Ageing and a low life expectancy are caused, at least partly, by oxidative stress. A team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Ivana Ivanović-Burmazović from the Chair of Bioinorganic Chemistry at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), together with researchers from the USA, have discovered that zinc can activate an organic molecule, helping to protect against oxidative stress. The results have now been published in Nature Chemistry.
Zinc is a trace mineral we need in order to remain healthy. FAU researchers working together with Prof. Dr. Christian Goldsmith from Auburn University, Alabama, USA, have discovered that zinc can protect against the superoxide responsible for oxidative stress when taken together with a component found in foodstuffs such as wine, coffee, tea and chocolate.
This component is a hydroquinone group found in polyphenols, in other words the plant substances responsible for smell and taste. Zinc activates the hydroquinone groups, producing natural protection against superoxide, a by-product of human cell respiration which damages the body’s own biomolecules, for example proteins or lipids, as well as the human genome. Superoxide is thought to have a role to play in the ageing process and a number of illnesses such as inflammation, cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.
New metal complex against superoxide
Hydroquinone alone is not capable of breaking down superoxide. If zinc and hydroquinone combine, however, a metal complex is created which imitates a superoxide dismutase enzyme (SOD). These enzymes protect the body from the degradation processes caused by oxidation and have an antioxidative effect. In this way, the superoxide can be metabolised and damage to the organism prevented; oxidative stress is avoided.
Chocolate, coffee etc. with added zinc
For the first time, the function of this enzyme has been copied without reverting to redox-active transition metals such as manganese, iron, copper or nickel. Whilst the metals could also have an antioxidative effect, any positive effects are quickly outweighed by the fact that if too much is taken they can even cause oxidative stress to increase.
Zinc is much less toxic than the transition metals mentioned above, making it possible for new medication or supplements to be created with considerably fewer side-effects. It would also be plausible to add zinc to food which contains hydroquinone naturally to boost the consumer’s health.
‘It is certainly possible that wine, coffee, tea or chocolate may well become be available in future with added zinc. However, any alcohol content whatsoever would destroy the positive effects of this combination,’ emphasises Ivana Ivanović-Burmazović.
Phone: +49 9131 8525428
Dr. Susanne Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Researchers find new potential approach to type 2 diabetes treatment
11.11.2019 | Weill Cornell Medicine
Why beta-blockers cause skin inflammation
07.11.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...
In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.
An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...
An international research group has observed new quantum properties on an artificial giant atom and has now published its results in the high-ranking journal Nature Physics. The quantum system under investigation apparently has a memory - a new finding that could be used to build a quantum computer.
The research group, consisting of German, Swedish and Indian scientists, has investigated an artificial quantum system and found new properties.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion...
Northwestern University chemists have used visible light and extremely tiny nanoparticles to quickly and simply make molecules that are of the same class as...
05.11.2019 | Event News
30.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
11.11.2019 | Life Sciences
11.11.2019 | Health and Medicine
11.11.2019 | Trade Fair News