What do we not know about free radicals?

Какво не знаем за свободните радикали?

What are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are atoms, groups of atoms, or molecules that contain at least one free electron in its outer orbit. Electrons are negatively charged particles that usually occur in pairs, forming chemically stable bonds. If the electron is free, another atom or molecule easily binds to it and causes a certain chemical reaction. Due to its chemical instability, each free radical is easily bound to other compounds. It attacks the closest molecule and takes away an electron, which in turn becomes a free radical. Once the process has begun, it can escalate into a difficult to control chain reaction and cause serious changes in the body, followed by numerous injuries.

Free radicals are normally present in the body and each of them exists for only a fraction of a second, but the damage they leave behind is irreversible. It is estimated that about 10,000 free radicals are produced daily in every cell of the body.

Factors leading to excess of free radicals

There are many different factors that can lead to excess free radicals. Exposure to radiation – solar or X-ray, tobacco smoke, car gases and last but not least nutrition. A fat-rich diet can increase the activity of free radicals because fat oxidation is much easier than carbohydrates and proteins. The presence of a dangerously high number of free radicals changes the way cells encode genetic material. The formation of mutated proteins damages the immune system and leads to the development of various types of cancer. Over time, the body begins to produce more free radicals, a fact that underlies one of the theories of aging as a process at molecular level. The radicals are unstable due to the presence of a single electron in the free electron pair formed. Therefore, any free radical is easily bound to other compounds. He is always looking for another atom or molecule from which to attach an electron. Due to their high reactivity, free radicals are considered to cause the development of degenerative diseases and cancer. Once inside the living cell, they can cause mutations or damage DNA.

The cause of cell aging

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Denham Harman of the University of Nebraska first argued that free radicals are an important, if not the, underlying cause of cellular aging and damage.

Every organism has the ability to protect against free radicals by enzymes that neutralize free radicals. Essentially, these enzymes represent the various antioxidants that attach to the highly reactive agents and dispose of them before attacking the free molecule. Antioxidants play the role of a target and their purpose is to protect their own cellular structures.

Antioxidants have the ability to deactivate free radicals.

When the body is in a normal state, it only controls the content of free radicals. A normal cell produces free radicals and antioxidants simultaneously and this process is controlled and controlled by information in the DNA. The task of any antioxidant in this regard is to prevent free radical damage long before it becomes a fact for the body. . Antioxidants are substances that protect and help to counteract the harmful effect of intracellular oxidative reactions. Free radicals are atoms with a missing electron in the electron shell. They are highly reactive and ready to form a new electron pair by attaching an electron from the surrounding atoms. This is the mechanism by which they affect the electrons of healthy cells, disrupt their integrity and turn them into free radicals. The division of radicals can be stopped only if there are antioxidants in the body to neutralize the radicals. The dying cells and the cells that multiply when they have already occurred are the cause of premature aging, decreased immunity and the development of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and many others. Antioxidants neutralize the harmful effects of oxidative reactions. All antioxidants work better in combination with other antioxidants, their synergistic effect is enhanced and more effective. If antioxidant levels are kept high enough, most free radicals can be neutralized before harming the body.