Free radicals or “free oxygen radicals” are a natural by-product of the metabolic function (oxidization) of the human body’s tissues. They are unremarkable and pose no danger when they are held in balance by antioxidants in our system.
The occurrence of free radicals in our systems can rapidly increase as a result of stresses that we place on our bodies such as premature birth, excessive exercise, emotional stress, anaesthetic, pollution, smoking, alcohol abuse, unusual food, injury, exposure to radiation and cleaning solvents.
When an imbalance occurs and there are more free radicals than antioxidants to combat them, the degree of damage to the body’s tissues and cells resulting from the temporary imbalance depends on the antioxidant system’s ability to respond to the oxidant (free radical) overload.
What are the effects of high levels of Free Radicals?
The potential damage of an increased level of free oxygen radicals can be minimized by adequate dietary intake of antioxidants, found in foods such as richly-coloured fruits and vegetables. People who have a low dietary antioxidant intake put themselves at risk for serious health issues.
When free radical damage occurs that cannot be repaired, it increases the body’s risk of infection and physical trauma. This vulnerability can worsen existing infections or kick off an irreversible chain of effects that lead to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer.(Source: World Health Organization: VITAMIN AND MINERAL REQUIREMENTS IN HUMAN NUTRITION)