Bioscience

Natural antioxidants give top barn swallows a leg on competitors

February 24, 2010

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: ScienceDaily] – A new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates North American barn swallows outperform their peers in reproduction — the “currency” of evolutionary change — by maintaining a positive balance of antioxidants commonly sold in health food stores.

The study is the first to track concentrations of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring plant pigments, in a wild bird or animal species over the course of the grueling breeding season. Carotenoids can offer the benefits associated with over-the-counter nutritional supplements that protect cells from free radical damage, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Rebecca Safran.

For more information: Natural Antioxidants Give Top Barn Swallows a Leg on Competitors