Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jul 2002


Nutrients that may help arrhythmia, eczema treatment, plus…

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


Q: Is L-carnitine an effective treatment for cardiac arrhythmias?

A: It could help along with other anti-arrhythmia nutrients. Fish oil has been shown to reduce ventricular arrhythmias, and may be more beneficial than currently used pharmacological agents [Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (Canada), 1997, 75/3 (234-239)]. Another beneficial supplement is CoQ10. The effects of oral treatment with CoQ10 for 28 days showed that total arrhythmias were significantly reduced. In fact, total cardiac events, including cardiac deaths and nonfatal infarction, were also significantly reduced in the coenzyme Q10 group compared with placebo [Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy (United States), 1998, 12/4 (347-353)]. Also consider the use of vitamin E and the minerals selenium, potassium and most importantly magnesium. For more detailed information, please refer to the Foundation's Arrhythmia protocol at Keep in mind that the use of these natural therapies should be with the full cooperation of a trained physician.

Q: I have a friend who is interested in anything that might help her eczema. I have found several possibilities on the Web, and would appreciate some additional information and any suggestions you may have. Can melatonin/DHEA help? Would taking it at bedtime help, or does it have to be applied topically? How about GLA/DHA?


A: Dream Cream is a facial cream that contains DHEA and melatonin, both of which protect and moisturize skin when applied topically. DHEA protects skin cells from injury, particularly thermal injury, and improves blood vessel integrity within the skin to help protect cells from oxidative damage. Topical melatonin protects against UV-induced skin damage and skin aging. Many have reported that this cream has helped with various skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis, and is well tolerated by those with extra sensitive skin. Your friend can apply this cream to the skin in the morning and night. Eczema can be caused by a deficiency in essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism. Eating two to three servings of fatty fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc.) per week while limiting saturated fats will increase the omega-3 fatty acid content of the diet. Supplementing with a balanced fatty acid product, such as Super GLA/DHA, would also help. This dietary supplement contains borage oil, gamma-linolenic acid, marine lipid concentrate and DHA. Sometimes people with this condition are also deficient in certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, E, B-complex and the minerals zinc and selenium-she may consider supplementing with these, too.

Q: What can I do to get rid of baggy eyes?

A: That depends on what is causing them. Many environmental factors can cause puffy or baggy eyes, including allergies, dehydration, too much salt and alcohol and the lack of sleep. Sometimes antihistamines can help, as does reducing salt and alcohol in your diet, and elevating your head slightly when sleeping. If none of these remedies help, the bags could be due to fatty tissue deposits that tend to increase in the upper and lower lid area as we age. The only way to remove them is through surgery.

Q: Your literature makes it sound like vitamin K might help prevent calcium loss. However, I have not been able to find specific studies, either in Medline or on your website, that testify to the efficacy of vitamin K in helping keep calcium in bones. Any thoughts?

A: Human epidemiological and intervention studies conducted at Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Vitamins and Fine Chemicals Division, Human Nutrition & Health, Basel, Switzerland, demonstrated that vitamin K can improve bone health. It showed that vitamin K not only increased bone mineral density in osteoporotic people, but also reduced fracture rates. The Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Maastricht, the Netherlands, stated, "Vitamin K is a cofactor in the carboxylation of osteocalcin, a protein essential for calcium binding to bone. A high level of circulating uncarboxylated osteocalcin is a sensitive marker of vitamin K deficiency." Another study at the Department of Biochemistry and Cardiovascular Research Institute, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, showed that increased vitamin K was associated with an increased calcium-binding capacity of osteocalcin. In the low-estrogen group of women athletes, vitamin K supplementation induced a 15% to 20% increase of bone formation markers and a parallel 20% to 25% decrease of bone resorption markers. This suggests an improved balance between bone formation and resorption.

Q: I was reading your article on carnosine in your January 2001 magazine ("Carnosine-Nature's pluripotent life extension agent," p.24) and was quite interested in the Russian test that used carnosine-containing eye drops to eliminate existing cataracts (Yuneva, et. al., 1999). I have already had a cataract removed from my right eye and my doctor saw one beginning to develop in my left eye. What would you suggest?

A: Free radicals and oxidative stress can cause cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Eyes are also subjected to protein degradation and the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which result in senile ocular diseases. Applying antioxidant nutrients directly to the eyes may help to prevent these disorders or slow down existing ones. Brite Eyes, which contains carnosine, glutathione, cysteine ascorbate, riboflavin and taurine, is available here.


Q: Our teenage daughter experienced acne problems about a year and a half ago. An acquaintance suggested the use of zinc to treat it, so she started taking approximately 60 mg of zinc a day. It works-she now has beautiful skin. My question is, is it okay for her to continue taking this high dose of zinc? I know that zinc can be toxic and am concerned about the dosage. However, when she discontinues the zinc, the acne recurs. What is your take on zinc dosage?

A: The general recommended daily allowance for zinc is between 22 and 50 mg for men and women. Daily dosages as high as 100 mg are recommended for men with prostatitis. Studies have shown that zinc toxicities generally appear at doses of over 100 milligrams for prolonged periods of time. If you are still concerned, you might want to re-evaluate your daughter's need for zinc by decreasing the dose every few months and assessing how her skin reacts. She may outgrow the teenage acne.