Antioxidant actions of flavonoids: Thermodynamic and kinetic analysis

Mónica Galleano, Sandra V. Verstraeten, Patricia I. Oteiza, Cesar G. Fraga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


The benefits of flavonoids on human health are very often ascribed to their potential ability to act diminishing free radical steady state concentration in biological systems providing antioxidant protection. This is an assumption based on the chemical structures of flavonoids that support their capacity to scavenge free radicals and chelate redox-active metals. In this paper we will use thermodynamic and kinetic approaches to analyze the interactions of flavonoids with biological material and from there, extrapolate the physiological relevance of their antioxidant actions. Thermodynamic analysis predicts that both, scavenging of oxygen-derived radicals and the sequestration of redox-active metals are energetically favored. Nevertheless, the actual concentrations reached by flavonoids in most animal and human tissues following dietary ingestion are incompatible with the kinetic requirements necessary to reach reaction rates of physiological relevance. This incompatibility becomes evident when compared to other antioxidant compounds, e.g α-tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbate (vitamin C), and glutathione. Alternatively, lipid-flavonoid and protein-flavonoid interactions can indirectly mediate a decrease in oxidant (free radical) production and/or oxidative damage to both cell and extracellular components. The final mechanisms mediating the antioxidant actions of flavonoid will be determined by their actual concentration in the tissue under consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Adsorption
  • Antioxidants
  • Chelation
  • Chocolate
  • Flavonoids
  • Free radicals
  • Polyphenols
  • Tea
  • Wine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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