News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health and longevity. We have an unparalleled track record of breaking stories about life extension advances.
Omega 3, CoQ10 benefit statin-treated patients
February 28 2018. A report published in 2017 in the Journal of Basic Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology documents the results of a randomized, double-blind trial which found a benefit for the addition of omega 3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to statin drug therapy among adults with disordered lipids and elevated triglycerides.
The trial included 52 men and 53 women treated with atorvastatin, fluvastatin, rosuvastatin or simvastatin for at least 6 months. Participants were assigned to groups that received 2.52 grams per day of omega 3 fatty acids, 2.52 grams omega 3 fatty acids plus 200 milligrams CoQ10, or no additional supplements. Blood pressure, lipids, fasting glucose, liver values, antioxidant enzymes, and markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) were assessed before and after the three-month treatment period.
At the end of three months, liver enzyme activity, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory markers and triglyceride levels were lower in both groups that received supplementary nutrients compared to the group treated with statins alone. Concurrently, the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase were higher in the supplemented groups. Compared to those who received statins plus omega 3 fatty acids, subjects who received the fatty acids and CoQ10 experienced decreased blood pressure, total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and markers of inflammation. Participants who received CoQ10 also had fewer adverse effects related to statin therapy, including myalgia, muscle weakness and muscle cramps, compared to those who received statins plus omega 3 or statins alone.
Authors Štefan Toth and colleagues at Pavol Jozef Safarik University and Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Slovakia concluded that, “Our study has shown that the triple combination (combination of CoQ10 and omega-3 PUFA together with statins) should have a higher protective effect than the dual combination and could attenuate the muscle adverse effects of statin therapy.”
Calorie restriction could aid intestinal regeneration
Christopher Lengner and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania studied how certain mouse intestinal stem cells responded to calorie restriction and radiation-induced injury. By reducing calories by 40% from normal intake, reserve intestinal stem cells expanded by a factor of five. When these cells were removed, intestinal regeneration capability was lowered. "These reserve stem cells are rare cells," Dr Lengner observed. "In a normal animal they may make up less than half a percentage of the intestinal epithelium and in calorie restricted animals maybe slightly more. Normally, in the absence of injury, the tissue can tolerate the loss, due to the presence of the active stem cells, but, when you injure the animal, the regeneration is compromised and the enhanced regeneration after calorie restriction was compromised in the absence of the reserve stem cell pool."
"These reserve stem cells that we had shown were important for the beneficial effects of calorie restriction were repressing many pathways that are all known to be regulated by the protein complex mTOR, which is most well known as being a nutrient-sensing complex," he explained. "Curiously, we see that, when they're injured, the calorie-restricted mice were actually better able to activate mTOR than their counterparts. So somehow, even though mTOR is being suppressed initially, it's also better poised to become activated after injury. That's something we don't fully understand."
"The moral of the story is you definitely don't want to be eating a bunch of cheeseburgers before you get chemotherapy or radiation," Dr Lengner advised. "Our work is pointing to reserve stem cells as being the critical players in conferring the benefits of intestinal-tissue regeneration after these types of insults."
SAM shows promise against breast cancer
February 23 2018. A research paper published in the January 12, 2018 issue of Oncotarget reveals protective effects for S-adenosylmethionine (SAM or SAMe) against cancer growth, invasion and metastasis in human breast cancer cells and in a mouse model of the disease.
“We and others have shown that several key molecules implicated in the metastatic cascade are epigenetically regulated through DNA hypomethylation,” Niaz Mahmood and colleagues. “The universal methyl donor SAM could be used in this regard as an inhibitor of demethylation/hypomethylation.”
By testing the effects of two concentrations of SAM on two highly invasive human breast cancer cell lines, a reduction in tumor cell proliferation was observed in comparison to cells treated with an inert substance. In contrast, normal human breast cells treated with the highest concentration of SAMe did not show any change in viability compared to the control cells, indicating a lack of potential adverse effects in healthy tissue. Treatment with SAM was also found to decrease the migratory ability and invasiveness of both cell lines. Further investigation determined that SAM induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) in both lines by suppressing antiapoptotic effects.
In mice that received implanted human breast tumor cells, tumor volume and metastasis were reduced in association with treatment with SAM. S-adenosylmethionine was also associated with a decrease in the expression of genes implicated in cancer metastasis and progression in breast tumor grafts as well as cancer cells.
“To our knowledge, this is the first direct evidence for the potential therapeutic effect of SAM in a well-recognized model of breast cancer,” the authors announce. “Results from these studies provide compelling evidence to evaluate the therapeutic as well as a chemopreventive potential of epigenetic-based agents such as SAM alone and in the combination setting for patients with several common cancers including breast cancer.”
Zinc supplementation benefits hemodialysis patients
February 21 2018. A systematic review and meta-analysis reported in BioMed Research International concluded that patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis could benefit from zinc supplementation.
Researchers from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China selected 15 randomized controlled trials for their analysis, which included a total of 645 participants receiving maintenance dialysis for chronic kidney disease. Among the 345 men and women who received supplemental zinc, doses ranged from 11 milligrams (mg) to 100 mg consumed daily for 40 to 360 days.
