This unit in the Discussion you will explore the aging process. Although the exact causes of aging are not yet known, researchers have made promising advances identifying cellular changes as we age. One theory follows damage in the cell as it ages. The accumulation of damage ultimately causes either malfunction or death of the cell. The cause of this damage may be by free radicals, which are chemical compounds that can come from the environment and also normal cellular functions. Free radicals contain unpaired electrons. These highly reactive molecules scour the cell in an effort to neutralize their electric charge. This oxidative process causes damage to various parts of the cell including the DNA.
For this unit’s Discussion you will need to respond to the following:
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- The mitochondrion is referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. We have previously examined how the mitochondrion produces ATP. This energy producing process also has additional outcomes. Discuss how this normal mitochondrial process can also adversely affect a cell.
- Compare and contrast how a decline in how the mitochondria functions can result in aging and how the cell needs a strong metabolism to meet energy needs.
- Why are you concerned about the longevity or aging of your cells? What other life-threatening diseases can be increased in their severity with the contribution of free radical damage?
- How are antioxidants involved in preventing free radical damage?
- Explain how changes to your diet can help to prevent free radical damage and aging?
- After your unit readings and research this unit, will you change your diet? Why or why not?