Life Extension Magazine®

In The News: August 2014

Reducing calories lowers mortality risk; glucosamine increases life span; resveratrol improves glycemic measures; correcting vitamin D levels in women boosts weight loss; and more.

By D. Dye and A. Kessler.

Lower Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Coronary Artery Disease Severity

Lower Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Coronary Artery Disease Severity

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session reveals the finding of a correlation between declining vitamin D levels and increasing coronary artery disease (CAD) severity in a study of Italian men and women.*

The study included 1,484 subjects undergoing coronary angiography to evaluate arterial blood flow, which is impaired among those with atherosclerosis. Diameter reduction of 50% or more in at least one coronary artery was considered diagnostic of coronary artery disease. Deficient serum vitamin D levels, defined as 20 ng/mL or less, were uncovered in 70.4% of the subjects, among whom some were severely deficient with values of less than 10 ng/mL.

The presence of coronary artery disease was 32% higher among those with vitamin D deficiency, and nearly twice as high among subjects with severely deficient levels compared with those whose levels were normal.

Editor’s Note: Among those with deficiency, the risk of severe coronary artery disease affecting several vessels was 20% higher than that experienced by nondeficient subjects.

—D. Dye

Reference

* American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session and Expo. Washington, DC, Apr 29-31, 2014.

High-Grade Prostate Cancer Associated With Chronic Inflammation

High-Grade Prostate Cancer Associated With Chronic Inflammation

In an online article published April 18, 2014, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center reveal a link between chronic inflammation and a greater risk of high-grade prostate cancer.*

The study included 191 men with prostate cancer and 209 controls without the disease who received a placebo in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which evaluated the effect of finasteride on prostate cancer prevention. Biopsies conducted at the end of the study provided information on the presence of inflammation in benign prostate tissue.

Among men who had inflammation in one or more biopsy cores, there was a 78% higher risk of having prostate cancer and more than twice the risk of aggressive disease in comparison with subjects who had no cores indicating inflammation.

Editor’s Note: “What we’ve shown in this observational study is a clear association between prostate inflammation and prostate cancer, although we can’t prove that inflammation is a cause of prostate cancer,” senior author Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD, MPH, concluded. “I think there will be strategies going forward for either preventing inflammation or intervening when it occurs.”

—D. Dye

Reference

* Cancer Epidemiol Biomarker Prev. 2014 Apr 18.

Reduced Vitamin D Levels Correlate With Greater Risk Of Fracture Among Women

Reduced Vitamin D Levels Correlate With Greater Risk Of Fracture Among Women

A study presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases found a greater risk of fracture in older women with low levels of vitamin D measured over a five-year period compared to those with higher levels.*

Of the 1,044 women aged 75 years at the current study’s initial visit, 715 attended the five-year follow-up examination. Serum vitamin D levels measured at both visits were categorized as low, intermediate, or high. Women whose vitamin D levels fell into the same category during both visits were considered to have consistently low, intermediate, or high levels of the vitamin. The subjects were followed for 10 years, during which time any fractures were documented.

While 20.6% of women whose vitamin D levels measured consistently low experienced hip fracture, they occurred in just 9.9 and 6.9% of those whose levels were consistently intermediate or high.

Editor’s Note: “This study concludes that in the population sample of elderly women, vitamin D insufficiency sustained over five years was associated with increased 10-year risk of osteoporotic fracture,” stated researcher Kristina Åkesson, of Lund University’s Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit.

—D. Dye

Reference

* World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Disease, Seville, Spain. Apr 4, 2014.

Glucosamine Extends Life Span In Mice

Glucosamine Extends Life Span In Mice

In May 2010, Life Extension Update reported findings from a study of supplement users that found a reduced risk of dying in association with the use of glucosamine and chondroitin over a five-year-period. Now, in this month’s issue of Nature Communications, Michael Ristow and colleagues at the University of Jena offer a reason why.*

In an earlier study, Dr. Ristow found a reduction in life span among roundworms given a diet high in sugar, whereas impairment of carbohydrate metabolism resulted in improved survival. In the current research, the team found that the administration of glucosamine resulted in an increase in roundworm lifespan of over 5% in comparison with no treatment. When glucosamine was given to 100-week-old mice, those receiving the compound experienced an increase in life span. Further investigation revealed that glucosamine increased the breakdown of amino acids, which is what occurs in the absence of dietary carbohydrates.

