Free Radicals Not So Bad?
Free radicals can stimulate apoptosis, also referred to as programmed cell death. This may be a way to avoid a cell becoming cancerous or to destroy viruses that have taken over a cell. In some cases, investigators observed that free radical apoptosis reinforces cell defenses, meaning a potential increase in lifespan. According to senior author Dr. Siegfried Hekimi, “People believe that free radicals are damaging and cause aging, but the so-called ‘free radical theory of aging’ is incorrect. We have turned this theory on its head by proving that free radical production increases during aging because free radicals actually combat – not cause – aging. In fact, in our model organism we can elevate free radical generation and thus induce a substantially longer life.”
Cell, May 2014