Let’s take a 5 Minute Education, starting with explaining Toxins/Free Radicals and Antioxidants. This concept is fundamental, and will help shape the depth by which you’ll comprehend further research and studies into the molecular world.
What are Free Radicals?
This goes down to the basics of chemistry and even physics. Nothing to be alarmed of, simple science.
Atoms are the building blocks of Amino Acids (Think protein), Fatty Acids (Think oils), Carbohydrates and others.
When these atoms bond and form clusters (a molecule), they usually carry a neutral charge (meaning, not positive, not negative, but neutral).
What sometimes happens is that an organism (like a cell) is subjected to environmental stressors (heat, light, oxygen), and that causes stress on the bonds between atoms within the molecule. This potentially transforms the molecule into a “positive” electrical charge.
A general fact to know is, that all free radicals and toxins are characteristically “positively” charged.
Now, what happens to a positive charge like that in an environment teeming with negatively charged cellular structures? Havoc!
Like magnets, opposite charges attract (positive attracts negative). So these positively charged molecules passionately seek that negative charge in order to return themselves to that “neutral” balance, and in that process they interact with structural components of the cell and oxidize them. This process is widely known as “Oxidative Stress”.
When too many toxins (which act as free radicals) are produced inside the cell or the cell is exposed to too many of them, oxidative stress occurs, and extensive damage may result. What does the cell do? Sounds the alarms (initiates inflammatory responses).
When inflammatory responses are initiated, the antioxidant troopers are called in to neutralize the overwhelming threat.
What are Antioxidants?
All Antioxidants carry a surplus “Negative” charge, so they in essence bear that charge that the free radicals and toxins are passionate for. These antioxidants (like Glutathione, CoQ10 etc.) are created in larger amounts during the inflammatory response. This is in order to cool down the heated flood of free radicals and restore the cell back to its expression of growth behaviors. These antioxidants lose their negative charge in the process, but at least they’re not a structural component, plus, other antioxidants can replenish their negative charge (allowing them to act as antioxidants once more).
Many processes within our cells create free radicals intentionally, as nature created this process for good reasons (complex to explain in this short segment).
To conclude, free radicals and toxins are positively charged, while antioxidants are negatively charged. Antioxidants will neutralize free radicals in order to prevent the free radicals from oxidizing cellular components.