Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Creating aritifical antioxidants?

  1. May 15, 2012 #1
    Is is possible to artifically sythesize antioxidants? I'm wondering whether it is at least plausible. I'm sorry if this is the wrong section, I'm not sure where it should go.
    Thanks all!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2012 #2
    When you refer to artificially synthesizing antioxidants, are you referring to:

    1.) synthesizing known antioxidants (like ascorbic acid AKA vitamin C) in a laboratory with purely chemical means;

    2.) synthesizing new molecules which would have antioxidant properties;


    3.) both in some combination?

    Certainly, (1) is possible and quite doable. In principle, (2) is also possible, although no one I know can guarantee that a proposed molecule would be safe and effective in humans. If they did, they'd write up how they can figure that out, gain fame and glory, and get invited to Stockholm to receive a gold medal and a nice chunk of change. In reality, one would need to test a new molecule's efficiency and safety (among other things).
  4. May 15, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I doubt it would be that significant, despite what the [strike]health[/strike]food industry advertises there is little evidence that antioxidant supplements are beneficial to health and can in fact be more harmful;

    Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases
    Goran Bjelakovic, Dimitrinka Nikolova, Lise Lotte Gluud, Rosa G Simonetti, Christian Gluud
    Editorial Group: Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group

    Published Online: 14 MAR 2012

  5. May 15, 2012 #4
    Yes, my biochem professor was part of a research team that made artificial glutathione, a tripeptide antioxidant, from ordinary OTC amino acids in the UK back in the 80s; it was actually donated to victims of the Chernobyl disaster to neutralize free radicals generated in their bodies by the radiation.

    β-carotene has also been artificially synthesized.
  6. May 15, 2012 #5
    This is potentially true; I know a girl who's doing research on free radicals as signalling molecules in stem-cell differentiation. She believe that over use of antioxidants might actually retard some of these processes.
  7. May 15, 2012 #6
    Point taken - I read the question being more about the capabilities of synthetic chemistry being able to produce (fairly) large biologically active molecules. As long as it's not maitotoxin or something equally fiendish, of course.
  8. May 17, 2012 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There was just an article that popped up on my doc alerts the other day about a head to head, DB RCT in some disease with a placebo group vs an antioxidant group. The antioxidant group actually had increased mortality and they stopped the study early.

    Ill have to see if I can find after boards if I can remember. Or if someone else can look, unfortunately my epocrates updated this morning so those docalerts aren't on there now. I'm sure the billion dollar health-guru-food-supplement-vitamin industry will love that. Cant you already hear the conspiracy talk about "big pharma" and mysterious "they's/them's" :)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook