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.
Selenium supplements associated with lower ovarian cancer risk among African Americans
April 21 2017. The April 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reported the outcome of a case-control study of African American women which found a lower risk of ovarian cancer among those who supplemented with selenium, a mineral that has an antioxidant property. African American women have an increased risk of mortality from ovarian cancer, and studies suggest that they may have higher levels of oxidative stress and a lower intake of antioxidants than women from other groups.
The current investigation included 406 women with ovarian cancer age-matched with 632 control subjects recruited from the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study, which enrolled women at 11 U.S. sites. Self-administered questionnaires collected data concerning the intake of food, beverage and antioxidant dietary supplement intake.
Of all antioxidants examined, selenium from supplements was the only one whose intake was significantly greater among control subjects than among ovarian cancer patients. Median supplemental intake of selenium among control participants was approximately twice that of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Among those whose intake was among the highest third, the adjusted risk of ovarian cancer was 33% less than those whose intake was among the lowest. While increased selenium from the diet was also associated with a lower risk, only selenium from supplements was associated with a significant reduction. The association was greatest among current smokers.
“These findings provide the first insights, to our knowledge, into the potential association between antioxidants and ovarian cancer in African-American women, indicating potential inverse associations with supplemental selenium,” Paul D. Terry and colleagues announce. “Additional studies are needed to assess dietary associations with ovarian cancer in African-American women, specifically those that include antioxidants and other nutrients that may be lacking in this population.”
Meta-analysis links vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of mortality during 10.5 year median period
April 19 2017. The results of a meta-analysis reported on February 16, 2017 in PLOS One affirmed a relationship between deficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and a greater risk of all-cause mortality during a median period of 10.5 years.
“Our work is the first meta-analysis using standardized 25(OH)D data and a one-step procedure for statistical analyses, in which data from each individual participant was used to calculate the regression curve for the 25(OH)D and mortality relationship,” authors Martin Gaksch and colleagues announce.
The analysis included a total of 26,916 participants from eight prospective studies that included seven general population cohorts. Dr Gaksch and colleagues utilized Vitamin D Standardization Program (established by The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements) protocols to analyze participants’ serum levels of vitamin D.
Over a 10.5 year median, 6,802 deaths occurred. Among participants whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were 16-20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) to 20 ng/mL, there was a 15% greater risk of dying from any cause in comparison with the risk experienced by those whose levels were 30-40 ng/mL. While having a vitamin D level of 12-16 ng/mL was associated with a 33% greater risk of mortality, vitamin D levels of less than 12 ng/mL were associated with a 67% increase. Similar results were obtained when cardiovascular disease mortality was separately evaluated. Higher vitamin D levels of up to 50 ng/mL were not associated with any increase in mortality risk.
“Based on our results, we believe that the final answer on potential survival benefits of vitamin D should be derived from randomized controlled trials in severely vitamin D deficient individuals,” the authors conclude. “These randomized controlled trials are urgently needed because vitamin D deficiency and its diagnosis and treatment are important public health issues.”
B vitamins help protect the heart from pollution effects
April 14 2017. On April 3, 2017, Scientific Reports published the findings of researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health of an association between B vitamin supplementation and protection against the effects of fine particulate matter pollution on the cardiovascular and immune systems.
"Ambient PM2.5 pollution is one of the most common air pollutants and has a negative effect on cardiac function and the immune system," explained lead investigator Jia Zhong, PhD, who is a postdoctoral research officer in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia's Mailman School. "For the first time, our trial provides evidence that B vitamin supplementation might attenuate the acute effects of PM2.5 on cardiac dysfunction and inflammatory markers."
In a single-blind trial, 10 healthy adults received a placebo prior to being exposed to two hours of particle-free air. They then received a placebo for four weeks before undergoing exposure to two hours of fine particulate matter. This was followed by four weeks of supplementation with B vitamins prior to another period of fine particulate matter exposure. Electrocardiograms administered before, after and 24 hours subsequent to exposure measured heart rate and heart rate variability. Blood samples collected at these time points were analyzed for white blood cell counts.
