Supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts may decrease DNA damage in the peripheral lymphocytes of an elderly population

Micah J. Smith, Paula F. Inserra, Ronald R. Watson, John A. Wise, Kim L. O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Fruit and vegetable consumption has been heralded for its ability to decrease the overall risk of developing cancer and other diseases. Mounting evidence supports the beneficial nature of antioxidants, carotenoids, and other phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables. One proposed mechanism of antioxidant protection is the shielding of cellular DNA from oxidative damage and therefore mutations. This may be especially helpful in older populations. We tested the concept that a daily regimen of supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts (JuicePlus(TM)) would reduce the amount of DNA damage in the peripheral lymphocytes of the elderly. In a blind study, a group of twenty elderly volunteers (mean age= 68) were given supplements twice dally for 80 days with blood samples drawn before and after intervention. These samples were compared using the comet assay, a technique that quantifies DNA damage to individual nuclei. Each sample was tested in triplicate, and tail moment data was collected from over 200 comets per sample. Paired t-test analysis revealed a highly significant (p<0.0001) decrease in measured DNA damage between pre (13.24±2.77) and post (4.41±2.76) treatment tail moment. Screening of test subjects' personal data showed no apparent relationship between age, sex, or smoking. In this initial study, we conclude that a daily course of fruit and vegetable extract supplementation may reduce the level of DNA damage found in the peripheral lymphocytes of seniors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1518
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999


  • Aging
  • Antioxidants
  • Cancer
  • Comet assay
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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