Editor’s Note: In regard to supplements, Dr. Ristow said, “This may be considered a valid option, and yes, I have started taking glucosamine myself.” He added that “diabetics should perform tight blood glucose control, especially during the first weeks.”

—D. Dye

Reference

* Nat Commun. 2014 Apr 8;5:3563.

Health ABC Studies D

Health ABC Studies D

The April 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published findings derived from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study of a protective effect for higher vitamin D levels against cognitive decline over a four-year period.*

The current study included 2,777 well-functioning individuals between 70 to 79 years of age upon enrollment in Health ABC. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured one year after enrollment, and cognitive function was evaluated at the beginning of the study and at four years.

Sixty-eight percent of the subjects had low vitamin D levels of less than 30 ng/mL. The researchers observed an association between better cognitive test scores at the beginning of the study and higher vitamin D levels. When test scores at the end of the four-year period were analyzed, a greater decline was noted in association with low levels of vitamin D.

Editor’s Note: Lead author Valerie Wilson, MD, Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, concluded that “Although this study cannot establish a direct cause and effect relationship, it would have a huge public health implication if vitamin D supplementation could be shown to improve cognitive performance over time because deficiency is so common in the population.”

—D. Dye

Reference

* J Am Geriatr Soc . 2014 Apr;62(4):636-41.

Primate Calorie-Restriction Study Confirms Longevity Benefits

Primate Calorie-Restriction Study Confirms Longevity Benefits

The April 2014 issue of Nature Communications published the outcome of a 25-year study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which confirms a positive effect for calorie restriction in rhesus monkeys.* The finding contradicts conclusions drawn by National Institute of Aging researchers who reported a lack of a significant survival benefit in association with calorie restriction in a recent study.

Beginning at 7 to 14 years of age, 76 rhesus monkeys were given an unlimited control diet or one that contained 30% fewer calories than daily amounts measured before the beginning of the study. At any time point over the course of the study, the animals allowed to eat as much as they desired had a 78% higher risk of dying from any cause in comparison with those who received calorie-restricted diets. When age-related mortality was considered, non-restricted monkeys had a 2.9 times greater risk of death in comparison with restricted animals.

Editor’s Note: “We think our study is important because it means the biology we have seen in lower organisms is germane to primates,” commented Dr. Richard Weindruch, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Public Health and one of the founders of the study. “We continue to believe that mechanisms that combat aging in caloric restriction will offer a lead into drugs or other treatments to slow the onset of disease and death.”

—D. Dye

Reference

* Nat Commun. 2014 Apr 1;5:3557.

Resveratrol Improves Glucose Control And Insulin Sensitivity In Diabetics

Resveratrol Improves Glucose Control And Insulin Sensitivity In Diabetics

The results of a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicate that supplementing with resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, could help improve glucose control and insulin sensitivity in men and women with diabetes without affecting glycemic measures in non-diabetics.*

Researchers from Chongqing, China, selected 11 randomized, controlled trials of resveratrol supplementation that included a total of 388 participants for their analysis. Resveratrol dose ranged from 8 to 1,500 mg/day for periods of two weeks to six months. Three of the trials involved diabetic subjects.

While resveratrol did not impact glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, or hemoglobin A1C in non-diabetics, these measures improved in those with diabetes. As potential mechanisms for resveratrol, authors Kai Liu and colleagues note that the compound has been shown to activate the expression of sirtuin 1, which benefits glucose control.

Editor’s Note: Resveratrol also increases the expression of the insulin-dependent glucose transporter GLUT4 and activates glucose uptake in the absence of insulin.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Apr 2.

Correcting Low Vitamin D Levels Results In Weight Loss And Reduced Inflammation

Correcting Low Vitamin D Levels Results In Weight Loss And Reduced Inflammation

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a vitamin D supplementation trial which found that correcting low vitamin D levels in women resulted in weight loss and a significant reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.*

The trial included 218 overweight or obese postmenopausal women who had low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels between 10 ng/mL and 32 ng/mL. The women were assigned to a 12-month reduced-calorie diet along with 225 minutes per week of aerobic activity, plus a daily placebo or 2,000 IU vitamin D3.

