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Canada Medicine Science

Free Radicals May Not Be Cause of Aging 371

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have uncovered strong new evidence that that wildly-accepted mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA) is wrong. MFRTA suggests that free radicals cause oxidative damage, which in turn leads to the aging process. This new evidence shows that high levels of Reactive Oxidative species are rather a biological signal used to combat aging then the process itself. This goes against claims of major health benefits from consuming foods and particularly supplements that contain antioxidants."
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Free Radicals May Not Be Cause of Aging

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  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @12:45PM (#34607844) Journal

    If free radicals were responsible for (a large part) of aging then blueberry farmers would routinely live to be more than 100. Blueberries supposedly have the highest amount of anti-oxidants (by weight? volume? serving size?) of any food.

    Too bad, I love blueberries.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @01:21PM (#34608188) Journal

    I completely understand vegetarian and vegan philosophy, although I'm not interested in participating. But I have noticed the same thing, that all the vegetarians I know are all pasty white and sickly looking, although there are obviously exceptions. Not sure if that is because of the lack of meat, or if just pasty and sickly people are more likely to give up meat. I won't eat veal, and *hate* the way we currently raise animals for meat, but I'm pretty sure we evolved to eat critters. They're tasty, too.

  • Re:Occam's razor... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:21PM (#34608638) Homepage

    I don't know all the answers to salorie restriction but it's been known about since 1934. Nearly 80 years is enough time to find out if it works in humans but I'm not aware of any practitioners living extra-long lives (and there's been plenty of people who tried it...)

    If you plot a graph of size vs. lifespan in mammals it forms a fairly straight line. See here []. Humans already live much longer than the graph predicts (we're the dot marked "HS" on that graph) and we're not sure why. Maybe there's a connection. Maybe that's why calorie restriction doesn't work on humans because we're already a long way above the line.

  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:15PM (#34609024)

    Oxalic acid should be "sort of" OK. It's supposed to be common in spinach. In fact it's supposed to be the reason that the iron in spinach is unavailable, unless you eat it with vinegar.

  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:47PM (#34609258)

    Glad to know that primitive peoples who don't use those kinds of oils are so healthy and age so well...

    FYI, coconut oil is not totally saturated (IV 14 or so). Even in its ultrahardened (by hydrogenation) form, it can still undergo oxidative breakdown and form peroxides in one of the early steps. It admittedly does so at a slower rate than highly unsaturated oils.

    How do I know? I worked in a quality control lab that measured the iodine value (a measure of saturation) and the peroxide value (a measure of oxidative deterioration) in coconut oils among many others.

    Both butterfat (IV 30 or so) and lamb fat (IV also around 30) are not completely saturated. They also undergo oxidative decay of this sort.

    Essentially no natural source oil is completely saturated. The only ones I've seen that were have been chemically prepared synthetics (Captex 300 comes to mind)

    FYI number 2: The coconut oil is deodorized as well. It also is sometimes hardened with hydrogenation depending on the application.

    My facility was set up for kosher processing and we didn't do animal based oils. But many processed animal fats are also deodorized with high temperature steam just like plant oils.

    There are a whole range of other questionable things in your post beyond the lack of knowledge of oil chemistry.

    There are many well known reasons for accelerated aging of skin in some people. Over exposure to sun. Smoking. Genetics, etc.

  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:28PM (#34611226)

    Except that preserving telomeres with drugs causes cancer, so there's a fine balance. The cell can only afford to live so long under normal DNA damage, so if you want to preserve it you have to make the whole chromosome more resilient. That sounds nontrivial.

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