Antioxidants vs. Free Radicals In Depth
If you’ve read our main page about free radicals and antioxidants, you’ll know that free radicals are usually bad and antioxidants are usually good for the body. Many articles cite the negative effects on free radicals and positive effects of antioxidants, however, our body is more complicated than meets the eye.
Oxidative stress, where there are more free radicals than antioxidants in the body, can lead to small and major health issues.1 However, free radicals are absolutely necessary as they help us heal wounds2, and convert food and water to energy. They also help us fight foreign invaders3 and pump more blood when we’re in stress-related situations4. We even produce free radicals when we breathe, so there is no avoiding free radicals at all.
Similarly, while antioxidants help us fight excessive free radicals in this polluted and processed world, too much antioxidants can also have negative impacts on our health. That’s because they not only stop the free radicals from doing their job, but some antioxidants can end up becoming free radicals themselves when they donate an electron to the free radicals they were meant to neutralize.
Source: The Conversation (image edited)
Free radicals are also produced in our body when our white blood cells are at work.
For example, when we’re hit with a a bacteria infection or a virus, our white blood cells signal to each other to fight off the bacteria or virus, producing free radicals as a result. Free radicals bring inflammation to our body via oxidative stress – and too much inflammation in our body will eventually cause us to have health issues.
Our Body’s Antioxidants
Our body also produces its own antioxidants to combat excessive free radicals. The main antioxidants our body produce are
- Superoxide Dismutase (commonly known as SOD)
- Glutathione Peroxidase
Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) neutralizes peroxide (free radical) and breaks it down into oxygen and alcohols.7 (GPx also breaks down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water).
Catalase (CAT) breaks down hydrogen peroxide (free radical) and breaks it down into oxygen and water.8
Hydrogen not only regulates all three: SOD, GPx and CAT by increasing their production, it also neutralizes the hydroxyl radical. The hydroxyl radical is a very dangerous free radical that we are constantly exposed to, and there are only a few antioxidants so far that can neutralize it, and only one antioxidant that’s safe to consume in large amounts without fear of side effects.
That antioxidant is hydrogen gas.
The Most Superior Antioxidant of All Antioxidants
While there are many free radicals that are good for our body, one of the most dangerous free radicals is the hydroxyl radical. Hydroxyl radicals attack our proteins, cells and DNA. Hydroxyl radicals also have a part to play in our autoimmune issues. There are currently no known antioxidants produced by our body for the hydroxyl radical at all.
THE ONLY ANTIOXIDANT DISCOVERED TO NEUTRALIZE THE HYDROXYL RADICAL IS HYDROGEN GAS
And the best part is, that when hydrogen gas neutralizes the hydroxyl radical, the byproduct is water, which means that ingesting hydrogen gas is very safe for the body and it is very unlikely that one will ever overdose on hydrogen gas, unlike other antioxidants like Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, where taking too much of them can result in many health issues.
- including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.
- UC San Diego made this discovery in 2014
- See Live Science article
- See Science Daily article
- Source: PubMed
- Some superoxide free radicals are good for our immune system. However if our body cranks too much out, it can be very harmful and dangerous to the body
- See: Science Direct
- See: Scientific American