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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8416763, 13 pages
Review Article

Oxidative Stress: Harms and Benefits for Human Health

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Dentistry and Morphological and Functional Images, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Gabriele Pizzino; ti.eminu@onizzipgc

Received 26 May 2017; Accepted 5 July 2017; Published 27 July 2017

Academic Editor: Victor M. Victor

Copyright © 2017 Gabriele Pizzino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress is a phenomenon caused by an imbalance between production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species (ROS) in cells and tissues and the ability of a biological system to detoxify these reactive products. ROS can play, and in fact they do it, several physiological roles (i.e., cell signaling), and they are normally generated as by-products of oxygen metabolism; despite this, environmental stressors (i.e., UV, ionizing radiations, pollutants, and heavy metals) and xenobiotics (i.e., antiblastic drugs) contribute to greatly increase ROS production, therefore causing the imbalance that leads to cell and tissue damage (oxidative stress). Several antioxidants have been exploited in recent years for their actual or supposed beneficial effect against oxidative stress, such as vitamin E, flavonoids, and polyphenols. While we tend to describe oxidative stress just as harmful for human body, it is true as well that it is exploited as a therapeutic approach to treat clinical conditions such as cancer, with a certain degree of clinical success. In this review, we will describe the most recent findings in the oxidative stress field, highlighting both its bad and good sides for human health.