Congress to create level playing field for antioxidants

Related tags Antioxidants Chemistry

Scientists meeting next month to try to reach a consensus on
antioxidant measurements could develop more reliable methods for
comparing the numerous natural ingredients marketed for their
antioxidant levels.

The first International Congress on Antioxidant Methods, organised by the American Chemical Society and taking place on 16-18 June in Orlando, Florida, will attempt to reach agreement on techniques for measuring and reporting on antioxidants, the natural compounds believed to fight cancer, heart disease and ageing.

Antioxidants, thought to protect against cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals, an excess of which is considered a major cause of disease and ageing, are a major driver of sales in the natural products industry. But unlike vitamins and minerals, there is currently no reliable consumer guideline on what kind of antioxidants to consume and how much is needed to obtain maximum health benefits, say scientists.

"The problem is that we have no agreed-upon quantitative way to determine how much of these beneficial antioxidants are absorbed into the body,"​ explained John W. Finley, chair of the meeting organising committee and editor of the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

"Ultimately, we want to develop a consensus on a methodology that will allow us to report this to consumers in an understandable and meaningful way."

Finley said organisers hope the meeting participants will identify methods of measuring antioxidants that can be studied in a variety of laboratories across the US and ultimately internationally. The congress will define antioxidant activities and roles and seek to establish tests to verify the effectiveness of antioxidant claims. It is also aiming to develop a baseline for antioxidant activity.

Speakers include members of the US Department of Agriculture, the American Oil Chemists Society, Kraft Foods, the University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, Rutgers University, the University of Scranton, and the University of California, Davis.

For additional information and to register, visit the society's website​ or call +1 202-872-4373, extension 4373.

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