The Effects of Antioxidant Nutraceuticals on Cellular Sulfur Metabolism and Signaling

Kenneth R. Olson, Paul J. Derry, Thomas A. Kent, Karl D. Straub

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Significance: Nutraceuticals are ingested for health benefits, in addition to their general nutritional value. These dietary supplements have become increasingly popular since the late 20th century and they are a rapidly expanding global industry approaching a half-trillion U.S. dollars annually. Many nutraceuticals are promulgated as potent antioxidants. Recent Advances: Experimental support for the efficacy of nutraceuticals has lagged behind anecdotal exuberance. However, accumulating epidemiological evidence and recent, well-controlled clinical trials are beginning to support earlier animal and in vitro studies. Although still somewhat limited, encouraging results have been suggested in essentially all organ systems and against a wide range of pathophysiological conditions. Critical Issues: Health benefits of "antioxidant"nutraceuticals are largely attributed to their ability to scavenge oxidants. This has been criticized based on several factors, including limited bioavailability, short tissue retention time, and the preponderance of endogenous antioxidants. Recent attention has turned to nutraceutical activation of downstream antioxidant systems, especially the Keap1/Nrf2 (Kelch like ECH associated protein 1/nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) axis. The question now becomes, how do nutraceuticals activate this axis? Future Directions: Reactive sulfur species (RSS), including hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and its metabolites, are potent activators of the Keap1/Nrf2 axis and avid scavengers of reactive oxygen species. Evidence is beginning to accumulate that a variety of nutraceuticals increase cellular RSS by directly providing RSS in the diet, or through a number of catalytic mechanisms that increase endogenous RSS production. We propose that nutraceutical-specific targeting of RSS metabolism will lead to the design and development of even more efficacious antioxidant therapeutic strategies. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 38, 68-94.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-94
Number of pages27
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Nrf2
  • ROS
  • RSS
  • garlic
  • lipoic acid
  • oxidative stress
  • polyphenols
  • sulfur metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effects of Antioxidant Nutraceuticals on Cellular Sulfur Metabolism and Signaling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this