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vs Free Radicals

ANTIOXIDANTS WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS? Antioxidants are natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. They are believed to help prevent disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. Free radicals are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and by environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke, pollutants, toxic chemicals, air pollution and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Without adequate amounts of antioxidants these free radicals travel throughout the body damaging cells. The molecules of free radicals, for instance, might contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, through the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidation, meaning the addition of oxygen to low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad� cholesterol), contributes to the build up of fatty plaque on artery walls (atherosclerosis), which can eventually slow or block blood flow to the heart. Free radicals also lead to one of the major known factors in the development of cancer, to a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and are largely responsible for the aging process. Antioxidants are found in many foods. These include fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish. Antioxidant substances include some nutrients such a Selenium, Coenzyme Q-10, Abigenol, Pycnogenol, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, etc. HOW DO THEY WORK? Antioxidants work by significantly slowing or preventing the oxidative effect (damage from the oxygen process) caused by free radicals. Oxidation can lead to cell disorder and to the onset of problems like heart disease and diabetes. Antioxidants may also improve the immune function and lower the risk for infection and cancer. In the body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning. Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C, it remains white. An eating plan containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, can supply all the antioxidants your body needs. ANTIOXIDANTS TO SLOW AGING FREE RADICALS AND THE THEORY OF AGING: Severe oxidative stress progressively leads to cell dysfunction and ultimately cell death. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between pro-oxidants and/or free radicals on the one hand, and anti-oxidizing systems on the other. The oxygen required for living may indirectly be responsible for negative effects; these deleterious effects are due to the production of free radicals, which are toxic for the cells. Free radical attacks are responsible for cell damage and the targeted

cells are represented by the cell membranes, which are particularly rich in unsaturated fatty acids, sensitive to oxidation reactions. Source: Antioxidants to slow aging, facts and perspectives. Bonnefoy M, Drai J, Kostka T. Service de mĂŠdecine gĂŠriatrique, Pavillon Michel Perret. CH.

VITAMIN A Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is an antioxidant. Vitamin A can come from plant or animal sources. Plant sources include colorful fruits and vegetables. Animal sources include liver and whole milk. Vitamin A is also added to foods like cereals. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin. It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A promotes good vision, especially in low light. It may also be needed for reproduction and breast-feeding. Retinol is an active form of vitamin A. It is found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods. Carotenoids are dark colored dyes found in plant foods that can turn into a form of vitamin A. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals are believed to contribute to certain chronic diseases and play a role in the degenerative processes seen in aging. If people don't get enough vitamin A, they are more susceptible to infectious diseases and vision problems.

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals


Too much vitamin A can be the cause of sickness. Large doses of vitamin A can also cause birth defects. Acute vitamin A poisoning usually occurs when an adult takes several hundred thousand IU. Symptoms of chronic vitamin A poisoning may occur in adults who regularly take more than 25,000 IU a day. Babies and children are more sensitive and can become sick after taking smaller doses of vitamin A or vitamin Acontaining products such as retinol (found in skin creams). Increased amounts of beta-carotene can turn the color of skin to yellow or orange. The skin color returns to normal once the increased intake of beta-carotene is reduced. VITAMIN C Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C is important for skin, bones and connective tissue. It promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables. Good sources include citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and greens. Some juices and cereals have added vitamin C. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means people need a continuous supply of such vitamins in their diet. Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It is essential for the healing of wounds and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in the daily diet. Vitamin C toxicity is very rare because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including: · Dry and splitting hair · Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) · Bleeding gums · Rough, dry, scaly skin · Decreased wound-healing rate · Easy bruising · Nosebleeds · Weakened tooth enamel · Swollen and painful joints

VITAMIN E Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E also plays a role in your immune system and metabolic processes. Good sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. Vitamin E is also added to foods like cereals. Most people get enough vitamin E from the foods they eat. People with certain disorders, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease may need extra vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions associated with aging. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body to use vitamin K. Vitamin E may help protect the heart. The best way to get enough essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods. Alternative Names Deficiency - vitamin E; Tocopherol

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals

路 Anemia 路 Decreased ability to fight infection 路 Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults. Some people may need extra vitamin C: Pregnant/breastfeeding women, smokers, people recovering from surgery, burn victims. Vitamin C should be consumed every day because it is not fat-soluble and, therefore, cannot be stored for later use. Alternative Names: ascorbic acid

