Monday, August 18, 2008

What Are Free Radicals?

Adapted from an article in The Share Guide July/August 2008 by Gary Null, Ph.D.

Free radicals are molecules that have an unpaired electron, which makes them capable of damaging cells, tissues, and organs. These dangerous molecules can weaken many vital aspects of body functioning, including our cardiovascular, neurological, and immune systems.

A growing body of research shows that free radicals contribute to the aging process and to a long list of disorders, including heart disease and cancer, which now rank as two of the leading killers in our society.

The Origin of Free Radicals
Once a free radical if formed, it will try to restore its balance by stealing an electron from another molecule. Every time a molecule loses an electron, it may damage a healthy molecule in the process. As a result, the body's normal function will be impaired. A single free radical can destroy an enzyme, a protein molecule, or an entire cell.

Free radicals can stem from external pollutants or from our internal biochemical processes. The main sources are the environment, internal production, and pathology, stressors on the body systems.

The environment is full of toxins that either contain free radicals themselves, or generate free radicals after we breathe or swallow the substances. Free radicals form chain reactions. An initial free radical may form a second unbalanced free radical, which produces a third, and so on. If this chain reaction is not stopped, cellular damage may occur.

Assisting The Body's Defense Mechanisms
We must continually strive to balance the events taking place in the molecules of our bodies. The foods we eat and the drinks we drink are our first line of defense against free radicals, because they provide the body with nutritional support. We must obtain an adequate supply of the vitamins that contribute to the body's defenses against oxidant imbalance.
We need to take antioxidants, most commonly vitamins C, E, and A, such as those found in One Natural Experience drinks: O.N.E. Amazon Acai and O.N.E. Cashew Fruit...

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