Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: August 2011

Metabolic syndrome impairs memory; low testosterone leads to glucose intolerance in men; green tea polyphenols offer skin protection; and more.

In The News

Green Tea Polyphenols Protect and Benefit Skin

Green Tea Polyphenols Protect and Benefit Skin

A report published in the Journal of Nutrition describes protective benefits of green tea polyphenols against ultraviolet light–induced skin damage, as well as an ability to improve skin elasticity and density.*

Sixty women were assigned a green tea beverage or a control beverage daily for twelve weeks. Before the treatment period and at six and twelve weeks, participants received a dose of irradiation to the skin from a solar simulator.

Ultraviolet-induced reddening of the skin was reduced by 16% after six weeks and 25% at 12 weeks compared to pretreatment responses among those who received green tea, indicating increased photoprotection. Skin elasticity, density, hydration, blood flow, and oxygen saturation increased in those who received green tea, while roughness, volume, and scaling declined.

“These observed skin changes were probably an outcome associated with long-term consumption of green tea polyphenols and not likely a transitory response,” the authors note.

Editor’s note: The authors remark that, “The mechanisms underlying photoprotective effects of flavonoids in humans have not been elucidated; however, they are efficient antioxidants contributing to photoprotection in plants.”

—D. Dye


* J Nutr. 2011 Apr 27.

Apigenin May Help Protect Against Synthetic Hormone Replacement Risk

A flavonoid found in celery, apples, and other plant foods could help decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer experienced by women using progestins: synthetic hormones which have been associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Salman M. Hyder and colleagues describe their findings in an article published in Cancer Prevention Research.* They evaluated the effect of apigenin in a rat model of progestin-accelerated mammary cancer in which tumors were induced by the carcinogen DMBA. Three weeks following injection with DMBA, rats received apigenin or a control substance daily for one week, followed by implantation with the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate or a placebo.

The researchers observed a delay in the development of tumors as well as a reduction in their incidence and multiplicity among animals that received apigenin compared with those that did not receive the compound. Dr. Hyder believes the finding could benefit women who currently use progestins in combination with estrogen as hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms.

Editor’s note: Dr. Hyder noted that, “It appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA. It’s probably a good idea to eat a little parsley and some fruit every day to ensure the minimal amount. However, you can also find this compound in pill supplements in the health food section of many stores.” This study corroborates the carcinogenic effect of synthetic progestin drugs and provides further rationale to use natural progesterone instead.

—D. Dye


* Cancer Prev Res. 2011 Apr 19.

Epicatechin Extends Life Span in Fruit Flies and Diabetic Mice

Epicatechin Extends Life Span in Fruit Flies and Diabetic Mice

The Journal of Nutrition published the finding of researchers at Virginia Tech University of increased survival in fruit flies and obese diabetic mice that were given epicatechin, a flavonoid compound that occurs in tea and cocoa.*

Five-week-old diabetic mice were divided to receive regular drinking water or water containing epicatechin for 15 weeks. At the end of the study, 50% of the untreated diabetic mice had died, compared with only 8.4% of those that received epicatechin. Treatment with epicatechin was associated with a reduction in aortic vessel and liver degeneration, as well as less liver fat deposition compared to untreated animals.

In another experiment, the researchers gave fruit flies diets that provided varying concentrations of epicatechin or no epicatechin for up to 72 days. Flies that received the three highest concentrations of epicatechin exhibited a significant increase in mean life span.

Editor’s note: Mice that received epicatechin also experienced decreases in low- density lipoprotein cholesterol, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and markers of inflammation, as well as increases in skeletal muscle function and liver antioxidant glutathione and superoxide dismutase (one of the body’s antioxidants) activity, all of which are associated with a healthier and longer life span.

—D. Dye


* J Nutr. 2011;141(6):1095-100.

Lower Testosterone May Lead to Glucose Intolerance in Men

Lower Testosterone May Lead to Glucose Intolerance in Men

An article in the journal Endocrinology and Nutrition submitted by the Hospital Universitario Central de Asturia, Ovieda, Spain, studied the relationship between glucose tolerance and plasma testosterone concentrations in men.* The objective of the study was to evaluate circulating levels of total testosterone, SHB, and bioavailable testosterone in the cohort of the Asturias Study and their association with the degree of glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome.

The study included the evaluation of 282 men aged 36 to 85 years old with normal concentrations of total testosterone. Serum concentrations of testosterone and bioavailable testosterone were negatively correlated with age, body mass index, waist circumference, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin levels, and insulin. Serum concentrations of total testosterone, bioavailable testosterone and SHBG were lower in men with glucose intolerance or diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance.

