A recent study has indicated that anti-ageing diets, as well as creams, simply do not work. Diets which place emphasis on antioxidants to help prevent the effects of ageing may be a waste of time and money.
Scientists at University College London found that Nematode worms given a diet rich in antioxidants, which have been reported to help reduce tissue damage by combating free radicals, did not live longer.
The research team, headed by Dr David Gems, concluded that there was no evidence that antioxidants can reduce the ageing process.
Antioxidants are a big seller in the health food and supplement industries. This research, if taken seriously by consumers, could impact on the health food market in a big way.
The idea of free radicals has been around for half a century, and has been accepted as fact, mostly due to all the press about how they damage cells, and also how antioxidants slow this process down.
However, the theory has not stood up to a scientific process, and therefore has to be discarded until a scientific process is able to prove that antioxidants do in fact have an impact on the ageing process.
Free Radicals and The Ageing Process
In 1956 it was theorized that molecular damage (i.e. cell / skin tissue damage) was caused by reactive forms of oxygen, known as “free radicals”. The process is known as oxidative stress.
Antioxidants were thought to combat the free radicals, reducing their ability to damage cells. However, recent research may explain why this theory has never been proved – it was just a theory and failed a proper scientific test.
The obvious argument against these new findings is that the nematode worm will not react in the same way as human skin. However, nematode worms actually share many genes with humans.
The worms in the experiment were produced with greater ability to fight free radicals. The idea being that they would have an advantage over normal nematodes in terms of ageing and lifespan.
However, results showed that the enhanced worms fared no better than others, which suggested that oxidative stress did not affect the ageing process.