Pros, Cons of Antioxidants

Pros, Cons of Antioxidants

Researcher Dr. Susanne Mertens-Talcott of Texas A&M University is looking into how plant-based phytochemicals, including antioxidants and herbal supplements, can be useful in the promotion of health and prevention of chronic diseases.

PKG TRT: 1:50

IN: Dr. Susanne Mertens-Talcott

SUPER: Dr. Susanne Mertens-Talcott, researcher (:21-:27)

SUPER: Linda Anderson

Reporting (1:45-1:49)

OUT: I’m Linda Anderson reporting for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Phytochemicals, also called secondary plant compounds — including antioxidants — have been defined as chemicals found in plants that have protective or disease-fighting properties ( ).

VOICEOVER: DR. SUSANNE MERTENS-TALCOTT IS LOOKING INTO HOW PLANT-BASED PHYTOCHEMICALS, INCLUDING ANTIOXIDANTS AND HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS, CAN PROMOTE HEALTH AND HELP PREVENT CHRONIC DISEASES. TALCOTT IS IN A JOINT RESEARCH AND TEACHING POSITION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF NUTRITION AND FOOD SCIENCE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY PHYSIOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY.

SOUNDBITE: Dr. Susanne Mertens-Talcott, Texas A&M University A lot of people are of the opinion that it’s best to eat a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain vitamins and minerals, as well as the so-called non-nutrient antioxidants, which are also called phytochemicals.

VOICEOVER: MANY OF THESE PHYTOCHEMICALS SEEM TO BE BENEFICIAL IN FIGHTING CERTAIN DISEASES, SUCH AS CANCER, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AND ARTHRITIS. TALCOTT WANTS TO LEARN MORE.

SOUNDBITE: Talcott My overall goal is to find out more regarding the efficacy and safety of those phytochemicals, those plant-based antioxidants.

VOICEOVER: THESE SUBSTANCES ARE BIG BUSINESS TOO.

SOUNDBITE: Talcott The consumption — I said it earlier — of dietary supplements has been increasing to $21 billion, I believe, whereas the portion of the herbal supplements is at about $7 billion in 2005.

VOICEOVER: BUT ARE THEY SAFE? ARE THEY EFFICIENT? HOW MUCH IS REQUIRED AND HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? TALCOTT IS SEARCHING FOR THE ANSWERS.

SOUNDBITE: Talcott Because consumers, they would like to consume those products — they do consume them. However, the problem is we do know very little about dosing recommendations; we do not know how efficacious they are and we do not know how safe they are.

VOICEOVER THE RESULTS OF SOME OF HER STUDIES WERE PUBLISHED IN THE OCT. 13, 2006, EDITION OF THE JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY. I’M LINDA ANDERSON REPORTING FOR THE TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION. -30-