SELENIUM Selenium is a mineral. It is an antioxidant and is taken into the body in water and foods. People use it for medicine. Most of the selenium in the body comes from the diet. The amount of selenium in food depends on where it is grown or raised. Crab, liver, fish, poultry and wheat are generally good selenium sources. The amount of selenium in soils varies a lot around the world, which means that the foods grown in these soils also have differing selenium levels. Selenium is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). It is also used for preventing various cancers including cancer of the prostate, stomach, lung and skin. Some people use selenium for under-active thyroid, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an eye disease called macular degeneration, hay fever, infertility, cataracts, gray hair, abnormal pap smears, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), mood disorders, arsenic poisoning and preventing miscarriage. Selenium is also used for preventing serious complications and death from critical illnesses such as head injury and burns. It is also used for preventing bird flu, treating HIV/AIDS and reducing side effects from cancer chemotherapy. Some references 1.Selenium supplementation in patients with severe acute pancreatitis. Kocan L, Firment J, Simonová J, Vasková J, Guzy J. I. Klinika anesteziológie a intenzívnej medicíny, Univerzálna nemocnica L. Pasteura, Kosice, Slovenská republika. 2.Nutrition and psoriasis. Ricketts JR, Rothe MJ, Grant-Kels JM. Department of Dermatology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 21 South Rd, Farmington, CT 06030, USA. 3.Role of selenium in HIV infection. Stone CA, Kawai K, Kupka R, Fawzi WW. School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

Some references 1. Effect of long-term treatment with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium) on arterial compliance, humoral factors and inflammatory markers in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Shargorodsky M, Debby O, Matas Z, Zimlichman R. 2. Anti-angiogenic potential of CoenzymeQ10, riboflavin and niacin in breast cancer patients undergoing tamoxifen therapy. Premkumar VG, Yuvaraj S, Sathish S, Shanthi P, Sachdanandam P. Department of Medical Biochemistry, DR. A.L.M. Post-Graduate, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, Chennai, India.

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals

COENZYME Q-10 (COQ-10) Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. Coenzyme Q-10 also seems to have antioxidant activity. It is eaten in small amounts in meats and seafood. Coenzyme Q-10 can also be made in a laboratory. It is used as medicine. Many people use coenzyme Q-10 for treating heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain (angina), high blood pressure and heart problems linked to certain cancer drugs. It is also used for diabetes, gum disease (both taken by mouth and applied directly to the gums), breast cancer, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, increasing exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Lyme disease. Some people think coenzyme Q-10 will treat hair loss related to taking warfarin (Coumadin), a medication used to slow blood clotting. Some people also think coenzyme Q-10 might help increase energy. This is because coenzyme Q-10 has a role in producing ATP, a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. Coenzyme Q-10 been tried for treating inherited or acquired disorders that limit energy production in the cells of the body (mitochondrial disorders), and for improving exercise performance. Some people have also used coenzyme Q-10 for strengthening the immune systems of people with HIV/AIDS, male infertility, migraine headache and counteracting muscle pain sometimes caused by a group of cholesterol-lowering medications called “statins.” Coenzyme Q-10 has even been tried for increasing life span. This idea got started because coenzyme Q-10 levels are highest in the first 20 years of life. By age 80, coenzyme-Q10 levels can be lower than they were at birth. It's not only time that uses up the body's store of coenzyme Q-10. Smoking does, too. Coenzyme Q-10 was first identified in 1957. The “Q-10” refers to the chemical make-up of the substance. These days coenzyme Q-10 is used by millions of people in Japan for heart disease, especially congestive heart failure. Coenzyme Q-10 is also used extensively in Europe and Russia. Most of the coenzyme Q-10 used in the US and Canada is supplied by Japanese companies. Coenzyme Q-10 is manufactured by fermenting beets and sugar cane with special strains of yeast. Coenzyme Q-10 is an important vitamin-like substance required for the proper function of many organs and chemical reactions in the body. It helps provide energy to cells. People with certain diseases, such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, periodontal disease, Parkinson's disease, certain muscular diseases, and AIDS, might have lower levels of coenzyme Q-10.

