Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: August 2009

US patent for Irvingia; broccoli chemicals thwart prostate cancer; white tea fights fat; sodium to potassium ratio affects heart disease; vitamin D, calcium protect against diabetes; folic acid wards off Alzheimer’s; curcumin reduces fat tissue in mice; poor diet a predictor of mortality in men; pomegranate juice slows prostate cancer; low vitamin D levels increase asthma severity; potential soy benefits for menopause; and more.

United States Patent Granted for Irvingia

United States Patent Granted for Irvingia

On May 26, 2009, the US Patent and Trademark Office formally granted a patent on the Irvingia gabonensis extract that Life Extension introduced in November 2008. This plant extract has shown significant weight loss and lipid control in human clinical trials.1,2

Some claims granted in this newly issued patent include: preventing Syndrome X (a common metabolic disorder that includes abdominal obesity); reducing triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL; increasing HDL; and lowering blood pressure, body mass index, and the percentage of stored body fat. Irvingia was also awarded patent protection based on its ability to control the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive tract by inhibiting the activity of the alpha-amylase enzyme, thereby regulating fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels. In addition, Irvingia is patented to inhibit the activity of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, an enzyme involved in the excess conversion of blood glucose to triglyceride fat storage in the body.

Life Extension recommends that most overweight individuals follow the comprehensive fat-reducing protocols described in the June 2009 issue of Life Extension magazine. These protocols are now available at www.lifeextension.com

 

Reference

1. Lipids Health Dis. 2009 Mar 2;8:7.
2. Lipids Health Dis. 2005 May 25;4:12

Broccoli Chemicals May Reduce Prostate Cancer Incidence

British researchers recently reported that broccoli consumption results in significant genetic changes associated with protection against prostate cancer.1 These findings build on numerous observational studies showing that greater consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.2,3

Investigators recruited 22 men, 55-70 years old, with a pre-existing diagnosis of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), the pre-invasive stage of prostate cancer. Subjects were randomly assigned to consume either a broccoli-rich diet or a control diet for 12 months. Gene expression profiles from prostate tissue samples were analyzed before, during, and after the study period. Men on the broccoli diet experienced “complex changes to signaling pathways associated with inflammation and carcinogenesis in the prostate.”1

These changes evidently occur when cruciferous vegetable chemicals known as isothiocyanates interact with signaling protein fragments circulating in the bloodstream. In essence, broccoli isothiocyanates promote hundreds of genetic changes, by switching off genes that promote cancer growth, and by switching on genes that fight cancer.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

1. PLoS ONE. 2008 Jul 2;3(7):e2568.
2. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):291-304.
3. Nutr Cancer. 2004;50(2):206-13.

White Tea Fights Fat

White Tea Fights Fat

In an article published online in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers in Germany reveal that an extract of white tea helps prevent the formation of mature adipose (fat) cells in culture, as well as reduces the fat content of these cells, which could help reduce body fat.*

Marc Winnefeld and his associates administered varying concentrations of a solution containing 3% white tea to cultures of human preadipocytes, which differentiate into fat cells in a process known as adipogenesis. Treatment with white tea was shown to reduce adipogenesis without affecting cell viability. In an additional experiment using mature adipocytes, mobilization of fat occurred in cells treated with white tea.

The researchers believe that the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), along with the methyl-xanthines caffeine and theobromine that are present in white tea, are responsible for the effects observed in the current study.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 May 1;6(1):20.

More Dietary Potassium as Important as Less Sodium For Cardiovascular Health

New research suggests that increasing one’s intake of potassium may be just as important as decreasing one’s intake of sodium for optimal cardiovascular health.* For many years doctors have stressed that in order to maintain healthy blood pressure, people should reduce their intake of table salt, the greatest source of dietary sodium.

Investigators affiliated with Harvard Medical School gathered data from more than 2,000 men and women with pre-hypertension, whose progress was monitored for 10 to 15 years. Sodium to potassium excretion rates from 24-hour urine collections were compared with the incidence of cardiovascular disease events, such as stroke, heart attack, or death from cardiovascular disease.

“A higher sodium to potassium excretion ratio is associated with increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease, with an effect stronger than that of sodium or potassium alone,” researchers concluded. In essence, this means that it may be just as important to increase potassium intake as it is to reduce sodium intake, in order to protect cardiovascular health.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12;169(1):32-40.

Probiotic Ingredient Improves Digestive Health

Probiotic Ingredient Improves Digestive Health

A new controlled study shows that a patented strain of probiotic, Ganeden BC30™ Bacillus coagulans significantly reduces symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating among patients with irritable bowel syndrome.1 Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort and alterations in bowel habits, particularly diarrhea. The disorder affects up to 25% of the population, and disproportionately affects women.2

This eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examined the effects of Bacillus coagulans supplementation on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms among 44 patients with the disorder. Results showed that Bacillus coagulans significantly relieved symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating, compared with placebo. No adverse events were reported.1

Since few, if any, effective FDA-approved treatments exist to manage irritable bowel syndrome, Bacillus coagulans may offer welcome relief for the many individuals affected by the condition.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

1. Postgrad Med. 2009 Mar;121(2):119-24.
2. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 7;14(17):2650-61.

Vitamin D and Calcium May Protect Against Diabetes

Consumption of calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.*

Scientists compared data obtained from men and women participating in two long-term studies of health and nutrition. Using plasma C-reactive protein as a marker for the oxidative stress associated with type 2 diabetes, investigators compared subjects’ plasma vitamin D status with total intakes of calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium intake was moderately associated with lower C-reactive protein levels among women, but not men. Men with the highest levels of plasma vitamin D had 20% lower concentrations of C-reactive protein than men with the lowest levels of the vitamin; there was no such association found for women.

“The results suggest that calcium intake or systemic vitamin D status, after adjustment for intake of dairy products, is associated with decreased insulin secretion,” researchers concluded.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):547-54.

Folic Acid May Protect the Brain Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Folic Acid May Protect the Brain Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Dietary folic acid could help protect brain cells against Alzheimer’s disease by preventing damage to proteins that repair damaged DNA, according to a recent report.*

According to scientists at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, unrepaired DNA damage among cells in the brain can cause neurons to undergo apoptosis, or “programmed” cellular suicide. Certain proteins act to facilitate DNA repair, but deficits in these proteins render neurons vulnerable to apoptosis, which may underlie neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

It is believed that telomeres—genetic sequences at the end of chromosomes—produce proteins involved in DNA maintenance and repair under normal circumstances. But certain substances, such as the amino acid homocysteine, are toxic to telomeres, impairing their ability to mend damaged DNA. Fortunately, dietary folic acid suppresses the accumulation of homocysteine.

“Work in this and other laboratories has shown that dietary folic acid can protect neurons against Alzheimer’s disease by keeping homocysteine levels low…” wrote researchers.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Neuroscience. 2007 Apr 14;145(4):1439-48.

Inflammation Reduced in Those With Higher Vitamin D Levels

Folic Acid May Protect the Brain Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Research conducted at the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutritional Sciences by Catherine A. Peterson, PhD, RD, has correlated low vitamin D levels with an increased marker of inflammation.*

The study included 69 women classified as being high or low in vitamin D based on ultraviolet-B exposure. Mean serum vitamin D levels were significantly greater in those with increased sun exposure compared with those in the low D group. Dr. Peterson found that the inflammatory marker TNF-alpha averaged 0.79 pg/mL in the high vitamin D group and 1.22 pg/mL among those categorized as low in the vitamin. Higher serum vitamin D levels were also correlated with lower TNF-alpha levels.

The study is the first to determine an association between low levels of TNF-alpha and higher vitamin D levels in a healthy population. The discovery could help explain the protective association found for vitamin D against inflammatory diseases.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* J Inflamm (London). 2008 July 24;5:10.

Curcumin Reduces Adipose Tissue Formation in Mice

Curcumin Reduces Adipose Tissue Formation in Mice

A recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition reports the discovery by researchers at Tufts University of a reduction in the formation of adipose (fat) tissue and the blood vessels that feed it in mice given high-fat diets supplemented with curcumin, the major polyphenol in turmeric.*

The researchers divided 18 mice to receive a control diet, a high-fat diet, or a high-fat diet supplemented with curcumin for 12 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, mice that received the high-fat diet had gained more weight than those that received the low-fat diet; however, the effect was reduced in mice that received curcumin, even though the same amount of food was consumed. Additionally, curcumin-treated mice experienced a reduction in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), indicating reduced angiogenesis, as well as significantly lower microvessel density in adipose tissue.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

*J Nutr. 2009 May;139(5):919-25.

Poor Diet Quality Predicts Mortality in Men Over a Seven-Year Period

Poor Diet Quality Predicts Mortality in Men Over a Seven-Year Period

Swedish researchers report that men who consume a high amount of unhealthy foods and fail to consume enough beneficial foods have a greater risk of dying over a 7.7-year average period compared with those whose diets are healthier.*

Researchers analyzed data from 40,837 participants in the Cohort of Swedish Men. Responses to dietary questionnaires completed upon enrollment were scored on the intake of 36 recommended foods and 16 non-recommended food items. Between 1998 and 2005, 4,501 deaths were documented.

Men with a high recommended food score had a 19% lower rate of dying over follow-up compared with men who scored low in recommended foods. When non-recommended food scores were analyzed, those with high scores had a 21% greater risk of mortality compared with men who had low food scores.

The findings indicate that not only frequency but diversity of healthy foods is important to wellness.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):451-7.

Pomegranate Juice Slows Prostate Cancer Progression

Pomegranate Juice Slows Prostate Cancer Progression

Consumption of pomegranate juice slows further increases in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) among men previously treated for prostate cancer, according to a presentation at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Urological Association.1 PSA is a blood marker that correlates with tumor growth and progression.

In a previous study, 46 men with rising PSA after treatment for prostate cancer were given eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily until disease progression.2 “Doubling time” of PSA slowed significantly from an average of 15 months at baseline to 54 months at follow-up, indicating a slowing of disease progression, while tumor cell growth decreased 12% and tumor cell death rose by 17%.

The present report extended the follow-up to a median of 56 months in 15 men who remained in the study.1 Again, PSA doubling time increased, from 15 months at baseline to 60 months at follow-up. Given these promising results, a randomized, placebo-controlled study is underway to confirm the antioxidant effects of pomegranate juice.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

1. J Urol. 2009 April;181(4;Suppl 1):295. Abstract 826.
2. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-26.

Asthma Severity in Children Associated With Low Vitamin D Levels

Asthma Severity in Children Associated With Low Vitamin D Levels

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston report a link between insufficient levels of vitamin D and increased severity of asthma in children.*

Juan Celedón, MD, DrPH, and colleagues measured serum allergy markers and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 616 children with asthma aged 6 to 14 living in the central valley of Costa Rica. Lung function tests and allergy skin testing were also conducted.

Twenty-eight percent of the children were found to have insufficient vitamin D levels of less than 30 ng/mL. Lower vitamin D levels were associated with increased allergy markers IgE and eosinophils. Those with higher vitamin D levels experienced a reduction in the risk of being hospitalized for any cause or using anti-inflammatory medications during the previous year.

“This study suggests that there may be added health benefits to vitamin D supplementation,” Dr. Celedón noted.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009 May 1;179(9):765-71.

Multivitamins Improve Bone Quality in the Elderly

Multivitamins Improve Bone Quality in the Elderly

Supplementation with a multivitamin raises micronutrient concentrations, improves bone quality, and reduces the risk of falling, according to a six-month study of elderly people in Australia.* Elderly persons have higher micronutrient requirements than younger people yet typically have poor nutritional intake.

Ninety-two elderly persons living in a residential care facility were randomly assigned to take a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo tablet. By six months later, supplementation achieved significantly higher blood levels of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate compared with placebo, along with lower rates of micronutrient deficiency. The multivitamin group also had significantly higher bone density measured in the heel and a promising trend toward a 63% lower likelihood of falling.

The authors hope that future studies “assess whether these nutrient combinations result in sustained improvements in bone and muscle function, potentially leading to a significant reduction in falls and fractures among aged care residents.”

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):558-65.

Soy May Offer Benefits for Menopause

Dietary supplementation with soy isoflavones reduces blood cholesterol and preserves the vaginal epithelium in rats subjected to ovary removal (ovariectomy).* Ovariectomy in rats simulates the estrogen deficiency of human menopause, and soy isoflavones have known estrogenic activity.

Thirty rats were randomly assigned to one of three groups: low-dose or high-dose dietary supplementation with soy aglycons of isoflavone, and a control diet. The supplement included 14.5% genistein, 4.5% daidzein, and 1% other isoflavones. After three months, the rats were examined for biochemical indices and effects on the vaginal epithelium.

Supplemented rats showed significantly higher blood concentrations of isoflavone than the control group. They also demonstrated higher concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lower levels of both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Soy isoflavone supplementation helped preserve the vaginal epithelium and also increased liver antioxidant activity. All changes were most pronounced in the high-dose group.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 Apr 9;6(1):15.

Oily Fish, Wine Intake May Protect the Skin

Oily Fish, Wine Intake May Protect the Skin

Diets that include oily fish and moderate wine consumption may reduce the risk of actinic keratosis, according to an Australian study.* Actinic keratosis is a common precursor of skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure.

A total of 1,119 healthy adults reported their average food intake and underwent skin examinations between 1992 and 1996. The investigators assessed the effects of diet after accounting for age, sex, sun exposure, and other factors.

Over time, the number of actinic keratoses increased in the total group. However, participants who consumed the highest amounts of oily fish showed a 28% decrease in acquisition of actinic keratosis compared with minimal fish intake. Higher wine consumption was also associated with a 27% lower risk. High consumption was defined as one serving of oily fish every five days and about a half glass of wine per day. Beneficial constituents for skin health are believed to be omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenolic compounds, respectively.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1246-55.

Whey Protein Benefits Elderly Adults

Scientists have long known that whey, a complete protein providing both essential and non-essential amino acids, provides benefits for immunity, cancer support, and athletic training. Now, new research is illustrating whey protein’s benefits for older populations, who are at risk for age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia).1,2

Fifteen elderly persons were randomly assigned to ingest 15 grams of whey, approximately 7 g of essential amino acids, or approximately 7.5 g of non-essential amino acids. Using a standard index, the researchers found that whey alone improved muscle protein accrual.1 The researchers concluded, “whey ingestion improves skeletal muscle protein accrual through mechanisms that are beyond those attributed to its essential amino acid content. This finding may have practical implications for the formulation of nutritional supplements to enhance muscle anabolism [tissue building] in older individuals.”1

Resistance exercise may complement whey’s effects in preventing sarcopenia. A recent review showed that supplementing with whey protein augments the effects of resistance training in maintaining lean tissue mass in older adults.2 The researchers in this study concluded, “simple dietary and exercise strategies that may improve the maintenance of skeletal muscle mass will likely result in a decrease in the overall burden of a number of diseases and improve the quality of life as we age.”2

—Will Brink

Reference

1. Nutr Res. 2008 Oct;28(10):651-8.
2. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):40-4.

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