Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: October 2009

Prostate cancer and pomegranate juice; excess sugar may shorten life span; vitamin C protects against tumors, vitamin K improves bone health; multiple benefits of resveratrol; tart cherry juice relieves exercise pain; reduced levels of vitamin E linked to poorer quality of life in older individuals; and more.

Prostate Cancer and Pomegranate Juice

Prostate Cancer and Pomegranate Juice

A study that began in 2003 is starting to yield important information when it comes to treating men who have undergone standard treatment for prostate cancer. The findings of the study were recently presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association.1

The presentation described the trial that included 48 men 60+ years old who underwent radiation therapy or surgery to treat localized prostate cancer. After treatment, the men in the study all had escalating prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Men who fail initial prostate cancer treatment show a progressive PSA elevation.

A six-year follow-up of the men who drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice a day revealed that those who continued drinking the juice had lower PSA levels than those who quit drinking the juice and were no longer in the trial.2

—Jon Finkel

Reference

1. www.auanet.org
2. J Urol. 2009:181(Suppl); 4..

Excess Sugar May Shorten Life Span

Excess Sugar May Shorten Life Span

In a recent study published by the journal PLoS Genetics, scientists from the Université de Montreal discovered that when glucose was reduced in a yeast cell’s diet, their life span increased.*

Biochemistry Professor Luis Rokeach and his student Antoine Rouch used yeast cells in the study because their aging process is similar to those of human cells. As part of the study, they confirmed that after removing the gene of a glucose sensor from yeast cells, the life span was the same as for those on a glucose-restricted diet.

The removal of the glucose sensor’s gene showed that cells without the ability to consume glucose as an energy source are still receptive to the aging characteristics of glucose.

Professor Rokeach says “Thanks to this study, the link between the rise in age-related diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today’s diet is clearer. Our research opens a door to new therapeutic strategies for fighting age-related diseases.”

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* PLoS Genet. 2009:5(3):e1000408.

New Model of Cancer Development Proposed

In a recent Annals of Epidemiology, Cedric Garland and his associates at the University of California propose that cancer, rather than commencing with genetic mutations, is initially caused by a reduction in the ability of cells to stick together.* Research has shown that inadequate vitamin D can result in a loss of stickiness between cells as well as a loss of differentiation, which causes cells to revert to a stem cell-like state. Additionally, extracellular calcium ions are necessary for intercellular adherence.

Dr. Garland’s model is summarized by the acronym DINOMIT, which stands for the progressive phases of cancer development: disjunction (loss of intercellular communication), initiation (in which genetic mutations begin to be involved), natural selection of the most rapidly reproducing cancer cells, overgrowth, metastasis, and two dormant states known as involution and transition.

“The DINOMIT model provides new avenues for preventing and improving the success of cancer treatment,” Dr. Garland stated.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jul;19(7):468-83.

D is for Dieting

D is for Dieting

At the Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting, University of Minnesota assistant professor of medicine Shalamar Sibley, MD, MPH reported that men and women with higher vitamin D levels experienced a greater amount of weight loss when dieting compared to those with lower levels.*

For their study, Dr. Sibley and colleagues measured plasma vitamin D in 38 obese subjects prior to and following an 11-week diet plan that provided 750 calories less per day than the participants’ estimated needs. The researchers observed a linear relationship between baseline vitamin D levels and weight loss, with close to an additional half pound of weight loss associated with each 1 nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) increase in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

“Plasma vitamin D predicts subsequent weight loss, suggesting a potential role for vitamin D in promotion of weight loss, perhaps through effects on adipose metabolism,” the authors conclude in their abstract concerning the findings.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, OR14-5: Plasma Vitamin D: A Predictor of Subsequent Weight Loss Success, June 11, 2009.

Aging “No Longer an Unsolved Problem”

Aging “No Longer an Unsolved Problem”

In a symposium at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 19th World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, four biologists discussed their understanding of the reasons for the aging process.*

The speakers included Leonard Hayflick, PhD, Robin Holliday, PhD, Steven Austad, PhD, and Thomas Kirkwood, PhD. The scientists, working independently, have written books on the aging process that were published during the 1990s. Each came to the conclusion that “aging is no longer an unsolved problem.”

