Studies show free radicals contribute to cancer, osteoarthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even dementia. In fact, nearly every degenerative disease afflicting humanity is caused, in some part, by free radicals.
That’s why the free radicals theory of ageing suggests eliminating free radicals from your body can keep you healthier for longer.
What exactly is the free radical theory of ageing? What are free radicals and how do they affect cells? We dive into all of your questions here.
What Are Free Radicals?
It’s time to take a chemistry lesson. Atoms make up everything, right? Each atom is surrounded by what’s called “shells” that are each filled by a set number of electrons. This number varies depending on the type of atom involved.
Once a shell is filled up with electrons, electrons continue to fill the next shell. Since each shell holds a set number of electrons, they want their shells to fill up entirely. So the atom may bond with another atom with a corresponding amount of electrons, so the shell is full.
When the outermost shell is full, that’s a good thing. It means the atom is stable. When the outermost shell isn’t completely full, it’s considered a free radical.
These atoms with half-empty shells try to bond with anything near them. They’re erratic, and they react quickly with other substances.
When it comes to free radicals and your body, we’re mostly concerned with the molecule oxygen. Free radical oxygen molecules are missing electrons, and they try to bond with other atoms.
When this continues, it causes something called oxidative stress. Over time, this breaks down your cells at a faster rate.
How Do Free Radicals Affect Cells?
Free radicals cause instability in your cells’ own electrons, which causes them to degenerate. It even affects the way our DNA naturally repairs itself.
This, in turn, contributes to a lot of well-known diseases that plague our modern lives, like dementia, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and much more.
Since the cells are damaged, and the oxidative stress means they can’t repair themselves as easily, the diseases progress.
What’s the Free Radicals Theory of Aging?
The free radical theory of ageing was founded in the 1950s by Denham Harman. Studies show that as we get older, there are more free radicals and more oxidative stress built up in our bodies. This further causes cells to break down rapidly. Skin loses its elasticity, and cells are less able to fight and repair the damage.
The free radical theory of ageing argues that ageing comes down to a result of cumulative oxidative stress, free radicals, and the damage they cause.
In studies on subjects like fruit flies, mice, nematodes and yeast, that proved to be the case. Subjects with fewer free radicals lived longer.
Why Are Antioxidants Important?
Antioxidants do exactly as their name implies. They counteract oxidants.
When added to your body, antioxidants can counteract free radicals. They contribute extra electrons, thus minimizing the damage a free radical can wreak on your body.
Normally, this would mean the antioxidant would become a free radical too, but that’s what makes antioxidants special. They can safely donate electrons without becoming a free radical.
Antioxidants are often found both in supplements, but also in many natural foods, like berries, fruits, and carrots. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants may help counteract the damage wrought by free radicals.
However, many studies are still out about how effective supplemental antioxidants can be.
What Causes Free Radicals?
There are a few causes of free radicals. The most common are smoking, eating fried food, pollution, alcohol, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Research is still out on how well antioxidants actually work to remove free radicals. So the best way to prevent them is by avoiding exposure to their causes in the first place.
How Can I Get Rid of Free Radicals?
Many studies on free radicals still show mixed results so the best way to prevent free radicals is to avoid them in the first place. Don’t smoke, limit alcohol intake, eat healthy foods, and avoid highly polluted areas.
But on top of that, you can try supplementing your diet with antioxidants or try a supplement like Marine Nature’s Fuccoimmune. It works to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.
Free Radicals Are Only Part of the Problem
In the endless quest for long life and the fountain of youth, free radicals are only part of the problem. While doing what you can to eliminate free radicals is a good idea, you should still focus on other areas of your health.
These are choices like drinking water, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, exercising, and reducing stress. You know what it takes to live a healthy life, and these actions will likely help the most.
The Free Radicals Theory of Aging Shows How You Stay Looking Younger for Longer
Now that you understand how the free radicals theory of ageing can show how free radicals can affect your lifespan, you can learn how to fight it and get a longer, healthier life. Eat a healthy diet, especially foods rich in antioxidants, and consider a supplement that will help eliminate free radicals.
Free radicals are only one part of the ageing process. Take care of your body so it’ll be around to take care of you.
Curious if our products can help you fight free radicals? They can! Contact us today with any questions.