Saas Fee Declaration
In the June 1992, I helped organize a meeting of seventeen of the world’s leading scientists at the village of Saas Fee, Switzerland, where the air is crystal clear and the skiing is magnificent, even in June. In that idyllic environment, this group of researchers, who have dedicated their professional lives to studying antioxidant and free radical biology, examined and celebrated some startling new discoveries about the role of antioxidants and free radicals in the prevention and treatment of many chronic and degenerative diseases.
At the Saas Fee meeting, we studied the overwhelming body of evidence that shows that if used strategically, antioxidants can help maintain our health and vigor well into our seventh, eighth, and ninth decades, and perhaps even longer. With great excitement, we listened as our colleagues reported on groundbreaking research that will profoundly affect the way medicine will be practiced in the twenty-first century, which is right around the corner. Eager to generate grater scientific and public interest in the field of antioxidants, eight of the conference participants (including me ) composed and affixed our signatures to a document we called “The Saas Fee Declaration .” The essence of the declaration is that the scientific evidence that antioxidants play a pivotal role in maintaining health and preventing disease is now overwhelming and incontrovertible , and that scientists, health-care professionals, and the government have a duty to inform the public about this.
After the meeting, we circulated “the Saas Fee Declaration ” among our colleagues around the world, and it has since been signed by hundreds of others. In fact, the response of the international scientific community has been so overwhelming that we’ve run out of room for signatures! I would like to share the “the Saas Fee Declaration ” with you here so that you can begin to understand what the excitement is all about.
Saas Fee Declaration
ON THE SINGNIFICANCE OF ANTIOXIDANT NUTRIENTS
IN PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
1. The intensive research on free radicals of the past fifteen years by scientists worldwide has led to the statement in 1992 that antioxidant nutrients may have major significance in the prevention of a number of disease. These include cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, some forms of cancer, and several other disorders, many of which may be age-related.
2. There is now general agreement that there is a need for further work at the fundamental scientific level, as well as in large-scale randomized trials and in clinical medicine, which can be expected to lead to more precise information being made available.
3. The major objective of this work is the prevention of disease. This maybe achieved by the use of antioxidants, which are natural physiological substances. The strategy should be to achieve optimal intakes of these antioxidant nutrients as part of preventive medicine.
4. It is quite clear that many environmental sources of free radicals exist, such as ozone, sunlight, and other forms of radiation , smog, dust, and other atmospheric pollutants. The optimal intake of antioxidants provides a preventive measure against these hazards.
5. There is a great need for improvement in public awareness of the potential preventive benefits of antioxidant nutrient intake. There is overwhelming evidence that the antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids, alpha-lipoic acid, and others are safe even at very high levels of intake.
6. Moreover, there is now substantial agreement that governmental agencies, health professionals, and the media should promote information transfer to the general public, particularly when evidence exists that benefits for human health and public expenditure are over whelming.
Igor Afanas ev, Moscow
Julie E. Buring, Harvest
Anthony T. Diplock, London
Charles H. hennekens, Harvard
Bodo Kuklinski, Rostov
Mathilde Maiorino, Padua
Lester Packer, Berkeley
Mulchand S. Patel, Cleveland
Karlheina Schmidt, Tubingen