It is now known that the body’s repair and maintenance systems are the primary determinants of longevity. In one of several papers published on the subject, Dr. Hayflick described his understanding of aging in 2007 in a volume of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Hayflick and other scientists stress the importance of disseminating this information to a wide audience to help advance future research.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* NY Acad Sci. 2007 Apr.

Reduced Vitamin E Levels Linked with Poorer Quality of Life in Older Individuals

Reduced Vitamin E Levels Linked with Poorer Quality of Life in Older Individuals

A communication published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that reduced levels of vitamin E predicted poor quality of life and increased inflammation in older men and women.*

Researchers at the University Victor Segalen Bordeaux in France evaluated 23 men and 46 women who participated in the Three-City Study of aged individuals residing in Bordeaux, Dijon, and Montpellier, France. Better physical health was associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, and both improved physical and mental health were associated with higher vitamin E and tryptophan levels. Lower concentrations of vitamin E were correlated with higher levels of interleukin-6, and lower tryptophan levels with higher CRP concentrations.

“The present findings document a clear association between vitamin E levels and inflammatory pathways in the elderly and suggest that their interaction may influence quality of life,” the authors conclude.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Br J Nutr. 2009 Jun 1.

Review Affirms Multiple Benefits for Resveratrol

A review published in a recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research summarizes the health-promoting effects of resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in red grapes, wine, and other plant foods.*

“The breadth of benefits is remarkable—cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more,” stated lead researcher Dr. Lindsay Brown. “It sounds contradictory that a single compound can benefit the heart by preventing damage to cells, yet prevent cancer by causing cell death. The most likely explanation for this, still to be rigorously proved in many organs, is that low concentrations activate survival mechanisms of cells while high concentrations turn on the built-in death signals in these cells.”

“It is a cliché that ‘nature is a treasure trove of compounds,’ but studies with resveratrol show that this is correct!” Dr. Brown enthused.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Jun 10.

Prostate Cancer could be Delayed by Green Tea

Prostate Cancer could be Delayed by Green Tea

Green tea may stall the progression of prostate cancer due to its active compounds, according to a study done by the Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.*

The study used green tea extract in capsule form containing the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known to have antioxidant properties.

The research team, headed by Jim Cardelli, tested 26 prostate cancer patients, varying in ages from 41 to 68. Each patient took 4 capsules of the green tea extract a day (equivalent to 12 cups of green tea) for a month before they had their prostates removed.

The researchers found that the polyphenols in the extract lowered levels of proteins that tumors use to grow.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res. 2009 Jul;2(7):673-82.

Vitamin C Protects Against Tumors in Rodent Model of Breast Cancer

Vitamin C Protects Against Tumors in Rodent Model of Breast Cancer

In the July, 2009 issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, researchers at Columbia University report the discovery of a protective property for vitamin C against estrogen-induced breast tumors in an estrogen-dependent breast tumor-sensitive strain of rats.*

The researchers divided the animals to receive a control substance, the estrogen 17-beta-estradiol (E2), vitamin C, the estrogen metabolic inhibitor alpha-napthoflavone, E2 plus vitamin C, or E2 plus alpha-napthoflavone. While no mammary tumors were found in the groups that did not receive estradiol, 82% of the rats that received estradiol alone developed mammary tumors after 240 days. In animals that received estradiol and vitamin C, mammary tumor incidence was reduced to 29%. Alpha-napthoflavone completely prevented tumors in rats that received estradiol. Alpha-napthoflavone and vitamin C were also found to lower oxidative stress.

“These results suggest that E2 metabolism and oxidant stress are critically involved in estrogen-induced breast carcinogenesis,” the authors conclude.

 

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jul;30(7)..

Stem Cells Grown on Contact Lenses Treat Blinding Disease

For the first time, stem cells from the eye have been grown in culture on contact lenses and used to restore sight in patients with limbal stem-cell deficiency (LSCD), according to an Australian study.* LSCD, the depletion of stem cells in an area of the cornea, can result in pain and blindness. Up to now, LSCD had been treated with grafts from relatives or cadavers, which carry the risk of rejection.

