Free radicals are unstable molecules, atoms, or ions in the body which can cause the body harm.
Free radicals react quickly with other compounds and can damage the skin or the inside of the body. Free radical damage increases with age, but a healthy lifestyle and antioxidants can reduce the number of free radicals.
This article will include:
- Free radicals definition
- How antioxidants prevent free radical damage
- Products to fix free radical damage
Free radicals are formed when weak bonds break. Bonds connect the atoms that make up molecules. And cells, inside and out of the body, are made of different molecules.
In short, free radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron from interactions. In order to heal themselves, the free radicals react quickly to gain stability. Molecules are stable when the outer shell of an atom has 8 electrons. The free radical molecule will quickly attack the nearest stable, healthy molecule and steal one of their outer electrons, causing that molecule to now be a free radical. These stable molecules can be proteins, sugars, fatty acids, or something else within the body.
This process is then repeated in a chain reaction which damages the cell components. Vital organs are made up of cells, and the collective cells can become so damaged that the organ can stop working properly. Damage usually occurs when important cellular components like DNA or the cell membrane react with the free radicals. When cells contained damaged DNA they are not able to reproduce and communicate as effectively.
This is why free radical damage can speed up the aging process. Free radicals are also linked to liver damage from drinking and emphysema from smoking.
Free radical formation can be caused by extrinsic factors like air pollution, UV radiation, and cigarettes. Metabolism can naturally produce free radicals sometimes, also. However, the body’s immune system can create free radicals on purpose to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
Antioxidants are naturally found in the body and can also be found in certain foods. Antioxidants are important because they slow the oxidative damage to the body caused by free radicals.
Antioxidants act as scavengers to prevent cell and tissue damage. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage because they can donate electrons without becoming a free radical itself. This ends the chain reaction of electron stealing.
Vitamins C and E are antioxidants in the body which can prevent free radical damage. Vitamin C is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body found in citrus fruits and other sources. Vitamin E is the the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant and prevents free radicals because Vitamin E slows lipid peroxidation, which creates unstable molecules. Vitamin E also helps prevent heart disease by defending against LDL oxidation and artery-clogging plaque formation. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, vegetables, and fish.
Antioxidants can be found in:
- Berries: acai, pomegranate, and strawberry
- Vegetables: Carrots, squash, and broccoli
- Nuts and seeds
The acai berry is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants and can help counteract free radical damage. Acai is helpful to prevent free radical damage because it contains anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that provide free radicals with the extra electron. Preventing free radicals from forming in the body is one of many ways to keep skin looking healthy and young.
Dr. Perricone has formulated a Super Berry Powder with Acai that provides antioxidant protection to help defer the visible signs of aging. The acai supplement should be taken once a day mixed with water.
This supplement contains the following antioxidants:
- Acai has essential fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, and fiber.
- Blueberry speeds up brain function while encouraging youth and vitality.
- Raspberry, blackberry, cranberry have anti-inflammatory benefits and can help fight diseases and wrinkles.
When free radicals are unleashed, antioxidants help provide an armor to counteract the effects. How will you incorporate more antioxidants in your diet? Comment to tell us below.