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Molecules 2010, 15(10), 6905-6930; doi:10.3390/molecules15106905

Natural Antioxidants: Fascinating or Mythical Biomolecules?

Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 August 2010 / Revised: 9 September 2010 / Accepted: 14 September 2010 / Published: 8 October 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidants)
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Research on the use, properties, characteristics and sources of antioxidants especially phenolic compounds, flavonoids, vitamins, synthetic chemicals and some micronutrients began in the late 18th century. Since then antioxidant research has received considerable attention and over a hundred thousand papers have been published on the subject. This has led to a rampant use of antioxidants in order to try to obtain and preserve optimal health. A number of nutraceuticals and food supplements are frequently fortified with synthetic or natural antioxidants. However, some research outcomes have led to the belief that antioxidants exist as mythical biomolecules. This review provides a critical evaluation of some common in vitro antioxidant capacity methods, and a discussion on the role and controversies surrounding non-enzymatic biomolecules, in particular phenolic compounds and non-phenolic compounds, in oxidative processes in an attempt of stemming the tidal wave that is threatening to swamp the concept of natural antioxidants.
Keywords: antioxidants; bioavailability; bio-kinetics; free radicals; phenolic compounds; flavonoids; vitamins antioxidants; bioavailability; bio-kinetics; free radicals; phenolic compounds; flavonoids; vitamins

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ndhlala, A.R.; Moyo, M.; Van Staden, J. Natural Antioxidants: Fascinating or Mythical Biomolecules? Molecules 2010, 15, 6905-6930.

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