Three patients with LSCD due to genetic disease or ocular melanoma underwent biopsy of the eye to harvest healthy epithelial tissue rich in stem cells. Cells were grown in culture in the patient’s own serum directly on a therapeutic contact lens for 10 days and then inserted on the eye. Each transplanted lens restored healthy corneal epithelium, reduced pain, and improved vision when measured at 8 to 13 months. This simple procedure obviates the need for foreign tissue.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Transplantation. 2009 May 27;87(10):1571-8.

Tart Cherry Juice Relieves Exercise Pain

Tart Cherry Juice Relieves Exercise Pain

Tart cherry juice relieved pain after exercise among both healthy runners and patients with fibromyalgia, according to two presentations at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.1,2 Cherries are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

In the first study, 52 healthy runners aged 18 to 50 years participating in a 192-mile race were randomly assigned to drink either cherry juice or placebo twice a day for one week before the race.1 After the race, runners in the cherry-juice group reported significantly less muscle pain than those who took placebo. In the second report, 14 middle-aged women with fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder) were randomly assigned to drink either tart cherry juice or matching placebo for 10 days to evaluate the effects on strength and pain after arm exercise.2 Women who drank cherry juice had significantly better muscle strength and a trend toward less pain than in controls.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

1. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, May 27-30, 2009; Seattle, Washington. Abstract 851.
2. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, May 27-30, 2009; Seattle, Washington. Abstract 852.

Vitamin K2 Improves Bone Health in Children

Vitamin K2 Improves Bone Health in Children

Supplementation with vitamin K2 improved osteocalcin levels in a group of young children, report investigators from the Netherlands.* Osteocalcin is a protein needed for incorporating calcium into bone.

In this study, 55 healthy children aged 6 to 10 years were randomly assigned to take vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7), 45 μg/day, or matching placebo for 8 weeks. Effects on bone were determined by levels of carboxylated (i.e., activated) osteocalcin.

After 8 weeks of vitamin K2 treatment, blood levels of carboxylated osteocalcin and vitamin K2 rose, while measures of undercarboxylated (i.e., inactive) osteocalcin decreased. The ratio of undercarboxylated to carboxylated osteocalcin, an indicator of vitamin K status, also improved significantly. No changes occurred in the placebo group. Vitamin K2 supplementation had no adverse effects on blood clotting.

The currently recommended intake of vitamin K for children is 30 to 75 μg/day in the United States.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Br J Nutr. 2009 May 19:1-8.

Herbal Therapy Helps Forestall Prostate Cancer

An herbal supplement (Zyflamend)® administered to men with a high risk of prostate cancer safely decreased several measures of disease, according to a recent safety and tolerability study.* Zyflamend® is an herbal preparation consisting of holy basil, turmeric, ginger, green tea, rosemary, oregano, and other herbs.

This study included 23 men (average age 64 years) with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, a precursor to prostate cancer. The men took Zyflamend® along with various dietary supplements and were monitored periodically for 18 months.

The supplement proved both safe and well tolerated, with no serious adverse events. Zyflamend® achieved a 25% to 50% decrease in prostate-specific antigen (a marker of prostate cancer) in 48% of the men by 18 months. At the same time, biopsy showed no disease in 60% of the men, intraepithelial neoplasia in 27%, and early prostate cancer in only 13%. Markers of inflammation were significantly decreased.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Spring;7(2):43-51.

Upcoming Conference on Science-Based Medicine

Upcoming Conference on Science-Based Medicine

On October 3-4, 2009, Life Extension® will be co-sponsoring the 2nd Annual Symposium on Science-Based Medicine. This CME-accredited symposium entitled “Yes, We Can…Think Outside the Box,” will be presented by the Robert Fishman Institute and will feature a range of hot topics in nutrition and medicine, including the following:

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine and Your Medicine Be Your Food – An examination of various studies on the components of foods such as fatty acids, antioxidants, and other compounds for healing and preventing disease.

Vitamin D…The Little-Known Hormone that May Save Your Life – Clinical pearls and common pitfalls to help you and your patients successfully use this amazing vitamin. Dosing, testing, vitamin D forms, and blood target ranges will also be presented.

