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Antioxidants and Free Radicals – Definitions

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are chemical compounds that are able to quench the effects of free radicals.  Scientist have now identified a number of these antioxidants.  Most are naturally occurring plant compounds such as plant phenolics, carotenoids such as Vitamin A or E and some organic acids such as Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Free radicals

Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that can cause damage to living cells (and hence cause disease).  Free radicals are thought to be a byproduct from a number of causes including environmental factors, unhealthy food, smoking, radiation and a number of other sources.

 

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