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What are Free Radicals?

By on Feb 9, 2010

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Have you been wondering what are free radicals?
The chemical definition of a free radical is an atom or a group of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron. Electrons are essential to provide a chemically stable atom. An unpaired electron is very reactive and will join to other atoms and this will cause a chemical reaction. Free radicals in the body are also very reactive and will react with other compounds leading to chemical changes in the body. It is these changes that can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

What are free radicals?
The presence of large numbers of free radicals can alter the cells of our genetic material which could lead to various auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer.Natural processes in the body can result in free radicals being produced, but these are usually in very small amounts that are not harmful. We are continually exposed to free radicals in our environment. Free radicals can be found in pollution, radiation, food preservatives, cigarette smoke and car fumes. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to an increase in free radicals as the process of heating oil can produce a large number of free radicals.