A free radical is a chemically reactive unstable atom, molecule or ion in the body that is missing an electron. They are usually classified as “bad” as they usually cause cellular, protein and DNA damage to the body via oxidative stress.
You can observe oxidation like leaving a cut apple open and watching the apple turn brown in a matter of minutes. That is oxidation. Similarly, natural oxidation in the body results in aging (wrinkles forming, organs failing, etc.)
Some lifestyle choices contribute to an increase in free radicals in the body, including:
2. Not getting enough sleep
3. An unbalanced diet
4. Eating processed foods
How are Free Radicals formed?
Free radicals are generally formed when our body is exposed to pollution, an unbalanced diet, lack of sleep, stress and/or whenever our white blood cells are doing the important job of fighting off foreign pathogens like viruses and bacteria, which causes inflammation in our body. Free radicals are like waste products our body produces whenever it goes into action fighting foreign invaders.
Now here’s the paradox. Contrary to popular belief, not all free radicals are bad. Some free radicals (see here for an in depth explanation of free radicals) are actually necessary for the body in terms of regulating the immune system. Free radicals are also formed when we are exercising and are thus part of the process when we are keeping our body fit and/or building muscle. Other free radicals are essential when our heart is pumping blood and supplying oxygen to the rest of our body.
However, there has to be a balance. If there are too many free radicals in the body, our immunity can be greatly compromised and we can develop serious health issues like cancer, organ failures, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and many more[note]See: Live Science article[/note], even if they’re the good free radicals.
How do we stop and/or regulate the influx of free radicals?
In order to regulate oxidative stress caused by free radicals, our bodies produce molecules called antioxidants. Antioxidants usually donate electrons to free radicals, thus neutralizing them which will in turn reduce inflammation in the body.
When our bodies are exposed to more free radicals than our body’s own antioxidants can handle, we have to turn to outside sources for antioxidants: vitamins, cod liver oil, green tea, fruits, etc.
The disadvantage with the common outside sources of antioxidants is that they are indiscriminate and can sometimes harm the good free radicals in our body and/or become free radicals themselves. For example, Vitamin E is generally good for us, but too much Vitamin E increases the risk of stroke, prostrate/ovarian cancer, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, and many other issues.[note]Go to the “Side effects” section in WebMD[/note]
A Special Antioxidant
Hydrogen gas is a very unique antioxidant as it only attacks the very toxic free radicals, and leaves the good free radicals alone. The body responds well to hydrogen gas because our body produces very, very small amounts of hydrogen gas, although the amount is too insignificant for any therapeutic benefit. The bonus is that when H2[note]Hydrogen gas is also known as
1. Molecular hydrogen, and
They all mean the same thing.[/note] reacts only with the toxic free radicals, the byproduct is water, thus making it a very safe antioxidant. Deep sea divers have been consuming hydrogen gas since the 1940’s to prevent decompression sickness, and there have been no reports of side effects of over-inhalation of hydrogen gas till this day.
Numerous studies have been done that have shown the therapeutic benefits of hydrogen gas.
Click here to check out our products that dispense hydrogen gas
Click here for an in-depth explanation on free radicals and antioxidants.