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VitC may treat gene age disease

Tuesday January 5th, 2010

People at genetic risk of accelerated ageing may benefit from taking vitamin C, researchers have reported.

Scientists say their findings may explain conflicting reports about the vitamin - which was once thought to be a cure-all.

The findings, from a laboratory study, suggest that vitamin C can treat a condition called Werner's syndrome, which leads to accelerated ageing. Victims face death before the age of 50.

The study involved mice genetically engineered to have the gene responsible for Werner's syndrome - known as WRN.

Researchers found that administering vitamin C prevented the animals from developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. their findings are reported in the FASEB Journal - published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Researcher Dr Michel Lebel, of the Centre de Recherche en Cancerologie, Quebec, Canada, said: "Our study clearly indicates that a healthy organism or individuals with no health problems do not require a large amount of vitamin C in order to increase their lifespan, especially if they have a balanced diet and they exercise."

"An organism or individual with a mutation in the WRN gene or any gene affected by the WRN protein, and thus predisposes them to several age-related diseases, may benefit from a diet with the appropriate amount of vitamin C."

Journal editor Dr Gerald Weissmann said: "Vitamin C has become one of the most misunderstood substances in our medicine cabinets and food.

"This study and others like it help explain how and why this chemical can help to defend some, but certainly not all, people from premature senescence."

Tags: Diet & Food | Geriatric Health | Heart Healt | North America

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