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March 2007

Soy Consumption in Youth Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Asian-American women who frequently consumed soy during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood reduced their risk of developing breast cancer, according to recent findings.* The strongest anti-cancer effect was associated with soy consumption between the ages of 5 and 11.

Scientists studied 597 American women of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino descent with breast cancer. Women whose soy intake during adolescence and adulthood was in the top third of all subjects had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those whose intake was in the lowest third. Women who consumed the most soy during childhood had a 58% lower risk.

“Hormonal exposures in adulthood, such as use of estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy, are established breast cancer risk factors,” the scientists noted. “However, a growing body of evidence suggests that hormonally related exposures early in life may also modify susceptibility to breast cancer.”

—Dayna Dye


* Available at: Accessed December 11, 2006.

Chitosan Promotes Weight and Fat Loss

The popular fiber supplement chitosan helps reduce body weight and body fat, according to a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study.*

One-hundred-fifty overweight men and women were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The treatment group was given 3 grams of chitosan daily along with a self-monitored behavior-modification program; a placebo group received an inactive supplement and the same behavioral program; and a control group followed any program of their choosing. Body composition, bone density, and blood chemistry were measured at the trial’s onset and 60 days later.

Those who took chitosan lost an average of 2.8 pounds, compared to a loss of 0.6 pounds in the placebo group and a gain of 0.8 pounds in the control group. The chitosan group also had greater reductions in fat percentage and fat mass than the placebo group, along with an improvement in body composition.

“These data provide evidence for the efficacy and safety of a chitosan compound to facilitate the depletion of excess body fat with minimal loss of fat-free or lean body mass,” the scientists concluded.

—Dayna Dye


* Kaats GR, Michalek JE, Preuss HG. Evaluating efficacy of a chitosan product using a double-blinded, placebo-controlled protocol. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Oct;25(5):389-94.

Optimal DHA Levels Lower Dementia Risk

Higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent report.* DHA plays an important role in learning ability and memory, but its levels in the brain decline with age.

The study tracked 899 dementia-free participants who averaged 76 years of age. They underwent neuropsychological tests, provided blood samples that were analyzed for DHA levels, and completed a diet questionnaire. The subjects were followed for approximately nine years and screened for dementia every two years.

Of the 99 subjects who developed dementia, 71 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Those whose plasma DHA levels were in the highest quarter of all participants had a 47% lower risk of developing dementia and a 39% lower risk of Alzheimer’s than the rest of the subjects. Those with plasma DHA levels in the top quarter reported eating more fish—an average of three fish meals weekly, yielding 180 mg of DHA a day.

Abundant DHA intake may thus offer protection against developing dementia and Alzheimer’s

—Dayna Dye


* Schaefer EJ, Bongard V, Beiser AS, et al. Plasma phosphatidylcholine docosahexaenoic acid content and risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Heart Study. Arch Neurol. 2006 Nov;63(11):1545-50.

Magnesium Boosts Bone Growth in Girls

Magnesium supplementation improves bone mineral content in young girls, report Yale University researchers.* Accumulating substantial bone mass during youth is critical in preventing low bone mass and osteoporosis later in life.

The study examined 50 Caucasian girls, aged 8-14, with a history of low magnesium intake. Twenty-three girls received 300 mg of supplemental magnesium oxide daily, while 27 girls received placebo. After one year, girls given magnesium had a 3% greater increase in overall hip bone mineral content compared to the placebo group. Increases were recorded in several hip regions, as well as in spinal bone mineral content and bone mineral density.

“This study provides data supporting the hypothesis that magnesium supplementation has positive effects on accrual of bone mass in adolescents with suboptimal magnesium intake,” the authors wrote.

—Dayna Dye


* Carpenter TO, Delucia MC, Zhang JH, et al. A randomized controlled study of effects of dietary magnesium oxide supplementation on bone mineral content in healthy girls. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Dec;91(12):4866-72.

Nutrient-Fortified Milk Improves Children’s Health

Fortifying milk with vitamins and minerals decreased the incidence of diarrhea and lower respiratory disease in young children living near New Delhi, India, report researchers from the US and India.*

In a year-long trial of 633 children between the ages of one and four, 316 children were given three daily servings of milk fortified with zinc, iron, selenium, copper, and vitamins A, C, and E, while 317 children drank unfortified milk. The children were visited twice weekly to collect information on their health. Children who consumed the fortified milk had 15% fewer days in which they experienced severe illness, 7% fewer days with high fever, an 18% drop in the incidence of diarrhea, and a 26% lower incidence of pneumonia.

