The "Free Radical" is the source for virtually
all disease, illness and aging itself! Science has come a long way on
this -- further by far than the medical establishment has moved on it.
Many doctors will acknowledge that free radicals are the basic cause of
disease, but since they don't have any drugs to treat free radicals with, they
continue to administer drugs which are, themselves, often sources of more free
There are substances which neutralize free radicals.
The best known is probably Vitamin C, Selenium and Pine Bark extract, or grape
seed extract but there are others also.
On this page you learn a bit about this terrible source of
problems in our health world, and how you can prevent them from causing
problems for you. Free radical biology is the study of the interaction of free
radicals with biological material. Free radicals are atoms or molecules with at
least one unpaired electron.
There is center portion often referred to as including
"protons" and ”neutrons." The center is also called the
nucleus. Then, there are eight electrons in two spheres around the center
nucleus. These electrons move around the center like the earth moves
around the sun.
In most atoms there is an even number of electrons in the
outer circles (or spheres).
When the oxygen atom is in this condition the
"electrical charge" of the electrons (minus electricity) is balanced
by the electrical charge of the nucleus (positive electricity).
However, when one atom of oxygen LOSES one electron, and
then has an ODD number of electrons in the outer ring, then THAT atom is called
a free radical. In this case it would be a free radical of oxygen.
A free radical has an excess of positive electrical charge
(because there is one less electron in its rings) and that means that this free
radical is able to attract an electron from some other atom or molecule.
This "taking" of a free electron from somewhere else means that the
free radical is now balanced and is no longer a free radical.
Missing Electron == Positive Charge!
Extra Electron == Negative Charge!
Balanced == Neutral -- No Charge!
However, the atom or molecule from which the electron was
taken may now, itself, become a free radical, or may be damaged in some way.
One of the primary types of damage caused by free radicals
can be traced back to radiation. In other words, sunlight, X-Rays or other radiation
hits the body and creates free radicals inside the body. These are free
radicals which, in turn, grab some loose electron from somewhere, and thus
create a new free radical.
This process is described as a "chain reaction"
because one free radical can be neutralized and create a new free radical which
is then neutralized, etc. These actions take place in a tiny
amount of time -- less than a millionth of a second.
Thus, one free radical may "exist" for only a
very tiny amount of time, but one free radical can set off a chain reaction of
millions more free radicals being created and then neutralized. Each time a
free radical is "neutralized" there could be some damage to part of
Free radical biology is closely related to radiation
biology since 70-80% of the effects of radiation on cells are due to the production
of free radicals. The study of free radicals has become of extreme interest
because of the role of free radicals in a large number of diseases and
As examples, cancer, aging, heart attack, stroke,
diabetes, and Lou Gehrig's disease all have a free radical component to their
mechanism of injury. The use of free radical modulators (like Vitamin C and
Microhydrin) in the prevention and treatment of these diseases is under close
investigation at this time including clinical trials.
Research in free radical biology is quite
interdisciplinary. Research ranges from studies of the fundamental chemistry of
free radical reactions, to antioxidant enzymes (their biophysics, biochemistry,
biology and molecular biology), to free radical pathology, to even
epidemiological studies. It is a broad area of research with many
All cells in the body have a "skin" or
"membrane" as an outer shell. This is the shell which contains
all the components of the cell and which allows the cell to exist as a separate
This membrane is mostly made of cholesterol -- a very
important building material used by the body. The cell uses cholesterol,
and in fact can even manufacture cholesterol, to build the cell membrane.
itself, includes oxygen as part of its chemical make-up. This oxygen,
usually, is in the form of oxygen atoms which each have those stable EIGHT
electrons going around the nucleus.
loose sense you could say that the cells in your body are made with a skin of
fat -- since cholesterol is just a name for a particular type of fat.
Fat is particularly vulnerable to being damaged by free
radicals. The damage is typically caused by some free radical hitting
the membrane of the cell and "stealing" one electron from some atom
of oxygen in that membrane.
When that happens the cholesterol is referred to as
"oxidized." The term "oxidized" simply means that the
oxygen in some substance has lost an electron and has taken on a positive
That oxygen atom, then, has, itself, become a free
radical, trying to get another electron somewhere so that it can again be
As more and more free radicals hit the membrane of a cell,
and as more and more of the oxygen in the cholesterol get "oxidized"
that cell wall, the membrane, becomes less and less able to function as it
should. What might happen?
Well, that cell membrane has to allow water and nutrients
to enter the cell, and has to allow the garbage and waste products of the cell
to leave the cell. Both of these actions mean that the membrane allows
passage of materials (mostly water with other stuff included) to move through
If the membrane is damaged by free radicals, that
"passage" may not work properly. One consequence of this might be
that garbage accumulates inside the cell and it dies in a sea of toxic waste! Or,
the cell may not be able to take in nutrients and it could starve to death.
health problems for that one cell translate, as millions of cells are affected,
to health problems you perceive in your body as any one of hundreds of
When the free radicals initiate the oxidation of the
cholesterol (also called, technically, the lipid peroxidation chain reaction) the excessive
energy damages even the proteins in the membrane. As a result the membrane does
not properly function to take nutrients into the cell and to remove waste
products, and so the cell cannot reproduce itself and dies due to starvation or
drowning in waste products. This type of damage accelerates the aging process
as tissues lose their function due to the steadily decreasing number of cells.
