Antioxidant and free radicals (FR’s) go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to talk about one without the other.
And just a little heads up Kenko… fighting off free radicals is one of the many anti-aging secrets. By the end you’ll be bragging to everyone how much you know about antioxidants and free radicals. Let’s begin.
WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT? WHAT IS A FREE RADICAL?
To keep things simple, think of a story. Every story has a good guy and a bad guy. The bad guys in this story are the free radicals and the good guy is the antioxidants.
Free radicals are the little things which can cause damage to your cells, either by “breaking into” the outer protective layer or by “stealing” from other healthy cells.
Damage to your cells can cause damage to your organs, and damage to your organs can lead to serious health conditions (i.e. Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, inflammation).
You may be thinking, “Oh come on now… is it really possible for such a little thing to be able to cause this much damage?”
The Detective’s Determination… an unfortunate yes.
It’s interesting to know that not all free radicals are bad for you. Your body needs some in order to function normally. For example, they are needed to create melanin which is what gives skin its color.
But why would our bodies create such a harmful thing in the first place?
If you’re a normal, living human being that means chemical reactions are taking place in your body to produce energy to stay alive. And one of the side effects of these chemical reactions (to keep us alive, I remind you) are free radicals.
Some examples include when we metabolize food, Kenko whenever we breathe, and produce oxygen.
There is also another FR contribution to the body and it deals with the immune system. The immune system will create and use FR’s on purpose in order to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
These are just a few internal Kenko
For the most part FR’s can cause a lot of irreversible damage to the body.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON ANTIOXIDANTS AND FREE RADICALS
FR’s were first discovered by Dr. Denham Harman in 1954. He used his knowledge in human biology and ionization radiation to conclude that FR’s are the culprit behind premature aging and various degenerative diseases.
A common example of FR’s at work is when you get a sunburn.
Radiation from the sun contacts the skin. As more radiation hits the skin, the radiation causes mild “mutations” which basically means it’s creating more FR’s and damage. The redness you see afterwards occurs from a combination of the body trying to heal itself and free radical accumulation.
So when doctors talk about staying out of the sun to reduce the effects of aging, they’re basically referring to decreasing the amount of FR’s (which are caused by the sun’s radiation in this case). And to go a little deeper, one of the main causes of cancer is due to increasing amounts of FR damage to healthy cells.
IS THERE ONLY ONE KIND OF FREE RADICAL?
Good question because there are many different kinds, or species, of FR’s.
The most common, and damaging, type we deal with are the ones involving oxygen.
These are called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
No need to worry about memorizing any names. It’s just for your understanding and to make sure the skeptics know that FR’s exist and can do some serious damage to the body.