Free Radicals - How We Get Them and How We Stop Them
Free radicals can be a source of aging within our bodies. Because of this, we need a way to neutralize them.
They are produced within our body and are the byproduct of completely normal processes. They can be produced by digesting our food or even just breathing. They can also be produced from environmental factors such as smoking or air pollution.
Additional sources include chemicals, drugs (medical and recreational), tobacco (smoking and 2nd hand smoke), radiation, sunlight, exercise, internal metabolic processes, physical strains, stresses of all kinds (including mental and emotional), and electronic pollution (extra low frequencies called ELF's from computers, TV, power lines, microwaves, etc.) Also, toxins in our food (additives), water and air can cause them.
While these potentially destructive molecules may be a normal part of living, too many can cause many health problems.
What Exactly Is It?
They are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron. These oxygen molecules become unstable or reactive. They then take electrons from other healthy molecules, creating even more destructive molecules in the process. This causes oxidative damage to healthy cells.
The oxidataive damage can damage cell membranes, proteins and even genes. Oxidative damage is the breakdown of material by other molecules. An example would be when you see rust on the bumper of a car.
Oxidative damage in our bodies is said to accelerate the aging process and also be implicated in diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, strokes and cancer.
One of the cells in our body that is most damaged by this process is the collagen in our skin. Collagen is what plumps our skin, making it look youthful and firm. As collagen breaks down in our skin, we lose our youthful look.
Learn more about free radicals and inflammation
How Do We Address This Aging Process?
Antioxidants can neutralize the destructive molecules generated in our bodies. Antioxidants are vitamins and other substances that supply missing electrons for unstable molecules (free radicals) in order to prevent damage from external and internal sources.
Antioxidants stop them in their tracks! Some example of antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E and alpha-lipoic acid.
Antioxidants can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The more fruits and vegetables that we eat, the more antioxidants that we take into our bodies!