Definition – Free Radicals

While looking through the first few chapters, there were few terms that I could easily recall from previous science and biology courses. 

One term that has been presented to me for the first time is the function of free radicals. The text defines this term as “an unstable molecule that includes an atom with an electron vacancy in its outer shell.” 

As I have learned, free radicals lack electrons in the outer shell. In order to add more electrons, free radicals can take away electrons from molecules to gain stability for itself. This action then leads to a disruption in the other molecule’s structure and function, causing this molecule to become a free radical. 

This cycle may continue and cause damage in the cell, unless saved by an antioxidant, which may give an electron to the free radical before disruption. 

 

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