By Sharon Gnatt Epel
Free radicals are unstable organic molecules that perform some truly useful functions in the human body, including fighting off infection and enhancing enzyme function, but they also play a negative role in the aging process – one that contributes to tissue damage, premature aging and disease.
How does this happen, and what can you do to minimize it? Oxidation is the natural by-product of breathing, a system that creates energy in the human body and keeps us alive. Ironically, this same system also produces free radicals – molecules that start out fairly disciplined and well-defined in their function, but tend to go rogue as we get older. They are created in response to a variety of factors including environmental pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, toxic cleaning products, and cigarette smoke. Free radicals are always looking for an extra electron they can steal away from another molecule and tack on to their own structure for stability. The result of this behavior is like a pileup of bumper cars at an amusement park. Imagine the chain reaction set off when one of these molecules manages to pry an electron away from a healthy skin cell. The free radical not only leaves behind a ravaged, defective skin cell which is now missing an electron, but turns it into a vampire-like free radical that is now on the prowl for a means toward its own stabilization. When this scenario is played out over and over again, it creates a snowball effect that weakens healthy skin and subjects it to oxidative stress that can be seen and measured in terms of sagging skin and deteriorating health.
Antioxidants are molecules that help prevent free radicals from destroying healthy tissue. Found in vibrant, colorful fruits and vegetables, they accomplish this by neutralizing free radicals and interrupting the domino effect.
– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder of La Ishá Natural Skincare, the 1st all-natural skincare company dedicated to safe and effective anti-aging beauty solutions for women 35+.
Copyright Sharon Gnatt Epel 2013