The Free Radical Theory

The Free Radical Theory

Dr. Roy Walford of UCLA and Dr. Richard Cutler of the National

Institute on Aging believe that antioxidants might play a major part

in slowing down the aging process.

Walford recommends a combination of undernutrition, antioxidants and

exercise as the most practical means currently available to help man

extend his life-span.

Scientists think antioxidants might help to reduce the promulgation

of free radicals by absorption.

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals which carry around an

extra electron. The random release of these free electrons can

cause irreversible reactions to occur in the body.

These reactions include attacks on the structure of DNA, proteins

and molecules which can lead to chain reactions. Free radicals can

oxidize and slowly damage body tissues, particularly cell membranes.

The free-radical theory was first introduced to the gerontological

community by Dr. Denham Harmon, working at the University of

Nebraska School of Medicine in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

Cells undergoing division are particularly susceptible to free

radicals. The attachment of the free electron can cause the

polarity of the affected cell component to shift which will in turn

cause mutation. These mutations can continue to replicate causing

major problems as the organism ages due to faulty DNA sequences.