The most notable property of hydrated fullerene is its ability to neutralise active radicals. The antioxidant activity of hydrated fullerene exceeds the effect of other known antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, carotenoids, flavonoids, ionol, etc. by 100–1000 times. Furthermore, hydrated fullerene does not suppress the natural level of free radicals in the organism, but becomes active only under conditions of their increased concentration. The more that free radicals form in the organism, the “more” active hydrated fullerene become to neutralise them. The mechanism of fullerene’s antioxidant effect is fundamentally different from that of other known, practically used antioxidants.

 

One molecule of conventional antioxidant is generally required to neutralise one radical. At the same time, single hydrated fullerene is able to neutralise an unlimited quantity of active radicals. It is sui generis an antioxidant-catalyst. Moreover, the fullerene molecule itself does not participate in the reaction, but it is only a structure-forming element of the water cluster. Such a water cluster consists of rather strongly bound water close to fullerene’s surface and ordered water layers that extend to rather significant distances from the centre of the cluster. According to a light scattering estimation, the radius of the ordered water layer is 23 - 80 nm (we recall that the fullerene C60 radius is 0.5 nm). Apparently, the degree of arrangement, and thus, of the properties of the water layers in such a cluster are determined by the distance from the centre. Now every molecule, ion, and active radical, having its specific hydrated shell, and in accordance with the principle of similarity, can “find” its ordered water layer in the structure of the (C60@nH2O)mH2O supercluster.

 

As a consequence of this, in a particular area of the water supercluster, there occur processes involving the local concentration of various radicals, molecules, ions, due to structures of water that are similar to each other. Such concentrating, in turn, increases the probability of different reactions among them. And aggressive free radicals, concentrating in layers of the water supercluster, recombine among themselves and are transformed into neutral molecules.

 

Such an antiradical mechanism, in terms of the origination and development of biological matter, is universal and is determined by the structural properties of the water itself. And only by itself! It seems that nature could not wait until the “required”, well-known antioxidants (carotenoids, flavonoids, etc.) were synthesised from the simplest molecules, that further, representing themselves as antiradical defenders, would promote the beginning of the synthesis and accumulation of the most important biological molecules – DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, etc.

 

From the aforementioned, we can conclude that
there cannot be more universal antioxidants, namely free-radical processes regulators, than the water structures ordered quite specifically, which, at the first stage of the primary evolution of biological molecules, served as their "defenders" from free-radical cleavage under the effect of radioactive radiation, hard ultra-violet rays, oxygen radical forms (ROS), etc.
Thus, if we ask “what should an ideal “antioxidant” be?”, in terms of the normal functioning and protection of our biological systems, we can arrive at the conclusion that it should:

  • - Display its activity both in hydrophobic and hydrophilic media;
  • - Neutralise free radicals before they approach cell membrane;
  • - Neutralise only excessive free radicals and not affect their level, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the biological system;
  • - Not alter the natural states of hydrated shells, directly surrounding normal (native) biological structures and, in addition, stabilise both of them;
  • - Not be perceived by the organism as a foreign substance, i.e. be non-toxic, non- immunogenic, etc. and, at the cellular level, not influence its normal homeostasis;
  • - Act in very small doses for a long time (e.g. days or weeks) after a single administration into the organism.

Among all known antioxidants only hydrated C60 fullerene and its water solutions meet all these requirements best.