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Free Radic Biol Med. 1992 Oct;13(4):435-48.

Antioxidant potential of ferulic acid.

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Technology Center, Tastemaker, Cincinnati, OH 45216.


Ferulic acid is a ubiquitous plant constituent that arises from the metabolism of phenylalanine and tyrosine. It occurs primarily in seeds and leaves both in its free form and covalently linked to lignin and other biopolymers. Due to its phenolic nucleus and an extended side chain conjugation, it readily forms a resonance stabilized phenoxy radical which accounts for its potent antioxidant potential. UV absorption by ferulic acid catalyzes stable phenoxy radical formation and thereby potentiates its ability to terminate free radical chain reactions. By virtue of effectively scavenging deleterious radicals and suppressing radiation-induced oxidative reactions, ferulic acid may serve an important antioxidant function in preserving physiological integrity of cells exposed to both air and impinging UV radiation. Similar photoprotection is afforded to skin by ferulic acid dissolved in cosmetic lotions. Its addition to foods inhibits lipid peroxidation and subsequent oxidative spoilage. By the same mechanism ferulic acid may protect against various inflammatory diseases. A number of other industrial applications are based on the antioxidant potential of ferulic acid.

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