Anti Aging Today

Theories Of Aging

The Free Radical Theory

This now very famous theory of aging was developed by Denham Harman MD at the University of Nebraska in 1956. The term free radical describes any molecule that has a free electron, and this property makes it react with healthy molecules in a destructive way.

Because the free radical molecule has an extra electron it creates an extra negative charge. This unbalanced energy makes the free radical bind itself to another balanced molecule as it tries to steal electrons. In so doing, the balanced molecule becomes unbalanced and thus a free radical itself. Perhaps a bit like bumper-cars crashing into each other at the Fair?

It is known that diet, lifestyle, drugs (e.g. tobacco and alcohol) and radiation etc., are all accelerators of free radical production within the body.

However, there is also natural production of free-radicals within the body. This is the result of the production of energy, particularly from the mitochondria (see the Mitochondrial Theory of Aging). The simple process of eating, drinking and breathing forms free-radicals from the energy production cycles, as the body produces the universal energy molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Note; oxygen is a potent free-radical producer.

Free radicals are known to attack the structure of cell membranes, which then create metabolic waste products (see the Membrane Theory of Aging). Such toxic accumulations interfere with cell communication, disturb DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, lower energy levels and generally impede vital chemical processes.

Free radicals can however be transformed by free-radical scavengers (otherwise known as anti-oxidants). Particular anti-oxidants will bind to particular free radicals and help to stabilize them.

Free radicals come in a hierarchy (according to their potential for damage) with the hydroxyl-radical and the superoxide-radical at the top of the list. It is therefore necessary to take a cross-section of anti-oxidants in order for the process of elimination of the free radicals to occur, otherwise higher damage free radicals may be converted into a greater number of lower damage free radicals.

Such a broad cross-section of anti-oxidants includes substances such as beta carotene, vitamin C, grape seed extract, vitamin E and possibly also stronger substances such as Hydergine, Melatonin and Vinpocetine.

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Response to Skeptics:

"Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it."
- Chinese Proverb



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