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24 October 2007

Cut Sugar and Supplements -- and Live 15 Years Longer?

Restricting the simple sugar glucose from your diet, while avoiding vitamin supplements, may extend your lifespan, according to German researchers.

While your body needs glucose, a sugar found in high amounts in sweets, too much of it is harmful.

When the researchers used a chemical to block worms’ ability to process glucose, their lifespan was extended by up to 25 percent, which is equal to 15 human years.

The beneficial effect came from an unlikely source: free radicals. Typically, free radicals are thought to cause damage to your body, and many consume antioxidants and vitamins to fight them.

However, when the worms were unable to use glucose for energy, they increased energy power from other cells -- a process that generated more free radicals than normal.

In response, the worms generated enzymes that fought the free radicals and strengthened their long-term protection against the damaging molecules.

The study also points to a reason why antioxidants may not be beneficial in the long run.

When some of the worms were given antioxidants, the free radicals were neutralized. However, this also prevented the worms from generating the beneficial, long-term defenses.

Cell Metabolism October 2007, Vol 6, 280-293, 03

Reuters October 2, 2007

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