Antioxidants Are Unlikely To Prevent Aging, Study Suggests

Diets and beauty products which claim to have anti-oxidant properties are unlikely to prevent aging, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust. Researchers at the Institute of Healthy aging at UCL (University College London) say this is because a key fifty year old theory about the causes of aging is wrong.

"Superoxide" free radicals – oxygen molecules that have an imbalance of electrons to protons – are generated in the body through natural processes such as metabolism. These free radicals can cause oxidation in the body, analogous to rust when iron is exposed to oxygen. Biological systems, such as the human body, are usually able to restrict or repair this damage.

In 1956, Denham Harman proposed the theory that aging is caused by an accumulation of molecular damage caused by "oxidative stress", the action of reactive forms of oxygen, such as superoxide, on cells. This theory has dominated the field of aging research for over fifty years. But now, a study published online today in the journal Genes & Development suggests that this theory is probably incorrect and that superoxide is not a major cause of aging.

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

Dr Gems and colleagues at the Institute of Healthy aging studied the action of key genes involved in removing superoxide from the bodies of the nematode worm C. elegans, a commonly-used model for research into aging. By manipulating these genes, they were able to control the worm's ability to "mop up" surplus superoxide and limit potential damage caused by oxidation.

Contrary to the result predicted by the free radical theory of aging, the researchers found that the lifespan of the worm was relatively unaffected by its ability to tackle the surplus superoxide. The findings, combined with similar recent findings from the University of Texas using mice, imply that this theory is incorrect.

"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."

Dr Gems believes the study suggests that anti-aging products which claim to have anti-oxidant properties are unlikely to have any effect.

"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," he says. "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."

The research was welcomed by Dr Alan Schafer, Head of Molecular and Physiological Sciences at the Wellcome Trust.

"With increasing lifespan comes greater exposure and vulnerability to the aging process," comments Dr Schafer. "Research such as this points to how much we have to learn about aging, and the importance of understanding the mechanisms behind this process. This new study will encourage researchers to explore new avenues in aging research.

N.H.Khider

Soure :Science daily

Eating Citrus Fruit May Lower Women's Stroke Risk

A compound in citrus fruits may reduce your stroke risk, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Eating higher amounts of a compound in citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruit, may lower ischemic stroke risk. Women who ate high amounts of the compound had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount.

This prospective study is one of the first in which researchers examine how consuming flavonoid subclasses affects the risk of stroke. Flavonoids are a class of compounds present in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine.

"Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk," said Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., the study's lead author and professor of nutrition at Norwich Medical School in the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.

"Flavonoids are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect."

Cassidy and colleagues used 14-years of follow-up data from the Nurse's Health Study, which included 69,622 women who reported their food intake, including details on fruit and vegetable consumption every four years. Researchers examined the relationship of the six main subclasses of flavonoids commonly consumed in the U.S. diet -- flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonoid polymers, flavonols and flavones -- with risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke.

As expected, the researchers didn't find a beneficial association between total flavonoid consumption and stroke risk, as the biological activity of the sub-classes differ. However, they found that women who ate high amounts of flavanones in citrus had a 19 percent lower risk of blood clot-related (ischemic) stroke than women who consumed the least amounts.

In the study, flavanones came primarily from oranges and orange juice (82 percent) and grapefruit and grapefruit juice (14 percent). However, researchers recommended that consumers increase their citrus fruit intake, rather than juice, due to the high sugar content of commercial fruit juices.

A previous study found that citrus fruit and juice intake, but not intake of other fruits, protected against risk of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage. Another study found no association between yellow and orange fruits and stroke risk, but did link increased consumption of white fruits like apples and pears with lower stroke risk. An additional study found that Swedish women who ate the highest levels of antioxidants -- about 50 percent from fruits and vegetables -- had fewer strokes than those with lower antioxidant levels.

More studies are needed to confirm the association between flavanone consumption and stroke risk, and to gain a better understanding about why the association occurs, the authors said.

Source :Science daily

N.H.Khider

Copper linked to Alzheimer's disease

A lifetime of too much copper in our diets may be contributing to Alzheimer's disease, US scientists say.

However, research is divided, with other studies suggesting copper may actually protect the brain.

The latest study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed high levels of copper left the brain struggling to get rid of a protein thought to cause the dementia.

Copper is a vital part of our diet and necessary for a healthy body.

Tap water coming through copper pipes, red meat and shellfish as well as fruit and vegetables are all sources of dietary copper.

The study on mice, by a team at the University of Rochester in New York, suggested that copper interfered with the brain's shielding - the blood brain barrier.

Mice that were fed more copper in their water had a greater build-up of the metal in the blood vessels in the brain.

The team said this interfered with the way the barrier functioned and made it harder for the brain to get rid of a protein called beta amyloid.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the formation of plaques of amyloid in the dying brain.

Lead researcher Dr Rashid Deane said: "It is clear that, over time, copper's cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain."

