Free radicals – what effects they have and how you protect yourself

Free radicals - what effects they have and how you protect yourself

Free radicals are considered dangerous substances that cause us to age prematurely and make us weak and sick. But what’s really going on with the chemical compounds?

What are free radicals??

Free radicals are compounds that have an unpaired electron. This means that they lack an electron, so to speak. So they are incomplete and therefore unstable. In order to regain a stable state, they want to react with other substances as quickly as possible and snatch an electron from them. The most important representative of this group is the oxygen radical. By reacting with other compounds, further radicals are formed. This can trigger a number of chain reactions.

By free radicals snatching an electron from other chemical compounds, essential components of a cell can be damaged, which severely limits cell function. Damage to the DNA of a cell is particularly problematic. The damage is passed on during cell division so that entire tissues can be affected.

However, a certain amount of free radicals is important for the body. They fulfill an important function for the organism by acting as a means of immune system can be used against foreign substances. Free radicals attack bacteria and viruses, for example, and destroy the pathogens.

However, if the proportion of oxygen radicals is too high, one speaks of "oxidative stress". The resulting cell damage can lead to premature aging and promote the development of diseases such as cancer, arteriosclerosis or Alzheimer’s.

What causes free radicals??

The numerous health disadvantages of smoking are due, among other things, to the generation of a large amount of free radicals.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / geralt)

Free radicals arise in all human cells. On the one hand, this is triggered by various reactions in the body, for example in mitochondria and microsomes. External factors that contribute to the formation of radicals include UV light, heat, radiation, as well pollutants and poisons.

A very high proportion of free radicals and the resulting oxidative stress is favored by the following factors:

A lot of free radicals are created, especially when stress hormones are broken down. This can be mental stress, such as depression. But physical stress during extremely long and exhausting sports activities is also a serious cause.

The antagonists of free radicals: antioxidants

Berries contain many valuable phytonutrients.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures)

So-called antioxidants react with the incomplete oxygen compounds. This prevents oxidation and can neutralize the free radicals again. This is why they owe their nickname "radical scavenger".

On the one hand, they are formed by the body itself, for example in the form of enzymes or hormones. Antioxidants that are ingested through food include:

The effect is not caused by an isolated antioxidant, but by the interaction in an antioxidant network.

Fresh fruits and vegetables in particular contain many antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various phytochemicals. These are often stuck in or directly under the bowl, which is why you should eat them as much as possible. Other foods that are rich in antioxidant substances are Herbs, cores and nuts, cocoa, coffee, as well as certain teas.

With a balanced and healthy diet, you will automatically consume enough antioxidants. A feed using Dietary supplements is therefore not necessary. On the contrary, an overdose of antioxidants can even have a negative impact on health!

How dangerous are free radicals really?

An overdose of some vitamins and minerals can also have a dangerous effect on the organism. Therefore, only take additional preparations under medical supervision!
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / stevepb)

In 1956 the "Theory of Free Radicals" set up by the American Denham Harman. This states that free radicals promote the aging process by damaging cell components. This leads to premature aging. The model is also used to explain the development of various diseases.

This theory still wrongly upgrades free radicals to dangerous substances that can dramatically shorten our lives. This myth comes first of all Dietary supplements-Industry to the benefit of those with high doses Vitamin preparations promises a long and happy life. However, too many antioxidants can make us sick because free radicals have important functions for our immune system.

However, if the proportion of free radicals is constantly increasing, it has now been scientifically proven that the risk of various diseases increases drastically. confirms this, for example, for the neurological diseases Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Conclusion: the dose makes the poison!

As is so often the case, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between free radicals and antioxidants. Both fulfill important functions in the body, but can have negative effects in too large an amount.

With a healthy lifestyle, however, your body will create this balance all by itself. You should be on one balanced nutrition, adequate sports activities, space for Relaxation, as well as serenity and satisfaction. You should avoid negative influences from smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, constant pressure to perform or stress and unnecessary vitamin tablets.

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