What are free radicals?
The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many others. They also may have a link to ageing, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage, according to Christopher Wanjek, the Bad Medicine columnist for Live Science. Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink. According to Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University, these substances include fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollutants.