Science of Skin Aging – Antioxidants vs. Free Radicals

posted Oct 4, 2013, 11:18 AM by Rene Bayani

The Arthricept product is formulated with a healthy dose of turmeric and curcumin which contain the antioxidant rich curcuminoids. Turmeric is an effective source of the antioxidant, glutathione that stops the “free radical cascade”. 

In combination with piperine, from black pepper, antioxidants are delivered at the cellular level to help prevent oxidative damage from free radicals. In recent years antioxidant research has increased in intensity from varied areas and disciplines within the medical community. Overwhelming evidence has accumulated showing that antioxidants may prevent oxidative damage and thus protect against the adverse effects of oxidants.

The process of oxidation in the human body damages cell membranes and other structures. When oxygen is metabolized, it creates "free Radicals" which steal electrons from other molecules causing damage to cell membranes. As a whole our bodies are constantly producing these free radicals as a normal process of metabolism and our bodies need free radicals in limited quantities to function properly. However when we experience stressful situations, smoke, drink alcohol, play in the sun, live in polluted areas and many other factors - we accelerate the oxidation process which increases the amount of free radicals in our bodies.

Without antioxidants free radicals can cause extensive cell damage and contribute to a whole list of chronic diseases including but not limited to chronic degenerative diseases, ranging from stroke and fibromyalgia, to sinusitis, arthritis, vision problems, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer. In a normal healthy, younger, well-nourished and non-stressed person, antioxidants are naturally and normally in abundance through out the body. But as a person grows older, or when people on high fat, high carbohydrate diets or are ill, our body’s ability to manufacture antioxidants diminishes predisposing our bodies to different chronic health conditions and premature aging.

As we age, our skin becomes dry due to the loss of the ability to retain moisture, collagen breakdown, and loss of elasticity due to cross-linking of collagen fibers. All these are a result of free radical production. As a result, wrinkles start forming and there is a loss of elasticity.

Age-related skin changes, including loss of elasticity, age spots and wrinkles, are the result of genetically programmed changes (internal factors) and environmental wear-and-tear on the skin (external factors) caused by free radical production or oxidative stress. It is true that extrinsic factors (like photo aging) do cause more pronounced damage but the resulting changes actually occur deep within the skin at the cellular or sub nuclear level affecting our DNA strands and telomere length. Therefore to reverse the damage, key antioxidants must penetrate the layers of skin and reach the cellular level or be taken internally in a formulation that provides higher bioavailability through the bloodstream.

The science and of skin aging is evolving. It is not as simple as we once thought. Old theory would suggest that free radicals play a role in skin aging and antioxidants counter free radicals thus increasing antioxidants should result in younger healthier skin but this has not necessarily been the case.

Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron causing instability and making them highly reactive; they are formed during normal metabolism from interactions with our toxic environment. Antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes work to neutralize the free radicals that would otherwise damage our DNA.

The free radicals attack lipids, cell membranes and our essential DNA code deep within the nucleus of the cell. When this happens, they form new free radicals from other stable molecules in what is known as the ROS cascade or free radical cascade. The resultant free radical cascade is deleterious to our cells causing inflammation, cross-linking of collagen fibers and disease.

Thus, antioxidants have the ability to stabilize free radicals but in doing so create other free radicals, thereby creating the need for a master antioxidant that can terminate the free radical cascade. Terminal “Electron Rich” Antioxidant molecules like Glutathione can "donate" an electron to a free radical, but will remain stable and NOT turn into one! This ends the electron-stealing chain reaction responsible for collagen mutation and loss of skin elasticity.