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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.

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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150