Related topics: heart disease

Stop aging in space

Wrinkles, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a clumsy brain are all natural consequences of getting old. As our cells rust over time, a key to fighting chronic disease may be in tiny, smartly designed particles that have ...

Image: Smart particles

Down to the microscopic level, nanoparticles show promising properties. A team of experts in Italy has spent years tailoring tiny inorganic materials and analysing their behaviour. Some have magnetic properties, others are ...

Electron accelerators reveal the radical secrets of antioxidants

In a groundbreaking series of experiments, an Osaka University researcher has demonstrated an exciting new method for understanding the power of antioxidants to protect us from harmful free radicals. Professor Kazuo Kobayashi ...

Comparing antioxidants levels in tomatoes of different color

Naturally occurring antioxidants have been of great interest in recent years due to their recognizable health benefits. A study out of Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico has clarified differing antioxidant levels ...

Microalgae as natural detector of environmental safety

An international group of toxicologists, including experts from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), report that unicellular microalgae, the most common microorganisms on Earth and an important part of the food chain ...

A novel way to synthesize antioxidant substances

Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University together with their colleagues from USA and Japan have proposed a novel way to address the most important and fundamental challenge of organic chemistry, i.e. breaking a bond between ...

Biologists taught infusoria to fight poisons

A team of scientists from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences has found a new substance with antioxidant properties able to protect living organisms from toxic compounds. The results of the ...

Sulfur respiration in mammals

A common sulfur metabolite having antioxidant activity appears to be formed with the help of an enzyme found in mitochondria, highlighting a potential area of research for future treatments of various diseases.

page 1 from 11

Antioxidant

An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid or polyphenols.

Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, causes oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells.

As oxidative stress might be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly as treatments for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is unknown whether oxidative stress is the cause or the consequence of disease. Antioxidants are also widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements in the hope of maintaining health and preventing diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidant supplements might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation may be harmful. In addition to these uses of natural antioxidants in medicine, these compounds have many industrial uses, such as preservatives in food and cosmetics and preventing the degradation of rubber and gasoline.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA