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EXTRACTION OF ANTIOXIDANT COMPOUNDS FROM RED PITAYA USING SOXHLET EXTRACTION METHOD - page 14 / 24

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chemicals. Only vitamins from dietary sources or edible plants can be considered nutrients for the body. Synthetic vitamins are like any other synthetic molecules but because of their antioxidant nature, they are able to donate one electron, which they do not remain stable but are broken down in a metabolic process. Consequently it yields hydrogen peroxide. Administering synthetic vitamins to persons with disease can thus be counter-productive. These people already have a problem associated with or directly caused by excess free radicals, including hydroxyl radicals. Adding substances into their biological system that can lead to the formation of more hydroxyl radicals only exacerbates their free radical biochemistry (www.oregonstate.edu). There are several studies that show that synthetic vitamins are harmful. The first study was at1994 where the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC) involving few men who were heavy smokers and alcohol drinkers. The volunteers were either given 20 milligrams of synthetic beta carotene, vitamin E, a combination of the two, or a placebo. The expected outcome suggested that there was an 18 percent increase in lung cancer rates in the beta carotene-only group. Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 toxic chemicals, of which 40 are known carcinogens. The metabolic breakdown of synthetic chemicals and alcohol yields toxic metabolites that yield the superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide. Similarly, the breakdown of synthetic beta carotene and synthetic vitamin E also results in the same biochemical problem in the liver and that simply adds to creating excess free radicals and oxidative stress from hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals can cause damage to membranes and DNA molecules and transform normal cells into cancer cells. In other words, synthetics accelerate free radical biochemistry.

According to these situations, some action needs to be taken out to avoid the side effect of the using synthetic antioxidants. One of the ways is by extracting the antioxidant from the fresh food that contains high level of antioxidants itself. Extraction is the best way to keep maintains the sufficient nutrients in the food. There are several type of extraction method such as Soxhlet extraction, hydro distillation, ultrasonic, and others. The general definition of extraction is the method of separation process by using a solvent in which the desired substance dissolves in while the undesired substance does not dissolve in. The Soxhlet extraction is the most conventional of all methods and

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