Aging Not Slowed By Antioxidants, 50 Year Old Theory Debunked
UK researchers have discovered that antioxidants do not actually slow or stop the aging process, disproving the 50-year old free radical theory which claims that these molecules stall or temporarily eliminate oxidation (which releases free radicals and damages cells.)
Superoxide free radicals are a natural byproduct of metabolism. They are essentially unstable oxygen molecules with too many electrons that go in search of compounds they can bond with that are happy to accept their extra electrons. This process is similar to when iron becomes rusty and turns into iron oxide, except that in the human body, biological mechanisms exist that can stop or reverse it.
In 1956 the biogerontologist Denham Harman proposed that aging was the result of an accumulation of "oxidative stress" such as that inflicted on cells by free radicals. Gems and colleagues now suggest this theory is not correct and that superoxide is not a major cause of aging.
Gems said the free radical theory of aging, which has dominated the field for over 50 years, "just doesn't stand up to the evidence."
While oxidative damage may play some small role in the aging process, other chemical reactions are more likely to blame for the degeneration of cells.
These findings also disprove any claims that beauty products containing antioxidants will combat the aging process, regardless of whether the products are topical or dietary.