Early-stage discoveries: antioxidants, melatonin, omega-3s and curcumin

Anti-aging antioxidants in the womb

In the lab, doctors gave antioxidants to pregnant rats and compared their offspring to those from mothers who had lower levels of oxygen during pregnancy, as in a mother who smoked or suffered from preeclampsia. Offspring born to the mothers given antioxidants aged more slowly in adulthood, measured by their longer telomeres.


Melatonin, omega-3s, and breast cancer

In the lab, three groups of mice with breast cancer cells ate a diet containing walnuts, containing melatonin, or neither. Walnuts also contain melatonin and omega-3s, so the walnut diet was the only one providing omega-3s. Tumors grew most slowly, and lifespan extended the longest in the walnut group, followed by the melatonin group, and then by the group that got neither walnuts nor melatonin.


Curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease

Curcumin can penetrate the central nervous system making this nutrient interesting to doctors studying Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In two animal studies, curcumin reduced oxidized proteins and plaque, which are factors in AD. In a human study, curcumin improved working memory and mood after four weeks. Doctors say these findings suggest curcumin is a candidate for anti-inflammatory therapy in AD.

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