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What Are Free Radicals?

Oxidative stress occurs when an oxygen molecule splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, which are called free radicals.

How do free radicals affect the body?

Free radicals are toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues in a process called “oxidative stress.” The vitamins and minerals the body uses to counteract oxidative stress are called antioxidants.

Why free radicals are bad?

The process continues in a chain reaction, damaging each molecule as it goes on. These reactions can alter the structure and function of molecules; when enough molecules are damaged, cells can stop functioning correctly, or die.

Damage to DNA by free radicals can result in mutations and promote cancer.