The best way to fully comprehend what free radicals are is to look at them from a cellular level in that the human body is made up of all kinds of cells.
The chemical bond of a cell is comprised of various types of molecules that are held together with one or more atom.
The composition of an atom is: nucleus, proton, and electrons where the sum of the protons determines the total amount of electrons that will be around the atom.
The primary role of electrons is for chemical reactions that occur inside the atom and the substance that holds the atoms together to form molecules. Electrons revolve around the atom in one or more shells
When the innermost shell has two electrons, it is considered full. When the second shell is full with electrons the process starts all over again.
The most important structural characteristic of an atom for determining its chemical behavior is the number of electrons in its outer shell.
Maximum stability is reached when the atom has a full outer shell. This is the ideal condition every atom seeks to attain and is achieved by the following conditions:
Picking up or dropping electrons that will either occupy or leave the outer shell
Bonding together with other atoms and sharing electrons to complete the outer most shell
The typical way an atom achieves maximum stability is sharing electrons with other atoms. This allows the conditions to for the atoms sustain the molecules in the most efficient way.
Often, the bonds that the atoms form remain in tact so that maximum stability is maintained. However, when these bonds do tear, the highly unstable free radical is born and swiftly seeks to make itself more stable.
The ideal way free radicals attack is by locating the nearest molecule they can find that has achieved maximum stability and start stealing electrons. Once a molecule is attacked, it too becomes a free radical. This process creates a chain reaction that continues until it causes cells to become damaged.
The process of metabolism is frequently when free radicals occur and sometimes even when fighting off viruses and bacteria. Other producers of free radicals derive from pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, and pesticides.
The body is usually able to fight off free radicals unless it’s empty of antioxidants or free radicals production accumulates too much, damage can occur. The older you get the more free radical damage occurs.