PYCNOGENOL Pycnogenol is a trademark name for a product derived from the pine bark of a tree known as Pinus pinaster. The active ingredients in pycnogenol can also be extracted from other sources, including silver fir, pine tree, peanut skin, grape seed and witch hazel bark. Pycnogenol is used for treating circulation problems, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disease of the female reproductive system called endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, painful menstrual periods, erectile dysfunction (ED) and an eye disease called retinopathy. It is also used for preventing disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke, heart disease and varicose veins. Pycnogenol is used to slow the aging process, maintain healthy skin, improve athletic endurance, and improve male fertility. The association of Pycnogenol and CoQ10 may offer an important therapeutic option with a very good tolerability that improves heart failure management without side effects. Some references Investigation of Pycnogenol速 in combination with coenzymeQ10 in heart failure patients (NYHA II/III). Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Hosoi M, Ippolito E, Bavera P, Grossi MG. Panminerva Med. 2010 Jun;52(2 Suppl 1):21-5. Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L-arginine. Stanislavov R, Nikolova V.J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 May-Jun;29(3):207-13. Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes by Pycnogenol supplementation. Zibadi S, Rohdewald PJ, Park D, Watson RR. Nutritional Sciences Department, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. Sources: NIH: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements USA Medline Plus - US National Institutes of Health's Web site (Produced by the National Library of Medicine, 2010)


ANTIOXIDANTS LINKED TO BETTER BONE HEALTH FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS Increased intake of fruit and the antioxidants they contain, like vitamins C and E, may improve bone health and may reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. "Our study suggests a beneficial effect of vitamin C intake on the reduction in bone size and the number of bone marrow lesions, both which are important in the pathogenesis of knee osteoarthritis," wrote lead author Yuanyuan Wang from Monash University. Osteoarthritis effects. About seven million people in the UK alone are reported to have long-term health problems associated with arthritis. Around 206m working days were lost in the UK in 1999-2000, equal to £18bn (€26bn) of lost productivity. The new study, published in the Arthritis Research & Therapy, recruited 293 health adults (average age 58) without knee pain or injury and asked them to complete a 121-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess antioxidant intake. Ten years after the start of the study the researchers measured cartilage volume, bone area, cartilage defects and bone marrow lesions using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Increased intake of vitamin C was associated with a 50 per cent reduced risk of bone marrow lesions and a smaller bone area. Fruit intake was also linked to a smaller tibial plateau bone area and a 28 per cent reduction in the risk of bone marrow lesions. Neither fruit nor vitamin C intake was associated with cartilage measurements. Increased intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a 29 per cent reduction in the risk of cartilage defects, while beta-cryptoxanthin intake was linked to smaller tibial plateau bone area. The researchers stated that the effects of nutrients on knee structure is likely to be complicated. "Our study suggests that the direct effect of vitamin C is on bone rather than cartilage," they said. "Although vitamin C and vitamin E are known potent antioxidants, given that different effect of vitamin C and vitamin E was found on bone area in this study, it may be that the mechanism of action in this situation is not via an antioxidant effect." Indeed, Wang and co-workers suggested that since vitamin C is a cofactor in the hydroxylation of lysine and proline, it could be considered a required nutrient in the cross-linking of collagen fibrils in bone. “These observations support dietary recommendation for eating more fruit. While our findings need to be

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals

Many studies that were done in the last decades show important benefits from using antioxidants. For this brochure, we have chosen just some of them.

