described oxidation takes place for this purpose in the cytoplasm, in the mitochondrial plasma and in the mitochondrial membrane.

In many contexts, oxidation is called the basis of life, as it guarantees the production of endogenous energy. Within the mitochondria a so-called oxidation chain takes place, which is crucial for the metabolism of humans, because all life is energy. Living beings operate metabolism to generate energy and thus to ensure survival.

In the oxidation within the mitochondria in addition to the reaction product energy but also oxidation waste. This waste corresponds to chemically active compounds that are considered free radicals and are kept in check by the body through enzymes.

Diseases & complaints

Oxidation in the sense of a degradation of high-energy to low-energy compounds occurs with energy production continuously in the human body. The oxidation is used in this context of energy production and takes place in the mitochondria, which are also referred to as small power plants of the cells. The body's own high-energy compounds are stored in the body as ATP after this type of oxidation.

The energy source for oxidation is the food that requires oxygen to be converted. This type of oxidation produces aggressive radicals. The body normally captures these radicals by means of protective mechanisms and neutralizes them. One of the most important protective mechanisms in this context is the activity of non-enzymatic antioxidants. Radicals without these substances would attack the human tissue and inflict lasting damage on the mitochondria in particular.

High levels of physical and mental stress increase metabolism and oxygen consumption, leading to increased radical formation. The same applies to inflammation in the body or exposure to external factors such as UV radiation, radioactive rays and cosmic radiation or environmental toxins and cigarette smoke.

Protective antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids or selenium are no longer able to counteract the harmful effects of radical oxidation when exposed to increased levels of radical damage. This scenario is associated with both natural aging and pathological processes, such as the development of cancer.

Malnourishment, poison consumption, radiation exposure, extensive sports, mental stress and acute and chronic illnesses therefore result in more free radicals than the body could handle. Free radicals have either one electron too much or too little. To compensate, they try to take away electrons from other molecules, which can lead to the oxidation of endogenous components such as lipids within the membrane.

Free radicals can cause mutations in nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA. In addition to cancer and the aging process, they are linked as a causal factor with arteriosclerosis, diabetes, rheumatism, MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease and immune deficiency or cataracts and high blood pressure.

Free radicals cross-link [protein]] e, sugar proteins and other basic substance components with each other, thus making the removal of acid metabolic waste more difficult. The milieu becomes more and more favorable for pathogens, because above all the connective tissue "acidifies".

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