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An antioxidant's function

Within an response, discuss the following concepts: an antioxidant's function; free radicals and their effect on the human body; sources of vitamin C; optimal delivery system for vitamin C; and precautions for use of vitamin C

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An antioxidant is a substance that when present in low concentrations relative to the oxidizable substrate significantly delays or reduces oxidation of the substrate (Halliwell, 1995, cited in ) http://www.doctorslounge.com/primary/articles/antioxidants/antioxidants1.htm. They destroy free radicals that wreak havoc on our body by combating oxidation.
Specifically, antioxidants are substances that function to protect other chemicals of the body from damaging oxidation reactions by reacting with free radicals and other reactive oxygen species within the body, which hinders the process of oxidation. When this reaction occurs, the antioxidant sacrifices itself by becoming oxidized, but there is only a limited supply as one antioxidant molecule can only react with a single free radical. This means that there is a continual need to replenish antioxidant resources, whether through food or through supplementation.

There are two types of antioxidants, enzymatic and nonenzymatic. The nonenzymatic antioxidants include the lipid-soluble vitamins, vitamin E and vitamin A or provitamin A (beta-carotene), and the water-soluble vitamin C and GSH. Vitamin E has been described as the major chain-breaking antioxidant in humans (Packer, 1992). Because of its lipid solubility, vitamin E is located within cell membranes, where it interrupts lipid peroxidation and may play a role in modulating intracellular signalling pathways that rely on ROI (Kagan ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the following concepts: an antioxidant's function; free radicals and their effect on the human body; sources of vitamin C; optimal delivery system for vitamin C; and precautions for use of vitamin C.

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