confirmed by larger longitudinal studies, they highlight the potential of diet to modify the risk of osteoarthritis," concluded the researchers. Source: Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:R66, doi:10.1186/ar2225 "Effect of antioxidants on knee cartilage and bone in healthy, middle-aged subjects: a cross-sectional study" Authors: Y. Wang, A.M. Hodge, A.E. Wluka, D.R. English, G.G. Giles, R. O'Sullivan, A. Forbes and F.M. Cicuttini ANTIOXIDANTS MAY BOOST HEART HEALTH AND METABOLISM By Stephen Daniells, 05-Jul-2010 Long-term supplementation with antioxidants may beneficially effect sugar and fat metabolism, and boost heart health by increasing the flexibility of arteries, says a new study. Daily supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium significantly improved the elasticity of arteries, and levels of HDL cholesterol in people with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, according to findings published in Nutrition & Metabolism. “This beneficial vascular effect was associated with an improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism as well as significant decrease in blood pressure,” said lead researcher Reuven Zimlichman from Wolfson Medical Center, Israel. The study involved 70 people with high blood pressure, diabetes, low HDL cholesterol levels or who were smokers. The average age of the subjects was 62. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or a daily antioxidant supplement containing vitamin C (1000 mg per day), vitamin E (400 International Units per day), coenzyme Q10 (120 mg per day) and selenium (200 micrograms per day). Six months later the researchers noted that people in the antioxidant group exhibited significant increases in arterial elasticity index, a measure of the flexibility – and therefore the health – of blood vessels. Specifically, the large arterial elasticity index increased from 11 to 12.7 ml/mm Hg x100, while no changes were observed in the placebo group. Furthermore, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly, with the former dropping from 145.2 to 136.1 mmHg, while the later dropped from 78.4 to 75.0 mmHg, said the researchers. Significant improvements were also observed in HDL cholesterol levels for the antioxidant group, said the researchers, but not in the placebo group. How? Commenting on the potential mechanism, the Israeli researchers note that previous studies have indicated that vitamins C and E may protect DNA from damage, enhance antioxidant defenses and restore the health of the cells lining blood vessels (endothelium). In addition co-Q10 “plays an essential role as an electron carrier in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, improves endothelial dysfunction in diabetic patients”. They also note that selenium, via its role in various antioxidative enzymes, “provides significant protection of the coronary artery endothelium against damage by oxidative stress”.

Limitations Prof Zimlichman and his co-workers noted that their study had several limitations, including the relatively small number of participants. In addition, they did not measure blood levels of antioxidants, so they have no indication of how well the participants complied with the supplementation. “Furthermore, since the present study has focused on patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, the application of our findings to other patient populations remains uncertain,” they added. Source: Nutrition & Metabolism Available free to access here: “Effect of long-term treatment with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium) on arterial compliance, humoral factors and inflammatory markers in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors” Authors: M. Shargorodsky, O. Debbi, Z. Matas, R. Zimlichman REVIEW SUPPORTS ANTIOXIDANTS FOR FERTILITY, SPERM QUALITY Antioxidant supplements, including vitamins C and E and selenium, may improve sperm quality and pregnancy rates, according to a systematic review of evidence. Evidence from randomized controlled trials was found to support a link between antioxidant supplementation and improvements in male fertility linked to sperm quality, according to a review published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online. Reviewers led by Tarek El-Toukhy from London's Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust note however, that the evidence is not consistent and more studies are therefore required before antioxidant supplements can be recommended to infertile men. “It is imperative these studies employ strict inclusion and exclusion criteria and standardized methodology to help understand whether a specific group of infertile men is more likely to benefit from antioxidant therapy,” they stated. The link between antioxidants and fertility measures is not new. Oxidative stress, caused by a disruption to the balance of antioxidants and pro-oxidants, has been reported to reduce the quality of sperm. According to Dr El-Toukhy and his co-workers, about 15 percent of couples of reproductive age are affected by infertility issues, with 50 percent of these cases related to impaired semen. Scanning the science In order to elucidate if antioxidants supplements may benefit infertility measures, the researchers conducted a systematic review of the literature. They found 17 randomized clinical trials involving vitamins C and E, zinc, selenium, folate, carnitine and carotenoids in relation to sperm quality and pregnancy rates. Data was available for 1,665 men from 17 trials. Results showed that antioxidant supplementation was associated 75 percent of the trials showed an “improvement in at least one sperm parameter compared

