Background: Oxidative stress mediated cell damage is implicated in ageing and pathogenesis of several diseases including inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Combating the menace of oxidative stress requires improvement in endogenous antioxidant defense system or supplementation with exogenous antioxidants. Although synthetic and plant derived antioxidant food, supplements and molecules have been discovered, insects, the largest class in the animal kingdom remains an unexploited resource. Aim: This present review evaluated insects and their products as sources of natural antioxidants, as wildly documented in literatures. Method: Information related to this topic was retrieved using Pubmed, google scholars and google electronic databases. Insects’ chemical constituents, nutritional and therapeutic benefits in oxidative stress intermediated disorders were emphasized. Results: Insects possess antioxidant compounds which aid in curbing various pathologies. Out of various categories of insects, termites, beetles, grasshopper and blowfly evaluated, the bees, Apis mellifera’s products, royal jelly and Propolis were the most extensively studied and also displayed promising antioxidant activities compared to other insects. In-vitro, in-vivo and clinical studies from the aforementioned literatures, especially the bee category validates the fact that edible insects are a potential source of novel bioactive compounds in chronic diseases and ageing. Conclusion: As numerous diseases are oxidative stress mediated, application of edible insects and their products for culinary and therapeutic purposes is crucial. More researches in this field would aid in the development of insect derived antioxidant molecules.
Edible insects, natural products, free radicals, antioxidants.