YES! Most aging experts would put the blame squarely on:
FREE RADICALS AND THE DAMAGE THEY CREATE!
No, not those aging left-wing radicals from the Berkeley campus of the 60’s, but something that your body produces all the time! In fact, in just the short time you have been reading this article, you have been producing a large number of them. Even the very act of breathing creates them!
What Are Free Radicals?
To answer this question I’m going to take you back to Chemistry 101 and a little bit of Biology 102. You are made up of cells. Cells are composed of many different types of molecules, and molecules consist of one or more atoms that are joined by chemical bonds.
In simple terms, an atom consists of a nucleus, neutrons, protons and electrons. Protons are in the nucleus, and the electrons orbit around the nucleus. It is the electrons that are involved in chemical reactions and chemical bonds.
Atoms like stability. To be stable they usually need an even number of electrons in their outer orbit. Thus, an atom will try to fill the outer orbit by either:
For example, an oxygen atom bonds with another oxygen atom to form an oxygen molecule. In respiration, the oxygen molecule splits to create two unstable oxygen atoms or free radicals. These unstable oxygen atoms will react quickly (within nanoseconds) with other molecules. They will try to steal an electron to regain stability. These “attacked” molecules now become free radicals. This begins a chain reaction that can result in the disruption of a living cell. This disruption or damage is what is generally believed to be the main factor in aging.
What Factors Cause Them To Form?
There are a wide range of factors. However, most of them are created in the oxidative process of living. Oxygen is an absolute necessity to life. Yet oxygen also has a dark side to it. Involved in all oxidative processes within the body is the splitting of the oxygen molecule. This creates unstable oxygen atoms which rapidly react with the molecules around them to create additional free radicals and tissue damage.
Another factor that creates them is radiation, whether from the sun or from medical x-rays. Exposure to environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke and automobile exhaust will create them.
Your diet can also be a major contributor to the formation of free radicals, especially a diet high in fat. Why? Because the oxidative process occurs more readily in fat molecules than it does in carbohydrate and protein molecules! This also means that cooking and frying foods in fats at high temperatures produces large numbers of these unstable atoms and molecules.
As you can see, you cannot escape them. Even if you lived in a smoke-free, pollutant-free, fat-free environment with no exposure to the sun or other radiant factors, you still need to breathe. Free radicals and their resulting damage is a part of life and a part of aging.
Free Radical Damage!
Their damage varies from mild to significant depending on various factors. The article, “ANTIOXIDANTS Our Heroes of Life!” will help show how important antioxidants are in reducing this damage. If left unchecked, this damage can cause major health and aging problems such as:
That’s the bad news. The good news is that technology now exists to directly help the skin’s natural antioxidants to regain their ability to offset this damage. This allows you to restore your skin to a natural, healthy and vibrant look.
Fair And Balanced
Just like the Fox News Corporation, I need to be fair and balanced in my reporting. While the vast majority of free radicals have a negative effect on the body, they also play a significant role in our health. For example, when produced by the immune system they are used to destroy viruses and bacteria. Some are needed for the production of certain hormones and enzymes. Additionally, they are needed for energy production. However, when left unchecked they can cause numerous health issues and cause us to age rapidly. Just ask the fellow at the top of our article.
Until next time, may we both age youthfully!
P.S. I would recommend the following articles to help you understand this dynamic as you build an effective anti aging strategy that improves your overall health and wellness:
The information contained in this website and posted articles are for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this website and posted articles has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.