What is a free radical?
Well, a free radical is definitely not a 1960's hippie who burned his draft card and made it into Canada!
A nice definition of a free radical was written by Dr. Kurt Donsbach in his book, Oxygen Oxygen Oxygen.
"[A free radical] is an element or compound which has an unpaired or unmatched electron. This lack of balance causes the substance to have a very reactive character. These free radicals are very short-lived, usually in the 1/10,000 of a second range. But during this short time, these free radicals can cause damage by joining with other body chemicals and changing their character, sometimes even producing a chain reaction by creating new free radicals that carry on."
So you can imagine the molecular chaos that takes place when free radicals start looking around for that missing electron!
When the cells in the body encounter a free radical, the result is a little destruction in the cell. Constant free radical damage will eventually kill that cell. And when the cells are damaged, the organism ages.
Did you know that not all free radicals are bad for you?
Believe it or not, it is perfectly natural for our bodies to make free radicals as part of the process of aerobic (aerobic meaning "with oxygen") combustion of glucose that happens within each cell. In fact, the right amount of free radicals is essential for many important immune system functions and for other vital activities within cells. Free radicals are the "soldiers" that destroy the pathogen invaders (like virus and bad bacteria). Without them in our defense arsenal, we would all soon die!
Our health is threatened only when our body is overwhelmed with high concentrations of free radicals.
Typical culprits that can create dangerous levels of free radicals:
In a healthy body, free radicals are kept in check by the body's natural production of free radical scavengers: antioxidant enzymes. Their main function is neutralizing free radicals.
Antioxidant enzymes work in several ways.
You can increase antioxidants either from natural sources like: carrots, broccoli, barley grass, black & green tea, apples, and bilberries. Or from antioxidant supplements such as: vitamin A, C, and E, zinc, selenium and beta-carotene.
So, what role does oxygen play in this whole free radical issue?
First, oxygen levels in the blood effect the body's metabolism, that in turn effect the levels of free radicals. The better your oxygen level, the better your metabolism and the better your free radical level will be.
Second, The body needs energy to suppress free radicals, and that energy can only be created when the cells have a good supply of oxygen.
Third, Oxygen boosts the body's ability to use nutrients, including antioxidant enzymes.
Now, you may have heard some misinformation floating around that increased oxygen causes free radicals. And some people will tell you that, "you need to take extra antioxidants to counteract the effects of oxygen". But, now you know the truth... that cells actually NEED A GOOD SUPPLY OF OXYGEN to get the most out of antioxidants!
So... to recap:
And, this is why people take stabilized oxygen supplements, like OxygenSuperCharger™ to aid in increasing blood oxygen levels. A healthy, well-oxygenated body will have enough available energy to keep free radicals in check.