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Antioxidants

The date is May 6, 1937. The location is Lakehurst, New Jersey. A commercial zeppelin is finishing its transatlantic flight when disaster strikes. Fire spreads throughout the airship, bringing it down in a ball of flames. What does the Hindenburg disaster have to do with free radicals and antioxidants? Electrons link all three. Like the reactive hydrogen in old zeppelins, free radicals readily react with other chemicals in our bodies. Fortunately, antioxidants may be able to protect us by their ability to neutralize free radicals. Therefore, sufficient antioxidant intake may be linked to young-looking skin.*

Free Radicals
An atom is made of electrons orbiting a nucleus of protons and neutrons. The electrons follow three dimensional paths called orbitals. Each orbital can house two electrons. Hydrogen and Helium are the simplest atoms. They contain a single orbital. Helium has two electrons in its orbital. Helium is rather stable, because paired electrons fill the orbital. Hydrogen has one electron in its orbital. This unpaired electron makes hydrogen very reactive. The hydrogen that filled the Hindenburg was extremely flammable and responsible for its demise. Today, blimps are filled with helium, a stable - safer - alternative.

Free radicals are molecules with an odd number of electrons. They have at least one unpaired electron that may react with the molecules of the body, including, potentially, the DNA and cell membrane. Free radicals may contribute to the signs of aging.

Antioxidants
Free radicals not only challenge humans but plants as well. Plant-based antioxidants evolved as a way for plants to fight free radicals. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant is found in many different fruits and vegetables.

While the debate is ongoing, some evidence suggests that antioxidants may slow the signs of aging. It is theorized that the benefits of antioxidants in humans come from an ability to neutralize free radicals. Two daily servings of Toki contain 500 mg of vitamin C. This may help keep skin looking young.*

Free radicals have a least one unpaired electron. This may cause them to react with other essential molecules in the body. Plants produce antioxidants such as vitamin C to combat free radicals. Humans do not produce Vitamin C so it is important to consume this free radical fighter in our diets. Toki features high levels of the Vitamin C antioxidant.

References

1. The Hindenburg Disaster. Airships: The Hindenburg and other Zeppelins
http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster

2. Antioxidants and Free Radicals. SportsMedWeb
Rice University
http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html