Saturday, July 7, 2007

Antioxidants and Exposure to Radiation

Radiation is one of the external triggers of free radical chain reaction in a living thing. The high levels of radiation surrounding the Chernobyl reactor plant had damaging results to living organisms surrounding it.

Observations on the survival of different species of birds surrounding the Chernobyl plant due to the high levels of radiation raised some questions from the scientists.

Why the population of some species declined more than the others.

They observed that the species affected most were those whose antioxidant levels were low. The characteristics of these groups are:

- Brightly colored birds who use up carotenoids(an antioxidant) for feather pigmentation making the substance less available in their body to counteract free radical damage.

-Birds who lay large eggs. Many antioxidants go with the egg depleting their bodies of antioxidants to scavenge free radicals.

The scientists concluded that species of birds which had low levels of antioxidants caused a decline in population compared to the species who had higher levels of antioxidants.

Well that is the case at the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor plant, not in our daily environment. However, exposure to sunlight and electromagnetic radiation may have some effect in our bodies. Our antioxidant defenses are always at our disposal but there are times when the levels decrease. Heavy irregular exercises, stress, secondhand smoke can bring our antioxidant levels down.

Always eat fruits and vegetable which are good sources of antioxidants. If not available, take antioxidant supplements to keep the antioxidant defenses in constant supply.


You may also want to read:

Aging - Antioxidants and Cognitive Brain Function
Antioxidants and Secondhand Smoke
Antioxidant Lycopene Can Treat Many Diseases
Meditation Can Give You a Lift