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Free Radicals need a PR firm- Hormesis + Longevity



The Free Radical Theory of Aging holds no ground within the scientific community any longer, particularly with those who keep up to date with aging and stress research. Thanks in large part to Denham Harman, free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were once thought to be responsible for the detriments that lead to aging associated changes. Understandably, if you have a huge overabundance of ROS related stress, this is possible. However, in the case of pretty much any human, our cells have mechanisms that deal with ROS very effectively. So effectively, in fact, that the compensation mechanisms that are activated in response to ROS go beyond the initial insult and act to deal with other stresses that may be present in the cell. This phenomenon is called Hormesis.

Simply put, Hormesis is where a threshold level of stress leads to a compensatory response that goes above and beyond the initial stress. This results in a protective effect for our cells and tissues. In the case of aging, small amounts of ROS activate mechanisms that deal with the ROS and then continue to repair cellular machinery. This results in an extension of lifespan and resistance to cellular stress. In fact, if animals that have small increases in ROS are treated with antioxidants, this treatment completely removes the lifespan increase that would otherwise occur.

Read more at the Delicious Science and Philosophy blog!
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