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Aging and antioxidants

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Professor Mohsen Meydani of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University is one of the world's foremost authorities on aging. In a recent presentation to the Ross Research Conference on Medical Issues Dr. Meydani presented convincing evidence to support the free radical theory of aging. According to this theory free radical attacks on cells and DNA are the main cause of aging and degenerative diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, senile dementia, and cataracts. Dr. Meydani points out that aging and degenerative diseases take hold once the body's antioxidant defenses and repair mechanism become unable to deal with the challenge of free radical attacks. Research has shown that the body's defenses can be augmented by oral supplementation with antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and the carotenes. For example, supplementation with 400 IU or 800 IU of vitamin E reduced the risk of non-fatal heart attacks by 77 per cent in men and resulted in some regression of atherosclerosis. Heart bypass surgery patients have also been found to benefit significantly from vitamin E supplementation. Several studies have shown that elderly men and women can improve their immune status quite significantly by supplementing with 200 IU/day of vitamin E. Dr. Meydani concludes that supplementing with 200 IU/day of vitamin E and including plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet (5-8 servings a day) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve immune function in later life.
Meydani, Mohsen. Effect of functional food ingredients: vitamin E modulation of cardiovascular diseases and immune status in the elderly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71 (suppl), June 2000, pp. 1665S-68S

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