The study concluded that men with lower plasma concentrations of total testosterone—even when within the normal range—have an increased risk of glucose intolerance or diabetes, regardless of age and body mass index.

— John Finkel


* Endocrinol Nutr 2011 Jan 5.

Curcumin Compound Boosts Head and Neck Cancer Therapy

Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery published the finding of a benefit for a derivative of curcumin, which occurs in the spice turmeric, in the treatment of head and neck cancer with cisplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug.* The development of chemotherapy-resistant tumor cells is a major cause of treatment failure in head and neck cancer, resulting in relapse or metastasis.

University of Michigan professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology Thomas Carey, PhD, and his associates evaluated the effects of varying doses of cisplatin or cisplatin combined with the curcumin-derived compound FLLL32 on cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant cultured head and neck cancer cell lines. FLLL32 added to a low dose of cisplatin was found to be as effective at inducing programmed cell death in cisplatin-resistant cells as four times as much cisplatin alone.

“This work opens the possibility of using lower, less toxic doses of cisplatin to achieve an equivalent or enhanced tumor kill,” he remarked.

Editor’s note: FLLL32 reduced activation of the protein known as signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which is elevated in approximately 82% of head and neck cancers and has been associated with cisplatin resistance.

—D. Dye


* Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(5):499-507.

Lung Disease Patients Benefit From High- Dose Vitamin D

A new study suggests that among people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), taking a high-dose supplement of vitamin D may increase their exercise capacity and strength of respiratory muscles.*

The findings, which were presented at the recent American Thoracic Society conference in Denver, show that a monthly dose of 100,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D given to COPD patients showed significant improvements in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength compared to a placebo group.

COPD is an affliction suffered mostly by smokers. It is described as chronic inflammation in the small airways of the lung and leads to too much mucous production, excessive fibrous connective tissue development, otherwise known as fibrosis, and degradation of proteins (proteolysis).

The United States government currently recommends 600 IU of vitamin D per day for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU daily for people over 70 years old, which are woefully inadequate doses.

“Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been related with muscle weakness, a major target for respiratory rehabilitation and increased risk of falls,” said Miek Hornikx from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“These results support the idea that correcting vitamin D deficiency by adding vitamin D supplements to training programs allows COPD patients to achieve better results from rehabilitation, including improvements in muscle strength and exercise capacity,” she added.

Editor’s note: This study validates the safety and efficacy of roughly 3,333 IU daily of vitamin D. Life Extension has long stated that the recommended amount of vitamin D for adults by the FDA was low.

—John Finkel


* Presented at the International Thoracic Society Conference, May 13-18, Denver, Colorado.

In The News

Review Recommends Bone-Building Nutrients Before Drugs

A review published in the journal Nutrients concludes that calcium and vitamin D supplements should be tried before resorting to drugs to help maintain normal bone density.*

For their review, Karen Plawecki and Karen Chapman-Novakofski of the University of Illinois selected 62 human studies conducted over the past decade that evaluated the impact on bone health of calcium and vitamin D from food, calcium and vitamin D from supplements, other bone health-related nutrients, and portfolio diets, such as the DASH and Mediterranean diets. The researchers confirmed a benefit for supplements, food-based interventions and educational strategies on bone health. The findings suggest nutrition therapies as first-line treatments for those at risk of osteoporosis, particularly in light of the side effects associated with pharmaceutical agents used to treat the condition.

“I suspect that many doctors reach for their prescription pads because they believe it’s unlikely that people will change their diets,” Dr. Chapman-Novakofski remarked.

Editor’s note: Dr. Plawecki, who is the director of the University of Illinois’ dietetics program, recommends adopting a portfolio diet that provides numerous beneficial nutrients, including high amounts of magnesium and potassium in addition to calcium.

—D. Dye


* Nutrients. 2010 Nov 8.

Study Reveals That Many Americans Are Not Getting Enough Calcium

Study Reveals That Many Americans Are Not Getting Enough Calcium

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association published the conclusion of researchers at Yale University and the University of Connecticut that many older Americans have an insufficient intake of calcium.*

Jane E. Kerstetter, RD, PhD, and her associates analyzed data from 9,475 adults enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006. Dietary interviews ascertained calcium intake from both food and supplements. While total calcium intake increased with age, insufficiency remained prevalent among older adults.

“In light of evidence that energy intake declines with aging, calcium dense foods and calcium supplements become vital factors in maintaining adequate calcium intake across the life span,” Dr. Kerstetter commented. “Encouraging calcium supplementation is an established approach to addressing this issue in the clinical setting—one that needs additional emphasis in order to promote more frequent and sufficient supplementation in meeting adequate intake levels.”

