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Free radicals, oxidative stress and importance of antioxidants in human health

Keywords: Reactive oxygen species , oxidative stress , antioxidant supplementation

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Abstract:

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a collective term used for oxygen containing free radicals, depending on their reactivity and oxidizing ability. ROS participate in a variety of chemical reactions with biomolecules leading to a pathological condition known as oxidative stress. Antioxidants are employed to protect biomolecules from the damaging effects of such ROS. In the beginning, antioxidant research was mainly aimed at understanding free radical reactions of ROS with antioxidants employing biochemical assays and kinetic methods. Later on, studies began to be directed to monitor the ability of anti-oxidants to modulate cellular signaling proteins like receptors, secondary messengers, transcription factors, etc. Of late several studies have indicated that antioxidants can also have deleterious effects on human health depending on dosage and bio-availability. It is therefore, necessary to validate the utility of antioxidants in improvement of human health in order to take full advantage of their therapeutic potential.

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