“Some micronutrients have a crucial role in generation, maintenance, and amplification of immune responses in the body,” the study authors noted. “Deficiencies in multiple micronutrients among preschool children are an important determinant of child health in developing countries.”

—Dayna Dye


* Sazawal S, Dhingra U, Hiremath G, et al. Effects of fortified milk on morbidity in young children in north India: community based, randomised, double masked placebo controlled trial. BMJ. 2006 Nov 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Gingerol Destroys Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Gingerol, a component of ginger, inhibits cell growth and induces cell death in human pancreatic cancer cells, according to Korean researchers.*

The scientists incubated two separate pancreatic cancer cell lines with varying concentrations of gingerol for different durations. Cell growth was inhibited in direct relation to the dose and duration of gingerol application. Gingerol interfered with the cell-growth cycle in both cell lines and hastened cell death in one of the cell lines.

Most important, gingerol killed cancer cells that carry a mutation in a gene known as p53, which is mutated in more than half of human cancers and can contribute to resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. In view of its beneficial effects, gingerol may eventually be used to facilitate tumor response to treatments for pancreatic cancer.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS


* Park YJ, Wen J, Bang S, Park SW, Song SY. [6]-Gingerol induces cell cycle arrest and cell death of mutant p53-expressing pancreatic cancer cells. Yonsei Med J. 2006 Oct 31;47(5):688-97.

Antioxidants May Complement Radiation Treatment

Consuming antioxidants during radiation therapy may improve rather than interfere with treatment, report researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.*

Scientists have long been concerned that because antioxidant supplements protect tissues from free radicals, they may also protect cancerous tumors from the intended destructive effects of ionizing radiation when taken before or during radiation treatment.

In this study, prostate cancer patients who were given radiation therapy and no antioxidants were compared to those who underwent therapy and consumed green tea extract, melatonin, high-potency multivitamins, and vitamins C and E. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a prostate cancer marker, did not differ between the two groups, demonstrating that the supplements did not impede the effects of radiation.

This finding is “evidence that antioxidants as a complementary therapy in cancer treatment do not interfere with external beam radiation therapy,” the researchers stated.

—Dayna Dye


* Available at: Accessed December 12, 2006.

A4M Conference Spotlights Regenerative Biomedical Technologies

Advances in anti-aging technologies were spotlighted at the 14th International Congress on Anti-Aging & Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, held at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 7-10, 2006.

The annual gathering is hosted by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), the world’s largest professional medical society dedicated to advancing clinical pursuits aimed at enhancing the quality and length of the human life span. The December 2006 conference drew a record-breaking audience of more than 6,000 physicians, scientists, and anti-aging enthusiasts from at least 90 countries around the world.

Conference attendees were treated to a broad array of presentations covering nearly every conceivable topic in anti-aging medicine. Among the subjects addressed at this year’s conference were new drug delivery systems for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the latest developments in antioxidant and vitamin therapies, breakthroughs in stem cell therapeutics and human cloning, advances in genetic engineering and genomics, and recent innovations in nanotechnology and nano-biology.

The Life Extension Foundation was well represented at the conference, exhibiting an array of educational materials. Dr. Steven V. Joyal, Life Extension vice president of scientific affairs & medical development, discussed independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease and integrative strategies to reduce these risks in his presentation, “What You Don’t Know About Cholesterol Could Hurt You.” Other featured presenters included Drs. Mitchell J. Ghen and Ron Rothenberg, both of whom serve as members of the Life Extension Foundation Medical Advisory Board.

A conference highlight was actress and bestselling author Suzanne Somers, who described her lifelong challenges and triumphs with

hormones, doctors, and the media. Author of the recent bestseller Ageless, Somers is a passionate advocate for the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to alleviate menopausal and andropausal symptoms and improve quality of life. Addressing more than 4,000 conference attendees, Somers promised to use her celebrity status to continue heralding the benefits of hormone restoration. Her presentation included a personal salute to the Life Extension Foundation for its pioneering and continued role in the advancement of anti-aging and longevity medicine.

—Elizabeth Weinstock