A composition consisting of extracts of five widely studied medicinal plants (Protandim) was administered to healthy human subjects ranging in age from 20 to 78 years. Individual ingredients were selected on the basis of published findings of induction of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and/or catalase in rodents in vivo, combined with evidence of decreasing lipid peroxidation. Each ingredient was present at a dosage sufficiently low to avoid any accompanying unwanted pharmacological effects. Blood was analyzed before supplementation and after 30 and 120 days of supplementation (675 mg/day). Erythrocytes were assayed for SOD and catalase, and plasma was assayed for lipid peroxidation products as thiobarbituric acid-reacting substances (TBARS), as well as uric acid, C-reactive protein, and cholesterol (total, LDL, and HDL). Before supplementation, TBARS showed a strong age-dependent increase. After 30 days of supplementation, TBARS declined by an average of 40% (p = 0.0001) and the age-dependent increase was eliminated. By 120 days, erythrocyte SOD increased by 30% (p < 0.01) and catalase by 54% (p < 0.002). We conclude that modest induction of the catalytic antioxidants SOD and catalase may be a much more effective approach than supplementation with antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E) that can, at best, stoichiometrically scavenge a very small fraction of total oxidant production. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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