Antioxidants

Synonyms: Free radical fighters

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Preventative medicine


Clinical Definition

Antioxidants are naturally occurring agents that prevent cellular oxidation, and may protect the body from molecules that damage cells (called free radicals). Common dietary antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E. 


In Our Own Words

Antioxidants are natural or synthetic substances found in foods that may protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are thought to play a role in aging, heart disease, cancer and other conditions. Free radicals are created when the body synthezises food into energy and toxic external sources -- such cigarette smoke, air pollution and sun exposure --  introduce free radicals into the body. Antioxidants may supply electrons that deactivate free radicals, possibly preventing their damaging and aging effects. (Good reasons to eat more fruits and veggies.)

Relevant Conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Coronary artery disease
Common Types
  • Vitamins A, C, E
  • Selenium
  • Beta carotene
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sources
  • Harvard Medical School. “Medical Dictionary of Health Terms.” Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu. Accessed July 2013.
  • Clevand Clinic. Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention, Antioxidants. http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed July 2013.
  • Medical Free Dictionary. Antioxidants. Mosby’s Dental Dictionary, 2nd edition. Elsevier 2008. Accessed Sept. 2013.
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