SAGE KE Bulletin Board

acetyl-l-carnitine, lipoic acid, and long-life?

5 October 2002

Patrick Kaminker

A great deal of work has been presented over the past decade on the generation of free-radicals and its correlation to aging. The popularity of free radicals as a causative in aging is very high, but the evidence behind it is, at best, controversial. Recently an article in Discover magazine highlighted Dr. Bruce Ames' work on dietary supplements as an age retardant. This work actually argues against free radicals by claiming that rats supplemented with lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine performed much better in a Morris water maze, but also were generating more free radicals. At a recent symposium Arlan Richardson, among others, presented some compelling evidence that superoxide dismutase (another antioxidant)--deficient mice are phenotypically normal, but are more susceptible to certain damaging agents (this is, of course, a gross simplification, but space constraints apply). So how do nutritional supplements retard aging and are we really becoming deficient in antioxidant repair as we age? Also what damages are we incurring that tax our antioxidant repair systems? I'm hoping for some stimulating discussion on this one :)


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