2. One of many widely used synthetic or natural substances added to a product to prevent or delay its deterioration by the action of oxygen.
Rubber, paints, vegetable oils, and prepared foods commonly contain antioxidants. Assisting the cell’s enzyme protectors are the antioxidant vitamins E and C and beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
These vitamins absorb or attach to the free radicals, preventing them from attacking normal tissues. Current antioxidant therapy consists mainly of oral vitamins and food additives.