Free radicals are molecules noted for their capacity to damage cells. The hydroxyl radical is the neutral form of the hydroxide ion (OH-). These highly reactive molecules can damage most macromolecules, such as carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and amino acids.
Antioxidants are understood to combat free radicals and minimize or prevent their damaging effects. Antioxidants such as melatonin and glutathione, and dietary antioxidants including mannitol and vitamin E, scavenge for and discard of radicals such as neutral hydroxyl ions.
In this model, hydrogen atoms are white and oxygen atoms are red.
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