This is just a quick grumpy post about a recent study on antioxidants and aging I read.
Why so quick and grumpy?
Because I didn't like the results, damnit!
Hey, You Promised If I Ate All Those Antioxidants I'd Be Young Forever!
I hate it when a study comes along and dashes my hopes for eternal life. Yes, I know no one has guaranteed that the right combination of nutrition and exercise will keep me young forever. (And a quick glance in the mirror reveals there's definitely a flaw in this theory).
However, it's been kind of implied that if I down enough blueberries and red wine and broccoli and dark chocolate, etc, that all those antioxidants would fight off the nasty free radicals that would otherwise cause me to age faster. I will feel thirty or forty-ish, I was hoping, until I'm actually ninety-ish.
Perfectly Good Aging Theory Spoiled by Worms
Blame Denham Harman for my false hopes. It was his theory that said that aging is due to "an accumulation of molecular damage "caused by "oxidative stress." This theory has apparently been popular for over fifty years, so I had a good excuse for believing it and scarfing up all the antioxidants I could.
But alas, it turns out that a guy named David Gems and some stupid worms are trying to ruin my plans to never grow old.
In this new study, Gems and his colleagues fiddled around with a bunch of nematode worms and beefed up their ability to "mop up" surplus superoxide and limit oxidative damage. Unfortunately, "the lifespan of the worm was relatively unaffected by its ability to tackle the surplus superoxide." This casts serious doubt on the theory that antioxidants will make you live longer. Gems thinks "other factors, such as chemical reactions involving sugars in our body, clearly play a role."
Since this kind of research is far beyond my ability to understand or critique, I'll just have to hope more studies come out and contradict it.
Or, even better, I hope that they figure out a new key to staying young, and that it involves a daily regimen of watching HBO and Showtime series on DVD, eating cupcakes and cheeseburgers, drinking margaritas, and sitting in a massage chair to relieve stress. C'mon scientists, get crackin'!
You Still Have to Eat Your Fruit and Vegetables
Just because antioxidants may not halt aging itself, they are still potent disease fighters so you're not off the hook. Gems concluded: "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. 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."
Darn it. Guess I'll go eat worms.
Anyone else disappointed that there might not be a dietary "magic bullet" to prevent aging? Got any good anti-aging suggestions, or are you perfectly happy to grow old gracefully?