A free radical is an atom, ion or molecule that has an unpaired valence electron (electrons in the outermost shell of an element). Radicals are unstable and cause the formation of more radicals inducing damage to lipids, proteins and DNA in humans and animals.
Free radicals are theorized to be a cause of premature aging (including damage to telomeres), cancer, inflammation and damage to cells which can cause multiple health problems including arthritis and neurologic issues like dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease.
"When a radical reacts with a non-radical, it always produces another radical, which is why the process is called a "chain reaction mechanism". The radical reaction stops when two radicals react and produce a non-radical species. This happens only when the concentration of radical species is high enough for there to be a high probability of collision of two radicals. Living organisms have different molecules that speed up termination by neutralizing free radicals and, therefore, protecting the cell membrane. One important antioxidant is vitamin E. Another important antioxidant is vitamin C. Other anti-oxidants made within the body include the enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase.
Radicals may also be involved in Parkinson's disease, senile and drug-induced deafness, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's. The classic free-radical syndrome, the iron-storage disease hemochromatosis, is typically associated with a constellation of free-radical-related symptoms including movement disorder, psychosis, skin pigmentary melanin abnormalities, deafness, arthritis, and diabetes mellitus. The free-radical theory of aging proposes that radicals underlie the aging process itself. Similarly, the process of mitohormesis suggests that repeated exposure to radicals may extend life span."
Several scientists propose that Carbon 60 works at mitochondrial membranes (where Oxygen radicals known as ROS - Reactive Oxygen Species are created), quickly neutralizing radicals before causing damage. The medical literature also shows evidence of Carbon 60 neutralizing free radicals caused by radiation, heavy metals and toxins in cells throughout the body. The neutralizing activity of Carbon 60 on free radicals may protect from cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and also in reducing inflammatory arthritis in humans and animals.
Dr. Keller and LiveScience have great websites explaining antioxidants and free radicals:
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