Free Radicals and Aging

Topics: DNA, Senescence, Oxidative stress Pages: 2 (445 words) Published: May 6, 2013
+As we struggle to keep up with the latest techniques and technologies that offer a glimmer of hope to the at-long-last metaphorical discovery of the fabled “fountain of youth”, the informative materials available to one who may be interested in experimenting with the boundaries of age can often be intimidating in that they are vague, jargon-filled, lofty in style and challenging to understand. One term particularly that may frequent the ears of a so-seeker would be the term “free radicals”. While our brain (serving just one of its many essential functions) processes the characters in the word that we read, it is now that we can examine and understand more completely what a free radical is and how these molecules affect the effects of the aging process. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules produced naturally in our body. When cells metabolize energy, these molecules are released. They interfere with normal cell function as their reaction to other cellular chemicals destroys fats, proteins and damaging DNA. Free radicals adversely alter proteins and lipids, triggering broad health issues. While cells are generally notorious for the rate at which they repair and regenerate, this rate is reduced dramatically as the skills of the cells can be hampered by the aging process itself or by the lack of adequate materials to initiate and promote healing. Put most simply, free radicals ultimately onset the unraveling of human DNA. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s abilities to regulate normal functions, the onset of a condition known as Oxidative Stress ensues. According to experts, over 60 age-related diseases (including cancer, cataracts, arthritis, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease) have been proven to be closely associated with free radical cellular damage. The question stands then, what is the antidote? Free radicals are omni-present: they are acquired through not only toxins, radiation and chemicals from cigarette smoking, but also every day...
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