Compared to particle-free exposure, exposure to fine particulate matter was associated with increased heart rate, total white blood cell count and number of lymphocytes. These effects were significantly reduced by pretreatment with B vitamins.
"Our results showed that a two-hour exposure to concentrated ambient PM2.5 had substantial physiologic impacts on heart rate, heart rate variability, and white blood counts,” concluded coauthor Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, chair and Leon Hess Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School. “Further, we demonstrated that these effects are nearly reversed with four-week B-vitamin supplementation."
Olive oil compound reduces insulin resistance, fatty liver in experimental research
April 12 2017. On April 11, 2017, Lipids in Health and Disease published the results of a study which found an association between supplementation with hydroxytyrosol and a reduction in markers of insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice given a high fat diet.
"Hydroxytyrosol is a polyphenol found in extra-virgin olive oil, which is known to have antioxidant properties and may play a key role in its health benefits,” explained lead author Rodrigo Valenzuela. “Our research shows that in mice fed on a high-fat diet, hydroxytyrosol exerts a protective effect in the liver."
Mice were given a high fat diet or a control diet with or without hydroxytyrosol for 12 weeks. Animals that received the high fat diet had a reduction in liver enzymes needed for long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid synthesis that can play a role in vascular health. The decrease in these enzymes was associated with imbalanced fatty acids in the brain, heart and liver. However, mice that received hydroxytyrosol had enzyme activity and organ fatty acid composition similar to that of normal mice. They also had lower levels of cholesterol and markers of insulin resistance.
"Our study found that mice fed on a high-fat diet had signs of nonalcoholic liver disease which we believe has led to the noticeable reduction in enzyme activity in the liver and the negative effects on fatty acid composition in this, and other, organs,” Dr Valenzuela stated. “We also found that the liver showed signs of increased oxidative stress, which we know has links to fatty liver disease. It is intriguing that adding a relatively low dose of hydroxytyrosol to the diet was able to reverse these effects, reduce the signs of fatty liver disease, and reduce negative effects seen in the other organs."
Higher vitamin D, DHEA levels associated with less frailty in older men
April 10 2017. ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting held in Orlando, was the site of a presentation on April 2, 2017 of the findings of a European study which revealed a lower risk of frailty among older men who had higher levels of vitamin D and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulfate, a hormone that declines with aging.
The current investigation involved 3,369 participants in the European Male Ageing Study who enrolled at eight European centers from 2003 to 2005. Upon enrollment and following a 4.3 year median, hormone levels, including DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1-1), IGF-1 binding protein 3 (IGFBP3) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and frailty, assessed by phenotype (body type and function) or frailty index (including physical, psychological and cognitive aspects) were assessed.
At the end of follow-up, 459 men experienced worsened frailty and 206 men improved. Higher levels of vitamin D, IGF-1, IGFBP3, and--among the oldest men--DHEA-S at the beginning of the study were associated with a lower risk of becoming more frail.
"Vitamin D, besides maintaining bone health, regulates muscle function, and low vitamin D levels are linked to lower muscle mass and strength,” observed lead author Agnieszka Swiecicka, MD. “IGF-1 affects muscle growth and repair, and its action and levels are modified by its carrier protein IGFBP3."
"DHEA-S may have direct anabolic effect on muscle, and, more recently, its neuroprotective and immune system-modulating effects have been described,” she added.
"We showed novel associations between anabolic hormone levels and changes in frailty levels in aging men," Dr. Swiecicka concluded. "This does not establish cause, and clinical trials will be required to find out if giving these hormones to middle-age and elderly men could prevent the development of frailty."
Three months of vitamin D supplementation improves survival among hip fracture patients
April 07 2017. The April 2017 issue of The Journal of Nutrition Health & Aging published the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial that found improved survival among hip fracture patients with osteoporosis who were treated with vitamin D.
The trial included 88 men and women aged 50 and older admitted for surgery for an acute osteoporotic hip fracture. Participants received standard treatment for osteoporosis, which consisted of daily calcium carbonate, vitamin D3, a bisphosphonate drug and rehabilitation for three months. At the end of this period, the subjects were randomized into groups that received a single dose of calcifediol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) plus instruction concerning specific hip exercises, or a placebo in addition to recommendations to engage in physical activity and muscle strengthening to prevent falls. Vitamin D and the placebo were administered again at 6, 9 and 12 months.
