Oxidative stress plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Long term exposure to increased levels of pro-oxidant factors can cause structural defects at a mitochondrial DNA level, as well as functional alteration of several enzymes and cellular structures leading to aberrations in gene expression. The modern lifestyle associated with processed food, exposure to a wide range of chemicals and lack of exercise plays an important role in oxidative stress induction. However, the use of medicinal plants with antioxidant properties has been exploited for their ability to treat or prevent several human pathologies in which oxidative stress seems to be one of the causes. In this review we discuss the diseases in which oxidative stress is one of the triggers and the plant-derived antioxidant compounds with their mechanisms of antioxidant defenses that can help in the prevention of these diseases. Finally, both the beneficial and detrimental effects of antioxidant molecules that are used to reduce oxidative stress in several human conditions are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)