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Cooking Up Ways to Keep Us Healthy

How do nutrients maintain health and prevent disease as we age?

An unrestricted $250,000 gift from Pharmavite to the Antioxidant Research Laboratory will help scientist Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., A98P, A02P, and his colleagues learn more.

“This is a wonderful gift,” says Blumberg, a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging (HNRCA) and a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “It means we will have results much faster and accelerate discoveries that could improve the health of older adults.”

The gift will help support a randomized clinical trial conducted over the next two years by the HNRCA’s Antioxidant Research Laboratory, which Blumberg directs. The lab is a national leader in studying antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals (bioactive compounds in plants we eat) and their role in healthy aging.

“The studies we’ve done indicate that it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself,” says Blumberg. “Even in trials with older adults, we can show marked improvements in physiological responses like heart function, muscle strength, or cognition—which may or may not translate into a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle), or dementia. But even short-term benefits in endurance, strength, and memory would be pretty good news.”

Pharmavite is a manufacturer of dietary supplements and soy-based natural snack bars. Blumberg is a member of its scientific advisory board.