Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jul 1998

Media Reinforces Foundation Positions

Three prominent publications featured therapies in a light that reinforces the Foundation's longtime positions, and your own longevity goals.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Health News

Three prominent publications recently featured articles that should be of particular interest to those seeking a longer life span.

The Journal of the American Medical Association says, "Fatal Adverse Reactions to FDA-Approved Drugs Are Between the Fourth and Sixth Leading Cause of Death in the United States" (April 15, 1998). FDA-approved drugs kill about 100,000 Americans in hospitals every year, says an article published in the American Medical Association's own journal. These new findings showed that adverse reactions from FDA-approved drugs are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

The Journal of the American Medical AssociationThis study dealt only with deaths in hospitals that occurred from adverse reactions to FDA-approved drugs. If deaths outside the hospital were counted, the number would be much higher. What is amazing about this article is that it is published in a medical journal that derives more than 95 percent of its advertising revenue from FDA-approved drugs.

We thank the American Medical Association for publishing this statistical analysis about the human carnage that is occurring because a government agency is given totalitarian control in determining which drugs are "safe and effective."

When the Foundation's FDA Museum was established, evidence was presented that about 125,000 Americans die every year because of toxic FDA-approved drugs. Dr. Julian Whitaker recently wrote in his newsletter Health and Healing that about 180,000 Americans die every year in and out of the hospital from FDA-approved drugs.

The FDA is now involved in a multimillion-dollar campaign to deny Americans personal-use access to unapproved drugs from other countries. Based on a previous press release issued by the FDA, not one American has suffered a serious adverse reaction from an imported unapproved drug.

Instead of seeking to reduce the number of Americans killed by expensive drugs that the FDA has "approved," the agency is spending enormous resources trying to deny Americans the opportunity to obtain low-priced European medications that are virtually free of adverse effects.

The New England Journal of Medicine says "Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin" (April 9, 1998). The conventional medical establishment has long ridiculed vitamin supplementation. Now, for the first time ever, an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine encourages the use of homocysteine-lowering vitamin supplements to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease.

This editorial is based on a new scientific article showing that high homocysteine levels cause atherosclerosis and that the daily intake of folic acid can lower homocysteine levels. The editorial recommends multivitamin supplementation for the general population since most multivitamin supplements contain 400 micrograms of folic acid.

While folic acid does lower homocysteine, the Life Extension Foundation has found that many people who take folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 still have homocysteine levels that are too high. The Foundation believes the objective is to lower homocysteine in the blood to a level under 9 micromoles per liter of blood plasma.

Folic acid supplementation usually lowers folic acid levels less than 11, but some people need to take 500 mg of TMG (trimethylglycine) two to three times a day to lower homocysteine to less than 9.

Certain people with a rare genetic defect require more than 500 mg a day of vitamin B6 to lower homocysteine. While some in the conventional medical establishment consider homocysteine levels as high as 15 to be "normal," the Life Extension Foundation strongly recommends that homocysteine levels be kept under 9 micromoles per liter of blood plasma, in keeping with published studies.

The only way of determining homocysteine levels is to have a homocysteine blood test. This test is expensive, but those with existing artery disease should insist on it.

Homocysteine appears to be a risk factor not just for heart disease and stroke, but also cancer, Alzheimer's disease and aging. From the hundreds of published papers reviewed by the Life Extension Foundation, there is no known safe level of homocysteine. The evidence clearly shows that homocysteine is toxic, and the lower its level in your body, the longer you may live.

While medical journals are publishing articles about the cardiovascular benefits of lowering homocysteine, the Foundation believes that reducing homocysteine by converting it back to methionine and S-adenosylmethionine may help slow aging by enhancing methylation.

The Life Extension Foundation recommended homocysteine-lowering therapies in 1981 to prevent heart attack and stroke. We now believe there is even greater evidence that homocysteine reduction will prevent many degenerative diseases.

Many Foundation members take some homocysteine-lowering nutrients as part of their daily supplement programs. High levels of all homocysteine-lowering nutrients will provide additional benefits (a new study specifies that only high levels of the vitamins will lower homocysteine levels significantly) .

