• Question: Hello guys, I'm working on antioxidant that are added to our food and I was wondering what are the differents effects of free radicals on our bodies ?

    Asked by Quentin and Mathilde to Dilip, Andrew on 17 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Andrew Quigley

      Andrew Quigley answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      Hi guys, great question!

      I’m guessing you already know a bit about free radicals if you’re working with antioxidants. Basically, free radicals are compounds in your body that are really reactive. They’re really reactive because they have of electrons that aren’t taking part in a chemical bond, we call these unpaired or lone pairs of electrons. One pretty common type of free radical is hydrogen peroxide. Some of them form naturally in the body while others are produced by things like cigarette smoke, and radiation.

      Free radicals can react with pretty much all kinds of molecules in the human body, but they tend to react with proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and DNA.
      When free radicals react with DNA, the resulting damage has the ability to cause cancer. Free radicals also play a role in cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimers disease, and some kidney problems.

      So in short, free radicals are pretty bad for you. Although in low concentrations they help you fight pathogens, so they’re not all bad!