Sunday, December 11, 2005

antioxidants

antioxidants
With normal metabolism, free radicals (a free radical is a small molecule with an impaired electron) are a normal byproduct. Antioxidants prevent or neutralize free radicals.
Antioxidants are a diverse group of chemicals that include vitamins A and C, selenium, cysteine, and the food preservative BHT. The Life Extension Foundation in Florida advocates high doses of antioxidants as one of the regimens for prolonging life. However, detractors, including the House Select Committee on Aging, believe such views are false and misleading with no evidence to support retarding, much less reversing, the aging process. Many of the food-related ingredient antioxidants are dangerous in very large quantities, although they are quite safe in the much smaller amounts found in a normal diet. The known risks of the antioxidants include headaches, intestinal disorders, and kidney damage. Megadoses of vitamin C actually shortened the lives of guinea pigs in laboratory experiments. Long-term consumption of two grams a day of vitamin B6 has been shown to produce disabling sensory neuropathy in humans. Selenium is an essential nutrient and may play an antioxidant role in the body, but in excessive amounts is toxic.
There may be additional risks that have not yet been identified.

See also AGING, BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF; FREE RADICAL THEORY OF AGING.
Lardner, J. "The People Who Want to Live Much, Much Longer," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 48. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.
Meister, K. "The 80's Search For The Fountain of Youth Comes Up Very Dry," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 76, Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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