Each cell contains a blueprint by which it causes a new
cell to be created. This is very much like the birth of a baby. The
cell has this blueprint and when the time comes, the cell uses that blueprint
to build a new (baby) cell. The blueprint is often referred to as the
acid) of the cell. It is an extremely complex
molecule with thousands of atoms connected together in all sorts of complicated
ways. This mass of atoms, each with its own supply of electrons, is all
connected. You could say that it is one large molecule (since a molecule
is nothing more than two or more atoms connected in some way). This large
and complex molecule, as I said, has zillions of electrons within it.
If JUST ONE of those electrons is taken away by some
wandering free radical, that entire DNA MAY become defective. It might
also have so little effect that the DNA is still fully functional for cell
But, with the zillions of free radicals hitting that DNA
molecule, you can bet that once in a while some vitally important electron is
That might mean that this ONE CELL cannot reproduce.
OR, it might mean that this one cell will reproduce but will reproduce as a
Yes, cancer is nothing more than cells which reproduce in
an abnormally fast rate -- because the DNA blueprint has been altered by free
Basically all disease has some connection with damage done
to the individual cells in the body. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic
material that builds the enzymes that build the structure of the body. When DNA
is damaged it may make mutated enzymes that may not be able to function, and
cells cannot be reproduced. Again, this would accelerate the aging process.
Free radicals can also weld molecules together - much like
putting handcuffs on them - so they don't function properly. When free radicals
weld molecules of the skin protein collagen together, the skin looses its
elasticity and smoothness and becomes stiff and wrinkled.
When free radical problems first began to be understood
many decades ago, there was an urgent search for substances which would
neutralize free radical. Vitamin C has long been known as a "free
radical scavenger," as have other vitamins. But, science found more.
One that was a very popular fad just starting a few years
ago was an extract from the bark of a particular pine tree that grows in France and Canada. That substance has
come to be known by the commercial and trademarked name of Pycnogenol. The
scientist who discovered the pine bark extract failed to protect his discovery
and it was taken over, and then patented, by the people who trademarked the
name Pycnogenol. Because the name was protected, this one product got
lots of publicity and sales.
But, that same scientist also discovered that an extract
of grape seeds gave the same free radical fighting power as the extract from
pine bark. You'll find Pycnogenol being sold by hundreds of companies, but all
must buy from the single source that has trademarked that name.
Since "grape seed extract" never got its own
fancy name, and since it has the same power as Pycnogenol, you can find grape
seed extract sold by many more companies, and generally at prices quite a bit
lower than Pycnogenol. But, the search has been on for years to find more and
better "free radical scavengers."
In summary, your
body is bombarded with free radicals -- coming in from external sources.
These include cigarette smoke, smog and any one of millions of toxic substances
which you take into your body with food or water or breathing.
The sun, as well as all types of radiation, causes free
radicals to be produced inside the body. As these free radicals move through
the body at very high speed, they are "looking" for an electron to
make their status balanced. I speak of these as if they were alive!
They are not! But, the mechanical and electromagnetic action of these
particles makes them appear to be "evil" and alive!
The mechanism is one of simple attraction between a
negatively charged particle and a positively charged particle. It is not
mysterious, but it happens at such a level of small size, and in such great
quantity that people often refer to free radicals as if they were living, evil
creatures. The process of neutralizing a free radical is also not at all
mysterious or complicated.
A free radical is neutralized, simply, but acquiring one
electron from somewhere. That is the end of the problems caused by THAT free
radical. But, it is the beginning of the problems caused by the NEW free
radical that was created because some particle gave up an electron and thus
became a positively charged particle.
Normally a free radical scavenger would be, for instance,
a particle of something like Vitamin C. That particle can be referred to
as a "molecule" since it consists of many different atoms all
That particle of Vitamin C is enormously larger than a
single atom of hydrogen -- perhaps a million times larger. But, large as it is,
that one molecule of Vitamin C can neutralize only one free radical -- it gives
up ONE electron to do that, and after that the Vitamin C has no more electrons
which are easily given up!
But, what Dr. Patrick Flanagan did was to realize that if
you could ADD one electron to the hydrogen atom it would no longer be balanced,
but would actually have two negatively charged electrons revolving around ONE
unit of positively charged nucleus. Thus, the hydrogen, with two
electrons, would give up one of those electrons with great ease. When that
double-electron form of hydrogen gives up one electron the remaining hydrogen
is still a balanced particle. It would have a positively charged central
nucleus (proton) and one negatively charged electron.
Thus, the hydrogen atom with an extra electron neutralizes
one free radical but does not, itself, then become a new free radical. This is
a brand new concept in biochemistry. Every other free radical scavenger
neutralizes a free radical by, itself, becoming a new free radical. Note
that this new free radical may be so different from the previous free radical
that it doesn't move fast and doesn't cause damage (mostly because it is so
large that it cannot penetrate cells, etc.).
So, Dr. Patrick Flanagan found a way to add one extra
electron to one atom of hydrogen. Since the hydrogen atom is SO tiny
compared to a molecule of Vitamin C, and since ONE atom of hydrogen does just
as much free radical neutralizing as ONE molecule of Vitamin C, you can see
that the hydrogen atom is far more powerful for any given unit of space.
In other words, ONE capsule of Vitamin C would not even
come close the free radical-fighting power of ONE capsule of Microhydrin.
And, the hydrogen atom does NOT become a new free radical
when it is used to neutralize a free radical.
Finally, you have on this page a simple explanation of
what a free radical is and how it causes damage in the body.Then, there
is some information here about how to neutralize them.