Scientists at the U.S. Division of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have made a stunning discovery that could assist in clarifying the threat for developing chronic illnesses or cancers as humans get older, and how meals decompose over time.
The findings, which were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS), point to a surprising connection between the ozone chemistry in the atmosphere and cells’ hardwired ability to keep off disease.
Unsaturated lipids and other organic particles, like carbohydrates and protein, slowly degrade over time due to a chain reaction—often called autoxidation—launched by oxygen and hydroxyl radicals, a type of reactive oxygen species.
Hydroxyl radicals insidiously hit the unsaturated lipids in human bodies and food, turning the freshest of avocados brown, for example
The harm to human bodies from hydroxyl radicals, nevertheless, is more severe than an oxidized avocado. As humans grow older, decades of exposure to hydroxyl radicals and other reactive oxygen species steadily yet certainly debilitate the body’s unsaturated lipids.
For many years, scientists believed that hydroxyl radicals worked alone when they hit unsaturated lipids.