Endogenous Antioxidants

  • Shabnum Nabi


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 (Sies Helmut 1997). Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, enzymes, or plant-derived nutrients called phytonutrients, found in food. They do what their name implies: antioxidation. Antioxidant means “against oxidation.” Antioxidants work to protect lipids from peroxidation by radicals. Antioxidants are effective because they are willing to give up their own electrons to free radicals. When a free radical gains the electron from an antioxidant, it no longer needs to attack the cell, and the chain reaction of oxidation is broken (Dekkers et al. 1996). After donating an electron, an antioxidant becomes a free radical by definition. Antioxidants in this state are not harmful because they have the ability to accommodate the change in electrons without becoming reactive. The human body has an elaborate antioxidant defense system. Antioxidants are manufactured within the body and can also be extracted from the food humans eat such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, meats, and oil. There are two lines of antioxidant defense within the cell. The first line, found in the fat-soluble cellular membrane, consists of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and coenzyme Q (Kaczmarski et al. 1999). Of these, vitamin E is considered the most potent chain-breaking antioxidant within the membrane of the cell. Inside the cell, water-soluble antioxidant scavengers are present. These include vitamin C, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (Dekkers et al. 1996).


Superoxide Dismutase Internal Combustion Engine Glutathione Disulfide Induce Reactive Oxygen Species Production Mitochondrial Target Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shabnum Nabi
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Brain Research Centre (IBRC) Jawaharlal Nehru Medical CollegeAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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