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals

By Stephen Daniells, 20-Sep-2010

with placebo or no treatment”. Moreover, 63 percent of the studies showed significant improvements in sperm motility compared with placebo, while only 33 percent of trials showed an improvement in sperm concentration. Regarding pregnancy rates, the London-based reviewers report that antioxidant supplementation was associated with a higher pregnancy rate of 19 percent, compared with only 3 percent in placebo/ control groups. “This review shows that oral antioxidant therapy was associated with a significant improvement in spontaneous and assisted conception pregnancy rates in six of the 10 randomized studies identified in the database search,” wrote the researchers. “This finding could possibly be explained, at least in part, by the antioxidant-related improvement in either sperm motility and total motile sperm count, both of which have been reported to predict male fertility or sperm DNA integrity,” they added. Source: Reproductive BioMedicine Online Volume 20, Pages 711-723 “A systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility” Authors: C Ross, A Morriss, M Khairy, Y Khalaf, P Braude, A Coomarasamy, T El-Toukhy ANTIOXIDANTS AGAINST CHRONIC ILLNESSES 24-Sep-2001 In a new book, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, claim their belief that daily intakes of antioxidant vitamin supplements, both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, "help inactivate free radicals," which are unstable molecules in the body that can damage cells and lead to chronic diseases. "The Complete Home Wellness Handbook" was written by Dr. John Edward Swartzberg, Dr. Sheldon Margen, and the editors of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. "There have been many studies on C and E, and scientists are only beginning to understand how these and other antioxidants work. The evidence is accumulating bit by bit," the editors said. According to the authors, it is difficult to get the recommended amount of Vitamin E from food, and most foods considered good sources of Vitamin E are high in fat. Numerous studies have demonstrated that natural Vitamin E, made from soybeans, is more effective than the synthetic version of Vitamin E. ANTIOXIDANTS MAY REDUCE INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS OF ALZHEIMER'S Consuming an antioxidant-rich beverage may reduce levels of the amino acid homocysteine, and counter the detrimental inflammatory effects associated with Alzheimer's disease, suggests a new study. Daily consumption of the antioxidant-rich drink for eight months was associated with a smaller increase in homocysteine levels, compared with the placebo group, and the effects were even more significant in

people with moderate Alzeimer's disease, according to findings published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. “The main finding of this study is that patients that took DRAP show lower increase in homocysteine concentrations (especially patients of the moderate phase Alzheimer's Disease),” wrote researchers from the Catholic University of San Antonio in Murcia in Spain. “The dietary polyphenolics provide numerous health benefits, such as anti-inflammation and antioxidation […] Our results suggest that polyphenol antioxidant drink can reduce the effects of inflammation and cardiovascular risk associated to Alzheimer's disease,” they added. Alzheimer's and homocysteine Previously, epidemiological studies have reported that high levels of homocysteine are associated with suspected or confirmed dementia. Indeed, the Framingham study reported that people with homocysteine (tHcy) levels above 14 micromoles per liter of serum had twice the risk of dementia. “It is not clear, however, if an elevation of tHcy concentration is a 'risk factor' with a direct pathophysiological role in the development of the disease or merely a 'risk marker' reflecting an underlying process such as oxidative stress, responsible for both the high tHcy concentrations and the development of Alzheimer's disease,” explained the researchers.

Study details The Murcia-based scientists recruited 100 women to participate in the multicenter, randomized, doubleblind controlled clinical trial. Fifty-two of the women were considered generally healthy (no Alzheimer's) and assigned to the control group, while the other 48 were diagnosed with Alzeimer's disease (24 women with early-onset and 24 with moderate Alzheimer's). Women from all three groups were randomly assigned to one of two interventions: One received a placebo drink for eight months, while the other received an antioxidant beverage rich in polyphenols. The antioxidant beverage was formulated using apple and lemon concentrate juice, apple and green tea extracts, and vitamins B and C. Results showed that consumption of the antioxidant-rich drink “attenuated the tHcy increase in the control group”, which was measured at a level of 11.7 micromoles per liter for the antioxidant beverage, compared with 15.63 micromoles per liter for the placebo group. Furthermore, in people with moderate Alzeimer's diseases, the active beverage was associated with an average homocysteine level of 10.49 micromoles per liter, compared with 16.58 micromoles per liter for the placebo group. “If we take the value tHcy 14.0 micromoles per liter as a 'risk value' associated with cardiovascular alterations on neurodegenerative diseases, we can state that this concentration was higher in those subjects that took the placebo drink in the control group and in the group of AD in the moderate phase, whereas the subjects of those groups that took the drink rich in polyphenolic antioxidants beverage

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals

“At present we know that elevations in plasma tHcy temporally precede the development of dementia and that there is a continuous, inverse linear relation between plasma tHcy concentrations and cognitive performance in older persons,” they added.

