It is widely believed that consuming foods and beverages that have high concentrations of antioxidants can prevent cardiovascular diseases and many types of cancer. As a result, many articles have been published that give the total antioxidant capacities of foods in vitro. However, many antioxidants behave quite differently in vivo. Some of them, such as resveratrol (in red wine) and epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG (in green tea) can activate the nuclear erythroid-2 like factor-2 (Nrf2) transcription factor. It is a master regulator of endogenous cellular defense mechanisms. Nrf2 controls the expression of many antioxidant and detoxification genes, by binding to antioxidant response elements (AREs) that are commonly found in the promoter region of antioxidant (and other) genes, and that control expression of those genes. The mechanisms by which Nrf2 relieves oxidative stress and limits cardiac injury as well as the progression to heart failure are described. Also, the ability of statins to induce Nrf2 in the heart, brain, lung, and liver is mentioned. However, there is a negative side of Nrf2. When over-activated, it can cause (not prevent) cardiovascular diseases and multi-drug resistance cancer.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited