Antioxidants increasingly have been praised for their benefits against disease and aging, but recent studies at Kansas State University show that they also can cause harm.
Researchers in K-State's Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory have been studying how to improve oxygen delivery to the skeletal muscle during physical activity by using antioxidants, which are nutrients in foods that can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to the body. Their findings show that sometimes antioxidants can impair muscle function.
"Antioxidant is one of those buzz words right now," said Steven Copp, a doctoral student in anatomy and physiology from Manhattan and a researcher in the lab. "Walking around grocery stores you see things advertised that are loaded with antioxidants. I think what a lot of people don't realize is that the antioxidant and pro-oxidant balance is really delicate. One of the things we've seen in our research is that you can't just give a larger dose of antioxidants and presume that there will be some sort of beneficial effect. In fact, you can actually make a problem worse."
Unfortunately the press release doesn't get specific about which antioxidants caused this effect.
Antioxidant therapies that reduce levels of vasodilators will reduce oxygen delivery to muscle.
"We're now learning that if antioxidant therapy takes away hydrogen peroxide – or other naturally occurring vasodilators, which are compounds that help open blood vessels – you impair the body's ability to deliver oxygen to the muscle so that it doesn't work properly," Poole said.
The body produces free radicals to serve signaling functions. Unfortunately these same free radicals damage us. Our bodies were obviously not designed to last forever. Our bodies use toxins to get metabolic tasks done. We grow old and die as a result. Or at least we will until scientists develop therapies that'll enable us to repair our bodies as fast as damage accumulates.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 January 27 12:49 AM Aging Cardiovascular Studies|