Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jul 2003

Healthy Pets

Healthy pets, I3C and cancer, medication effectiveness and grapefruit juice, benefits of curcumin, improving sleep quality, nationwide blood testing.

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


Q In your article on pets, you wrote about Zoe, a Yorkshire terrier, who was losing her fur, but you failed to mention about her recovery.

A You're right! We're happy to report that after getting one scoop of Life Extension Dog Mix a day, Zoe's fur began growing back. It took about two months. Here is a recent picture.

Q My wife takes Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and her doctor recently put her on Arimidex. Any comments on taking I3C along with Arimidex? Is there any benefit to taking I3C if you are not producing estrogen?

A Arimidex is an aromatase-inhibitor drug that prevents the conversion of androgens to estrogen. It is most frequently prescribed to reduce estrogen levels in women with estrogen-dependent cancer. (Arimidex is also used to reduce excess estrogen levels in aging men.) Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables that has been shown to inhibit propagation and induce apoptosis (cell death) in certain cancer cell lines. I3C functions via several mechanisms to interfere with cancer cell proliferation that is very different than Arimidex. Therefore, it would appear desirable for women with estrogen dependent cancers to take I3C even if they are taking Arimidex. I3C is most frequently used by healthy people as a dietary supplement to reduce cancer risk.

Q I have heard that you should not take grapefruit juice with your medication as it causes too much to be absorbed, however, I really don't understand how this works. Also, would the same apply to your grapefruit pectin powder?

A Grapefruit juice is an inhibitor of the intestinal enzyme system called cytochrome P-450 (3A4), which is responsible for the first pass metabolism of many different medications. The inhibition of this enzyme by the grapefruit juice allows more medication to be absorbed, leading to elevated serum concentrations. Grapefruit juice has been shown to have possible interactions with several drugs including: anticoagulants, anticonvulsant agents, azole antifungal agents, benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, carbamazepine, cyclosporine, estrogen, itraconazole, protease inhibitors and stain drugs. Please check with your physician on any possible side effects between grapefruit juice and your current medication.


Grapefruit pectin comes from the inside of the grapefruit skin. It is a soluble fiber that has the ability to bind liquid, like a sponge, soaking up digestive juices and water as it moves through the GI tract. This fibrous solution tends to slow down transit time through the stomach and the small intestine. Also, the fibrous component of the solution can bind nutrients and drugs and render them useless to the body. Because of these properties, you should not take medications or vitamins at the same time as grapefruit pectin or any other fiber supplement. It is best to allow at least one hour between the two.

Q The Foundation promotes their Super Curcumin as a natural cancer fighting substance, could this product be helpful for blood cancers too, like myeloma?

A A recent study indicated that curcumin may help suppress and destroy blood cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston found that when curcumin was added to a sample of human cells with multiple myeloma, it appeared to block the activity of a "light switch" called nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kappaB). When activated, NF-kappaB appears to turn on genes linked to cancer. Examining the multiple myeloma cells before adding the curcumin, the researchers found that virtually all contained activated forms of NF-kappaB. After adding curcumin, however, NF-kappaB activity was inhibited, the multiple myeloma cells no longer replicated and the remaining cells died.

Although the study did not test the benefits of curcumin in multiple myeloma cancer patients, previous research demonstrated the ability of curcumin to fight other types of cancers. Curcumin is considered relatively safe, taking large quantities did not produce any known side effects. Based on this information, researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center recommend that people with cancer should try to consume more curcumin [Blood 2003;101:1053-1062].

Q I have been using melatonin daily for some time now to assist with sleep and it seems to help. However, I am concerned about any long-term risks such as weight gain or slow metabolism?


A Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, has been shown to increase the speed of falling asleep and adds to the quality of sleep. There are no studies indicating that melatonin causes weight gain or slows the metabolism. However, studies do show that lack of sleep can cause weight gain. Eve Van Cauter, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago studied more than 30 young men and women with various sleep habits. The results of the study indicate that short sleepers have an impaired ability to dispose of glucose using insulin, which may put them on the pathway to obesity. In a previous study, Van Cauter and colleagues studied 11 men who were allowed to sleep only four hours a night. After a week, the men's metabolic levels and their ability to process carbohydrates had diminished. In the long term, such alterations could foster obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental sluggishness, Van Cauter says. According to Obesity researcher George Blackburn, of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, "A good night's sleep is important to weight management, appetite and hunger control."


Q My doctor is not very receptive on doing the types of blood tests that the Foundation offers, like Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. I want to take advantage of your blood test sale. Do I have to come to your facility in Florida to have my blood drawn? Do I have to be a member?

A Anyone living in the United States can take advantage of the Foundation blood testing offer. When you call the Foundation to place an order, you will be sent by mail a list of blood drawing stations in your area along with a requisition form. After your blood is drawn, the final test results will be mailed directly to you so that you may review them with your physician. You will also have the opportunity to speak with one our medical doctors to help interpret your results. To place this order or for further information, please call 1-800-208-3444.

No, you do not have to be a member to use our blood testing service.