What are Antioxidants? The substances that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules are called antioxidants. Free radicals are produced as a result of oxidation and these free radicals trigger a chain of chemical reactions that damage the cells. These chain reactions can be terminated by using some antioxidants such as ascorbic acid and thiols. A complex system of overlapping oxidants and antioxidants is maintained by plants and animals in order to balance the oxidative state.
Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements and these are very important for the prevention of many diseases that include cardiac disorders and cancer. The other uses of antioxidants include application in industry for controlling reactions, food preservatives and cosmetics.
Health effects of antioxidants:
Some level of antioxidants are good for our health. Due to limited information about the effect of antioxidants on human body, it is difficult to predict the exact benefits as well as the side effects. Studies have shown that antioxidants have potential effects on neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. One of the anti-oxidant steroid is Tirilazad mesylate that inhibits the growth of lipid peroxidation which plays a vital role in neuronal death in strokes and head injuries. Another oxidant NXY-059 showed some efficacy in animal models but failed in improving the stroke outcomes in clinics.
Benefits of antioxidants:
These are found in many fruits and prohibit the oxidation of other molecules in our body. Antioxidants are very important for human health. The free radicals in our body if left unchallenged and can cause illness as well as many chronic diseases, antioxidants prevent the chain of reactions that are triggered by the free radicals. Different antioxidants provide many benefits to different parts of the body. For example, beta-carotene is very helpful for our eye, for prostate health lycopene is very beneficial and proanthocyanidins are useful for the urinary tract. In today’s polluted world the antioxidant intake should increase for healthy functioning of our body as our body cannot produce the amount of antioxidants needed. There should be a good amount of minerals, vitamins and enzymes in our daily diet.
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