New Study Suggests ORAC Relevance in Human Health Research

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A new clinical study that demonstrates an inverse correlation between antioxidant diet and stroke risk uses Brunswick Laboratories' ORAC assay as the measure of total antioxidant capacity.

News of ORAC's demise was exaggerated.

A new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke (1) concludes that “…dietary TAC [total antioxidant capacity] is inversely associated with total stroke among CVD [cardiovascular disease]-free women and hemorrhagic stroke among women with CVD history.” The study examined the association between dietary antioxidant intake and incidence of stroke in a cohort of more than 36,000 women. The ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) assay was used as the marker for total antioxidant capacity.

Jin Ji, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Brunswick Labs, remarked, “This encouraging study validates the usefulness of ORAC in biomedical research.” Dr. Ji noted that the correlation between ORAC-rich diets and positive health outcomes is consistent with other studies that have been published in recent years. In response to the recent controversy about the ORAC method, Ji added, “To paraphrase Mark Twain, I think the news of ORAC’s demise was exaggerated.”

The ORAC assay is an in vitro chemistry method developed for commercial use by Brunswick Labs that measures the ability of substances to absorb peroxyl, a reactive oxygen species, or radical. It has been used for over a decade to help quantify the antioxidant capacity of active compounds in food sources and has become a popular way for consumer products companies to promote their products. For a number of years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture maintained a public database of ORAC values for food items. It was removed earlier this year.

ORAC remains valuable for researchers and consumer products companies. David Bell, of Bell Advisory Services, said, “Researchers and consumers alike need a tool for representing the antioxidant capacity of foods, and ORAC is a valid and versatile option.” Bell added that it is important to use ORAC appropriately and that Brunswick Labs provides guidance to its customers about the proper applications of ORAC.

Brunswick Labs reports that interest in ORAC has increased since the USDA removed the ORAC database from its website. In response, Brunswick plans to support the launch of a new public-service website that will provide ORAC data, scientific publications, and a discussion forum.

For more information, please email info(at)brunswicklabs(dot)com or call (508) 281-6660 x214 or x405.

(1) Rautiainen, S., S. Larsson, et al. (2012). "Total antioxidant capacity of diet and risk of stroke: a population-based prospective cohort of women." Stroke 43(2): 335-340.

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