What exactly is a free radical?

In the simplest of terms free radicals, also known as Reactive Oxygen Species, are produced as byproducts of cellular metabolism. There are several types but all have oxygen as a common denominator. ROS act as chemical messengers doing some amazing things. But too much of a good thing can lead to cellular damage and cell death. Excess free radicals cause damage to our DNA and RNA, they oxidize polyunsaturated fatty acids, break down enzymes, and denature proteins along with amino acids. This leads to accelerated aging.

What increases free radical activity?

Sun exposure, environmental pollutants, smoking, stress, poor nutrition, too much sugar and the list goes on. I purposely left out drinking too much wine. 

What is our line of defense against free radical damage?


More on that later.

What exactly is a free radical?