A free radical is an atomic structure with an unpaired electron in its outermost shell. These unpaired electrons tend to be highly reactive, resulting in chemical reactions such as oxidation. Because they have one or more unpaired electrons, free radicals are highly unstable. They scavenge the body to grab or donate electrons, causing damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are naturally occurring; however, air pollution, stress, cigarette smoke and heavy exercising all contribute to the creation of harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress. Normally the animal's body is able to protect itself from the damaging effects of free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or free radical production becomes excessive, oxidative stress can occur.Antioxidants are natural cell protectors, neutralizing free radicals by pairing an electron to the outermost shell of radical oxygen molecules, rendering them harmless. Antioxidants are nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in bodily tissues. Antioxidants work in two ways: chain breaking and prevention. A chain-breaking antioxidant, such as vitamins A, C and E, stabilizes free radicals or cause them to decay into harmless atomic structures. A preventative antioxidant prevents the oxidation process by scavenging free radicals.
PetHealth OPC Formula with Glucosamine for Dogs & Cats
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