It is understood that reactive oxygen is generated by aerobic life and causes oxidation of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acid, leading to cell damage. Under normal circumstances, the oxidation level of a living body is maintained constant through a balance between a reactive, oxygen producing system and an oxygen scavenging system utilizing an antioxidant substance. This balance is lost due to various factors such as drugs, radiation, ischemia or similar causes. An inclination to a reactive oxygen producing system is referred to as oxidant stress. It is considered that accumulation of oxidant stress is one cause of numerous diseases such as cancer, arteriosclerotic disease, various ischemic/reperfusion injuries, chronic rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, neurological disorders such as an Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease; and overall aging in general. In an attempt to slow the aging process and development of these disorders, antioxidant rich foods are being developed to assist the body in removing reactive oxygen species.
The Pacific Oyster(Crassostrea gigas) , for example, Crassostrea Gigas is a bivalve belonging to a family Ostreidae in the order Pterioida. Its habitat reaches across the entire East Asia region including Japan. Today, the Pacific Oyster is also cultivated in France and Australia, and is renowned as the most eaten oyster in the world. Since it is highly nutritious, the oyster has been used for food since ancient times. Oyster meat contains numerous minerals such as calcium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, as well as glycogen, protein, and other nutrients. Antioxidant substances derived from the oyster, SOD, CAT, GPx, and Prx6 are reported as enzymatic antioxidants and metallothioneins, while uncoupling protein 5 (UCP5), ascorbic acid, α-tocopherol, and β-carotene are reported as non-enzymatic antioxidants.
Since this discipline was founded and initiated by the Watanabe Oyster Laboratory Co., Ltd, on January 1, 2010, we have continued to conduct research on the Pacific Oyster to extract physiologically active substances. In 2011, as a result of continuing studies measuring the antioxidant capacity of the Pacific Oyster extract, we discovered new antioxidant material, 3,5-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA). In our research, cells treated with DHMBA showed stronger antioxidant potential than cells treated with existing antioxidants such as vitamin C or chlorogenic acid. Currently we are analyzing the bioactivity range of DHMBA using cells and mice.

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