Oxidative DNA damage in relation to nutrition

Neoplasma. 2004;51(1):30-3.


Oxidative DNA damage in humans could arise also from incorrect nutritional habit and life style. DNA strand breaks with apurinic/apyrimidinic sites, oxidized purines and oxidized pyrimidines were assessed in 24 subjectively healthy vegetarians (plant food, dairy products, eggs) and compared with 24 non-vegetarians (traditional diet, general population). DNA strand breaks + oxidized purines are significantly reduced in vegetarians (p<0.05), DNA strand breaks are nonsignificantly decreased. The sufficient antioxidative status (overthreshold values of natural essential antioxidants, which mean a reduced risk of free radical disease) is crucial in free radical defense. Intake of protective food commodities (fruit, vegetables, dark grain products, grain sprouts, oil seeds) is significantly higher in vegetarians. Alternative nutrition subjects have a significantly increased plasma levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene with high incidence of overthreshold values (92% vs. 42% - vitamin C, 67% vs. 33% - vitamin E, 67% vs. 17% - beta-carotene). There is recorded a significant inverse linear correlation between values of DNA strand breaks + oxidized purines and vitamin C or beta-carotene levels (p<0.01, p<0.05). Vegetarian diet is significantly more rich source of antioxidants. The results of reduced endogenous DNA damage and higher antioxidative status in vegetarians document that a correct vegetarian nutrition might represent an effective cancer prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • DNA Damage*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage


  • beta Carotene
  • Ascorbic Acid