Glossary — Free radicals

Free radicals

Free radicals

Free radicals (reactive oxygen species) — electrically charged, highly unstable, and very reactive oxygen atoms or molecules. Free radicals are formed when an oxygen atom loses an electron. To regain stability, free radicals capture electrons from other substances in order to neutralize. This reaction can give rise to two different processes: (a) the neutralization effect of one free radical can cause the formation of another, causing a chain reaction of free radical formation where innumerable free radical reactions occur within seconds of the initial reaction; or (b) it can attach itself to the cellular membrane, damaging the DNA and cellular...

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