Revista chilena de nutrición
versión On-line ISSN 0717-7518
ZAMORA S, Juan Diego. ANTIOXIDANTS: MICRONUTRIENTS FIGHTING FOR HEALTH. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2007, vol.34, n.1, pp. 17-26. ISSN 0717-7518. doi: 10.4067/S0717-75182007000100002.
Antioxidants are chemical substances characterized by having as primary function avoiding or delaying the oxidation of various molecules, mainly fatty acids, both in foods and the organism. This oxidation has the potential of causing alterations which may precipitate different diseases. Another function of the antioxidants is to facilitate the use of oxygen by cellular mitochondria, forming complex substances that can mitigate free radical-producing reactions. Free radicals are unstable molecules of strong energy with electrons unpaired in his external orbits which tend to react with other molecules whose effect has been related to the non-transmissible chronic diseases. The antioxidants are classified in two systems, enzymatic and non-enzymatic, also know as endogenous and exogenous respectively, which can act both in the internal and the external cellular space. The non-enzymatic system is composed mainly by substances like vitamins A, E and C, carotenoids, and minerals such as selenium and zinc. It has been documented that in certain cases the antioxidants can potentiate health and that their use may help the prevention of chronic illnesses, such as some types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, among others. The importance of the consumption of foods with a high content of antioxidants like fruits and vegetables is discussed
Palabras clave : Antioxidants; micronutrients; nutrition; health.