The Wall Street Journal reports, "Melatonin, Bromocriptine, Vitamin A Drugs Effectively Treat Cancer" (April 21, 1998). A fascinating story appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal about an 85-year-old college professor in Italy who has developed a cancer treatment protocol that is producing "miraculous results."

This so-called "miraculous" protocol includes most of what the Life Extension Foundation has been recommending to cancer patients for many years.

The formula includes melatonin in an ultra-high dose, bromocriptine, retinoid analogue drugs, and a drug called somatostatin that slows cellular growth. The Italian media is calling this a cancer cure, and cancer patients' refusal to take chemotherapy has caused a national controversy.

The pharmaceutical industry's response to cancer patients abandoning traditional chemotherapy was to lobby the Italian legislature to pass a law that banned doctors from prescribing this retired college professor's treatment protocol. Italian cancer patients responded by filing lawsuits and obtaining judicial orders to force doctors to prescribe this non-toxic regimen.

Anecdotal reports of cancer patients who have gone into remission after being told they had only months to live is fueling the citizen uprising against the Italian cancer establishment.

The results of a 600-patient clinical trial are expected soon, but this controversy in Italy shows how people around the world are fighting against establishment medicine.


Free Speech, But Only if Approved
Taking a balanced approach to health, despite the FDA's disapproval

Under the theory that "free speech" only permits statements that the government approves of, the FDA is telling drug and nutritional supplement makers what they can and cannot say about their products. Let me give you a personal example of how unhelpful this is.

High cholesterol runs in my family. Assorted prescription drugs "lower cholesterol," and my father tried one. In combination with diet, it lowered his cholesterol 18 points. My mother tried several prescription drugs, all with severe side effects, which lowered her cholesterol 14 points.

In contrast, I take nutritional supplements the Life Extension Foundation recommends for liver support, which maintain my cholesterol at a healthy level 66 points below where it was before I started on them. In return, the FDA has repeatedly tried to prosecute the Foundation for making "unapproved" health claims.

Andrew Cutler
Via E-mail

The Foundation counsels members and Life Extension readers to keep their physicians apprised of nutritional supplements they're taking, and not to abandon medically prescribed regimens without their doctors' knowledge. Unfortunately, the FDA does not take the same balanced view toward natural alternatives that have been shown to be effective assisting therapies.

Onward and Upward


My congratulations on an outstanding job in producing Life Extension magazine. I've picked up a friend's copy of Life Extension from time to time, but until recently had never been impressed with the magazine as I am now. The scope of articles, your powerful advocacy, the verve and depth of the writing, the professionalism and the new clean, crisp design all bespeak quality, and an organization I want to purchase my supplements from. And I'm impressed at seeing you on an increasing number of newsstands! I'm taking out my Foundation membership, and looking forward to receiving Life Extension monthly. Thanks for a great product.

Richard Giovanni
Via E-mail

Lessening Vitamin C Worries


Thank you so much for your detailed response to my worries about vitamin C ["Health News," June 1998]. It was a great relief, as I have been taking Life Extension Mix for many years. Since I have also been taking vitamin B supplements in addition to that in the formula, I felt even more secure.

I was absolutely ignorant of how vitamin E can protect vitamin C from degenerating into a pro-oxidant, thus damaging DNA. In this regard, it would be very helpful to the lay person to be a bit more sophisticated in his or her own anti-aging program.

I would be happy to design my own program if I were sure I knew I was doing. As there doesn't seem to be any alternative professionals available around me, I feel more or less on my own. But I do have the Life Extension Foundation!

Ruth S. Prengel
Switzerland, via E-mail

Overseas Importation Hassles


For years, I have been a faithful buyer of Life Extension products, first in New York and later as a retiree in Madrid, Spain. I had been receiving these products by mail without any difficulties, but last month I was asked to clear through customs your latest shipment and was told this would be the last time they would allow such shipments. In the future, I would have to provide a physician's certification stating medical reasons for my need for such products. I look forward to the day when you decide to establish a subsidiary of the Foundation within the European Union, so I can again buy your products.

Angela M. Vega
Via E-mail