Antioxidants: Types and General Information
Updated/Revised Date: 2022-06-02
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Antioxidants and Carotenoids Publications
Synopsis: Information regarding antioxidants, defined as a group of organic substances, that includes vitamins C, E, and A, the mineral selenium, and carotenoids. An antioxidant is defined as "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. Antioxidants are classified into two broad divisions, depending on whether they are soluble in water (hydrophilic) or lipids (hydrophobic).
The term "Antioxidant" refers to a group of organic substances, including vitamins C and E, vitamin A, selenium (a mineral), and a group known as carotenoids - beta-carotene being the most popular and well-known carotenoid. Carotenoids are the pigment compounds that give many fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors.
An antioxidant is defined as "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 inhibiting other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols or polyphenols. Antioxidants are classified into two broad divisions, depending on whether they are soluble in water (hydrophilic) or lipids (hydrophobic).
In general, water-soluble antioxidants react with oxidants in the cell cytosol and the blood plasma, while lipid-soluble antioxidants protect cell membranes from lipid peroxidation. These compounds may be synthesized in the body or obtained from the diet. The different antioxidants are present at a wide range of concentrations in body fluids and tissues, with some such as glutathione or ubiquinone mostly present within cells, while others such as uric acid are more evenly distributed. Some antioxidants are only found in a few organisms, and these compounds can be important in pathogens and can be virulence factors.
A wide variety of colorful, nutritious food on display table.
Glutathione is a cysteine-containing peptide found in most forms of aerobic life.
It is not required in the diet and is instead synthesized in cells from its constituent amino acids.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can easily cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier.
Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin does not undergo redox cycling, which is the ability of a molecule to undergo repeated reduction and oxidation.
Vitamin E is the collective name for a set of eight related tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant properties. Of these, Plus/Minus-tocopherol has been most studied as it has the highest bio-availability, with the body preferentially absorbing and metabolizing this form.
The brain is uniquely vulnerable to oxidative injury, due to its high metabolic rate and elevated levels of polyunsaturated lipids, the target of lipid peroxidation. Consequently, antioxidants are commonly used as medications to treat various forms of brain injury. Here, superoxide dismutase mimetics, sodium thiopental, and propofol are used to treat reperfusion injury and traumatic brain injury, while the experimental drug NXY-059 and ebselen are being applied in the treatment of stroke.
Antioxidants can cancel the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. Furthermore, people who eat fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants, have a lower risk of heart disease and some neurological diseases, and there is evidence that some types of vegetables, and fruits in general, probably protect against several cancers. These observations suggested that antioxidants might help prevent these conditions. There is some evidence that antioxidants might help prevent diseases such as macular degeneration, suppressed immunity due to poor nutrition, and neurodegeneration.
Relatively strong reducing acids can have anti-nutrient effects by binding to dietary minerals such as iron and zinc in the gastrointestinal tract and preventing them from being absorbed. Notable examples are oxalic acid, tannins, and phytic acid, which are high in plant-based diets. Calcium and iron deficiencies are not uncommon in diets in developing countries, where less meat is eaten and there is high consumption of phytic acid from beans and unleavened whole-grain bread.
Many healthcare specialists claim that the elderly, especially those with a reduced food intake, heavy drinkers, frequent aspirin users, smokers, and individuals with immune problems may benefit greatly by taking daily antioxidant supplements. Furthermore, a higher level of antioxidants may aid in preventing certain life-threatening diseases.
- Oxidative damage in DNA can cause cancer.
- Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of antioxidants.
- Antioxidant supplements can interact with some medicines.
- Uric acid is by far the highest concentration antioxidant in human blood.
- A low-calorie diet extends the median and maximum lifespan in many animals.
- During exercise, oxygen consumption can increase by a factor of more than 10.
- Antioxidants are used as food additives to help guard against food deterioration.
- High-dose supplements of antioxidants may be linked to health risks in some cases.
- High doses of vitamin E may increase the risk of prostate cancer and one type of stroke.
- There is good evidence that eating a diet with numerous vegetables and fruits is healthy and lowers the risks of certain diseases.
- Superoxide dismutases (SODs) are a class of closely related enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of the superoxide anion into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
- Relatively strong reducing acids can have anti-nutrient effects by binding to dietary minerals such as iron and zinc in the gastrointestinal tract and preventing them from being absorbed.
- Oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, the pathologies caused by diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases.
Subtopics and Associated Subjects
|Latest Antioxidants and Carotenoids Publications|
|MitoQ Novel Antioxidant Makes Old Arteries Seem Young Again|
Seniors who took a novel antioxidant that specifically targets cellular powerhouses, or mitochondria, saw age-related vascular changes reverse by equivalent of 15 to 20 years within 6 weeks.
Publish Date: 2018-04-22
|Mushrooms: Antioxidants and Possible Antiaging Potential|
Mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants that some scientists suggest could help fight aging and bolster health.
Publish Date: 2017-11-13 - Updated: 2019-02-18
|Evidence Reveals Antioxidant Fisetin May Reduce Mental Effects of Aging|
Evidence that a natural compound in strawberries reduces cognitive deficits and inflammation associated with aging.
Publish Date: 2017-07-11 - Updated: 2017-07-25
|Maple Syrup Found to Protect Neurons and Nurture Minds|
Maple syrup is rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants found in certain foods.
Publish Date: 2016-04-18 - Updated: 2018-11-26
Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.
Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.
• Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, June 2). Antioxidants: Types and General Information. Disabled World. Retrieved February 8, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/medical/supplements/antioxidants/
• Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/medical/supplements/antioxidants/">Antioxidants: Types and General Information</a>