Role of antioxidant nutrients in aging: Overview
- Cite this article as:
- Harman, D. AGE (1995) 18: 51. doi:10.1007/BF02432519
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Aging is the accumulation of changes that increase the risk of death. There is a growing consensus that the aging changes are caused by free radical reactions; mainly initiated by the mitochondria at an increasing rate with age, while life span is determined by the rate of such damage to the mitochondria. The inborn aging process, i.e., the superoxide radicals and H2O2 formed by the mitochondria in the course of normal metabolism, is the major risk factor for disease and death after about age 28 in the developed countries.
An antioxidant nutrient is a compound present naturally in the diet, or added to it, which lowers the rate of production of deleterious changes by free radical reactions without significantly impairing the essential reactions involved in body maintenance and function.
The beneficial effects of antioxidant nutrients are now supported by many studies, including those that have increased life span and lowered disease incidence.