Using Antioxidants to Reduce Inflammation

Free radicals produced during inflammation can lead to cellular damage. Discover how antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and thereby reduce inflammation.

Anju Mobin
By Anju Mobin
Head and Shoulders Photo of Michelle Meyer
Reviewed by Michelle Meyer

Published August 25, 2022.

Inflammation is a normal healing process that occurs in your body. However, when it becomes chronic, your body starts to face problems. It leads to the excessive production of free radicals that causes damage to your biological machinery such as unpaired electrons and reactive oxygen species (ROS).

The top causes of inflammation are allergies, lack of cortisol, acute and chronic infections, old injuries, low vitamin D, environmental toxins, high blood sugar, obesity, and too much iron.

Do Antioxidants Reduce Inflammation?

Antioxidants and inflammation have an inverse relationship in our bodies. Antioxidants are stable molecules that help neutralize free radicals. These are unpaired electrons that cause severe damage to healthy tissue by stealing an electron from it.

However, antioxidants donate electrons to the free radicals and protect the tissue in the process (1). Therefore, you should always maintain a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

Which Antioxidants Bring Relief?

  • Glutathione This is a powerful antioxidant that is produced by the liver. You can also get it from your diet, including beef, fish, chicken, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onions, asparagus, avocados, and spinach. They are healthy foods for inflammation and can help fight chemicals you get exposed to in your daily life (2). Alternatively, you can also use glutathione supplements.
  • Selenium Selenium is a trace mineral and a powerful antioxidant (3). It protects against oxidative damage caused by chronic inflammation (4). It also helps your body to produce glutathione.
  • Vitamin C Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant (5). However, rather than going for synthetic doses of vitamin C, it's better to go for natural sources.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) DHA is a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that has strong anti-inflammatory properties (6). It reduces cytokine levels that are released due to infection or stress and that trigger inflammation.
  • Curcumin Curcumin is the potent component found in turmeric, making up 2-8 percent of the powder. It's a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties (7). It reduces the production of ROS and increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes (8).


Recent investigations have touted inflammation as a major factor in various chronic diseases and disorders. The free radicals that are produced during inflammatory response lead to cellular damage. Using antioxidants can reduce inflammation by neutralizing these free radicals.