CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals (from upper left clockwise: hydroxyl radical, hypochlorus acid, hydroxyl ion, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen, peroxide and superoxide anion) are natural products of metabolism and are essential to cellular functions. In excess, however, they can cause severe damage. Their proliferation is controlled by natural antioxidants produced in the body. Centre from upper left and clockwise: ascorbic acid, catalase - an enzyme, vitamin E, melatonin and glutathione. Key: Black=carbon, red=oxygen, white=hydrogen, blue=nitrogen, yellow=sulfur, and green=chlorine.
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