High dietary antioxidant intakes are associated with decreased DNA damage in airline pilots

November 06, 2009

Airline pilots are consistently exposed to ionizing radiation in flight. This can lead to DNA damage and chromosomal mutation possible increasing the risk of developing cancer. Dietary antioxidants may protect against DNA damage induced by endogenous and exogenous sources (inside and outside the body), including ionizing radiation (IR), but data from IR-exposed human populations are limited. The scientists examined the association between the frequency of chromosome translocations, as a biomarker (indication) of cumulative DNA damage, and intakes of vitamins C and E and carotenoids in 82 male airline pilots. In genetics, a chromosome translocation is a chromosome abnormality caused by rearrangement of parts.

Significant and inverse associations were observed between translocation frequency and intakes of vitamin C, -carotene, -cryptoxanthin, and Lutein-Zeaxanthin from food. In other words the greater the intake the lower the incidence of chromosome-gene damage. The research was coordinated between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati , OH ; the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda , MD ; the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston , MA ; and the American Cancer Society, Atlanta , GA

The results are published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.