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February 25, 2001
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Antioxidants and Antioxidant Enzymes


Free radicals can injure biological molecules, such as DNA, proteins and lipids, causing cell and tissue damage leading to aging and disease. The concerted action of the various protein anti-oxygenic enzymes keeps concentration of free radicals in cells relatively low. However the system is not completely effective. Hence a steady state of free radical damage to biological molecules is always occurring.

Antioxidant Enzymes

To aid in biodefense, a system of antioxidants exists to neutralize radicals after they have formed. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which reacts with superoxide in the aqueous phase and vitamin E (a family of molecules comprising four types of tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and the same four types of tocotrienols) in the lipophilic phase, will directly react with peroxy radicals to destroy them and form inorganic or organic hydroperoxides.

When this happens, vitamin E or vitamin C themselves become free radicals. But these antioxidants have aromatic ring structures, which delocalize the unpaired electron and they are less-reactive, longer-lived and less dangerous than the radicals they have quenched. Thus they are able to minimize biological damage caused by oxygen-derived radicals.


Information and statements regarding dietary supplements herein has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Nor is it meant to substitute for the advice provided by your health care provider. The efficacy of antioxidant supplementation for children and during pregnancy is not established . If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, please contact your physician.

Network AntioxidantsTM and The First Defense Against AgingTM are trademarks of Cyberpac, Inc. Lester Packer, 1999. All Rights Reserved.

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