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When British researchers at Cambridge University were looking for a cure for liver damage and accidentally created a cream they feel certain will be a powerful anti-ageing product.
MitoQ – which claims to soften the skin while lightening and actually reversing the signs of ageing – is a patented blend of unique ingredients, which scientists Mike Murphy and Rob Smith stumbled across while trying to find a cure for liver disease.
MitoQ anti-ageing cream was discovered by accident while testing drugs to cure liver disease
Their work culminated in the discovery of a delivery system that floods cells with antioxidants – health-giving molecules that inhibit oxygenation of cells – straight into the mitochondria, the source of free radicals, which are responsible for ageing and tissue damage.
Dr. Michael Murphy explains: “Mitochondria are like batteries that provide the energy that all of our cells need to operate and stay healthy, including skin cells.
“Unfortunately this process also releases free radicals, which actually damage our cells.
“Antioxidants are the body’s natural defense mechanism to combat free radicals, but ageing happens because as we get older our bodies produce fewer antioxidants and can’t fight free radicals as effectively. This is what causes wrinkles and lines to appear.”
They also claim: “This is a major scientific breakthrough that enhances our natural antioxidant capacity restoring our cells to optimal function.”
Scientists have found that vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the laboratory.
The surprise discovery may point to a new way of tackling this increasingly hard-to-treat infection, the US study authors from Yeshiva University say in Nature Communications.
An estimated 650,000 people worldwide have multidrug-resistant TB.
Studies are now needed to see if a treatment that works using the same action as vitamin C would be useful as a TB drug in humans.
In the laboratory studies, vitamin C appeared to be acting as a “reducing agent” – something that triggers the production of reactive oxygen species called free radicals. These free radicals killed off the TB, even drug resistant forms that are untreatable with conventional antibiotics such as isoniazid.
Scientists have found that vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the laboratory
Lead investigator Dr. William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, said: “We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don’t know if it will work in humans and in animals.
“This would be a great study to consider because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don’t have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C.
“It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB.”
It might be that vitamin C could be used
alongside TB drugs. Alternatively, scientists could create new TB drugs that work by generating a big burst of free radicals.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has many important functions in the body, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy.
Good natural sources of the vitamin include oranges, blackcurrants and broccoli and most people get all they need from their diet.
What is drug-resistant TB?
- TB is caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Increasingly, doctors are discovering that the drugs they normally use to treat the infection no longer work because TB has developed resistance
- Drug resistance arises due to improper use of antibiotics – for example, when patients do not finish the full course of their medicine
A new study suggests that eating apples each day could significantly improve the heart health of middle-aged adults in just one month.
Those who ate a daily apple over four weeks lowered “bad” cholesterol in the blood by 40% – a substance linked to hardening of the arteries.
Taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large, effect.
“Bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can interact with free radicals to become oxidized, which can trigger inflammation and can cause tissue damage.
Research leader, Professor Robert DiSilvestro, from Ohio State University, said: “When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
“We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks.”
The difference was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease, he said.
The study, funded by an apple industry group, is published online in the Journal of Functional Foods and will appear in a future print edition.
Prof. Robert DiSilvestro described daily apple consumption as significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than other antioxidants he has studied, including the spice-based compound curcumin, green tea and tomato extract.
“Not all antioxidants are created equal when it comes to this particular effect,” he said.
Robert DiSilvestro first became interested in studying the health effects of eating an apple a day after reading a Turkish study that found such a regimen increased the amount of a specific antioxidant enzyme in the body.
In the end, his team didn’t find the same effect on the enzyme, but was surprised at the considerable influence the apples had on oxidized LDL.
For the study, the researchers recruited non-smoking healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 who had a history of eating apples less than twice a month and who didn’t take supplements containing polyphenols or other plant-based concentrates.
In all, 16 participants ate a large Red or Golden Delicious apple for four weeks; 17 took capsules containing 194 milligrams of polyphenols a day for four weeks; and 18 took a placebo containing no polyphenols. The researchers found no effect on oxidized LDLs in those taking the placebo.
“We think the polyphenols account for a lot of the effect from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols, using about what you’d get from an apple a day,” Prof. Robert DiSilvestro said.
“We found the polyphenol extract did register a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple. That could either be because there are other things in the apple that could contribute to the effect, or, in some cases, these bioactive compounds seem to get absorbed better when they’re consumed in foods.”
Still, Prof. Robert DiSilvestro said polyphenol extracts could be useful in some situations, “perhaps in higher doses than we used in the study, or for people who just never eat apples”.
The study also found eating apples had some effects on antioxidants in saliva, which has implications for dental health, Prof. Robert DiSilvestro said. He hopes to follow up on that finding in a future study.
A new study has shown that a fruit drink developed by NASA to protect astronauts from radiation, known as AS10, dramatically reduces wrinkles, blemishes and sun damage after four months.
Visia photographs – which reveal the condition of the skin below the surface by using different types of light exposure – were taken of 180 participants at the start of the trial, and again after four months of drinking two shots of AS10 a day. By the end UV spots were reduced by 30% and wrinkles by 17%.
AS10 was developed as a nutritional supplement for astronauts to protect them from the damaging effects of high levels of radiation outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
The drink contains a blend of fruits including cupuacu (a Brazilian fruit from the cacao plant family), acai, acerola, prickly pear and yumberry, which all provide vitamins and phytochemicals – compounds known to block the harmful effects of radiation. Other ingredients are grape, green tea, pomegranate and vegetables.
