Free radicals are defined as atoms that are unstable. If the outer shell of an atom is missing an electron it will try to steal one by bonding with another atom.
Oxidative stress is a process where oxygen molecules split into atoms with missing electrons that become free radicals. They then try to bond with other molecules or atoms in the body. The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA and leading to a host of diseases and symptoms of aging.
Free radicals are the natural byproducts of chemical processes, such as metabolism. Free radicals as waste products from various chemical reactions in the cell that when built up, harm the cells of the body and yet free radicals are essential to life. The body’s ability to turn air and food into chemical energy depends on a chain reaction of free radicals. Free radicals are also a crucial part of the immune system, floating through the veins and attacking foreign invaders.
Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink. These substances include fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollutants.
When free radicals are formed, a chain reaction can occur. The first free radical pulls an electron from a molecule, which destabilizes the molecule and turns it into a free radical. That molecule then takes an electron from another molecule, destabilizing it and tuning it into a free radical. This domino effect can eventually disrupt and damage the whole cell.
The free radical chain reaction may lead to broken cell membranes, which can alter what enters and exits the cell. The chain reaction may change the structure of a lipid, making it more likely to become trapped in an artery. The damaged molecules may mutate and grow tumors. As well as DNA code may change.
Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals and too much cellular damage and is associated with damage of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Oxidative stress plays a role in the development of many conditions, including macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, emphysema, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ulcers and all inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and lupus.
Free radicals are also associated with aging. Free radicals can damage DNA’s instructional code, causing our new cells to grow incorrectly, leading to aging, causing a cross-linking and hardening of the fibers, resulting in a lack of firm cushion for the layers above. Due to both internal and external factors, circulation slows and depletes the level of nourishment via blood flow, to the lower layers of the epidermis.
Antioxidants keep free radicals in check. Antioxidants are molecules in cells that prevent free radicals from taking electrons and causing damage. It able to give an electron to a free radical without becoming destabilized themselves and stopped the free radical chain reaction.
Our body produces some antioxidants on its own, but an insufficient amount. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants (too many free radicals and too few antioxidants).
Antioxidants are natural substances whose job is to clean up free radicals. Just like fiber cleans up waste products in the intestines, antioxidants clean up the free radical waste in the cells.
Antioxidants can be acquired through diet. They are plentiful in fruits and vegetables, especially colorful fruits and vegetables; some examples include berries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, nuts and green tea. Well-known antioxidants include beta-carotene and other carotenoids, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene and other phytonutrients.
Protecting your skin from the sun and pollution is a great preventative method in the production of free radicals.
Although your body naturally produces antioxidants, nutrition and skincare ingredients high in antioxidants are vital in supporting cells and preventing cell damage, premature aging and restoring health and balance.
Antioxidants can improve cell function, increase collagen production, improve elasticity, create healthier, younger skin cells and reduce sun damage, but the improvement takes time. The more potent antioxidants you use, the healthier and younger you will be.