Deadly Connections: Testosterone Deficiency and Metabolic Disease Risk – A review of scientific findings on testosterone and its metabolism along with an examination of risks and benefits associated with testosterone replacement.

Hormone Balancing in Women – For the past 20 years, Dr. Robert Fishman has developed an individualized approach to help women overcome hormone and nutritional imbalances.

This presentation will look at different types of hormone testing and various prescription and non-prescription products for disorders caused by hormonal imbalances.

Mood Therapies/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Personalized plans based on amino acids and organic acids.

Obesity and GI Disorders – Personalized plans created from DNA-based stool profiles and urinary microbial markers.

Hormone Replacement by the Book – A discussion of the pros and cons of blood, saliva, and urine measurement of hormones and how physicians can make logical decisions concerning restoration of hormone balance.

The topics will be delivered by a range of eminent speakers including:

Robert Fishman, PD
Eldred Taylor, MD
Lynn Lafferty, PharmD, ND
Steven Joyal, MD
Joe Veltmann, PhD
Tracy Hunter, PhD
Maria Mahmoodi, MD
Scott Fogle, ND
Richard Lord, PhD

Reference

For further information, please call toll-free 1-866-598-6752 or visit www.lifeextension.com/OutsideTheBox

Highlights from the XV International Symposium on Atherosclerosis

Lower Risk of Stroke Among Tea Drinkers

The 15th Symposium, held this past June in Boston, Massachusetts, brought scientists from around the world together to discuss detection, prevention, and treatment of atherosclerosis. Talks and presentations also touched upon the pathogenesis and biology of atherosclerosis, as well as lifestyle choices and drug therapies that may prevent it from developing in the first place. Topics of particular interest to LEF members are below:

The Efficacy of Statins

According to a talk given by a Dr. Kastelein from the Netherlands, “Statin treatment markedly improves outcomes of hypercholesterolemia and dyslipidemia patients by lowering their plasma levels of low-density lipid cholesterol (LDL-C), thereby reducing the frequency of primary and secondary cardiovascular (CV) events.”

However he also made it clear that “…despite coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality being significantly reduced following treatment with these drugs, it is not eliminated completely.” Therefore, it’s clear that statin drugs are not a cure-all for this disease, and unless combined with lifestyle changes, such as nutrition and exercise—and possibly nutritional supplementation—these and other drugs may not prevent cardio vascular disease when used alone.

DHEA levels predict death from CVD in older men

A Dr. Ohlsson from the University of Gothenburg presented some very important data that found levels of DHEA and DHEA-s in older men strongly predicted death by cardiovascular disease (CVD). His group looked at 2,639 men with a mean age of 75 years. Tracking these men for 4.5 years, they found 328 deaths had occurred with the lowest levels of DHEA and DHEA-s correlating strongly with those deaths. Most importantly, they found “The association between low DHEA and CVD death remained significant after adjustment

for smoking, body mass index, diabetes and hypertension.” This study found low serum levels of DHEA predict death from cardiovascular disease in older men.

Coenzyme Q10 Studies – Alone or with Statin Drugs

This conference saw a large number of studies looking at the effects of CoQ10 either alone or in conjunction with statin drugs. Most of the focus was on CoQ10’s ability to counter the well-established drop in CoQ10 tissue levels in those taking statin drugs. One study presented was of particular importance in that it showed the addition of CoQ10 can greatly reduce statin-associated myopathy, which can cause pain, weakness, and tiredness as well as other symptoms in those using statin drugs.

Niacin and Statin Drug Therapy

Another nutrient to get a great deal of attention at this conference—either alone or in conjunction with statin drug therapy—was the vitamin niacin (vitamin B3). The benefit of niacin therapy on blood lipids has been covered extensively over the years in the pages of Life Extension® magazine. This conference further confirmed niacin as a therapy for preventing CVD. Several studies presented showed that both alone and in combination with statin drugs, niacin raises HDL, lowers plasma triglyceride (TG) levels, as well as having other beneficial effects on CVD risk factors. This conference had various studies looking at timed released niacin as one way to improve efficacy and reduce side effects.

—Will Brink

Reference

Will Brink is a health, fitness, and longevity author, and owns the popular web site www.BrinkZone.com

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