ORAC Assay for the Determination of Antioxidant Capacity in Foods
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated as natural byproducts of the cellular metabolism. They are involved in various biological processes, functioning as important signal mediators. However, excess intracellular levels of ROS may result in cell and tissue damage, and are associated with degenerative diseases, most notably cancer. In healthy individuals, intracellular antioxidant systems maintain ROS levels below a critical threshold, permitting essential ROSmediated signaling processes to function, but preventing ROS overproduction and potential tissue damage. Cells that fail to compensate and neutralize heightened ROS levels die by apoptosis to avoid passing on ROS-caused DNA damage to daughter cells. Any dysfunctions in the cellular antioxidant systems can therefore have serious consequences. In addition to the cells’ own antioxidant systems, various studies have suggested a relationship between an antioxidant-rich diet and a good health status, implicating that the consumption of antioxidant-containing foods can help to maintain health and even prevent certain diseases.