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Antioxidants, nature and chemistry

Submitted by Dr. Tamer Fouad, M.D.


Antioxidants are substances that protect other chemicals of the body from damaging oxidation reactions


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  Free radicals
Oxidative mechanisms in carcinogenesis

Mode of action of antioxidants

There are four routes:

1.     Chain breaking reactions, e.g. alpha-tocopherol which acts in lipid phase to trap "ROD" radical.

2.     Reducing the concentration of reactive oxygen species e.g. glutathione.

3.     Scavenging initiating radicals e.g. superoxide dismutase which acts in aqueous phase to trap superoxide free radicals.

4.     Chelating the transition metal catalysts: A group of compounds serves an antioxidant function by sequestration of transition metals that are well-established pro-oxidants. In this way, transferrin, lactoferrin, and ferritin function to keep iron induced oxidant stress in check and ceruloplasmin and albumin as copper sequestrants.

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