The First International Congress on Antioxidant Methods will be held June 16-18 in Orlando, Fla., in an effort to reach agreement on techniques for measuring and reporting on antioxidants, beneficial compounds found in foods, cosmetics and certain vitamins that are believed to fight cancer, heart disease and aging. Consensus on antioxidant measurements could lead to more practical and reliable nutritional data for consumers. The principal sponsor of the meeting is the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect against cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals, an excess of which is considered a major cause of disease and aging. Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and inflammation. The compounds are also thought to fight aging, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Unlike vitamins and minerals, however, there is currently no reliable consumer guideline on what kind of antioxidants to consume and how much is needed to obtain maximum health benefits.
"The problem is that we have no agreed upon quantitative way to determine how much of these beneficial antioxidants are absorbed into the body," explained John W. Finley, Ph.D., chair of the meeting organizing committee and editor of the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. "Ultimately, we want to develop a consensus on a methodology that will allow us to report this to consumers in an understandable and meaningful way."
Finley said organizers hope the meeting participants will identify methods of measuring antioxidants that can be studied in a variety of laboratories across the nation.
In addition to ACS, other meeting sponsors include the American Oil Chemists Society, the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research, the Institute of Food Technologists, the International Life Sciences Institute, and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The meeting will be held at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando.
Among the overall goals of the congress are to:
- Define antioxidant activities and roles
- Establish tests to verify effectiveness of antioxidant claims
- Develop a baseline for antioxidant activity
Among the organizations presenting speakers at the meeting are the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Oil Chemists Society, Kraft Foods, the University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, Rutgers University, the University of Scranton, and the University of California, Davis.
For additional information and to register, visit:
Http://chemistry.org/meetings/antioxidants.html or call 202-872-4373 or 800-227-5558, extension 4373.