Mice that produce a specific antioxidant molecule deep within their cells live about 20 percent longer than normal mice, a new study finds.
The study’s authors stressed that this antioxidant isn’t the same as those sold as supplements.
Lead researcher Dr. Peter S. Rabinovitch, a professor of pathology at the University of Washington, in Seattle said the discovery does help validate the “free-radical” theory of aging, which contends that a highly reactive form of oxygen causes aging over the life span by damaging cells in body tissues and organs.
In fact, his team’s experiment appears to support a specific version of the free-radical theory, which holds that the major site of cellular damage lies in the mitochondria, the cell’s energy-producing ‘power plant.’
According to Rabinovitch, the finding suggests that where and how antioxidants are delivered to cells may matter as much as the antioxidants themselves.
None of this should send consumers rushing to health food stores for commercial antioxidants, the Seattle researcher said. A trip to the grocery store might not hurt, however.
“The evidence now for the benefits of oral antioxidant pills is rather weak, to be kind,” Rabinovitch said. “At the same time, there are benefits from a diet high in antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables.”
Robert A. Floyd, head of the Free Radical Biology and Aging Research Project at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, goes even further in a warning about commercial antioxidant products.
“I would caution about doing anything in excess,” Floyd said. “The whole way free radicals are regulated in the body is very complex. If you put in more antioxidants to stop negative things, you may also stop beneficial things.”
Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec Comments on Antioxidants
Studies in recent years have shown how antioxidants like Vitamin A and E not only do not decrease your cancer risk but actually increase it. This study is summed up by the words of leading researcher Dr. Rabinovitch when he stated “the benefit of oral antioxidants pills is rather weak, TO BE KIND,” . . . there are benefits from a diet high in antioxidant containing fruits and vegetables. Remember the words of the father of medicine Hippocrates, “Let your food be your medicine.”