Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: September 2010

Long-term vitamin E intake lowers COPD risk; insufficient calcium linked to hypertension and osteoporosis; zinc protects aging arteries; B6 and B12 combat depression.

Long-Term Vitamin E Supplementation Associated with Reduced COPD Risk

Long-Term Vitamin E Supplementation Associated with Reduced COPD Risk

A presentation at the American Thoracic Association 2010 International Conference revealed the discovery by researchers at Cornell University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital of a lower risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in women who supplemented with vitamin E.*

The team analyzed data from 38,270 health professionals who participated in the Women’s Health Study, which evaluated the effects of every other day regimens of aspirin or vitamin E in cancer and heart disease prevention over a 10-year period. The researchers uncovered a 10% reduction in COPD risk in both smokers and nonsmokers who consumed 600 international units (IU) vitamin E every other day compared to those who received a placebo.

“If results of this study are borne out by further research, clinicians may recommend that women take vitamin E supplements to prevent COPD,” predicted Anne Hermetet Agler, who participated in the research.

Editor’s note: The antioxidant benefit of vitamin E may be responsible for the protective effect observed in this study.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Presentation at the American Thoracic Association 2010 International Conference, May 18, 2010.

Abnormal Kidney Markers Associated with Increased Mortality Risk Over 8-Year Average

Abnormal Kidney Markers Associated with Increased Mortality Risk Over 8-Year Average

A meta-analysis conducted by the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium concluded that elevations in urinary albumin and blood albumin to creatinine ratio, which indicate kidney damage, as well as a reduction in the estimated glomerular filtration rate of the kidneys predict an increased risk of death from all causes over 2.1 to 11.6 years of follow-up.*

The Consortium selected 21 studies including a total of 1,234,182 participants for their analysis. Over the follow-up periods, 45,584 deaths occurred.

When the rate at which the glomeruli of the kidneys filter the blood dropped below a specific level, a greater risk of dying over follow-up occurred. Additionally, an increase in albumin and a greater ratio of urinary albumin to creatinine were associated with increased all-cause mortality risk. “This study provides quantitative data for use of both kidney measures for risk assessment and definition and staging of chronic kidney disease,” the authors conclude.

Editor’s note: Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), CoQ10, silymarin, resveratrol, and lipoic acid are clinically supported interventions for kidney disease.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Lancet. 2010 May 18.

Swimming May Be Best Exercise for Lifelong Health

A recent article by Judy Foreman in the Boston Globe examines a report by Steven Blair, a leading exercise scientist from the University of South Carolina, that featured data pointing to the fact that people who swim for exercise may live longer than those who run, walk, or don’t exercise at all.*

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, followed 40,547 men ages 20-90 who completed health exams between 1971 and 2003. Over the course of the research, 1,336 of the 20,356 runners (or 6.6%) had died, while only 11 of the 562 swimmers (1.9%) died. While no specifics could be drawn from the study, the researchers pointed out that swimming may be more beneficial from running because of the full-body nature of the workout, as well as the lack of pounding and wear and tear on the body that many runners suffer.

In a phone interview with the Boston Globe, Blair, while remaining cautious, said that the study does show that “swimmers have lower death rates” than sedentary people.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Available at: http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/06/14/is_swimming_better_than_running_or_walking_not_so_fast/ Accessed June 16, 2010.

Insufficient Calcium May Link Hypertension, Osteoporosis

The Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism was the site of a presentation of the findings of Professor Maria Manarathe of the Gaetano Pini Institute in Milan and her associates of an increased risk of high blood pressure and osteoporosis among women with a reduced intake of calcium.*

The study included 825 postmenopausal women with hypertension matched with 3 healthy postmenopausal women. The researchers found that 35.4% of women whose calcium intake was among the lowest one-fourth of participants at less than 8 servings per week had both high blood pressure and osteoporosis, compared to 19.3% of those whose calcium was among the highest fourth at greater than 15 servings.

“Our study confirms that there may be a link between hypertension and low bone mass and that a low calcium intake could be a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women,” Dr. Manara stated.

Editor’s note: The authors write that “The main pathogenetic hypothesis for the association between hypertension and osteoporosis points to increased parathyroid levels depending on the urinary calcium leakage reported in subjects with hypertension.”

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Annual Congress of the European League against Rheumatism.

Short Periods of Exercise Protect Telomeres from Stress

Short Periods of Exercise Protect Telomeres from Stress

Findings published in PLoS ONE demonstrate a protective effect for brief periods of exercise against stress-induced damage to telomeres: pieces of DNA that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes which play an important role in cellular aging.*

Elissa Epel, PhD and her associates evaluated the effect of exercise in 63 women with varying levels of stress during the prior month as assessed via the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale. The women were divided into an active group, who engaged in vigorous exercise for an average of at least 33 minutes daily, and a sedentary group.

