Reaction kinetics of amino acid and peptide alkyl radicals with GSH and ascorbate, the two most abundant endogenous antioxidants, were investigated by pulse radiolysis. Rate constants in the order of 106 M−1s−1 were found. Alkyl radicals react at almost diffusion controlled rates and irreversibly with oxygen to form peroxyl radicals, and competition with this reaction is the benchmark for efficient repair in vivo. We consider repair of protein radicals and assume comparable rate constants for the reactions of GSH/ascorbate with peptide alkyl radicals and with alkyl radicals on a protein surface. Given physiological concentrations of oxygen, GSH and ascorbate, protein peroxyl radicals will always be a major product of protein alkyl radicals in vivo. Therefore, if they are formed by oxidative stress, protein alkyl radicals are a probable cause for biological damage.