A year after their surgeries, one participant who received vitamin D plus exercise recommendations and nine members of the nonintervention group had died. At four years, 93% of the vitamin D group had survived compared with 62% of those who did not receive the vitamin. The latter group also had more medical complications noted at the second and third visits.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess survival in patients who were treated with high doses of vitamin D (calcifediol) and daily exercise after surgery for an osteoporotic hip fracture,” announce Ana Laiz and colleagues.
“We found a single 3 mg dose of calcifediol administered orally once every three months over one year can be effective in improving survival in patients after surgery for acute hip fracture,” they conclude. “The effect of physical exercise added to calcifediol remains to be confirmed, due to the poor adherence to the nonpharmacological treatment.”
Curcumin shows promise against Zika, chikungunya
April 05 2017. An article scheduled to appear in the June 2017 issue of Antiviral Research reports that curcumin, a compound occurring in the spice turmeric, acts against Zika and chikungunya, two enveloped mosquito-borne viruses.
“The devastating effects of chikungunya virus as it spread from Africa to Southeast Asia to the Americas were an ominous warning for the potential spread of relatively-unknown viruses worldwide,” write Bryan C. Mounce and colleagues in their introduction. “The clinical symptoms of chikungunya virus range from asymptomatic cases to long-lasting arthritis, which is often debilitating. When Zika virus began to spread, again from Africa to Southeast Asia to the Americas, the impact of the virus was similarly devastating, especially given the newly-observed links between the virus and neurological conditions and microcephaly. The persistent threat of viruses such as chikungunya virus and Zika virus necessitate measures, including the development or repurposing of antiviral compounds, to prepare for future outbreaks.”
Cells were pretreated with curcumin or its analogs prior to infection with chikungunya or Zika. Dr Mounce and colleagues observed a decrease in viral titers in association with pretreatment with curcumin in comparison with untreated controls. Curcumin was more effective when administered prior to or at the time of infection than after infection. The compound, when directly administered to the viruses, reduced infectivity. No effect for curcumin was observed against Coxsackievirus B3, a nonenveloped virus.
The team determined that curcumin interfered with the binding of enveloped viruses to cell surfaces. The data suggests that curcumin does not destroy viral particles, but alters their membranes, and that curcumin could affect host lipid membranes involved in viral infection.
“Altogether curcumin holds significant promise in the treatment of enveloped virus infection, including outbreak viruses such as Zika virus and chikungunya virus,” the authors conclude.
Vitamin B2 supplementation associated with increased lifespan in experimental research
April 03 2017. The March 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging reports the finding of China’s Naval Medical Research Institute of a life-extending effect for supplementation with riboflavin (vitamin B2) in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
Four hundred fruit flies were divided to receive a life-long diet supplemented with riboflavin or an unenhanced control diet. The number of dead flies from each group were documented every three days until there were no surviving flies. Reproductive capacity, resistance to oxidative stress, endogenous antioxidant enzyme production and lipofuscin accumulation were also assessed.
Average lifespan was prolonged by 14.1% in the supplemented group compared to the controls. While maximum lifespan of control flies (calculated by determining the average lifespan of the longest surviving 10%) was 75.2 days, those that received riboflavin throughout their lives lived a maximum of 86.6 days. Reproductive capacity increased in supplemented flies at either of two time points.
When the flies were exposed to hydrogen peroxide to induce oxidative stress, those that received riboflavin lived longer than the controls. Activity of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1, an antioxidant enzyme made in the body that declines during aging) was enhanced by riboflavin at 25 and 45 days. Catalase (another antioxidant enzyme) activity was significantly greater in supplemented flies than the control group on day 45. The accumulation of the aging-related pigment lipofuscin was lower in supplemented flies at both days 25 and 45.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the effect of riboflavin supplement on physiological aging was observed,” Y. Zou and colleagues announce. “If the relationship between riboflavin and anti-aging could be confirmed and the detailed mechanism could be clarified in more future studies, it will provide a novel release strategy for slowing human aging.”