Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit
oxidation. They are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay
some types of cell damage. Diets high in vegetables and fruits, which are good
sources of antioxidants, have been found to be healthy; however, research has
not shown antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases.
Examples of antioxidants include vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids,
such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. This fact sheet
provides basic information about antioxidants, summarizes what the science says
about antioxidants and health, and suggests sources for additional information.
All living organisms utilize oxygen to metabolize and use the dietary nutrients
in order to produce energy for survival. Oxygen meditates chemical reactions
that metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to produce energy.