How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 473

What information is now available about magnetic fields and free radicals in our bodies?
Free radicals are molecular fragments with unpaired electrons. The organic molecules in our bodies are normally held together by covalent bonds, an arrangement in which a pair of electrons orbits between and around two atoms in a manner that reduces the total energy of the atoms and thus binds the two atoms together. When only one electron is orbiting an atom by itself, it is chemically aggressive and tends to attack other molecules. That electron is also magnetic and is influenced a tiny bit by surrounding magnetic fields. My guess is that the magnetic fields you normally encounter, whether they are due to the earth's magnetic field, or to nearby power lines, or even to strong magnets such as those used in magnetic resonance imaging, have very little influence over the chemistry of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are themselves a health issue, but I don't think that magnetic fields make free radicals any more or less hazardous. If I learn more about this issue, I'll add it here.

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