Europe funds antioxidant study

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Reactive oxygen species, Antioxidant

A new European project is to study biomarkers for antioxidants and
look at ways in which the release of dietary antioxidants can be
successfully measured.

Dietary antioxidants are currently at the centre of a new collaboration between scientists and the industry with increasing evidence to suggest that these compounds could have beneficial effects on the ageing processes and the prevention of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, blindness.

Until now, most of the evidence for the health benefits of dietary antioxidants has been based on observational studies in humans and from animal experiments. However, human intervention studies have not shown consistent benefits with the use of antioxidant vitamin supplements.

There are many explanations for these results that often relate to the poor design of the intervention studies or the use of individuals who are at high risk of a particular disease or already displaying clinical symptoms. The biomarkers used are often questionable as to their relevance to the disease processes.

"Reactive Oxygen Species"​ (ROS) are believed to be involved in age-related and degenerative processes. ROS are produced naturally in the body but excess or unregulated production may be caused by environmental factors while dietary antioxidants may limit their potential harmful affects.

A European-funded project, Eurofeda, is currently tackling this issue and is seeking to cover three specific themes: task group one is dealing with biomarkers that can be used for the measurement of oxidative damage in lipids, proteins, DNA and carbohydrates; task group two, on the methods most suitable for the measurement of release from the food matrix, uptake, and tissue and cell distribution of dietary antioxidants; task group three, on the role of the ROS in gene expression and mitochondrial function and the role of dietary antioxidants in manipulating these processes.

The project​, co-ordinated at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, UK, is due to be completed by the end of 2002. The Institute will hold a short related symposium, specifically designed for the European food and drinks industry, in late 2002.

Related topics: Research

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