Not surprisingly, supplementing with zinc was associated with higher serum zinc levels in comparison with the control subjects’ levels. Zinc levels varied by ethnicity and longer treatment periods were associated with higher levels. Participants who received zinc had greater dietary protein intake, increased levels of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), and lower levels of malondialdehyde (MDA, a marker of oxidative stress) and C-reactive protein (CRP, a marker of inflammation) compared to those who did not receive the mineral.
All studies included in the analysis determined that zinc supplementation was associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and pooled results revealed statistical significance for these associations in all subgroups. Authors Ling-Jun Wang and colleagues remark that zinc could decrease CRP and other inflammatory cytokines via increased antioxidant power and most likely targets the nuclear factor-kappa beta pathway.
“Our meta-analysis suggests that zinc supplementation benefits the nutritional status of maintenance hemodialysis patients and shows a time effect relationship,” the authors conclude. “It also leads to an anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effect in maintenance hemodialysis patients.”
Vitamin D supplementation associated with improvement in mood, desire in women
February 19 2018. A study reported on February 14, 2018 in Endokrynologia Polska resulted in improvement in female sexual desire, orgasm and satisfaction, as well as mood, after supplementation with vitamin D.
Based on researchers Robert Krysiak and colleagues’ previous finding of an association between deficient vitamin D levels and abnormal female sexual function, a trial that examined the effects of six months of oral vitamin D supplementation was conducted among 47 women with deficient or insufficient plasma vitamin D levels. Women with vitamin D deficiency, defined as plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels that were lower than 2 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), were given 4,000 international units (IU) vitamin D per day, and participants with insufficient levels of 20-30 ng/mL were given 2,000 IU daily or no vitamin D. Questionnaires that evaluated female sexual function and depressive symptoms were completed before and after the treatment period.
At the beginning of the study, female sexual function questionnaire scores were significantly lower (indicating increased impairment of sexual function) and depression scores were higher (indicating a greater level of depression) in women with deficient vitamin D levels compared to women with insufficient levels. Supplementation with vitamin D was associated with improved sexual desire in both deficient and insufficient women. Among participants with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D improved total sexual function scores and scores for sexual satisfaction and orgasm, while decreasing total depression scores.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors remark that “It is possible that genital blood flow, as well as hormonal and neural regulations of sexual function are disturbed in women with hypovitaminosis D and correlate with its severity.”
“The obtained results indicate that vitamin D supplementation improves female sexual functioning and mood in women with low vitamin D status,” they conclude.
Ketone supplementation associated with lower blood glucose
February 16 2018. A randomized, crossover study reported on February 15, 2018 in the Journal of Physiology resulted in a reduction in blood glucose and improved insulin sensitivity following the ingestion of a ketone monoester supplement by young, healthy participants. Ketones are byproducts of the breakdown of fat for the production of energy when the intake of carbohydrates is limited. Ketones have been previously shown to lower blood sugar levels when infused into the bloodstream.
Ten men and ten women between the ages of 18 and 35 years received a drink containing the ketone monoester supplement or a placebo after a 10 hour fast. This was followed one half hour later by the consumption of a drink that contained 75 grams of sugar. Blood samples were collected every 15 to 30 minutes over a 2.5-hour period and analyzed for glucose, lipids and the ketone body D-beta-hydroxybutyrate. The experiment was then repeated with treatments switched between subjects.
Among participants who received ketones, D-beta-hydroxybutyrate levels were higher and blood glucose and nonesterified fatty acid levels were significantly lower following the intake of the high sugar drink. According to authors Etienne Myette-Côté and colleagues, “The reduction in glycemic response did not appear to be driven by an increase in insulin secretion but was accompanied by improved markers of insulin sensitivity.”
"Our study was done in healthy young participants but if the same responses were seen in people with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes then it is possible that a ketone monoester supplement could be used to lower glucose levels and improve metabolic health,” commented lead researcher Jonathan Peter Little, of the University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus. “We are working on these studies at the moment.”
Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can program obesity in children
February 14 2018. An article appearing on January 28, 2018 in Pediatric Obesity reports the findings of Vaia Lida Chatzi of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and colleagues of a link between deficient vitamin D levels among mothers and a greater risk of obesity in their children.
The study included 532 mothers from the prospective pregnancy cohort Rhea in Greece. 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were assessed at the first prenatal visit, which occurred at an average of 14 weeks gestation. The children’s weight was measured at 4 and 6 years of age.
Approximately two-thirds of the mothers had deficient vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. Children born to deficient women had 2% more body fat and waists that averaged ½ inch larger at 6 years of age compared to same-aged children of mothers whose vitamin D levels were sufficient. "These increases may not seem like much, but we're not talking about older adults who have about 30 percent body fat," stated Dr Chatzi. "Even a half-inch increase in waist circumference is a big deal, especially if you project this fat surplus across their life span."
"We're not sure why there is vitamin D deficiency even in places with abundant sunshine, but maybe people are spending too much time indoors with their screens or typing away in their office cubicles," she suggested.
