How Do Antioxidant Vitamins Stabilize Free Radicals? (Anti Aging Q&A)

Have you heard the words antioxidant and free radicals but are not sure what they are?

Do you know about the damage your health and skin can suffer due to oxidative stress but don’t know why?

Have you ever wondered why antioxidants are so good for your health?

If you have ever asked yourself these questions but never got clear answers, you can get your queries sorted out today. We are talking about free radicals and antioxidants, and how our bodies can get damaged by one, and be protected by the other.

We talk about how our bodies produce or get free radicals, and what these free radicals can do to damage our overall health. We also talk about how antioxidants can help to prevent this damage and why they are good for us.

Do read on till the end to see some of the best sources of antioxidants that you can include in your diet, to keep yourself safe and protected against the free radical damage.

How can people benefit from understanding what free radicals and antioxidants are?

Free radicals and antioxidants are two different entities altogether, and have very different effects on our bodies and on our overall health. It is important to understand the difference between these two, so that you know when to take precaution and when to visit a doctor.

What are free radicals? How are they formed, and where can we find them? 

Free radicals are groups of atoms, ions and even molecules that have an unpaired electron. The presence of the unpaired electron makes it difficult for them to remain stable, and this unstableness makes them extremely reactive.

Look at the following steps to see how a free radical is formed.

how do antioxidant vitamins stabilize free radicals
  • The chemical behaviour of an atom depends upon the number of electrons that it contains in its outermost shell.
  • When this outermost shell becomes full, the atom becomes unstable and may stop taking part in any of the required chemical reactions. Even if it does, the engagement is not as it should be.
  • When the outermost shell of the atom is not full, it becomes unstable, and tries to get stable by exchanging an electron to either fill the empty space or empty a full space.
  • When there are an uneven number of electrons present, the one electron that does not form part of a pair becomes chemically reactive.

Here are some more ways in which free radicals are formed in your body:

how do antioxidant vitamins stabilize free radical
  • Free radicals can form either on their own, spontaneously, or due to exposure to light, heat or absolutely anything else in the environment.
  • In some cases, your body’s immune system can also create free radicals out of its own choice, in an attempt to neutralize the effects of any virus or bacteria.
  • Free radicals can sometimes also be a part of the process of cellular metabolism that occurs in your body.
  • Inflammation, stress, ageing and any other form of illness can also give rise to free radicals.
  • Also, if you are regularly exposed to toxic environmental sources such as cigarette smoke, pollution, toxic fumes, toxic metals, industrial chemicals, alcohol, medications, radiation and so on, you can be exposed to free radicals.

Free radicals are found in the cells of our bodies.

Do all of us have free radicals? How do they affect the body?

It is not possible, nor feasible, to completely avoid free radicals in your body. When you have some amount of free radicals in your body, it is actually a good thing, as your immune system makes use of these free radicals to protect itself against any pathogens that may be present.

When the free radicals go out of control and grow large in number, they can damage our bodies in a number of ways:

how do antioxidant vitamins that stabilize free radicals
  • The chain reaction of the free radicals can damage and break the cell membranes and also damage the molecular structure. In such a situation, the molecules that are damaged can start to mutate and become tumours. In severe cases, this can also change the original code of the DNA.
  • Free radical damage can also cause oxidative stress. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to various serious health complications such as Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, arthritis, some types of cancers, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, lupus and more.
  • These can also be the cause of premature ageing.

What are antioxidants? How do they react with free radicals? Is this reaction good for the body? 

An antioxidant is a type of molecule that helps to stop the oxidation of other types of molecules. It helps to stop oxidative stress, which happens when your body goes through free radical damage.

Here is a look at how the antioxidants react with the free radicals in your body and keep you protected.

what are antioxidants
  • Vitamins C and E, that are powerful antioxidants, can help to protect your body from the very damaging effects of free radical damage.
  • Antioxidants give away one of their own electrons to the free radicals, and in a way help in neutralizing the damaging effect that the free radicals can otherwise have on your body.
  • This giving away of the electron to the free radical helps to stop the chain reaction in which the free radicals are constantly trying to take away or give away an electron to work out the uneven number.
  • The antioxidants help to prevent your cells and tissues from damage as a reaction of the free radical damage.
  • Vitamin E is one of the most potent forms of protection that your body can get against free radical damage and oxidative stress.
  • Vitamin C is one of the most potent forms of protection your body can get against the free radical damage that is caused as a result of exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution.

What are three excellent sources of antioxidants? 

Three of the most excellent sources of antioxidants that can help to protect your body against free radical damage and oxidative stress include prunes, raisins and blueberries.

sources of antioxidants

Prunes are one of the highest sources of antioxidants as only about half a cup of prunes can give you about 7291 total antioxidants, which is a big number and can help in preventing a host of health issues.

A similar serving of raisins has about 2490 total antioxidants, which can not only protect your body against free radical damage but also help to make your eyesight better.

Blueberries has one of the highest amount of antioxidants in them, and wild blueberries can give you about 13,427 total antioxidants in a cup, whereas the type that is farmed will give you about 9019 total antioxidants in a cup.

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