Protection against stress: chocolate, coffee and tea with zinc slow down the aging process

Getting old with chocolate, coffee and tea with zinc? Scientists from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg have discovered a new protection against oxidative stress, which is related to the aging process and many diseases.

Did researchers from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) discover a panacea for the aging process? A press release from the university now provides information: according to aging and a low life expectancy would be caused by, among other things, oxidative stress. A research team from the Department of Bio-biological Chemistry has now discovered together with scientists from the US that zinc activates an organic molecule, etc. Protection against oxidative stress can form. The results are published in Nature Chemistrubl.

Zinc in wine and chocolate helps against stress

According to researchers, zinc is one of the trace elements that we need to stay healthy. That zinc but only with a part of food such as Wine, coffee, tea and chocolate Together, the FAU scientists, in collaboration with Auburn University in Alabama, have discovered protection against oxidative stress-inducing superoxide.

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This component is a hydroquinone group that occurs in polyphenols – the phytochemicals responsible for odor and taste. Zinc activates the hydroquinone groups to provide natural protection against superoxide, an intermediate of human cellular respiration that damages the body's own biomolecules, such as proteins or fats, and the genome. It is therefore with the Aging process and a variety of diseases such as inflammation, cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.

New metal complex against superoxide

Hydroquinone alone can not degrade superoxide. However, when zinc and hydroquinone together form a metal complex that mimics a superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme. Such an enzyme protects the body against the decomposition processes that are caused by the oxidation. It therefore has an antioxidant effect. In this way the superoxide can be metabolised and damage to the organism can be prevented: Oxidative stress is avoided.

Zinc Chocolate, Zinc Coffee and Co.

Unique to these results is that the function of this enzyme is modeled without the use of redox-active transition metals such as manganese, iron, copper or nickel. Although the metals might also have an antioxidant effect, this effect is quickly reversed: in the case of an overdose, they even promote oxidative stress. Zinc is much less toxic than the aforementioned transition metals, making new medicines or supplements with fewer side effects possible.

It is also possible to think of foods that naturally contain hydroquinone and of which zinc has been added to promote the health of the consumer. "It is quite possible that there will eventually be galvanized wine, coffee, tea or chocolate, but any alcohol content will spoil the positive effects of this combination," says researcher Ivana Ivanovic-Burmazovic.