A new study has shown that a fruit drink developed by NASA to protect astronauts from radiation, known as AS10, dramatically reduces wrinkles, blemishes and sun damage after four months
Radiation particles alter oxygen molecules in the body to create reactive oxygen species (ROS) – so-called “free radicals” which damage cells in a process known as oxidative stress. This process has been linked to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. The toxic molecules are also thought to play a role in the skin ageing process.
ROS are created naturally within the body as cells generate energy, but also through environmental factors such as chemicals and ultraviolet light from the sun – the strongest stress to skin. Mobile phone radiation, cigarette smoke and alcohol also generate ROS.
“Think of them as little Pac-men taking bites out of molecules that are essential for cells to function,” says Dr. Aaron Barson, the nutritional scientist from Utah, US, who carried out the AS10 study after patients reported dramatic improvement from the drink.
AS10 is thought to improve skin condition because the drink’s large quantities of antioxidants ward off oxidative stress, allowing the skin to heal naturally. Antioxidants attach themselves to ROS and neutralize them before they cause damage.
Dr. Aaron Barson says: “The skin is the first body tissue to be exposed to UV rays and we know it is sensitive to oxidative stress. Our study shows it greatly benefits from a reduction in this stress. The effects of oxidative stress on the skin can be quickly modified and the skin can heal itself by drinking AS10.”
He suggests that the results may have been even better had the trial been conducted during the winter, when exposure to ultraviolet light would have been less.
A second, larger study is planned this summer to investigate for how long the effects last and whether skin condition reaches a plateau or deteriorates once the drink is no longer consumed.
The main drawback is the high price of the drink. The women in the trial drank a sherry glass – 60ml – of AS10 a day. At $50 per 750ml bottle, the cost was just under $500 over the four months.
Antioxidants enhance the immune system’s defense against the diseases caused by free radicals. They include Vitamins A, C and E and selenium, and we have been told they may help prevent cancer, heart disease and even such neurological conditions as Alzheimer’s.
Naturally occurring chemicals, antioxidants are found in fruits and juices, made into supplements, and even added to make-up.
But adding extra antioxidants to our diet gives no benefit. You can eat as many blueberries – or whatever the antioxidant-containing food du jour is – as you like and it won’t stop you getting these illnesses. And loading up with supplements may be bad for your health.
Some antioxidants are produced by the body and some by plants, and so they can be derived from the diet. Their job is to combat free radicals – highly reactive molecules formed as a natural by-product of cellular activity. Free radicals are also created by exposure to cigarette smoke, strong sunlight, and breathing in pollution.
These aggressive chemicals present a constant threat to cells and DNA. We know they can lead to cell damage, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Free radicals have also been implicated in everything from strokes to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidants stop the chain reactions triggered by free radicals that can damage and destroy cells. So it may seem entirely reasonable that it would be a good thing to eat and drink more antioxidants to boost the supply – or even rub them into your skin. But this is by no means the case.
You might have seen some antioxidant- containing products labeled with a number, usually in the thousands. This is the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) number.
It compares the antioxidant with a standard substance called trolox – itself an antioxidant. Cranberries, for example, have an ORAC level of 8,983, which is related to the number of molecules of trolox that would have the same antioxidant strength. Taken in isolation, the number is pretty meaningless, but it makes it possible to compare different foods. So theoretically, the higher the ORAC number, the better the food.
Although there is evidence that antioxidants may have an effect on cancers, much of it is based on experiments on free radicals in cells cultured outside the body, in labs
In reality, beyond a certain point, there is no benefit. In 2008, a study of nearly 15,000 men showed no benefits from Vitamin C and E supplements. There is no recommended daily amount of antioxidant consumption. And although there is evidence that antioxidants may have an effect on cancers, much of it is based on experiments on free radicals in cells cultured outside the body, in labs.
So if antioxidants are good for us, why doesn’t eating more of them have an even more beneficial effect? We know that people with poor diets are more prone to a host of diseases, and that those who eat a balanced diet with at least five fruits and vegetables a day, take exercise, and other very mundane things such as that, have the best chance of not becoming ill. But trials where people have consumed higher than usual levels of antioxidants by taking supplements have found that, if anything, they have a negative impact on health.
A Cochrane Review published last month, which looked at the results of hundreds of individual studies, found that current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in patients with various diseases.
And when the review looked at the mortality rate over 78 randomized clinical trialsfor a range of conditions and using various antioxidants, those consuming antioxidants were 1.03 times more likely to die early.
Another clinical trial last month showed that antioxidant supplements don’t slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Two 1994 clinical studies showed a possible increase in lung cancer when taking antioxidants.
Almost all things are poisonous in large enough quantities – even water, though you would have to drink an awful lot to kill you. Similarly, the amounts of antioxidants found in foods are relatively small, so it would be difficult to overdose. Fruit has plenty of other benefits – vitamins that are crucial for healthy functioning and fibre for good digestion, but, like everything, you can consume too much. Excessive consumption may cause damage to the enamel of the teeth or stomach problems.
It is only the excessive consumption of antioxidants through unnecessary diet supplements that could cause any concern.
Using antioxidants on the skin, rather than eating them, may have benefits. Clinical trials have shown that they provide considerable protection against the formation of free radicals in the outer layers of skin when added to sunscreens.
How can we avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the like? Don’t smoke, don’t drink to excess, eat a sensible, balanced diet, including a good mix of fruit and vegetables, and don’t get fat. It’s boring, but true. We know for a fact that the big killer diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyles.
It would be lovely if eating blueberries or popcorn would somehow counteract a lifetime of abuse, but it’s just not going to happen. And no matter what you do, you can get ill anyway.