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Do Antioxidants Really Prevent Aging?
Find Out What New Research Reveals



For 50 years, it’s been thought that oxidative stress was a leading cause of chronic disease and aging. Oxidative stress, it was said, occurs when “superoxide” free radicals -- toxic oxygen molecules produced by normal body processes but also via external sources like stress and pollution -- spiral out of control and cause molecular damage.


While eating an antioxidant-rich diet may help you prevent the diseases associated with aging, it may not slow down the aging process itself.

Countless anti-aging products and diets have been created based on the theory of oxidative stress -- and the notion that antioxidants could counteract some of the damage.

Now researchers at the Institute of Healthy aging at UCL (University College London) have found that the theory may not be right after all.

“It Just Doesn’t Stand Up to the Evidence”

In the study, published in the journal Genes & Development, Dr. David Gems and colleagues manipulated certain genes in worms in order to control their ability to “mop up” surplus superoxide free radicals and limit damage caused by oxidation. They found that the lifespan of the worms was relatively unaffected by their ability to get rid of free radicals.

"The fact is that we don't understand much about the fundamental mechanisms of aging," Dr. Gems said in Science Daily. "The free radical theory of aging has filled a knowledge vacuum for over 50 years now, but it just doesn't stand up to the evidence."

The implication is, then, that if oxidative stress is not a major cause of aging, then antioxidants would not play a major role in preventing the aging process.

"A healthy, balanced diet is very important for reducing the risk of developing many diseases associated with old age, such as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis," Dr. Gems told Science Daily. "But there is no clear evidence that dietary antioxidants can slow or prevent aging. There is even less evidence to support the claims of most anti-aging products."

If free radicals don’t play a role, then what IS the cause of aging?

"One of the hallmarks of aging is the accumulation of molecular damage, but what causes this damage?" says Dr. Gems. "It's clear that if superoxide is involved, it only plays a small part in the story. Oxidative damage is clearly not a universal, major driver of the aging process. Other factors, such as chemical reactions involving sugars in our body, clearly play a role."

Is Sugar the Missing Link?

Researchers from the University of Jena in Germany discovered some very interesting findings about glucose, a type of sugar that your body uses for energy, by observing the lifespan of worms.

First they blocked the worms' ability to process glucose, which put them into a metabolic state similar to one you would have if you avoided glucose in your diet. Without glucose, something fascinating happened: the worms increased their lifespan by up to 20 percent, which is the equivalent of 15 years of human life.


It turns out that sugary foods, which are quickly broken down into glucose in your body, may be one of the major players in accelerating the aging process.

In the United States, however, the average person eats a hefty amount of sugar, which when broken down generates glucose. In fact, sugar makes up anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of most people's daily diets!

So one of the most basic things that may help many people to not only slow down the aging process but also to potentially avoid disease is to cut back on sugar. In short, high-glucose foods to avoid include those made with refined white flour or white sugar and not a whole lot else (although even potatoes fall into this category). Prime examples of what to cut back on, or eliminate entirely, include:

  • Soft drinks

  • Candy

  • Pasta

  • Potatoes

  • Pastries

  • Sweetened fruit juice

What ELSE May Slow the Aging Process?

Well, it should first be said that “aging” is not a dirty word. Life should become better as we age, as we get to know our real selves and become more comfortable in our own skin.

 “Women really come into greatness after menopause,” points out healing arts expert Mary Maddux.

So the first step to “slowing down” aging is really to accept the process in your own mind, and regard it as a natural and normal part of life. Now, as you work on embracing the positive sides of aging, there are some things you can do to keep the negatives to a minimum.

  • Eat a healthy diet without a lot of simple sugars.

If you’d like to avoid chemical cleaners in your home entirely, you’ll also want to try the PerfectClean line of cleaning products, which are made with ultramicrofibers. Because the ultramicrofibers are so small (only 3 microns in size -- smaller than many bacteria) they cling to everything in their path, without any cleansers needed.

  • Get plenty of high-quality sleep. It’s during this time that your body is rebuilt and repaired.
  • Drink pure water. Water is essential for good health, but both bottled water and tap water can be filled with toxic impurities. To get safe, superior quality water from your own kitchen, highly recommends The Wellness Kitchen Water Filter. It reduces chlorine, chloramines, cysts, VOCs, pesticides, and herbicides -- including DEET -- below detectable levels for the life of the filter.

The Wellness Kitchen combines the best filtration and enhancement technologies to deliver the purest and most natural tasting water available. It effectively reduces harmful contaminants, while at the same time enhancing the water by adding important yet delicate wellness "ions and minerals" that your body needs.

  • Stay active, socially and mentally. By reading, doing crossword puzzles, learning new things, working part-time and socializing you can help keep your brain cells strong.

Above all else, simply living, loving and enjoying your life -- while keeping your worries to a minimum -- will keep you feeling and looking young your whole life through.

Recommended Reading

How Old are the Cells in Your Body & Which Can and Can't be Renewed?

Do You Only Have a Limited Lifetime Supply of Energy? The Latest on this Theory


Genes & Development December 1, 2008 22:3236-3241

Science Daily December 2, 2008 October 3, 2007

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