What are Antioxidants?

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what are antioxidants


Antioxidant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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** Antioxidant **

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Model of the antioxidant metabolite glutathione. The yellow sphere is the
redox-active sulfur atom that provides antioxidant activity, while the red,
blue, white, and dark grey spheres represent oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen,
and carbon atoms, respectively.

An *antioxidant* is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other
molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or
hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can
produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions.
When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to
the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free
radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this
by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents
such as thiols, ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.^[1]

Substituted phenols and derivatives of phenylenediamine are common
antioxidants used to inhibit gum formation in gasoline (petrol).

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

As oxidative stress appears to 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.
Moreover, oxidative stress is both the cause and the consequence of
disease.

Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements and have been
investigated for the prevention of diseases such as cancer, coronary heart
disease and even altitude sickness. Although


Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant

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