Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Life might be longer if you cut out the sugar

Life can be sweeter if you cut out the sugar - Yahoo! News
"Giving up sweets and avoiding vitamins could help you live longer...restricting glucose -- a simple sugar found in foods such as sweets that is a primary source of energy for the body -- set off a process that extended the life span of some worms by up to 25 percent...The key was boosting the level of "free radicals" -- unstable molecules that can damage the body and which people often try to get rid of by consuming food or drinks rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin E...Restricting glucose first spurred the worms to generate more free radicals, but then they quickly built up long-lasting defenses against them, said Michael Ristow...Scientists have long known that restricting calorie intake in worms and monkeys increases longevity, and the study narrowed that idea further, to glucose...The study also for the first time points to a possible reason why antioxidants -- long thought to promote health -- might do more harm than good...The German team used a chemical that blocked the worms' ability to process glucose in a treatment that extended their life span by up to 25 percent, the equivalent of 15 years in humans...The worms unable to depend on glucose increased energy power sources in certain cells for fuel. That activity produced more free radicals, which in turn generated enzymes that strengthened long-time protection against the harmful molecules, Ristow said...However, antioxidants and vitamins given to some worms erased these benefits by neutralizing free radicals and preventing the body from generating the defenses, Ristow said."These latter findings tentatively suggest that the widespread use of antioxidants as human food supplements may exert undesirable effects..."

Also - ScienceDaily: Avoiding Sweets May Spell A Longer Life, Study In Worms Suggests

Now I already see that some journalists have the story backwards. In the German Magazine Expatica they write "Free radicals of oxygen, widely feared to be a cause of cancer, are in fact good and prolong life, German scientists claimed Tuesday after research on worms." If true, white would be black, up - down etc. It isn't the free radicals that prolong life. It is the worms response to the free radicals that does. ScienceDaily has it right in the press release "Unable to depend on glucose for energy, the long-lived worms ramped up the activity of cellular powerhouses known as mitochondria to fuel their bodies, Ristow said. That mitochondrial activity led to the increased production of reactive oxygen species, sometimes referred to as free radicals. In turn, the worms' defenses against "oxidative stress" increased, the researchers found."

What is the worms defense against oxidative stress? Endogenous antioxidants.

As the researchers note, it's too early to recommend that people should stop taking basic antioxidants like C. But it's never too early to take substances that increase endogenous antioxidants. Like ashwagandha, bacopa, milk thistle, turmeric, green tea, etc.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The article says that reducing sugars produced more free radicals, this seems contrary to what I’ve read about eating too many sugars. I thought eating too many sugars in itself produced more free radicals anyway. So wouldn’t cutting sugars just reduce free radicals anyway?