We’ve all heard of vitamins and minerals being antioxidants, but what do antioxidants actually do?
Research has shown that antioxidants help in the prevention of many diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and many types of arthritis. They’re considered both nutrients in addition to enzymes. Antioxidants have been known to counteract the oxidation process caused in animal tissue.
What are free radicals?
They’re chemically active atoms, molecules, or fragments of molecules that have been known to cause multiple problems in the human body. They result due to a deficiency in the number of electrons. As such they’re able to penetrate the antioxidant defenses.
From a chemical explanation, free radicals have one or more unpaired electrons which make them unstable. The end game for them is to damage cells, proteins, and DNA (dioxyriboneucleic acid).
Have you ever wondered by apples or bananas turn brown or oils have a rancid odor?
That’s a direct result of free radicals doing their work.
Oxidative stress occurs when the production of harmful molecules called free radicals is beyond the [hmtad name=”Additional Ad Unit 12″ align=”floatright”]protective capability of the antioxidant defenses. Free radicals are chemically active atoms or molecular fragments that have a charge due to an excess or deficient number of electrons. Examples of free radicals are the Free radicals containing oxygen, But there is more to learn about free radicals such as additional examples. These can include the following:
- superoxide anion
- hydroxyl radical
- transition metals like iron and copper, nitric acid, and ozone.
Free radicals containing oxygen are referred to as reactive oxygen species (ROS). This type is considered to be the most biologically important of the free radicals. Reactive Oxygen Species is comprised of superoxide and hydroxyl radical. Additionally, this grouping contains other derivatives of oxygen which don’t contain unpaired electrons including hydrogen peroxide, singlet oxygen, and hypochlorous acid.
The roles antioxidants play in our everyday lives is a continuous battle against the free radicals that we’re exposed to on an everyday basis. Now, it’s impossible to eliminate free radicals to our daily routine because they develop both inside (endogenous) and outside (exogenous) the human body.
You’re probably familiar with the following processes normal aerobic respiration, metabolism, and inflammation. However, exogenous free radicals can develop as a result of environmental factors like pollution, sunlight, strenuous exercise, X-rays, smoking and alcohol. Because we’re not equipped with the ultimate antioxidant systems, some of our cell parts are damaged by oxidation.
This is where skin care manufacturers, health and nutrition companies play an important role. The research they perform in the areas of antioxidants and the battle against free radicals is important to our overall well being.
As we become more educated as to the benefits of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and the benefits that minerals provide, we begin to win the battle. Remember that antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions).
Antioxidants and foods have become an industry into themselves and continue to be developed.
Other articles you might enjoy would be an article on Red Light Therapy or the DPL Therapy System has been known to work with free radicals and antioxidants.