Diets and creams claiming their antioxidant properties could cheat ageing may be worthless, a study says.
Using Nematode worms, scientists found even those given enhanced antioxidant powers to deal with tissue damaging "free radicals" did not live longer. The team from University College London said, in the Genes and Development journal, there was "no clear evidence" they could slow ageing.
Antioxidants are a staple of the beauty and health industries. This has been based on a 50-year-old theory.
In 1956, it was suggested that ageing was caused by a build-up of molecular damage caused by reactive forms of oxygen, called superoxides or free radicals, circulating in the body. This is known as oxidative stress. Antioxidants supposedly worked to mop up these free radicals, minimising their damage.
This week's study, however, could explain why many studies aimed at proving the theory have been inconclusive.