Gastroenterology

Gold may hold the secret to treating inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), also known as "green cancer," is a chronic, non-specific disease of the intestine. IBD includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, both of which tend to be debilitating, lifelong conditions ...

Neuroscience

On Nutrition: Food for thoughts

I forgot that June was Brain Health Awareness Month. And then I stumbled over several interesting research articles that say it's never to late—or early—to learn.

Health

Can pickles increase the health benefits of sour cream?

Consumer demand for dairy foods has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased demand for foods that can be easily stored and maintain quality over time. In a new report published in the Journal of Dairy Science, ...

Neuroscience

Higher antioxidant levels linked to lower dementia risk

People with higher levels of antioxidants in their blood may be less likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in the May 4, 2022, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Oncology & Cancer

Research suggests possibility of vaccine to prevent skin cancer

Research by the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy suggests that a vaccine stimulating production of a protein critical to the skin's antioxidant network could help people bolster their defenses against skin cancer.

Oncology & Cancer

Study links free radicals to heart damage caused by cancer

A new study in animal models shows that the presence of a cancer tumor alone can lead to cardiac damage, and suggests the culprits are molecules called free radicals interacting with specific cells in the heart.

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Antioxidant

An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid or polyphenols.

Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, causes oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells.

As oxidative stress might be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly as treatments for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is unknown whether oxidative stress is the cause or the consequence of disease. Antioxidants are also widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements in the hope of maintaining health and preventing diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidant supplements might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation may be harmful. In addition to these uses of natural antioxidants in medicine, these compounds have many industrial uses, such as preservatives in food and cosmetics and preventing the degradation of rubber and gasoline.

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