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Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging.

September 1, 1993
90 (17) 7915-7922

Abstract

Metabolism, like other aspects of life, involves tradeoffs. Oxidant by-products of normal metabolism cause extensive damage to DNA, protein, and lipid. We argue that this damage (the same as that produced by radiation) is a major contributor to aging and to degenerative diseases of aging such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune-system decline, brain dysfunction, and cataracts. Antioxidant defenses against this damage include ascorbate, tocopherol, and carotenoids. Dietary fruits and vegetables are the principal source of ascorbate and carotenoids and are one source of tocopherol. Low dietary intake of fruits and vegetables doubles the risk of most types of cancer as compared to high intake and also markedly increases the risk of heart disease and cataracts. Since only 9% of Americans eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, the opportunity for improving health by improving diet is great.

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Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 90 | No. 17
September 1, 1993
PubMed: 8367443

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    Submission history

    Published online: September 1, 1993
    Published in issue: September 1, 1993

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    B N Ames
    Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.
    M K Shigenaga
    Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.
    T M Hagen
    Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.

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      Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging.
      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
      • Vol. 90
      • No. 17

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