Redox degenerative reactions of the biological system inevitably produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their derivatives. Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance in pro-oxidant/antioxidant homeostasis that leads to the generation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide, organic hydro peroxides, nitric oxide, superoxide and hydroxyl radicals etc. Information are accumulating steadily, supporting the general importance of oxidative damage of tissue and cellular components as a primary or secondary causative factor in many different human diseases and aging processes. Many of the recent landmarks in scientific research have shown that in human beings, oxidative stress has been implicated in the progression of major health problems by inactivating the metabolic enzymes and damaging important cellular components, oxidizing the nucleic acids, leading to cardiovascular diseases, eye disorders, joint disorders, neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), atherosclerosis, lung and kidney disorders, liver and pancreatic diseases, cancer, ageing, disease of the reproductive system including the male and female infertility etc. The advent of a growing number of in vitro and in vivo models for evaluating the human disease pathology is aiding scientists in deciphering the detailed mechanisms of the point of intersection of the oxidative stress with other cellular components or events in the growing roadmap leading to different human disorders. The toxic effect of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in human is balanced by the antioxidant action of non-enzymatic antioxidants, as well as by antioxidant enzymes. Such antioxidant defences are extremely important as they represent the direct removal of free radicals (prooxidants), thus providing maximal protection for biological sites. These systems not only assert with the problem of oxidative damage, but also play a crucial role in wellness, health maintenance, and prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases. In this review we have tried to generate a gross picture on the critical role of ROS in deteriorating human health and the importance of antioxidative defense system in ameliorating the toxicity of ROS.
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