What are Free Radicals

Everyone has to deal with free radicals. Nevertheless, not everyone knows exactly what they are. And why, for example, it is so important to be aware of it. With that in mind, we therefore dive deeper into everything that has to do with free radicals.

What are Free Radicals?

Before we start lets answer the basic questions about free radicals.

Free radicals can actually be described as mainly ‘bad’ forms of oxygen. It’s about
highly reactive, unstable molecules. These molecules live only a few
second, but can potentially do some serious harm.
The lack of one electron makes them unstable . Due the unsuitability they are constantly looking for the electron of other atoms or molecules to become stable again.

This process will cause harm to healthy cells.

We should
mention that they sometimes also play a positive role. For example
with regard to cleaning up viruses and/or waste after a
intense sports session.

There are various
ways free radicals form in the body:

·      Metabolism: Free-radicals are a by-product of the normal metabolism that occurs in the human body. The production of energy requires to burn food. In this process free radicals are created that potentially cause damage. It makes no difference if you have a very ‘good’
metabolism or a poor one.

·       Alcohol consumption: High alcohol consumption increase the amount of freeradicals in the body. This results in oxidative stress. The liver is one of the places we know alcohol can cause serious harm.

·       Smoking: Roughly the same applies to smoking as to alcohol consumption. Smoking is bad for the human body and produces a
increase in the number of free radicals. This again creates oxidative
stress. High oxidative stress makes it harder to absorb important vitamins and minerals.

·       Stress: Stress is one of the biggest causes of a
increase in the number of freeradicals. The human body can handle short periods of stress. But does stress occur too frequent and/or too long?
This will lead to oxidative stress. In no time, the
amount of free radicals increase in the body.

·       UV-radiation: Finally, UV radiation also plays a role. It is well known that prolonged exposure of your skin to UV radiation is not advisable, as it can lead to skin burns. However, even before reaching that point, it results in an increase in the number of free radicals.

So, there are numerous ways in which an excess of free radicals can potentially occur, especially when there is a combination of factors.

Diffrent free radicals 

In addition, it’s not the case that there is only one form of free radicals. In practice, multiple types are active. These include:

  • Singlet oxygen: When an oxygen molecule has split into individual atoms with unpaired electrons.
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Superoxides
  • Hydroxyl ions

The negative effects

Especially when we are talking about an excessive amount of free radicals, there are a large number of negative effects. It’s not without reason that there is so much interest in these atoms.

Fundamentally, it boils down to the fact that free radicals essentially attack DNA and lipids. DNA is one of the most crucial molecules in our body. Due to these continuous “attacks,” DNA can provide incorrect information during cell division. And the damaged lipids are no longer capable of providing energy and supporting the building and protection of cells. This, in turn, leads to even more significant problems.

For example, they can lead to:

  • Aging: The more “mistakes” there are in your DNA, the faster you age. These mistakes lead to various problems throughout your entire body. The same principle applies to lipid damage. They make your body operate much less efficiently as a whole. Over time, the number of errors continues to accumulate. Ultimately, this results in you aging faster and faster.

     

  • Weakened immune system:One of the consequences is also that you experience a weakened immune system. As mentioned earlier, free radicals interfere with various processes, and the protection of cells in the body is one of them. Free radicals make you more susceptible to getting sick quickly and increase the risk of more severe illnesses.

     

  • Cardiovascular diseases: Think, for example, of heart and vascular diseases. As a result of oxidative stress, it is quite possible for blood vessels to show damage or for the heart itself to eventually face difficulties.

     

  • Cancer: The development of cancer is often directly related to the presence of too many free radicals. Due to the ineffective proteins resulting from DNA damage, genes that suppress and prevent tumors may mutate in some cases. Along with the damage to other genes, this can potentially lead to the formation of a cancer cell.

     

  • Damage to the nervous system: Finally, there is the damage to the nervous system. This is also a direct consequence of DNA damage and all that it entails. It can potentially lead to muscle paralysis.

And there are many other negative effects that occur in the human body as well. It is clear that it is worthwhile to counteract an excessive amount of free radicals.

It’s good to know that it is indeed possible to do so in practice.

Free radicals cartoon

How to counteract free radicals?

First and foremost, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle. If you are someone who smokes, drinks a lot, and doesn’t pay much attention to UV radiation, there’s a lot of ground to be gained in those areas automatically.

But what many people may not know is that antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals. Vitamins A, Vitamin E, and carotene are very useful antioxidants in this regard. Sources rich in these antioxidants include brightly colored fruits and vegetables. They are also commonly found in various herbs and organ supplements. Liver, for example, contains a high amount of vitamin A, and beef heart is packed with Coenzyme Q10.

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What are Free Radicals

Everyone has to deal with free radicals. Nevertheless, not everyone knows exactly what they are. And why, for example, it is so important to be aware of it. With that in mind, we therefore dive deeper into everything that has to do with free radicals.

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