In The NewsJanuary 2019
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tied to Reduced Mortality
Research has indicated that some foods are associated with an increase in systemic inflammation while others have anti-inflammatory effects.
A study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine utilized data from a large cohort of subjects followed for 16 years.* A validated anti-inflammatory diet index was used to quantify the impact of subjects’ diets on inflammation.
Over 16,000 deaths occurred in the cohort over the study period and mortality rates and survival were correlated with the diet index scores.
Individuals whose diets contained the least inflammation-provoking foods were found to have 18% lower all-cause, 20% lower cardiovascular-related, and 13% lower cancer-related mortality. Amongst current smokers, diet had an even greater impact, with 31%, 36%, and 22% lower risk of death, respectively.
Editor’s Note: Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to aging and age-related disease. A diet that minimizes inflammation can potentially slow the aging process and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death by any cause. Following a healthy Mediterranean style eating pattern provides foods that have anti-inflammatory effects. This includes avoiding foods cooked at high temperature, something that Life Extension® has advocated for since 2003.
* J Intern Med. 2018 Sept 12.
Vitamin D May Protect Against Heart Failure
Recent research suggests a role for vitamin D against the scarring and thickening of the heart muscle after a heart attack, which can lead to heart failure.*
When blood supply to the heart is blocked during a heart attack, cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts replace damaged tissue with collagen-based scar tissue. “This is a problem because scarring of heart tissue can reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively,” lead researcher James J. H. Chong explained.
Using cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts (cCFU-Fs) taken from mouse hearts, Dr. Chong’s team studied the effects of vitamin D3 on cell proliferation and differentiation.
“Our research shows that vitamin D actually blocks the cCFU-Fs from forming scar tissue,” Dr. Chong reported. “By blocking cCFU-Fs, vitamin D may play an important role in lowering the risk of heart failure after a heart attack.”
Editor’s Note: “With further study, vitamin D could prove to be an exciting, low-cost addition to current treatments, and we hope to progress these findings into clinical trials for humans,” Dr. Chong concluded.
* Heart Lung Circ. 2018;27(8):967-975.
Probiotics Good for the Liver Too
A presentation at the American Society for Investigative Pathology annual conference, held during the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting, revealed a liver-protective effect for probiotic supplementation in experimental research.*
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help support a healthy bacterial population in the gut and have been found to have benefits elsewhere in the body.
In the current study, the research team gave mice diets supplemented with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for two weeks followed by a high dose of acetaminophen, which can be toxic to the liver. Acetaminophen causes liver damage by increasing the formation of free radicals.
Mice that received the probiotic had less liver damage than those that received unsupplemented diets. “Administration of the probiotic LGG to mice improves the response of the liver, protecting it from oxidative damage produced by drugs such as acetaminophen,” explained researcher Bejan Saeedi.
Editor’s Note: “As the primary metabolic and detoxification hub, the liver is a critical checkpoint between the digestive functions of the gut and the rest of the body,” write Dr. Saeedi and colleagues at Emory University in their summary of the findings. “Therefore, it is likely that liver health and homeostasis may be affected through alterations in the gut microbiota.”
*American Society for Investigative Pathology Annual Meeting. 2018 April 21-25.
Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Benefits Carotid Arteries
A human study suggests a protective effect for cruciferous vegetables against increased carotid artery wall thickness, a measure of atherosclerosis.*
The study included 954 women aged 70 years and older. Dietary questionnaires ascertained type and frequency of vegetable consumption. Sonograms measured carotid artery wall thickness and carotid plaque severity.
Among subjects whose total intake of vegetables was classified as high, carotid artery wall thickness averaged 0.05 mm less than subjects whose intake was low.
“This is likely to be clinically significant because a 0.1 mm decrease in carotid IMT [intima medical thickness] is associated with a 10% to 18% decrease in risk of myocardial infarction and stroke,” lead researcher Lauren Blekkenhorst of the University of Western Australia commented.
For each 10 gram-per-day increase in cruciferous vegetable intake, average carotid wall thickness was 0.8% lower.
Editor’s Note: Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli and kale, have been associated with many health benefits, including protection against some cancers.
* J Am Heart Assoc. 2018;7(8):e008391.