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Medicine LibreTexts

9.1: Antioxidants

The antioxidant vitamins and minerals are: 

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Riboflavin

In this section, we are going to cover vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium in detail because being an antioxidant is their primary function. Iron, copper, zinc, and manganese are cofactors for the antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase, as shown below.

Figure 9.11 Antioxidant enzymes that use minerals as cofactors

Superoxide dismutase converts superoxide into hydrogen peroxide. Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water. Iron, copper, and zinc will be covered in more detail in the blood, bones, and teeth chapter (chapter 11). Manganese will be covered in the macronutrient metabolism chapter. Riboflavin, in the cofactor FAD, is an important cofactor for several antioxidant enzymes, but it will be covered in more depth in the macronutrient metabolism micronutrients chapter (Chapter 10).