An Introductory Guide to the Free Radical Theory of Aging

By: Adrian Cruce

What causes aging? It’s a mystery that many of you want to figure out. By understanding how you age, you could make lifestyle adjustments to help reduce the effects of aging. That way, you could live longer while feeling good.

That’s where the free radical theory of aging becomes important. While it’s only a piece of the aging puzzle, it may help us understand part of why we age.

Keep reading to learn more about the free radical theory of aging. You’ll find out how free radicals and aging and how potentially get rid of free radicals.

What Are Free Radicals and How Do They Affect You?

To understand free radicals, you’ll need to understand basic information about atoms. Electrons should orbit every atom in various layers. These are called outer shells. These shells need a set number of electrons to fill them.

When a shell fills to its max, electrons will fill the next atom’s outer shell. When atoms don’t have full shells, they’ll attempt to make up for their loss of electrons by bonding with another atom. Free radicals are unstable atoms that don’t have full shells.

When they attempt to bond with other atoms, they’ll react with other substances. This effect causes oxidative stress.

Why Do We Age?

Oxidative stress can damage your DNA, cells, and proteins. Because of these events, these damages can play a role in aging, among other health conditions. Other factors that contribute to aging involve:

  • Cellular aging: cell damage increases as we get older, which causes cells to lose functionality
  • Loss of collagen: this structural protein is responsible for skin elasticity and firmness; without it, our skin wrinkles
  • Damage-related: some examples involve malnutrition, ultraviolet radiation exposure, air pollution, and more
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Along with these factors, various other damage theories—cellular changes— exist. Some include the rate-of-living, genome instability, and mitochondrial theories.

What Is the Free Radical Theory of Aging?

The free radical theory of aging states that changes to our bodies over the years are a result of damage caused by free radicals. As we get older, this damage accumulates and causes us to age.

How To Get Rid of Free Radicals?

The biggest way you can get rid of free radicals is to eat foods rich in antioxidants. This chemical helps neutralize free radicals, which helps stop them from causing cellular damage.

You can find these chemicals in selenium, vitamins E, C, and A, polyphenols, and certain phytonutrients.

To help get you some of these vitamins and minerals, you can opt for supplements. Look here for supplements that include 17 antioxidants from natural sources.

Help Mitigate the Damage Free Radicals Do to Your Body

While various factors contribute to aging, the free radical theory of aging brings points out that free radicals can cause much damage if not addressed. To help mitigate the damages, ensure you’re getting adequate antioxidants.

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