As a part of their normal function, body cells make toxic molecules called free radicals – each molecule is missing an electron. Because the free‑radical molecule “wants” its full electron complement, it reacts with any molecule from which it can take an electron. When the free radical takes an electron from certain key components in the cell, such as fat, protein, or DNA molecules, it damages the cell in a process known as oxidation. In addition to free radicals that occur naturally in the body, they also occur as the result of environmental influences. These influences may include ultraviolet radiation or air‑borne pollutants such as cigarette smoke – both of which contribute to cell oxidation and may accelerate the ageing process.
Antioxidants, or oxidation inhibitors, that occur naturally in the human body and in certain foods may block some of this damage by donating electrons to stabilize and neutralize the harmful effects of the free radicals. Adaptogens also possess an antioxidant action. Based on biochemical analyses, adaptogens cause a reliable decrease in total cholesterol and b‑lipoproteids, and increase the level of hydrophilic and lipid antioxidants in the blood. In studies by Japanese scientists, it was found that Gomisin N (a component isolated from Schizandra fruit) is a more active antioxidant than dl‑a tocopherol (vitamin E).
S. Toda Laboratory of Chemistry
M. Kimura Kansai College of Acupuncture Medicine
M. Ohnishi Japan
Y. Ikeya Tsumura Laboratory
H. Taguchi Ibaragi, Japan
S.I. Chernysh Institute of Biology of the Leningrad University
O.N. Voskresensky Poltava Medical Institute
T.A. Devyatkina Poltava, Ukraine