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During the functioning of the immune system, such as in phagocytosis, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are generated. If they are left unchecked they can affect the components of the immune system by inducing oxidative damage. This is more so in the elderly or during inflammation where there is excess generation of these reactive species than can be taken care of by the defenses in the form of antioxidants. Dietary supplementation with antioxidants may greatly help in such conditions. Therepmid:12587713 fatcat:zq353upa65bitmrwh35rktfboi