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      Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging.

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          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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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
          0027-8424
          0027-8424
          Sep 01 1993
          : 90
          : 17
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.
          Article
          10.1073/pnas.90.17.7915
          47258
          8367443
          eb0719c3-8be6-4a7d-920b-af0757fd0a05

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