Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society
On-line version ISSN 1678-4790
NUNEZ-SELLES, Alberto J.. Antioxidant therapy: myth or reality?. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. [online]. 2005, vol.16, n.4, pp.699-710. ISSN 1678-4790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-50532005000500004.
New terms such as oxidative stress, antioxidant products or pro-oxidant risks are becoming familiar and an increasing number of international scientific conferences and the publication of thousands of scientific articles is an indication of the growing interest that the subject awakens. The most publicized example is perhaps the French paradox, based on the apparent compatibility of a high fat diet with a low incidence of coronary atherosclerosis attributed to the regular consumption, by the French, of red wine and/or grape juice. Flavonoids, and other phenolic substances contained in red wine, are assigned with antioxidant properties, which lower the oxidation of low density lipoproteins and consequently, the risk of atherogenic diseases. Other examples are the aging process and its correlation with an increase of free radicals, and the correlation between the initiation and promotion of cancer and tissue injury by free radicals, which has induced the intake of antioxidant products as chemical factors that prevent the onset of the disease. Currently, the incidence of oxidative stress on the onset and evolution of more than 100 diseases is claimed by several researchers. All these are "realities", which on the other hand, are lacking of more clinical evidence, are considered by both physicians and health regulatory bodies, either as "myths" or of "secondary" importance. In the attempts to destroy those myths, results of chemical, pre-clinical, and clinical works with a crude extract of mango (Mangifera indica L.) stem bark, which has been developed in Cuba, are reviewed, with a strong experimental evidence of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
Keywords : Mangifera indica L.; volatile and non-volatile components; elemental quantitative analysis; antioxidant activity; anti-inflammatory activity; analgesic activity; immunomodulatory activity; clinical trial.