Editor’s note: Adequate intake of the mineral has been defined by the Institute of Medicine as 1,000 milligrams per day for adults aged 19 to 50 years and 1,200 milligrams per day for those over 50.

—D. Dye


* J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 May;111(5):687-95.

Memory Loss Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

Aging humans with indications of the metabolic syndrome, which include high blood pressure, increased fat around the waist, and other risk factors may be more susceptible to succumbing to memory loss, according to a recent study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.*

Metabolic syndrome is often defined as having three or more of the following risk factors: high blood sugar and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), high blood pressure, excess fat around the waist, and higher than normal triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood).

Seven thousand eighty-seven people age 65 and older from three French cities were used in the study. After initial testing, 16% of the subjects had metabolic syndrome. All the people in the study were given a series of memory and cognitive function tests over two- and four-year periods. The tests included a memory test, a test of visual working memory and a test of word fluency. The results indicated that people who had metabolic syndrome were 20% more likely to have cognitive decline on the memory test than those who did not have metabolic syndrome. Similar negative outcomes were shown with the other tests as well.

—J. Finkel


* Accessed February 8th, 2011.

Johnson & Johnson Settles Bribery Complaint for $70 Million

Memory Loss Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

Big Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson admitted bribing European doctors and agreed to pay $70 million in civil and criminal court, according to a recent article in The New York Times.*

The bribes were so egregious that one copy of an internal company e-mail stated that providing “cash incentives to surgeons is common knowledge in Greece,” and that, were the company to stop paying bribes, “we’d lose 95% of our business by the end of the year.”

Robert Khuzami, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of enforcement, said that the company tried to hide its activities by “using sham contracts, off-shore companies and slush funds.”

These heinous acts are just the most recent in a string of missteps by Johnson & Johnson, which has issued more than 50 product recalls since the start of last year involving such household brands as Tylenol®, Motrin®, Rolaids®, and Benadryl®. It also recalled two popular hip implants that a recent study suggested might fail soon after surgery in close to half of the patients who received them.

“We are deeply disappointed by the unacceptable conduct that led to these violations,” said William C. Weldon, Johnson and Johnson’s chairman and chief executive, said.

—J. Finkel



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Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases

Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases
Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases

When it comes down to it, honesty is all most people really want from the medical field. What works? What doesn’t work? Those are the main questions people want answered. Unfortunately, with Big Pharma money lining the pockets of the FDA with one hand and cutting doctors checks behind the backs of regulators with the other, very few doctors are in a position to offer objective advice about any of the available remedies for traditional deadly diseases. That’s where award-winning health care blogger Julia Schopick’s book Honest Medicine comes in.

The book is written in honor of her late husband, Timothy Fisher, who lived fifteen years after having surgery for a brain tumor the size of an orange. The doctors only gave him three years to live, but through Schopick’s tireless research, she and her husband discovered diet changes and supplements that kept Mr. Fisher alive for twelve years beyond his original prognosis.

In Schopick’s own words: “This book is written because of Tim. And this book is written for you and your loved ones. Because I want you to find the potentially lifesaving treatments your doctor probably doesn’t know about—treatments like those that helped Tim live years beyond his doctors’ prognoses—so that you can find them before it’s too late.”

The focus of this book addresses three treatments, all available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada: intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, the ketogenic diet, and low-dose naltrexone. As you’ll see in this book, these treatments have been around for decades and have benefited thousands of patients, from those that are extremely sick to those with chronic, debilitating diseases. In addition, the shocking reality is that these treatments often work for conditions where conventional medicine doesn’t offer successful solutions.

To highlight the success of the treatments she writes about, Schopick shines a light on what she calls “Champions,” or people who have it “as their mission to get the message out about treatments that have saved many, many lives.” As she says, “with all three of these treatments, my heroes would not let people keep dying or get worse by using the standard-of-care treatments their doctors were encouraging them to use.”

In the example of intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, Dr. Burt Berkson writes about his time as the principal FDA investigator for the intravenous use of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). What did he find? His words are chilling, but will be very familiar to Life Extension® readers: “Personally, I also believe that because ALA is effective for many different diseases, no pharmaceutical company wants to go through the expensive clinical trial approval process. In order to make the most money, they want one medication per disease… In other words, alpha-lipoic acid could save lives, but because it was such an inexpensive substance and natural product, it would not make anyone a significant amount of money.”

For those not familiar with the concept of Big Pharma placing profits over saving lives, the above words are a brisk eye-opener. Honest Medicine is filled with examples and tales of average people going from passive patients to powerful advocates for their own health. Readers will be hooked as they follow along with the people Schopick has chosen as they discover the overlooked cures that saved their lives, and may one day save yours or a loved one’s.

To obtain the book, Honest Medicine, visit

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