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Immun Ageing. 2008 May 20;5:3. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-5-3.

The metal ion theory of ageing: dietary target hazard quotients beyond radicals.

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School of Life Sciences, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston, London KT1 2EE, UK.


Numerous theories of ageing exist and many are interconnected when viewed through a modern integrative biology perspective. Diet provides a link to a large number of the theories that prevail at the molecular levels. In particular, metal ions form key elements of the radical theory along with having established roles in several age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Lifetime exposure to metals has been linked to ageing by contributions to oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. As many foodstuffs contain high levels and diverse profiles of metals, their cumulative effect on ageing warrants investigation. The cumulative level of concern from environmental exposure can be expressed as a dimensionless index of target hazard quotient (THQ) or for known carcinogens, the target cancer risk (TR). This paper posits that a quantifiable relationship exists between ageing and level of concern resulting from cumulated metal exposure; and that this relationship can be used to develop an ageing-related index of concern from chronic metal ion exposure. As individual differences may facilitate or moderate this cumulated exposure, the potential influence on ageing or on the development of neurodegenerative disorders should be included into the model.

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