What are Free Radicals, and How Does Krill Oil Fight Them?

What are Free Radicals, and How Does Krill Oil Fight Them?

Free radicals is a term that gets thrown around in the supplement and nutrition world often. Unfortunately, the true explanation behind free radicals is usually missing or incomplete at best. What do free radicals do the body, and how does krill oil fight work to fight them. The answers to these questions can be found through an examination of free radicals and their behavior.

How Do Free Radicals Get Into the Body?

The majority of the human body is comprised of water, and part of our biology requires the use of oxygen to survive. Oxygen provides an ignition source for chemical reactions in the body, otherwise called an oxidative reaction. It’s used in the generation of energy, the regeneration of muscular tissue, and the metabolism of every cell. Although the body obtains oxygen from air, oxygen is actually found in the body’s most common substance—water. Basically, anything liquid contains water, which further provides a source for oxygen.

What Does Oxygen Have to Do With Free Radicals?

The basic reaction for energy production in the body results in a break between the hydrogen and oxygen bonds within water as a side reaction to the breakdown of glucose. Unfortunately, the resulting elements are not always used entirely by the body’s processes. Some extra hydrogen will bind to other hydrogen cells, and oxygen may bind to itself as well. However, an odd number of resulting atoms leaves multiple oxygen atoms without a binding site—an isomer. A free-roaming oxygen isomer is referred to as a free radical, reports the publication, Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease in Health.

The unbound oxygen atom has an extra valence electron (the electron in the outer shell of its orbit). Since the atom is unstable in this form, the oxygen atom may bond to nearly any surface in the body. As a result, the oxygen atom causes the bound compound to become unstable, which causes damage to the body.  However, the damage may include damage to DNA, lipids, proteins, and other tissues in the body.

Krill Oil and Free Radicals

Astaxanthin, a key component of Krill Oil, has been shown to have strong antioxidant effects, explains the publication, Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and It’s Commercial Applications, as published by the US National Library of Medicine. Furthermore, astaxanthin was shown to possess a higher capacity for binding free radicals than most other types of antioxidants, such as carotenoids.

Astaxanthin is made up of a long chain of potential receptor sites. Each site is able to bind one free oxygen atom, yet the bond is made stronger as the chain coils itself around the oxygen atom. Furthermore, the ends of the astaxanthin chain can actually remove free radicals from within cell membranes, which further reduces the potential damage and inflammation from free radicals.

Free radicals is essentially a simplified name for an unbound oxygen atom. When left unchecked, the unbound atom can cause damage to tissues by rendering tissues’ binding sites useless. Fortunately, the component of Krill Oil, astaxanthin, is capable of binding multiple free radicals with fewer chains than many other types of antioxidants. As a result, the body is able to achieve a greater state equilibrium, which increases overall life expectancy of individual cells.