"It's possible that children of mothers with low vitamin D have higher body mass index and body fat because vitamin D appears to disrupt the formation of fat cells," Dr Chatzi added. "Optimal vitamin D levels in pregnancy could protect against childhood obesity, but more research is needed to confirm our findings. Vitamin D supplements in early pregnancy is an easy fix to protect future generations."
Exercise, calcium, vitamin D, and other factors linked with fewer injurious falls
February 09 2018. A systematic review and meta-analysis reported in the November 7, 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found benefits for exercise with or without additional measures, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplementation combined with quality improvement strategies and multifactorial assessment and treatment in the prevention of injurious falls and fall-related hospitalization.
According to data from the National Institute on Aging, men and women aged 65 years or older had a two-year prevalence of falling in 2010. Falls can result in injury, disability or death and are associated with an increase in anxiety and depression among those who survive them.
Sharon E. Straus, MD, and colleagues selected 54 randomized clinical trials that included a total of 41,596 participants for their analysis of injurious falls. The subjects’ average age was 78.1 years. In comparison with usual care, exercise was found to reduce the risk of injurious falls by 33%. When combined with vison assessment and treatment, exercise lowered the risk by 83%, and when added to with vision assessment and treatment plus environmental assessment and modification, the risk was lowered by 70%. Combined clinic level quality improvement strategies, multifactorial assessment and treatment, calcium supplementation and vitamin D supplementation were associated with an 88% lower risk compared with usual care.
Analysis of 68 randomized clinical trials that provided data concerning the association of various interventions with fracture risk found that combined osteoporosis treatment, such as bisphosphonates, calcium supplementation and vitamin D supplementation, was associated with a 78% lower risk of fracture than usual care.
“Exercise alone and various combined interventions were associated with lower risk of injurious falls compared with usual care,” the authors conclude. “Choice of intervention may depend on patient and caregiver values and preferences.”
Nicotinamide riboside shows promise for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
February 07 2018. Research reported on February 5, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a benefit for supplementation with nicotinamide riboside, a compound that increases cellular levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study utilized mice bred to show increased features of human Alzheimer’s disease, including age-dependent amyloid beta plaques, intraneuronal Tau tangles, and cognitive deficits. These animals were subsequently modified to have a decreased ability to repair DNA, resulting in greater DNA damage and neuron death in specific brain regions, thereby more closely mimicking features of human Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers Vilhelm A. Bohr of the National Institutes of Health and colleagues observed that the animals had a decreased cerebral ratio of NAD+ to NADH (NADH is the chemically reduced form of NAD).
The team supplemented the drinking water of four groups of mice with nicotinamide riboside or gave them plain water for 6 months. Compared to untreated DNA repair-deficient Alzheimer’s disease mice, supplementation with the with nicotinamide riboside normalized the cerebral NAD+ to NADH ratio, decreased phosphorylated tau pathologies, and lowered DNA damage, neuroinflammation and apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the brain’s hippocampus (which is involved in memory) while increasing the activity of the sirtuin SIRT3, a protein involved in metabolic regulation. The mice also exhibited improvements in cognitive function and hippocampal synaptic plasticity, as did the original Alzheimer’s disease model animals that received nicotinamide riboside.
“This study suggests that nicotinamide riboside/NAD+ can target several aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, including traditional endpoints like Tau pathology and inflammation, maybe via DNA repair enhancement,” conclude authors Yujun Hou and colleagues. “We believe that this work sets the stage for using NAD+ for treating Alzheimer’s disease in humans.”
New research finds vitamin D3 helps repair cardiovascular system
February 05 2018. An article appearing on January 19, 2018 in the International Journal of Nanomedicine shows how vitamin D3 can aid in the repair of cardiovascular system damage caused by atherosclerosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr Tadeusz Malinski along with graduate students Alamzeb Khan and Hazem Dawoud at Ohio University developed systems of measurements using nanosensors that have diameters which are approximately 1,000 times smaller than a human hair to examine the effects of vitamin D3 on single endothelial cells which line the arteries. They discovered that vitamin D3 significantly stimulates nitric oxide, which is a signaling molecule in the regulation of blood flow and clot formation. Vitamin D3 was also associated with lower cardiovascular system oxidative stress.
"Generally, vitamin D3 is associated with the bones,” observed Dr Malinski, of Ohio University’s Nanomedical Research Laboratories. “However, in recent years, in clinical settings people recognize that many patients who have a heart attack will have a deficiency of D3. It doesn't mean that the deficiency caused the heart attack, but it increased the risk of heart attack. We use nanosensors to see why vitamin D3 can be beneficial, especially for the function and restoration of the cardiovascular system."
"There are not many, if any, known systems which can be used to restore cardiovascular endothelial cells which are already damaged, and vitamin D3 can do it," he remarked. "This is a very inexpensive solution to repair the cardiovascular system. We don't have to develop a new drug. We already have it."
"Professor Malinksi has an international reputation for outstanding and innovative research related to the cardiovascular system," noted Ohio University Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Frank. "This latest work is yet another example of his impact on this field."