Among women whose vitamin D3 became replete at a level of 32 ng/mL or more, weight loss averaged 8.5 kg (18.7 pounds), while those whose levels failed to reach this amount lost an average of 5.6 kg (12.3 pounds). Vitamin D-replete women also experienced a significantly greater reduction in insulin levels, waist circumference, and body fat.

Editor’s Note: In those whose adherence to the vitamin D regimen was high, there was an average decline in C-reactive protein of 1.18 mg/L, while the placebo group experienced a reduction of 0.46 mg/L. The finding indicates a significant decrease in inflammation in association with vitamin D supplementation.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5):1015-25.

Compound Extends Life In Mouse Model Of Accelerated Aging

Compound Extends Life In Mouse Model Of Accelerated Aging

An article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the outcome of 25 years of research conducted by Douglas E. Vaughan, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and his colleagues identifying a drug that could one day prolong human life.*

Acting on the knowledge of an age-related reduction in the ability of cells to secrete specific proteins, including one known as plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) related to cardiovascular disease, Dr. Vaughan explained that his team “made the intellectual leap between a marker of senescence and physiological aging. We asked: Is this marker for cell aging one of the drivers or mechanisms of rapid physiological aging?”

To find out, they added an experimental compound labeled TM5441 to the diet of mice deficient in the aging-suppressive gene Klotho. In addition to decreasing the activity of PAI-1, the Klotho-deficient animals lived four times longer than usual while maintaining healthy organ function.

Editor’s Note: Mice lacking Klotho rapidly develop osteoporosis, neurodegeneration, and other conditions, and die at a younger age than normal mice. When the Klotho-deficient mice were bred with PAI-1 deficient mice, similar benefits were observed.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014 Apr 28.

Higher Vitamin D Levels May Increase Survival Rates For Breast, Lymphoma, And Colon Cancer Patients

Higher Vitamin D Levels May Increase Survival Rates For Breast, Lymphoma, And Colon Cancer Patients

The results of a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed that cancer patients with higher baseline vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D deficient.*

Hui Wang and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai reached their conclusion after analyzing the results of 25 different studies that examined vitamin D levels and death rates in 17,332 cancer patients. The study found cancer patients with a 10 nmol/L increase in 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in their blood had a 4% higher survival rate than those with lower levels.

The scientists say the strongest link between vitamin D levels and survival was detected in patients with breast, lymphoma, and colorectal cancer. There was less evidence of a link between vitamin D and survival in lung, gastric, prostate, leukemia, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma patients, but available data were positive.

Editor’s Note: “Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer,” Professor Wang says. “Considering vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels.”

—A. Kessler

Reference

* J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2014 April 29.

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To High Prostate Cancer Risk

Men at risk of prostate cancer are more likely to develop an aggressive form of the disease if they are vitamin D deficient, reveals a study published in Clinical Cancer Research.*

Study author Rick Kittles, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, says that while 25-hydroxyvitamin D is known to impact the growth of both benign and malignant prostate cells, this is the first study to link vitamin D deficiency and biopsy outcomes in high-risk men.

Researchers examined data from 667 men aged 40 through 79 who had elevated PSA levels or other risk factors for prostate cancer. The men were also screened for vitamin D levels.

Normal vitamin D levels are in the range of 30 to 80 ng/mL. Levels under 20 ng/mL were typical among all men tested.

About 44% of men with positive biopsies had low vitamin D levels. Among the men who tested positive for cancer after a biopsy, those with very low vitamin levels—under 12 ng/mL—had greater odds of more advanced and aggressive cancers than those with normal levels. And the lower the vitamin D level, the higher the risk.

Editor’s Note: “Vitamin D deficiency could be a biomarker of advanced prostate tumor progression in large segments of the general population,” said lead author Dr. Adam B. Murphy, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“More research is needed, but it would be wise for men to be screened for vitamin D deficiency and treated.”

—A. Kessler

Reference

* Clin Cancer Res. 2014, May 1;20: 2289-99.