Among inactive women, a one-unit increase in the Perceived Stress Scale was related to a 15-fold greater risk of having short white blood cell telomeres, while stress did not appear to affect the active group. “Even a moderate amount of vigorous exercise appears to provide a critical amount of protection for the telomeres,” stated Dr. Epel.

Editor’s note: Longer telomeres have also been associated with multivitamin supplementation and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Available at: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0010837. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Green Tea Compound Shows Promise in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Green Tea Compound Shows Promise in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology held in Chicago, researchers from the Mayo Clinic reported results from a Phase II trial which provide additional evidence of clinical activity and low toxicity for epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG, extracted from green tea) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients.*

Hematologist Tait Shanafelt, MD and colleagues gave 2,000 milligrams EGCG to patients with early stage, asymptomatic CLL. The extract was administered twice per day for up to 6 months. Among subjects who completed 6 months of EGCG, 31% experienced a 20% or greater reduction in blood leukemia count, and 69% of those with lymph node enlargement had their node size reduced by at least half.

“All in all, the treatment was well tolerated with very mild side effects in most patients,” Dr. Shanafelt commented.

Editor’s note: Coauthor Neil Kay, MD recommends that “Those who want to take supplements should consult with their oncologists and need to receive appropriate monitoring using laboratory tests.”

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Increased Intake of Vitamins B6 and B12 Linked to Less Depression

Increased Intake of Vitamins B6 and B12 Linked to Less Depression

A report published online recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a lower risk of developing depression among men and women who consume greater amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.*

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center evaluated data from 3,503 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging project, an ongoing study of adults aged 65 and older. Four hundred seventy-one participants reported at least 4 depressive symptoms over up to 12 years of follow-up. Adjusted analysis of the data revealed that higher intakes of both vitamin B6 and B12 from food and supplements were associated with decreased depressive symptoms over the course of follow-up.

“Our results support the hypotheses that high total intakes of vitamins B6 and B12 are protective of depressive symptoms over time in community-residing older adults,” Kimberly A. Skarupski and colleagues conclude.

Editor’s note: The authors note that vitamin B12 from food sources has poor bioavailability and absorption, especially in older individuals.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 2.

Zinc May Be an Atheroprotective Agent

In a study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition from the Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, scientists set out to test zinc’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties against atherosclerosis.*

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are common risk factors for atherosclerosis and the scientists hypothesized that zinc, which is an essential micronutrient, may down-regulate the production of atherosclerosis-related cytokines/molecules in humans. To test this hypothesis, the researchers at Wayne State University conducted a randomized, double-blinded, placebo trial of zinc supplementation in elderly subjects.

There were 40 people involved in the study who were randomly assigned either an oral dose of 45 mg zinc gluconate per day for 6 months, or a placebo. After 6 months of supplementation, the intake of zinc, compared with the intake of placebo, increased concentrations of plasma zinc and decreased concentrations of plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, proving its potential as an atheroprotective agent.

Editor’s note: The effective dose of oral zinc used in this research was 40 mg per day. People who consume Life Extension’s One Per day (or Two Per Day) multi and Super Booster are also receiving 40 mg per day of zinc. The degree of inflammation is directly related to the progression of inflammation.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 91:1634-41.

The Right Diet Could Help Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

An article published in The FASEB Journal reports the discovery of Temple University researchers of the benefit of a low methionine diet in slowing or reversing early to moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease in an animal model.*

The researchers divided mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease to receive a high methionine diet or a healthy (control) diet for 5 months, following which the group receiving the methionine-rich diet was subdivided to receive the same regimen or the healthy diet for two months. Mice on the methionine-rich diet had higher homocysteine levels and significant behavioral impairments at 5 months compared to the control group. While those that remained on the high methionine diet continued to show elevations in homocysteine, those that were switched to the healthy diet experienced reductions in homocysteine as well as improvements in fear-conditioning performance and a decrease in brain amyloid levels, which are elevated in Alzheimer’s disease.

Editor’s note: A byproduct of methionine metabolism is homocysteine, which when elevated has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as cardiovascular disease. Adequate B vitamin intake can help reduce homocysteine production. Those who consume red meat often have higher methionine levels.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* FASEB Journal. 2010 Jun 2.

Greater Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake Associated with Delayed Age-Related Hearing Loss

Greater Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake Associated with Delayed Age-Related Hearing Loss

An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals the finding of a protective effect for omega-3 fatty acid and fish consumption against the development of age-related hearing loss.*

Australian researchers evaluated data from participants in the Blue Mountains Hearing Study of age-related hearing loss. Greater total omega-3 fatty acid intake upon enrollment was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss, and increased long chain omega-3 fatty acid intake was associated with a reduced risk of developing hearing loss over follow-up. A reduction was also observed among those who consumed at least 2 servings of fish per week, who had a 42% lower risk of hearing loss at the five-year follow-up compared with those who ate one serving per week. Additionally, a reduced risk of hearing loss progression was observed in those who consumed one to two servings of fish per week.

Editor’s note: Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 9.

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