Free radicals: How do they affect the body?

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Young woman and older woman with faces side by side.
Free radicals are thought to be responsible for age-related changes in appearance, such as wrinkles and gray hair.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging.

Free radicals are linked to aging and a host of diseases, but little is known about their role in human health, or how to prevent them from making people sick.

 

What are free radicals?

Free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms. To become more stable, they take electrons from other atoms. This may cause diseases or signs of aging.

Understanding free radicals requires a basic knowledge of chemistry.

Atoms are surrounded by electrons that orbit the atom in layers called shells. Each shell needs to be filled by a set number of electrons. When a shell is full; electrons begin filling the next shell.

 

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