Free Radicals

It's a fact that all living beings produce free radicals just by the act of breathing, eating and moving. It's also established fact that free radicals are damaging to our health. Now here's a surprise, if you exercise, you produce more - lots more. But what are they and how do they damage us? For the explanation we'll have to visit the science lab for a quick lecture but we'll keep it as simple as possible. For those who decide to lose weight is very important to pay attention to products such as leptigen, is keeping free radicals allows them to work.

The green blue and red coloured balls represent electrons spinning around the atoms' nucleus. In a stable, 'non radical' compound there are two electrons paired together but in a 'free radical' compound there is an extra electron. This extra electron requires to become part of a pair and will 'steal' an electron from a nearby atom in order to complete the 'pair'. the result of this action is that the original atom which was unstable is now stable but the atom from whom the electron has been 'stolen' is now itself unstable and classed as a free radical. This process will continue through the atomic structure in a chain reaction. Whilst this transfer is a necessary process to life, uncontrolled biochemical chain recations of this sort are now known to cause cell damage.

Your body prevents such damage from occuring by using vitamin and mineral substances to 'mop up' free radicals. These substances are known collectively as 'antioxidants' - against oxygen. Why against oxygen? because the very air we breathe generates free radicals. The more we breathe the more free radicals are generated hence the link with exercise. So, our bodies naturally use substances to defend itself against free radical attack but the system is not undefeatable. As we age we become less able to generate sufficient defence against free radical attack. It is now thought that free radicals are a contributory factor of premature ageing.

Studies in the US also show that certain antioxidant compounds (vitamin E and C) can protect arterial wall from damage by fat in the diet. It was suspected that a sudden high dose of fat triggers oxidation which in turn leads to arterial wall damage. In tests there was conclusive proof that these vitamins prevented such damage from occuring.

Surprisingly, just recently a scientist has discovered that chocolate contains a compound called 'phenolics' which is an antioxidant thought to play a part in preventing heart disease. The bad news is that it's not just any chocolate! Pure chocolate is the best - that's because pure chocolate contains the fat which comes from cocoa butter and this contains high levels of stearic acid, the fat that doesn't impact on your blood cholesterol level. Dark chocolate is better than white because it's made from a higher content of cocoa butter.

So, what should a body do? The answer lies in supplying antioxidants on a daily basis to ensure that the defences are working at their optimum levels. Selenium, vitamins A, C and E are compounds known for their excellent antioxidant properties and as such, it makes sense to maintain a daily intake of such compounds.

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