Sunday, January 15, 2006

free radical theory of aging

The free radical theory proposes the existence of small molecules, or free radicals, each with an unpaired electron, which are formed as a byproduct during normal metabolism. The free radicals are very reactive and bounce around inside a cell causing damage to DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids, which can lead to cellular death. Free radical damage may account for a number of diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, and certain cardiovascular problems. A diet that includes compounds known as antioxidants, or free radical scavengers, could prolong life by as much as two years by protecting cells from the free radicals. These antioxidants include vitamins A and C, selenium, cysteine, and the food preservative BHT.
See also ANTIOXIDANTS; AGING, BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF.
Kinney, T. "Living Longer," in Aging. Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 3, Art. 10. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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