He told the BBC that copper also led to more protein being produced: "It's a double whammy of increased production and decreased clearance of amyloid protein.

"Copper is a very essential metal ion and you don't want a deficiency and many nutritious foods also contain copper."

However, he said taking supplements may be "going overboard a bit".

Mixed evidence

Commenting on the latest findings, Chris Exley, professor of bioinorganic chemistry at Keele University, said there was "no true consensus" on the role of copper in Alzheimer's disease.

His research on human brain reached the opposite conclusion: "In our most recent work we found evidence of lower total brain copper with ageing and Alzheimer's. We also found that lower brain copper correlated with higher deposition of beta amyloid in brain tissue.

"He said at the moment we would expect copper to be protective and beneficial in neurodegeneration, not the instigator, but we don't know.

"The exposure levels used mean that if copper is acting in the way they think it does in this study then it must be doing so in everyone."

Dr Eric Karran, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "While the findings present clues to how copper could contribute to features of Alzheimer's in mice, the results will need replicating in further studies. It is too early to know how normal exposure to copper could be influencing the development or progression of Alzheimer's in people. "

Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Considering copper is a vital mineral for the body, people should treat these results with caution and not cut it out of their diet. More research is needed to understand the role that copper might play in the brain.

Source :BBC

N.H.Khider

Suffer From Anxiety? Actions You Should Take Right Now

It’s impossible to control all aspects of anxiety--it comes and it goes. Everything can seemingly be going right in your life but for some reason you’re fearful, you can’t relax, and your mind is going at full speed, a mile a minute. What’s worse, it can keep you from sleeping, making the problem even more difficult.

Extreme anxiety is something that you should discuss with your doctor but if you’re plagued with a heavy mind from time to time, take these steps to get back in the swing of things. Recognize anxiety and take control.

Stop drinking coffee

Coffee or any sort of caffeine in tea, energy drinks, soda, or even chocolate increases anxiety. During anxious periods, it also increases irritability, makes you jittery, and keeps you from sleep. You don’t have to give it up forever, but if you’re dealing with an anxious period, lay off of it for a bit.

Cut out the sugar

Excessive added sugar can also send our emotions on a roller coaster ride. If you’re going through an emotional period, cut out the candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes, and other sugary snacks.

Cut out the booze

Alcohol can do a number on your nervous system. According to Soberistas founder Lucy Rocca, alcohol disrupts the central nervous system, causing a lack of concentration, drop in blood sugar, changes in serotonin levels, mood swings, and an increased heart rate. If you have anxiety, alcohol and drugs are the worst thing for it.

Turn off the news

The news and television in general can make you feel ill at ease. The news rarely reports on the good stuff--rather, it makes us feel like we’re surviving in a world of fire and brim stone. Turn it off, it only makes your perspective more negative.

Go for a jog

Researchers at Princeton found that the brains of rats who exercise responded differently to anxiety than the brains of slothful rats. Not only does exercise stimulate the creation of new brain cells, they seem to function differently than the old ones.

Consider yoga

Of 35 trials at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, 25 noted significant decreases in stress and anxiety after adding in a yoga regimen. A combination of mindfulness breathing and focused attention help to slow the wandering mind. Consider adding yoga in at least a few times per week.

Learn to be the observer

Our thoughts are a part of us, but they’re not all of us. That’s why when you’re meditating you can watch your thoughts but you can’t watch yourself. When you’re having an anxious attack of emotions, begin to watch your thoughts as if they were a movie. Don’t be afraid of them. Just close your eyes and pretend you’re eating popcorn and watching the ridiculous drama going on in your mind.

Source: Discovery Fit & Health

R.Sawas

Breakfast linked to 'healthy heart'

People should eat breakfast to keep their hearts in good condition, according to researchers in the US.

Their study of 27,000 men, in the journal Circulation, showed those skipping breakfast were at a greater risk of heart problems.

The team at the Harvard School of Public Health said missing the meal put an "extra strain" on the body.

The British Heart Foundation said breakfast helped people resist sugary snacks before lunch.

The men, aged 45-82, were studied for 16 years. During that time there were more than 1,500 heart attacks or cases of fatal heart failure.

However, people who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal. The researchers adjusted for other lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and exercise.

Researcher, Dr Leah Cahill said: "The take-home message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour.

"The results show that something is better than nothing, but it's always better to have something healthy and balanced."

She said the timing of the meal seemed to be key and waiting until lunch rather than "breaking fast" may be straining the body over time.

She said this could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which could in turn damage the heart.

"Don't skip breakfast," Dr Cahill concluded.

Victoria Taylor, a dietitian with the British Heart Foundation, said: "These researchers only looked at men aged over 45, so we would need to see further research to confirm that breakfast has the same impact on the heart health of other groups of people.

"What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet.

"Wholegrain toast, or cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day. Try a sliced banana or dried fruit on top and you'll be on your way to five-a-day before you've even left the house.

 

Source : BBC

N.H.Khider