Naturally Occurring Antimutagenic and Cytoprotective Agents
Untoward mutations are associated with a number of serious diseases for which useful medications are few, and treatment is often limited to dealing with the symptomatologies rather than being able to reverse the underlying pathology. Examples of the conditions in question include aging, cancer, infectious diseases, arthritis, dental caries, cardiovascular disease, and liver pathologies. In recent years attention has increasingly turned to attempts to find chemopreventive agents having the potential to prevent or at least to delay the onset and severity of these conditions. This approach is regarded as superior in principle to finding new drugs. In many of these diseases, untoward oxidations are implicated in the mutations and predisposing features leading to pathology. An intense interest in antioxidants has resulted, and an enormous literature has grown up about the topic. Indeed, interest has grown to the stage that magazines and radio programs directed to the laity frequently address the subject, leading to a heightened awareness of nutritive factors with antioxidant potential, and self-selected medications are increasingly available to the public.