What does antioxidant mean?
Oxidation is the reaction of the molecules, of which our cells are made, with oxygen, from which free radicals are formed, waste products of metabolic reactions. Free radicals, in turn, attack our cells giving rise to a chain reaction that causes damage to biomolecules and the aging of cells and tissues.
A healthy organism is able to defend itself from the presence of free radicals thanks to antioxidants.
Therefore, antioxidant is the adjective reserved for the molecule capable of preventing the oxidation of other molecules, neutralizing the action of free radicals, which are transformed into less harmful and easier to eliminate molecules.
What is the action of antioxidants?
The antioxidants in our body work as a defense system protecting us from free radicals, and as a purification system by eliminating the waste that derives from cellular metabolism. In addition, antioxidants help build and repair the body’s structures.
Every day our body produces billions and billions of free radicals, which are highly reactive species, and must be kept under control by antioxidants. If the antioxidant defenses are insufficient, the system loses its balance and enters “oxidative stress”. Without realizing it oxidative stress performs a continuous negative action on health, depressing the immune system, accelerating cell aging, and in severe cases promoting the onset of diseases and tumor forms.
Therefore, oxidation and free radicals cause the aging of cellular structures, also damaging structural biomolecules such as collagen and elastin. On our skin the damage can become visible, for example through the formation of wrinkles and the loss of elasticity.