A project supported by the European Commission is studying fat-soluble vitamins A and E and carotenoids in order to assess their role in the human ageing process.
As the elderly population of Europe increases, scientists are attempting to reveal the secret of ageing and find ways of relieving its 'symptoms'.
Ageing is often associated with the so-called degenerative diseases, comprising certain cancers, neurological disorders and heart and eye diseases. Most of them implicate dysfunction of the defensive mechanisms of the body, the immune and the antioxidant system. A healthy diet can improve the function of the immune system and the antioxidant defence, and fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, E and carotenoids, are known to play an important role in this.
In the project, researchers are making geographical comparisons: 300 volunteers in three European countries have been grouped according to their different dietary habits and life style. The target is to detect differences between countries in the relationship between vitamins/carotenoids and ageing.
Good dietary sources of vitamin E are plant oils and products containing these oils, like margarine and mayonnaise. Fruit, berries and vegetables also contain some quantities of vitamin E. Just one tablespoon of sunflower oil, two tablespoons of rapeseed oil or a small coffee cup of nuts provide the recommended daily amount of the vitamin.
Good sources of vitamin A are liver and dairy products, while strong-coloured vegetables like carrots, broccoli or tomatoes contain abundant carotenoids.
For more information on the project (QLK1-1999-00830 VITAGE), contact Rqzbaq.Ebpx@pyrezbag.vaen.se