Wednesday, May 5, 2010


One of the neat things about being a chemistry major is getting to learn about the chemistry of all the things around you.  This semester I took a biological chemistry class where I learned about the chemistry that is going on in our bodies.  You would think that this class would be super interesting and it was for a couple of classes and it was generally boring for the rest of the time.  However, in our last class, our professor lectured on some of the research he works on.  Since I blog about healthy eating and healthy living (or at least I try), I thought I'd share.  I promise I won't kill you with all the nerdy details.

If you watch the news or read magazines, you've likely heard about the positive health benefits of antioxidants.  They can be found in red wine, blueberries, and cranberries.  If you take in antioxidants, it will indeed increase your life span.  However, it doesn't increase the quality of your living.  To do that, you need consume a low calorie diet.  I found this interesting.  I don't know about you, but I would much rather live better than live longer.  I suppose you could combine the two for optimal benefits.
 The research group that my professor is part of is extracting resveratrol (an antioxidant) from the bark of trees.  Surprisingly, antioxidants can be found in much higher concentrations in tree bark than in any other food we humans could consume.  They are working on finding a way to do these extractions in a cost efficient manner so that the antioxidants could be used for human consumption.  Another component to their research is that we have paper mills in the area that just burn off the bark of trees they use to make the paper.  The research group figures is would be beneficial to extract the useful components of the bark before it get burned.  I'll be interested to see where this could lead in the future.


  1. Wow thats surprising about tree bark! I'm also surprised it does not improve quality of life at all, but I think most likely a low calorie diet and antioxidants go together pretty well.

  2. Chemistry is so freakin' cool :)
    And, I'd be happy to teach you to quilt sometime! What are you up to this summer? :)