Free radicals are formed during metabolism and through exposure to environmental pollution, ultraviolet radiation, cigarette smoke and toxic chemicals such as cleaners and herbicides. Free
radicals are highly unstable molecules because they lack an electron. They attack molecules such as proteins and lipids in human body cells to “steal” an electron from them. Once a stable molecule has its electron “stolen”, it becomes a free radical, hence causing a domino effect. If unstopped, free radicals can cause significant cellular damage. Many forms of cancer are thought to be caused by free radicals attacking the DNA.
Antioxidants such as Vitamin E can stop free radicals by donating one of their electrons to the free radical. Antioxidants are unique as they do not become a free radical themselves because they remain stable before and after donating the electron. This stops the domino effect of free radicals being created and thus limits damage to cells and tissues.
Importantly, alpha-tocotrienol is 40-60 times more potent than alpha-tocopherol as an antioxidant and highly protective of the body against free radical attacks.