maintained their homocysteine levels lower than 14.0 micromoles per liter,” stated the researchers. “These findings suggest that antioxidant drink diminishes cardiovascular risk associated to hyperhomocysteinemia in Alzheimer's patients,” they added. THE HOMOCYSTEINE HYPOTHESIS Previously, high levels of the amino acid, hyperhomocysteinemia, were said to be a marker for heart disease and thought to be a risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, which contributes to heart attacks. The link was founded on the observation that children with homocystinuria – a rare genetic condition causing extreme elevations in homocysteine levels – have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Such an observation was therefore generalized to the wider population, with the hypothesis indicating that supplementation with B vitamins may reduce blood homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The link between homocysteine and cardiovascular events was questioned recently with results of a meta-analysis of eight folic acid trials involving 37,485 participants finding no benefits on the risk of major vascular events, cancer or deaths, despite reducing homocysteine levels by 25 per cent. Researchers from the University of Oxford reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Vol. 170, pp. 1622-1631). Source : Journal of the Neurological Sciences Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.jns.2010.08.050 "Effect of an antioxidant drink on homocysteine levels in Alzheimer's patients" Authors: J.M. Morillas-Ruiz, J.M. Rubio-Perez, M.D. Albaladejo, P. Zafrilla, S. Parra and M.L. Vidal-Guevara How might antioxidants prevent cancer? Antioxidants neutralize free radicals as the natural by-product of normal cell processes. Free radicals are molecules with incomplete electron shells which make them more chemically reactive than those with complete electron shells. Exposure to various environmental factors, includingtobacco smoke and radiation, can also lead to free radical formation. In humans, the most common form of free radicals is oxygen. When an oxygen molecule (O2) becomes electrically charged or “radicalized” it tries to steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to theDNA and other molecules. Over time, such damage may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer. Antioxidants are often described as “mopping up” free radicals, meaning they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules. CANCER PREVENTION WITH SELENIUM & VITAMIN E Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center in the US are looking for volunteers to take part in a study to determine whether prostate cancer can be effectively treated by selenium and vitamin E.

The centre said that only lung cancer kills more individuals in the US than prostate cancer, and that 31,200 people are expected to die of the disease this year alone. Selenium is a natural mineral found in multivitamins and in many foods such as grains, corn, fish and animal organ meats, and it has already been investigated as a potential treatment for skin cancer. "Previous research with vitamin E and selenium, in studies focusing on other types of cancer, suggested that together these nutrients might also prevent prostate cancer," said S. Bruce Malkowicz, MD, associate professor of urology and leader of the study. "What makes this study so appealing is that taking vitamin E and selenium, a natural vitamin and mineral found in many common foods, is completely non-toxic when taken in regulated dosages." Penn, the coordinating site for 15 other Pennsylvania locations, is one of more than 400 sites in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada recruiting participants for this trial which is the largest-ever for prostate cancer prevention. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Southwest Oncology Group. It will include a total of 32,400 men and may take up to 12 years to complete. Selenium and vitamin E are antioxidants, capable of neutralising toxins known as free radicals that might otherwise damage the genetic material of cells and possibly lead to cancer. "These two naturally occurring nutrients were chosen for study because of the inadvertent results of two other large cancer prevention trials, one for non-melanoma skin cancer and the other for lung, in which prostate cancer rates were significantly reduced," Malkowicz explained.

Increased intakes of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene may reduce the risk of cancer of the uterus, according to a new review and meta-analysis of the science to date. Writing in Cancer Causes and Control, US scientists report that for every 1,000 microgram increase per 1,000 kcal of diet of beta-carotene was associated with a 12 per cent reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer. Similarly, for every 50 milligram increase per 1,000 kcal of vitamin C the risk of endometrial cancer was reduced by 15 per cent, and for every 5 milligram increase per 1,000 kcal of vitamin E the risk of endometrial cancer was reduced by 9 per cent. Endometrial cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women worldwide - around 7,000 American women die from the disease annually - but incidence of the cancer varies more than 10-fold worldwide. The results are based on data from 12 case-control studies, and intakes from supplements were not considered by the researchers, led by Elisa Bandera from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “Although the current case-control data suggest an inverse relationship of endometrial cancer risk with dietary intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E from food sources, additional studies are needed, particularly cohort studies, to confirm an association,� cautioned the researchers.

ANTIOXIDANTS vs Free Radicals