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Chemists Discover New Way Antioxidants Fight Debilitating Diseases

Date:
August 22, 2007
Source:
Clemson University
Summary:
Debilitating diseases are often linked to DNA damage that occurs when metal ions in the body produce reactive oxygen compounds that damage cells. Studies have shown antioxidants that neutralize this activity and are found in fruits, vegetables, green tea, garlic and onions can be effective at preventing damage. Scientists have now found a new mechanism for antioxidant activity: antioxidants bind to naturally present iron and copper to prevent formation of compounds that damage DNA.

Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are often linked to DNA damage that occurs when metal ions in the body such as iron and copper produce reactive oxygen compounds that damage human cells. Studies have shown antioxidants that neutralize this activity and that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, green tea, garlic and onions can be effective at preventing DNA damage.

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A Clemson team of chemists, presenting its research at the 234th annual American Chemical Society national meeting in Boston Aug. 19-24, has found a new mechanism for antioxidant activity: the antioxidants bind to naturally present iron and copper in the body to prevent formation of reactive oxygen compounds that damage DNA.

"Our studies have shown that antioxidants even at low concentrations found in these foods bind to iron and copper and prevent DNA damage," said lead investigator and chemist Julia Brumaghim. "This goes a long way in understanding how antioxidant supplements might help treat or even prevent these debilitating illnesses."

The group is now testing its findings in bacterial cells and will test human cells next.

Clemson graduate students on the project include Erin E. Battin, Nathan R. Perron and Ria R. Ramoutar. Research is funded through a grant from the American Heart Association.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Clemson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Clemson University. "Chemists Discover New Way Antioxidants Fight Debilitating Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133751.htm>.
Clemson University. (2007, August 22). Chemists Discover New Way Antioxidants Fight Debilitating Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133751.htm
Clemson University. "Chemists Discover New Way Antioxidants Fight Debilitating Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133751.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

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