The Causes of Free Radicals

This is Part 3 in a 5 part series

What are some of the causes of free radicals and what can we do to prevent them from forming?

Unfortunately we cannot completely get rid of free radicals. One reason is because our body naturally produces some free radicals.

If you are alive & well human being that means chemical reactions are occurring in your body. One side effect of these chemical reactions is free radicals are being produced.

Yes... the price we pay for being alive!

One of the other causes of free radicals comes from the immune system. Yes, the immune system.

The immune system will actually create free radicals in order to fight off disease. So not all free radicals are bad for you.

It becomes a problem when the amount of free radicals is greater than the body can handle. As a result they can do some serious damage to your body.

Other than the normal chemical reactions that occur in the body to keep you alive, there are a few environmental factors which increase free radical production.

The environmental causes of free radicals are:

  • Daily stress – emotional and physical
  • Ozone depletion
  • Air pollutants
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Inflammation
  • Radiation (which includes UV rays from the sun) 
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Processed foods
  • Drugs – recreational and prescription

This is not an exhaustive list but it gives you an idea of the environmental factors involved. 

Oxygen and It's Importance

Keeping this list in mind, it’s important to talk about oxygen for a moment. Oxygen is an important part of our lives. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. The problem is there isn’t enough of it these days.

The pollutants going in the air from factories and cars are contributing to the problem. Normally this is offset by trees and plants since they “breath in” carbon dioxide & “exhale” oxygen in order to live (the opposite of human beings). 

Unfortunately the amount of trees and forests are being reduced. Hence, an oxygen shortage. How is this important?

Most diseases will not survive in an oxygen-rich environment. If there is enough oxygen in the body it’s very difficult for degenerative diseases to survive. This has been proven with various cancers.

But since there is a shortage of oxygen our bodies have to use other “creative” methods to get the necessary amount of oxygen to live. The side effects of these “other methods” are causing an increase in free radical production.

And as long as you are living and breathing, there’s no way around this. The best thing you can do is to start eating more antioxidant rich foods and/or supplementing with antioxidants. Since we understand free radicals and their impact, it is easier to understand the importance of antioxidants.

So Where Can We Get These Antioxidants?

The best sources for antioxidants are food sources such as pomegranates, blueberries, apples, nuts, various vegetables. And by taking a high quality multi-vitamin with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Selenium in it.

Other sources which may surprise you include turmeric, resveratrol (found in red wines), oregano, nuts, organ meat, vegetables such as garlic and onion.

Other Related Articles:

Part 4 - How Free Radicals Were Discovered (and The Different Types of Antioxidants To Fight Them)

Part 5 - Best Sources To Find Antioxidants to Fight Off Free Radicals

Previous Articles:

Part 1 - An Overview of Antioxidants and Free Radicals

Part 2 - What Exactly Are Free Radicals?

From Causes of Free Radicals to Antioxidants Detective - Home

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