Essay on Effects of anti-oxidants in antiaging

Submitted By trickre167
Words: 1840
Pages: 8

Effects of Antioxidants in Anti-Aging Every aerobic organism on this planet contains within them many different chemical processes, most occurring at fast rates and on a constant basis. For example, the conversion of oxygen gas to carbon dioxide gas as we inhale and exhale. Often times during a chemical reaction, unwanted products become expelled through a natural course. The human body is built to withstand the tests of time for the most part; however as we age the trillions of cells in our bodies begin breaking down and do not function as optimally, increasing the risk for a cell to produce free radicals (Fisher 2006). An example of formation of free radicals is through the natural chemical reaction of converting food into energy for the cell such as ATP; the byproducts of these conversions are what allow for free radical formation (Domenico et al. 2007). Though there are many different kinds of antioxidants, they all work to achieve the same goal, which is to eliminate as many harmful radical molecules from the body as possible. The role of antioxidants in relation to aging is a very important one. Antioxidants are crucial in controlling the amount of damaging free radicals in the body. Antioxidants are potent eliminators of oxidative damage in cells (Fisher 2006). The promotion of antioxidants in the role of anti-aging is well founded and documented; the most efficient way to obtain antioxidants is naturally through diet. Artificial antioxidant supplements, on the other hand, have not been researched extensively enough to determine the benefits they may possess and is therefore unethical to promote such products. In order to understand the tremendous health benefits of antioxidants, one must first consider what an antioxidant and what free radicals exactly are.
Antioxidants are the protagonists in the story of cellular damage and aging. Antioxidants, or anti-oxygen, first became known in the 19th and early 20th century and were researched extensively for their benefits in the industrial world such as the corrosion of metal and other oxidation reactions (Fisher 2006). For the past half century, more than 300 theories have been proposed to sum up the aging process, with very few favored results (Masaki 2010). In 1956, scientist Denham Harman theorized that free radicals are related to the aging process, this was later revised in 1972 by Harman to include that mitochondria were the initiators of the free radicals occurring in cells; his theory still holds strong today and is accepted by most gerontologists (Domenico et al. 2007). Throughout this past century, this field of science has progressed tremendously and the processes in which antioxidants are used in the body are more understood than they ever were. The role that antioxidants have in the body is an important one, and to fully understand how they work one must first understand what antioxidants are trying to eliminate; free radicals. A free radical is an atom such as oxygen that has unstable electrons and thus can cause all types of havoc on the body’s cells by stealing any electron that it can and pairing with anything it can. Free radicals exist in many forms, for example hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen can all be free radicals, though the most important in aerobic organisms is oxygen (Antioxidants 2009). Though most oxygen molecules pair with other chemicals to perform vital functions in the cell it is a rogue singlet O2 molecule that can cause oxidative damage to cells, creating a free radical chain reaction that cannot be broken until halted by antioxidants (Held 2010). Reactive oxygen species, or ROS for short, are byproducts which are made during mitochondrial electron transport; ROS is used to give a number of reactive oxygen molecules and free radicals produced from molecular oxygen (Held 2010). Atomic oxygen has two unpaired electrons in separate orbits in its outer electron shell. This allows for oxygen to become susceptible to