By: Cristian Ocampo
Edited by: Pedro Andrés Calvo
Free radicals are extremely reactive chemicals that have the potential to damage cells, thus contributing to the aging process. (1) These chemicals are molecules produced naturally in the body due to metabolism and exposure to environmental factors such as UV radiation, (2) pollution, (3) and smoking. (4) Free radicals contribute to the aging process by affecting cell DNA, mitochondria, and membranes; and also by damaging proteins and causing inflammation. (5)
DNA, Aging, and Free Radicals
One of the main ways that free radicals contribute to aging is through their ability to damage DNA. When free radicals interact with DNA, they can cause mutations, leading to cancer and other diseases. Also, when free radicals interact with cell membranes, they can lead to the accumulation of harmful substances, causing a decline in cell function. (6)
Free Radicals and Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation in the body can also be caused by free radicals. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection; however, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. This is why it is important to avoid environmental toxins and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and physical activity. (7)
How do Free Radicals Affect Proteins?
Furthermore, free radicals can also damage proteins, the building blocks of cells that play a crucial role in many cellular processes, including cell growth and repair. (8) When free radicals interact with proteins, they can cause them to become damaged and lose their function. This can lead to a decline in overall cell function and contribute to the aging process.
In order to combat the effects of free radicals on aging, it is essential to protect cells from damage. This can be done through a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and avoiding environmental toxins. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, like those in VictaGummies Men & Women or VictaBeans Vitamin C+ Zinc, can also help to neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage.
(1) National Library of Medicine, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Retrieved on February 22, 2023: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
(2) National Library of Medicine, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Retrieved on February 22, 2023: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
(3) National Library of Medicine, Total free radical species and oxidation equivalent in polluted air. Retrieved on February 22, 2023:
(4) American Chemical Association ACS, How to measure potentially damaging free radicals in cigarette smoke. Retrieved on February 21, 2023: https://www.acs.org/pressroom/presspacs/2017/acs-presspac-march-29-2017/how-to-measure-potentially-damaging-free-radicals-in-cigarette-smoke.html
(5) National Cancer Institute, Antioxidants, and Cancer Prevention . Retrieved on February 22, 2023: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet.html
(6) National Library of Medicine, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Retrieved on February 22, 2023: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22228951/
(7) National Library of Medicine, Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer. Retrieved on February 23, 2022: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19149749/
(8) Medlineplus.gov, What are proteins, and what do they do? Retrieved on February 23, 2023: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/howgeneswork/protein/