The Free Radical Theory of Aging and Antioxidant Supplements: A Systematic Review

Bruce A. Buehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Free radical excess occurs when cells are exposed to reactive oxygen species greater than the amount that can be neutralized by cellular produced antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase. This is termed oxidative stress, which can be caused by excessive energy intake or external pollutants. Excess free radicals are proposed to increase the rate of cell aging, injury, and mutations leading to a shortened cell life span. Vitamins A, C, and E and flavoproteins are supplements that function as free radical scavengers. Antioxidants are present in natural foods but added amounts beyond the diet may detoxify excess free radicals during "oxidative stress." Antioxidant supplements decrease cellular damage from excess reactive oxygen species but they have not been proven to prolong life span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-220
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • antioxidants
  • dismutase
  • flavoprotein
  • oxidative stress
  • superoxide
  • vitamin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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