A recent research, conducted by Dr Gems and colleagues at the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College in the United Kingdom and funded by the Wellcome Trust, has disproved the widely held theory that antioxidants can stop or slow aging by counteracting the oxidative stress on cells caused by free radicals. The findings of the research are published in the 30 November, 2008, issue of the journal Genes & Development.

Highlights of the research
a. This research was conducted on the nematode worm C. elegans.
b. Researchers studied the way the worms’ genes controlled the removal of superoxide free radicals from their bodies.
c. It was seen that the worms were able to switch the genes on and off.
d. They could also influence the extent to which their bodies were able to get rid of surplus superoxide and thus reduce the potential damage it could cause through oxidation.
e. Contrary to the free radical theory, researchers did not see any significant link between the worms' lifespan and the extent to which their bodies were able to mop up excess superoxide.
f. It was concluded that superoxide plays just a small part in aging.
g. Researchers also agreed that oxidative damage is not a universal, major factor of the ageing process.
h. Hence, it can be said that anti-ageing products which claim to have anti-oxidant properties are unlikely to be effective.