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14 Theory 6: Free Radical Theory
This now very famous theory of aging was developed by Denham Harman MD at the University of Nebraska in 1956.
The term free radical describes any molecule that has a free electron, and this property makes it react with healthy molecules in a destructive way.
Because the free radical molecule has an extra electron it creates an extra negative charge. This unbalanced energy makes the free radical bind itself to another balanced molecule as it tries to steal electrons. In so doing, the balanced molecule becomes unbalanced and thus a free radical itself.
It is known that diet, lifestyle, drugs (e.g. tobacco and alcohol) and radiation etc., are all accelerators of free radical production within the body.