SAGE KE Bulletin Board


8 July 2002

James M. Harper

Supplementing one's diet with sources rich in antioxidant compounds in order to ward off the effects of oxidative stress has been the focus of a number of recent studies aimed at discovering effective 'anti-aging' therapies. In particular, due to their high vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoid, and flavonoid content, various fruit and vegetable juices/extracts (e.g., strawberry, blueberry, spinach) have received most of this attention. This logic has also been applied to the treatment of various age-related pathologies; that is, can antioxidant supplementation delay or prevent the onset of neurodegenerative and/or cardiovascular diseases thought to be linked to a lifetime's worth of exposure to oxidative stress?

In a recent publication [Effects of an antioxidant-rich juice (sea buckthorn) on risk factors for coronary heart disease in humans. Eccleston C, Baoru Y, Tahvonen R, Kallio H, Rimbach GH, Minihane AM. J. Nutr. Biochem. 13: 346-354, 2002]the effect of supplementing yet another, but unique, fruit juice (sea buckthorn)on known risk factors of coronary heart disease thought to be a consequnce of oxidative stress was evaluated.

In short, no beneficial effect was observed. I find this interesting since other groups studying the 'anti-aging impact' of fruit and vegetable extract supplementation in rodents have also failed to provide any convincing (albeit suggestive) data to support an 'anti-aging' effect of dietary anti-oxidants. The data generated in this human study, therefore, only provides further evidence to suggest that this approach may be ineffective, and that another approach(s) may need to be considered.

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150