Antioxidants are chemicals that may be produced by the body or consumed in food. They mitigate the harmful effects of free radicals and have therefore been praised for their role in the prevention of certain types of cancers, heart disease, vision loss, and other chronic illnesses. However, clinical trials have largely failed to conclusively link antioxidants with their perceived benefits, and some studies have even linked consumption of antioxidant supplements with increased health risks. This entry examines the role and sources of antioxidants and discusses the use of antioxidant dietary supplements.

The primary role of antioxidants is to block the effects of free radicals. Free radicals may be produced naturally in the body or may be consumed through necessary activities such as eating and breathing. Free ...

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