Free radicals are naturally occurring byproducts of normal processes in our bodies, but their production is increased by our lifestyle and environment - everything from the food we eat, the air we breathe and the stresses of everyday living have an effect on free radical production. If left unchecked, free radicals set off a chain reaction that can cause damage to cells and even cell death, through a process called oxidation. Numerous studies indicate that oxidative stress often accelerates aging and increases the risk of diseases and cancers (1-4).
A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. When free radicals oxidize important components of the cell, those components lose their ability to function normally and may cause the cell to die.
Each year, people around the world spend billions on products and services aimed at curbing free radicals and their harmful effects - but often they do this without insight into whether our efforts are working. Fortunately, byproducts of oxidative stress can be measured. When free radicals oxidize cells, aldehydes are produced(5-6). These aldehydes migrate into the blood stream and then volatize in the lungs, where they are released through our breath.
By measuring aldehydes, we can gain powerful insight into our body’s current state of oxidation caused by free radicals - in a way that’s simple and pain-free. This insight can help us understand how lifestyle and environmental factors affect our body’s ability to neutralize free radicals and over time, help us navigate a path to lead healthier lives.