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Role of free radicals, antioxidants in aetiology, management of diseases


Having been writing of those things such as water and food that man consumes for a long time, together with the benefits and adverse effects of these things, I have begun to see a trend. That most of the diseases that afflict man are as a result of these things that we consume is not in any doubt whatever.

Is there a plan of GOD to either protect man from the adverse effects of these consumables or to directly deal with these causes while letting man have the full benefits of water that he drinks or food that he eats? The answer is most certainly, yes. In the same water that man drinks and food that he eats are some of the causes of diseases and therein also lay the remedy.

One area that has generated so much interest in my studies and which I have also written extensively about is the subject of free radicals and antioxidants. This is one subject where one celebrates all the researchers in the great and powerful work they have done in unravelling the truth that the Almighty GOD embedded herein. It is more exiting in that the researchers have discovered that some of the most serious diseases are due to the relationship between free radicals and antioxidants. Diseases like heart disease and several kinds of cancer have been associated with free radicals.


To make it more interesting, the solution to this free radical menace, antioxidants have also been discovered and well documented. These are also in the water we drink and the food we eat.I have come to the conclusion that when we human beings have a sound knowledge of this subject and apply it well, then we would have been successful in preventing some of the diseases that cause such high fatality in the human race today. It is for this reason that I begin this series that I have titled “An in-depth review of the role of free radicals and antioxidants in the aetiology and management of diseases in human beings.

In the course of this review and write up, I will be writing on the following sub-titles:
Free radicals, antioxidants, oxidative stress, application of dietary antioxidants as functional foods and prevention of oxidative stress (prevention of diseases.)

Free radicals
Otherwise known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) or Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) in a few cases, free radicals are generated either from physiological endogenous reactions as by-products or from exposure to certain physiochemical states or disease conditions.


Free radicals have an unpaired electron in the outer orbit of the atom (they are supposed to be a pair of electrons in the outer orbit of an atom). Paired electrons confer a spacial stability to the atom. When the electron is single, it becomes unstable and very reactive continuously seeking an electron to stabilise itself. They attach themselves to any structure nearby so as to snatch an electron. Any structure that loses an electron to a free radical becomes destroyed and will eventually lead to a disease condition. Common structures that free radicals attack are proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, membranes, nucleotides and DNA. These free radicals are mainly oxygen-containing.

Commonly encountered oxygen-containing free radicals in disease conditions in man are: hydroxyl radical, hydrogen peroxide, superoxide anion radical, hypochlorite, oxygen singlet, nitric oxide radical etc. These oxygen-containing free radicals are highly reactive and destructive. They wreck a lot of havoc in sites such as cell membranes and cell nuclei and other places I mentioned earlier.

This is ironical, in that oxygen, a life giving, life sustaining gas, would be so implicated as to cause such destruction in man. GOD, the Creator in all wisdom has already given us the solution: the ANTIOXIDANTS.


In this article:
AntioxidantsFree radicals
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