Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: August 2010

Greater vitamin K intake associated with lower diabetes risk; vitamin D status associated with physical function in older men and women; vinpocetine shows promise for chronic inflammation; broccoli compound targets breast cancer stem cells; and more.

Greater Vitamin K Intake Associated with Lower Diabetes Risk

Greater Vitamin K Intake Associated with Lower Diabetes Risk

A study reported in the journal Diabetes Care has found an association between the intake of both phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamin K2) with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.*

Researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht analyzed data from 38,094 Dutch participants in the EPIC study cohort. Over a median follow-up period of 10.3 years, 918 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.

Adjusted analysis of the data uncovered a 19% lower risk of developing diabetes in men and women whose vitamin K1 intake was among the highest 25% of subjects compared with those whose intake was among the lowest fourth.

A linear relationship was observed between lower vitamin K2 and the development of diabetes. Greater consumption of vitamin K2 was also associated with improved blood lipids and reduced levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

Editor’s note: The study is one of several recent In The News articles concerning the numerous benefits of vitamin K.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Diabetes Care. 2010 Apr 27.

Vitamin D Status Associated with Physical Function in Older Men and Women

A presentation given on April 25, 2010 at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting described the discovery of Wake Forest University researchers of an association between higher vitamin D levels and improved physical functioning among older individuals.*

Dr. Denise Houston of Wake Forest University’s Sticht Center on Aging and her colleagues analyzed data from 2,788 healthy participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study, which was designed to evaluate associations between body composition, long-term health conditions, and mobility in older individuals. Lower extremity function was evaluated at the beginning of the study and at 2 and 4 years.

Although physical function decreased on average among all participants over the follow-up period, those who had high vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study retained better function, with improved performance scores and gait speed across the 3 time points compared to those whose levels were lowest.

Editor’s note: The study is one of only a few to examine the longitudinal relationship between vitamin D levels and physical function.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Presentation given on April 25, 2010 at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting.

Supplementation with Glucosamine and Chondroitin Associated with Lower Mortality Over a 5-Year Period

An article published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed the discovery of a lower risk of death from all causes among users of the arthritis supplements chondroitin and glucosamine over an average 5-year follow-up period. *

The study included 77,673 men and women. Dietary supplement use during the 10 years prior to enrollment was documented in questionnaires completed by all participants.

Over an average 5 years of follow-up, 3,577 deaths occurred. While none of the supplements evaluated, which included individual B vitamins, fiber and other supplements, were associated with an increased risk of dying over follow-up, adjusted analysis confirmed an association between the use of glucosamine and chondroitin with reduced risk. The authors remarked that chondroitin and glucosamine may inhibit nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB)-dependent pathways, and that abnormal regulation of NF-kB is associated with cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Editor’s note: While previous research by the team, summarized in the July 24, 2009 issue of Life Extension Update, sought to determine the impact of multivitamins and vitamins C and E on mortality, the current investigation focused on the effect of less common supplements.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr 21.

Brain Blood Flow Possibly Boosted By Resveratrol

Brain Blood Flow Possibly Boosted By Resveratrol

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that high doses of resveratrol may improve blood flow in the brain and potentially boost brain health.* The researchers, led by David Kennedy from the Brain, Performance, and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University, ran a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, which involved 22 healthy adults who either received a placebo, or one of two doses of resveratrol (250 or 500 milligrams). Forty-five minutes after the dose was given, participants were measured for blood flow and cognitive performance for over a half hour.

The results showed that resveratrol produced a dose-dependent increase in cerebral blood flow, but no increase in the placebo group. Kennedy and his team also noticed an increase in levels of deoxyhemoglobin after both doses of resveratrol, which was indicative of increased oxygen extraction and utilization.

“The results of the current study provide the first indication in humans that resveratrol may be able to modulate cerebral blood flow variables,” the researchers wrote.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar 31.

Vinpocetine Shows Promise for Chronic Inflammation

Vinpocetine Shows Promise for Chronic Inflammation

Findings revealed in an article published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that vinpocetine, a derivative of vincamine (from the periwinkle plant), could be useful for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arthritis, infectious diseases and cancer.* Chen Yan, PhD from the University of Rochester Medical Center and colleagues reported that vinpocetine acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in a mouse model of lung inflammation and in cell cultures.*

“What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine’s excellent safety profile,” Dr. Yan remarked. “Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We’re very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.”

Editor’s note: Vinpocetine is a dietary supplement that has been used for many years to help prevent cerebrovascular disorders and memory loss.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2010 May 6.

