Monday, 1 December 2008

More damage to the reputation of antioxidants

We've covered the topic of antioxidants extensively (see here), but last week saw the publication of yet another failure for the much-vaunted substances. One of the popular theories of senescence postulates that free radical damage to cells causes ageing. Again, this is not intrinsically implausible, but fortunately we can put this claim to an evidential test.

Since testing anti-ageing materials on humans first is obviously unethical, the scientists "tweaked" the genes of some nematode worms instead, making it better able to withstand free radical assaults. Did the worms live any longer? Nope, not at all.

Once again, we are forced into accepting the unwelcome conclusion that antioxidants at best do nothing, and at worst can have a mildly deleterious effect on us. The powerful 'alternative' health lobby's determined promotion of antioxidants is now looking even more dishonest.

See here for a little more detail.

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