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Substances that inhibit oxidative changes in molecules. Many oxidative changes are destructive and this applies as much to the human body as to non-biological chemistry. Recognition that many of the fundamentally damaging processes in disease are oxidative in nature and result from the action of oxygen FREE RADICALS has raised interest in the possibility of using antioxidants to minimize such damage. The most popular choice for this purpose are the antioxidant vitamins C and E. There is evidence that, taken in adequate dosage, these vitamins act synergistically to reduce free radical effects. See also FLAVONOIDS and FRENCH PARADOX.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Substances that reduce the damage of the highly reactive free radicals that are the byproducts of the cells.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Patient discussion about Antioxidants

Q. What are “antioxidants”? and what do they do? I’ve been hearing about antioxidants for quite some time now, they are supposedly help to keep us younger. What do they do and is it true?

A. When every biological system works- it creates oxidants. These are materials that are very active and they “look for” something to react with. So when you eat (an example) there are a lot of oxidants created. they move around in the colon and they usually react with colon cells, thus destroying them. This also happens while breathing, cell metabolism and a lot of biological processes. Antioxidants counteract these free oxidants and stop their harmful reaction.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Getting enough amounts of antioxidants can also prevent type 2 diabetes.
In the early twentieth century, vitamins A, C, and E were identified as antioxidants, and it became clear that these compounds were essential for the health of living organisms, playing key roles in preventing reactions in the body that lead to oxidative stress, noted Andrew Wheeler, vice president of marketing, FutureCeuticals and Van Drunen Farms.
Many health experts believe that a diet high in antioxidants can help protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radicals.
Common antioxidants include Vitamins A, C, and E, and members of the carotenoids family, including betacarotene, lycopene, and lutein.
Vitamins C and E, and the trace metal selenium are micronutrients that act as key antioxidants in the body.
Since aging and age-associated health problems are linked to a gradual decline in the body's endogenous antioxidant system, increasing your intake of exogenous antioxidants from dietary sources as you age is one important way to ensure that you remain sharp and active.
"Administration of antioxidants to the mice allowed more of the metastasizing melanoma cells to survive, increasing metastatic disease burden."
Toward this end, scientists in Romania wanted to improve the antioxidant capacity and stability of pear juice and its compounds, during 12 days of storage, using natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that prevent oxidation of other molecules, thus delaying some types of cell damage that could cause cancer, said the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.