What are free radicals & antioxidants?

What is meant by "free radicals"?

Normally, in molecules, each electron has a proton, i.e. a kind of partner. However, there are also molecules that have single unpaired electrons. They are called "free radicals". Because the lone electrons are looking for a "connection," as it were, free radicals are extremely reactive, and this is not always advantageous for humans. Because the chemically aggressive molecules can cause considerable damage in the organism: They attack protective cell membranes as well as vital lipids and proteins and damage DNA.

There are a number of external factors that lead to the formation of free radicals: UV rays, reactive substances such as ozone or the nitrogen oxides in cigarette smoke, heavy metals in food, to name just a few. But the majority of oxygen radicals are formed quite regularly in the body's own metabolism, as a kind of by-product.

The main source is the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell. There, during the "energy production" process, three to ten percent of the converted oxygen is not completely converted into water. Instead, oxygen radicals are formed, most of which are immediately captured by enzymes. But the rest gets into the cell interior and can form new radicals there.

What is meant by antioxidants?

Antioxidants (radical scavengers) are protective substances for body cells that can prevent potentially damaging oxidation of cell structures by neutralizing particularly aggressive chemical compounds. "Oxidation" refers to a chemical reaction in which a substance to be oxidized donates electrons to an oxidizing agent. The term was coined by the French chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794), who meant the reaction of a substance with oxygen and the resulting formation of oxides.

Accordingly, antioxidants are - and again speaking in general terms - substances that prevent or delay oxidation processes. There are both

  • natural antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids or carotenoids, as well as
  • synthetically produced antioxidants such as citrates and gallates.

Antioxidants have long been used in food chemistry to prevent food spoilage due to oxidation. In the meantime, however, science knows that antioxidant substances are enormously important for the human organism - because they protect against diseases and can slow down the aging process.

What is "Oxidative Stress"?

We speak of oxidative stress when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants - in other words, too many free radicals. This imbalance can then cause cells to suffer damage.

Oxidative stress can have many causes. Among them are even environmental influences, strong sunlight, too little sleep or emotional stress. From this point of view, it is of course difficult to completely prevent the development of oxidative stress.

But if you develop a sense of which processes can negatively affect your body's oxidative balance, you can easily target the problem. Among the best-known causes of oxidative stress are the following main factors:

  • Smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • A diet low in vital nutrients
  • Excessive sugar consumption
  • Physical stress
  • Psychological stress
  • Lack of sleep Diseases

In addition, there are many environmental factors, some of which are quite commonplace, that are often ignored in the discussion about free radicals:

UV radiation, exhaust fumes and fine dust, environmental toxins or chemicals such as pesticides, aggressive solvents or heavy metals, passive smoking, ozone.

If you want to keep free radicals under control within your cellular metabolism, you should be careful to protect your body from excessive contact with these things. At the same time, however, there are antioxidant substances that you can target in your diet to restore the oxidative balance of your cells.

Other antioxidant products...

Vitamin C 1000mg time-release

The "High C" for the whole day.

Burgerstein Vitamin C time-release is characterized by a slow release of the active ingredient (over several hours). The acerola and rose hip fruit powder contained in Burgerstein Vitamin C…

Vitamin C 1000mg time-release