Antioxidants are good for you! They help prevent cell damage and heart disease! Except when they don’t, as researchers at the University of Utah discovered. They were studying a gene called alpha-B crystallin, which can mutate and cause oversupply of one particular antioxidant:
Glutathione, one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants, is regulated at multiple steps principally by the G6PD enzyme. To establish the connection between reduced glutathione and heart failure, Benjamin mated mutant alpha B-Crystallin mice that carried too much G6PD with mice that had far lower levels. The resulting offspring had normal levels of reduced glutathione and did not develop heart failure.
“Lowering the level of reduced glutathione dramatically changed the survival of these mice,” Benjamin said. “Basically, we prevented them from getting heart failure.”