Professor Michael Ristow and his team fed a group of roundworms a niacin-rich diet and found they lived one-tenth longer than their niacin-free peers. This result was surprising because scientists have long believed that niacin promotes the formation of “free radicals,” molecules that are believed to cause aging in organisms.
There is a largely accepted theory that foods containing antioxidants can prevent aging by eliminating free radicals, but Ristow isn’t buying it. “The claim that intake of antioxidants, especially in tablet form, promotes any aspect of human health lacks scientific support,” Ristow said.
His findings have given him the opposite view. “Niacin tricks the body into believing that it is exercising -- even when this is not the case.”
Ristow’s team will soon conduct the niacin experiment with mice.
Interestingly enough, Ristow’s conclusions are supported by a somewhat unlikely source -- a 105-year-old Texas woman.
Pearl Cantrell, a mother of seven who became a widow at 38, credits bacon as the secret to her longevity.
"I love bacon," Cantrell said. "I could eat it for every meal, and I do!"
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