Free radicals are atoms, molecules, or ions that have one or more unpaired electrons in their outermost shell, making them highly reactive causing damage to cells and tissues in the body.
Too many free radicals in the body can lead to a condition called oxidative stress, which is associated with various health problems and can make you feel unwell. Symptoms of oxidative stress can include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
In addition to causing direct damage to cells and tissues, free radicals can also trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can further exacerbate the symptoms of oxidative stress. Free radicles can be generated by normal cellular processes, such as metabolism and immune system function, as well as by exposure to external sources such as:
Free radicals can contribute to health conditions such as:
Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize free radicals:
Antioxidants help prevent the damage they cause. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as other healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise and avoiding smoking, can help reduce the negative effects of free radicals on the body.
There are several supplements that contain antioxidants.
1. Vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
2. Vitamin E: This fat-soluble vitamin is another potent antioxidant that helps to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage.
3. Selenium: This mineral is an essential component of many antioxidant enzymes in the body, and helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.
4. Coenzyme Q10: This molecule is a powerful antioxidant that is found in many cells in the body, particularly in the mitochondria.
5. Alpha-lipoic acid: This is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage and also helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body.
6. Flavonoids: These are a group of plant compounds such as resveratrol and grape seed extract that have strong antioxidant properties. Examples include quercetin, catechins, and anthocyanins.
It's important to note that while antioxidant supplements can be helpful, it's generally best to get your antioxidants from a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.