Resveratrol Supplementation May Benefit Chronic Colitis Sufferers

Resveratrol Supplementation May Benefit Chronic Colitis Sufferers

According to a recent study by Spanish researchers, dietary supplementation of resveratrol may have a beneficial effect against chronic colitis.* Their research, which was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, was intended to examine the protective effects of ingesting resveratrol supplements to combat chronic dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis, an experimentally-induced form of the disease

While resveratrol has been linked with potentially beneficial effects against cancer, inflammation, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, the scientists wanted to take a closer look at how this potent polyphenol would affect colitis. Their study involved six-week old mice that were split into two dietary groups. One group was on a standard diet while the other group’s diet was enriched with resveratrol. After 30 days, the mice were exposed to 3% DSS for five days, inducing acute colitis, which became chronic colitis after 21 days.

At the study’s conclusion, they noted that the resveratrol-fed animals survived and finished the treatment while animals fed a standard diet showed a mortality rate of 40%.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 May.

EGCG Suppresses Lung Cancer Cell Growth

A recent study done by the Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota, in Austin, indicates that green tea may help stop lung cancer growth.* The study, which focused on epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol compound in the catechin family that is highly concentrated in green tea, set out to examine reports that EGCG suppresses lung cancer.

The study’s researchers found that EGCG interacted with the Ras-GTPase-activing protein SH3 domain-binding protein 1 (G3BP1). They also showed that EGCG suppressed the independent growth of H1299 and CL13 lung cancer cells, which contain a large amount of G3BP1 protein.

Additional results showed that EGCG effectively attenuated G3BP1 downstream signaling, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signaling-regulated kinase.

The researchers concluded that green tea, which is one of the most popular beverages in the world, may in fact be a potent cancer fighter. The studies strongly indicated that green tea, via its EGCG content, suppresses lung tumorigenesis through its binding with G3BP1.

Editor’s note: Life Extension has advocated the use of green tea as a powerful antioxidant for years. This study is yet another confirmation that supplementing with green tea extract can be highly beneficial to the body.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2010 May;3(5):670-9.

Broccoli Compound Targets Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Broccoli Compound Targets Breast Cancer Stem Cells

In research conducted at the University of Michigan, a compound known as sulforaphane, found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, was demonstrated to target cancer stem cells in cell cultures and in mice. Cancer stem cells, which are not destroyed by chemotherapy, are believed to be involved in the ability of breast cancer to recur, grow, and spread.*

Duxin Sun, PhD and colleagues injected varying concentrations of sulforaphane derived from broccoli extract into mice implanted with human breast cancer tumors. Examination of the animals’ tumors uncovered a substantial reduction in cancer stem cells, while normal cells did not appear to be significantly affected. Additionally, cancer cells derived from animals that received sulforaphane that were re-implanted into other mice failed to form tumors.

“Sulforaphane has been studied previously for its effects on cancer, but this study shows that its benefit is in inhibiting the breast cancer stem cells,” Dr. Sun stated.

Editor’s note: The concentrations of sulforaphane tested in the study were higher than those provided by normal consumption of broccoli or its sprouts.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1.

Transdermal Menopausal Hormones May Be Most Effective

Transdermal Menopausal Hormones May Be Most Effective

Until recently, estrogens and androgens were commonly administered orally to patients to improve quality of life for postemenopausal women; however, transdermal hormone therapy is beginning to replace it.* With this cutting-edge delivery system, estrogen and testosterone are dosed into the microvascular circulation directly through the skin; this avoids a first-pass hepatic transformation or deactivation of the dosed estrogen or testosterone.

In this review, done by the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Women and Infants Hospital, scientists examined recent clinical trials involving transdermal estrogen and testosterone in postmenopausal women.

The scientists concluded that transdermal estrogen and testosterone, when administered to the proper patients, significantly and safely enhances the quality of life. These advantages may lead to increased usage and wider popularity of this delivery system.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Apr 28..

Obesity Linked to Increased Availability of Unhealthy Foods

Obesity Linked to Increased Availability of Unhealthy Foods

The alarming trend of increased childhood obesity seems to be linked to increased intake of unhealthy foods rather than decreased energy expenditure, according to a report from Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.*

Dr. Barnard analyzed food availability data maintained from 1909 to 2007. Dr. Barnard found that during that time period, per capita food availability increased as follows:

  • Oils increased from 35 to 87 pounds per person per year
  • Meat increased from 124 to 200 pounds per person per year
  • Cheese increased from 4 to 33 pounds per person per year
  • Frozen dairy products increased from 1.5 to 25 pounds per person per year

Furthermore, from 1970 to 2007, per capita availability of sweeteners increased from 119 to 136 pounds per person per year. This rise in availability of caloric sweeteners reflects a decline in beet and cane sugar and an increase in high-fructose corn syrup. Part of this may be related to the sharp increase in the availability of carbonated beverages, which increased by 57 liters (15 gallons) per person per year when comparing 2007 data to 1980 data.

“Many people have been trying to understand what has caused the obesity epidemic,” Dr. Barnard told Life Extension. “Our analysis of USDA figures shows that the big increases over the last century have been in the amount of meat, cheese, oil, and frozen desserts that people are consuming. While people tend to blame a lack of exercise, it appears that meaty, cheesy diets are largely to blame.”

—Marc Ellman, MD

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar 24.

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