The food manufacturers have been on the health bandwagon for some time claiming they've put antioxidants in their foods for consumers' health. The products run the gamut from skin care products to soda and to cereal. The ads on the food state that the added antioxidants prevent cancer, rid you body of toxics and may even prevent death.
The theory behind these antioxidants is to prevent unstable oxygen molecules which are normal by-products of metabolism, from damaging our cells. Now the research reports that antioxidants may not be the answer to living longer.
The antioxidant theory of aging is that some of the oxygen molecules used by the body become negatively charged which makes them reactive. As a result they damage cell structures, proteins and DNA.
The cells respond with a natural defense using a special class of antioxidants that neutralizes the chemicals and prevents them from harming healthy cells.
Denham Harman, the founder of the antioxidant theory, stated that as the body gets older the defense cells don't do as well and are less efficient at preventing oxidation stress. This part of the theory held up for 50 years.
A researcher at McGill University reported that the worms he was working with actually had longer lives without the syntheitic antioxidants. The word is that this experiment will probably stop the free radical theory supporting because the cells are unprotected.
Other scientists say you can't make a sweeping statement like that. They want to know, for example, where are the sources for the inferring antioxidants, like in which tissue and muscle location.
This latest study may be on the right road because synthetic antioxidants failed to show any real longevity benefit to humans. Although antioxidants definitely prevent damage, there's no solid evidence they prevent aging.
So what does this mean for you? You can keep up with the antioxidant theory in terms of disease prevention but don't spend extra money thinking you may live longer because you've added more to your lifestyle.
If you need more explanation about the antioxidant theory let me know. E mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meanwhile, keep up your healthy lifestyle.
Source: Scientific American May, 2009 www.SciAm.com