Importance of diet in protection against oxidative damage.

OBJECTIVES: In humans, epidemiological evidence suggests that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables can substantially enhance the protection against many common types of cancer.

METHODS & RESULTS: A molecular epidemiological study in 3 Slovak factories producing asbestos, glass fibres and rockwool was conducted. Altogether 388 subjects (239 exposed, 148 controls) were investigated. Food frequency questionnaire was used to ascertain nutrient intake and compared to plasma levels of selected micronutrients, as well as to markers of oxidative stress (MDA, oxidative DNA damage and DNA repair) and antioxidant protection. We found a negative correlation between MDA concentrations and consumption of fruits (p=0.05) and vegetables (p=0.05) in all control subjects. Intake of fruits (p=0.05), vegetables (p=0.01), milk (p=0.01) and cereals (p=0.05) inversely correlated with oxidative DNA damage (net FPG) in all subjects investigated. There was a negative correlation between the intake of fruits (p=0.05) and vegetables (p=0.01) in all exposed subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that well balanced food consumption with higher fruits and vegetables intake has a protective effect against oxidative damage.