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August 2011

In The News

Green Tea Polyphenols Protect and Benefit Skin

Green Tea Polyphenols Protect and Benefit Skin

A report published in the Journal of Nutrition describes protective benefits of green tea polyphenols against ultraviolet light–induced skin damage, as well as an ability to improve skin elasticity and density.*

Sixty women were assigned a green tea beverage or a control beverage daily for twelve weeks. Before the treatment period and at six and twelve weeks, participants received a dose of irradiation to the skin from a solar simulator.

Ultraviolet-induced reddening of the skin was reduced by 16% after six weeks and 25% at 12 weeks compared to pretreatment responses among those who received green tea, indicating increased photoprotection. Skin elasticity, density, hydration, blood flow, and oxygen saturation increased in those who received green tea, while roughness, volume, and scaling declined.

“These observed skin changes were probably an outcome associated with long-term consumption of green tea polyphenols and not likely a transitory response,” the authors note.

Editor’s note: The authors remark that, “The mechanisms underlying photoprotective effects of flavonoids in humans have not been elucidated; however, they are efficient antioxidants contributing to photoprotection in plants.”

—D. Dye


* J Nutr. 2011 Apr 27.

Apigenin May Help Protect Against Synthetic Hormone Replacement Risk

A flavonoid found in celery, apples, and other plant foods could help decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer experienced by women using progestins: synthetic hormones which have been associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Salman M. Hyder and colleagues describe their findings in an article published in Cancer Prevention Research.* They evaluated the effect of apigenin in a rat model of progestin-accelerated mammary cancer in which tumors were induced by the carcinogen DMBA. Three weeks following injection with DMBA, rats received apigenin or a control substance daily for one week, followed by implantation with the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate or a placebo.

The researchers observed a delay in the development of tumors as well as a reduction in their incidence and multiplicity among animals that received apigenin compared with those that did not receive the compound. Dr. Hyder believes the finding could benefit women who currently use progestins in combination with estrogen as hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms.

Editor’s note: Dr. Hyder noted that, “It appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA. It’s probably a good idea to eat a little parsley and some fruit every day to ensure the minimal amount. However, you can also find this compound in pill supplements in the health food section of many stores.” This study corroborates the carcinogenic effect of synthetic progestin drugs and provides further rationale to use natural progesterone instead.

—D. Dye


* Cancer Prev Res. 2011 Apr 19.

Epicatechin Extends Life Span in Fruit Flies and Diabetic Mice

Epicatechin Extends Life Span in Fruit Flies and Diabetic Mice

The Journal of Nutrition published the finding of researchers at Virginia Tech University of increased survival in fruit flies and obese diabetic mice that were given epicatechin, a flavonoid compound that occurs in tea and cocoa.*

Five-week-old diabetic mice were divided to receive regular drinking water or water containing epicatechin for 15 weeks. At the end of the study, 50% of the untreated diabetic mice had died, compared with only 8.4% of those that received epicatechin. Treatment with epicatechin was associated with a reduction in aortic vessel and liver degeneration, as well as less liver fat deposition compared to untreated animals.

In another experiment, the researchers gave fruit flies diets that provided varying concentrations of epicatechin or no epicatechin for up to 72 days. Flies that received the three highest concentrations of epicatechin exhibited a significant increase in mean life span.

Editor’s note: Mice that received epicatechin also experienced decreases in low- density lipoprotein cholesterol, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and markers of inflammation, as well as increases in skeletal muscle function and liver antioxidant glutathione and superoxide dismutase (one of the body’s antioxidants) activity, all of which are associated with a healthier and longer life span.

—D. Dye


* J Nutr. 2011;141(6):1095-100.

Lower Testosterone May Lead to Glucose Intolerance in Men

Lower Testosterone May Lead to Glucose Intolerance in Men

An article in the journal Endocrinology and Nutrition submitted by the Hospital Universitario Central de Asturia, Ovieda, Spain, studied the relationship between glucose tolerance and plasma testosterone concentrations in men.* The objective of the study was to evaluate circulating levels of total testosterone, SHB, and bioavailable testosterone in the cohort of the Asturias Study and their association with the degree of glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome.

The study included the evaluation of 282 men aged 36 to 85 years old with normal concentrations of total testosterone. Serum concentrations of testosterone and bioavailable testosterone were negatively correlated with age, body mass index, waist circumference, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin levels, and insulin. Serum concentrations of total testosterone, bioavailable testosterone and SHBG were lower in men with glucose intolerance or diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance.

The study concluded that men with lower plasma concentrations of total testosterone—even when within the normal range—have an increased risk of glucose intolerance or diabetes, regardless of age and body mass index.

— John Finkel


* Endocrinol Nutr 2011 Jan 5.

Curcumin Compound Boosts Head and Neck Cancer Therapy

Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery published the finding of a benefit for a derivative of curcumin, which occurs in the spice turmeric, in the treatment of head and neck cancer with cisplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug.* The development of chemotherapy-resistant tumor cells is a major cause of treatment failure in head and neck cancer, resulting in relapse or metastasis.

University of Michigan professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology Thomas Carey, PhD, and his associates evaluated the effects of varying doses of cisplatin or cisplatin combined with the curcumin-derived compound FLLL32 on cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant cultured head and neck cancer cell lines. FLLL32 added to a low dose of cisplatin was found to be as effective at inducing programmed cell death in cisplatin-resistant cells as four times as much cisplatin alone.

“This work opens the possibility of using lower, less toxic doses of cisplatin to achieve an equivalent or enhanced tumor kill,” he remarked.

Editor’s note: FLLL32 reduced activation of the protein known as signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which is elevated in approximately 82% of head and neck cancers and has been associated with cisplatin resistance.

—D. Dye


* Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(5):499-507.

Lung Disease Patients Benefit From High- Dose Vitamin D

A new study suggests that among people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), taking a high-dose supplement of vitamin D may increase their exercise capacity and strength of respiratory muscles.*

The findings, which were presented at the recent American Thoracic Society conference in Denver, show that a monthly dose of 100,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D given to COPD patients showed significant improvements in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength compared to a placebo group.

COPD is an affliction suffered mostly by smokers. It is described as chronic inflammation in the small airways of the lung and leads to too much mucous production, excessive fibrous connective tissue development, otherwise known as fibrosis, and degradation of proteins (proteolysis).

The United States government currently recommends 600 IU of vitamin D per day for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU daily for people over 70 years old, which are woefully inadequate doses.

“Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been related with muscle weakness, a major target for respiratory rehabilitation and increased risk of falls,” said Miek Hornikx from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“These results support the idea that correcting vitamin D deficiency by adding vitamin D supplements to training programs allows COPD patients to achieve better results from rehabilitation, including improvements in muscle strength and exercise capacity,” she added.

Editor’s note: This study validates the safety and efficacy of roughly 3,333 IU daily of vitamin D. Life Extension has long stated that the recommended amount of vitamin D for adults by the FDA was low.

—John Finkel


* Presented at the International Thoracic Society Conference, May 13-18, Denver, Colorado.