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Impact of Free Radicals and Antioxidants on Human Health

Rajeev Singh


Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction heir chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases. Hence application of external source of antioxidants can assist in coping this oxidative stress. This process plays a major part in the development of chronic and degenerative illness such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, aging, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. The present review provides a brief overview on oxidative stress mediated cellular damages and role antioxidants in the management of human diseases.


Keywords: Antioxidants, Oxidative stress, Free radicals, Diseases

Cite this Article

Rajeev Singh. Impact of free radicals and Antioxidants on Human Health. Research & Reviews: A Journal of Pharmacognosy. 2016; 3(2): 19–26p.

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