Life Extension Magazine®

Man riding bike after boosting energy with NAD+ levels

In The News: September 2017

Meat increases mortality among cancer survivors; strict diabetes management extends life; NAD+ precursors slow aging; aspirin inhibits cancer; vitamin D relieves back pain; and updated disease protocols.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Boosting NAD+ Levels Slows Aging

A 2017 review of the literature has found that supplementation with NAD+ precursors nicotinamide riboside or nicotinamide mononucleotide increases lifespan in mice. It also improved their mitochondrial, brain, muscle, and melanocyte stem-cell function.*

In one of the papers discussed, researchers identified a protein that aids in DNA repair in young mice. The research shows NAD+ levels can be boosted through NAD+ precursor supplementation, reducing DNA damage and bringing cellular activity back to youthful levels.

Researchers believe the medical implications for humans indicate that supplementation with nicotinamide riboside at doses of 100-250 mg or more can increase NAD+ levels systemically.

Editor’s Note: The study’s authors note that the exact mechanism of declining NAD+ levels and their basic importance to the aging process are still under investigation.


*Rejuvenation Res. 2017 May 24.

Meat Carries Mortality Risk for Cancer Survivors

Meat Carries Mortality Risk for Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors who had a higher intake of meat were found to be at greater risk for dying.*

The study included 1,508 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Interviews conducted during 1996-1997 and five years later obtained information concerning subjects’ consumption of grilled, barbequed, and smoked meat.

There were 597 deaths during a median 17.6 year study period, including 237 deaths associated with breast cancer.

In comparison with an intake below the median, having a higher intake of the meats prior to diagnosis was associated with a 23% greater risk of dying from any cause.

Editor’s Note: For women who continued to consume higher amounts of grilled, barbecued and smoked meat after diagnosis, the risk of all-cause mortality was 31% higher than those whose intake was lower before and after diagnosis.


*J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 Jan 5;109(6).

Attentive Diabetes Management Extends Life

Attentive Diabetes Management Extends Life

Strict management of type II diabetes can make a significant difference in quality and length of life.*

A 20-year study divided 160 people—all of whom were at risk of type II diabetes—into two groups. One group stayed with their usual treatment, while the other changed to a more multitargeted, aggressive regimen.

Results showed the intensive-treatment group lived, on average, 7.9 years longer than the “normal” treatment group. Also, in the aggressive treatment group, the risk for a number of diseases (including kidney disease, heart disease, and blindness) was reduced.

When the study began, the average subject age was 55, and all were borderline obese.

According to senior study author Dr. Oluf Pedersen, the intensive treatment was aimed at reducing a comprehensive selection of adverse factors such as blood-clot risk, high glucose, high blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol. The regimen included behavior modification (exercise, healthy diet, no smoking) and medications when deemed necessary.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of New York’s Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center, stated, “These results are impressive, and the message is important. Physicians are not being aggressive enough…If you look at all the factors they (the researchers) treated, about 80% of the U.S. population isn’t treated correctly, according to national surveys.”


*Diabetologia. 2016 Nov;59(11):2298-307.

Aspirin Fights Cancer

Aspirin Fights Cancer

A recent study suggests aspirin could slow the growth of some types of cancer.*

The research was designed to determine how inhibition of platelet activation through the use of aspirin might affect the proliferation of colon and pancreatic cancer cells.

Platelets, when activated, cause blood to clot. They can also promote the growth of cancer cells through releasing growth factors and enhancing the response of oncoproteins, which regulate the development of tumor cells. Aspirin is an anti-platelet drug, and low doses have been known to reduce the risk of some gastrointestinal cancers by mechanisms still under investigation.

Researchers combined platelets with metastatic (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) colon cancer cells, nonmetastatic (cancer that has not spread) colon cancer cells, and nonmetastatic pancreatic cancer cells. Aspirin was then added to all three groups.

Results showed that a low aspirin dose stopped platelets from prompting growth and replication of nonmetastatic pancreatic and colon cancer cells. The growth of metastatic pancreatic cancer cells could also be stopped with aspirin, but only at doses too large for humans to ingest. Metastatic colon cancer cells were unaffected at any dose.

These data are corroborated by human studies showing lower risk of many cancers in those taking low-dose aspirin daily.

Editor’s Note: The researchers found these results promising. “Our study,” they wrote, “reveals important differences and specificities in the mechanism of action of high- and low-dose aspirin in metastatic and nonmetastatic cancer cells with different tumor origins and suggests that the ability of aspirin to prevent platelet-induced c-MYC (an oncoprotein) expression might be selective for a nonmetastatic phenotype.”


*Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2017 Feb 1;312(2):C176-C189.

Vitamin D Relieves Back Pain

Vitamin D Relieves Back Pain

A trial reported in Pain Physician uncovered a significant benefit for supplementing with vitamin D among individuals with chronic lower back pain.*

The trial included 68 men and women who had chronic lower back pain for at least three months which did not respond to medication or physical therapy.

Subjects were limited to those whose plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels measured at the beginning of the trial were less than 30 ng/mL.

Participants received a total of 60,000 IU of vitamin D3 given orally once per week for eight weeks. Pain and disability were scored at the beginning of the study and at two, three and six months.

Following supplementation, 66% of the patients attained sufficient levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Pain and disability scores significantly improved at two, three and six months in comparison with scores obtained at the study’s onset.

Editor’s Note: Authors Babita Ghai, MD, DNB and colleagues observe that vitamin D exerts anatomic, hormonal, neurologic and immunologic influences on pain expression. “Our findings provide a reasonable explanation and justification for advising dietary supplementation as well as therapeutic medication to achieve normal vitamin D levels in patients with musculoskeletal pain,” they write.


*Pain Physician. 2017 Jan-Feb;20(1):E99-E105.

Just-Published Protocols in Disease Prevention and Treatment

Just-Published Protocols in <em>Disease Prevention and Treatment

The scientists and writers at Life Extension® continuously update the online Disease Prevention and Treatment protocol chapters based on the latest research. Recent updates are briefly summarized here with complete versions of these chapters and references available online at:

Exercise Enhancement – Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for premature death worldwide.

Many people are unaware that even modest physical activity, such as brisk walks, can improve cardiorespiratory fitness. This protocol summarizes effective strategies for enhancing cardiorespiratory fitness regardless of age.

Research on enhancing the metabolic adaptations triggered by exercise includes carnitine, whey protein, and creatine, as well as DHEA and bioidentical hormone replacement.

Immune Senescence – The declining function of the immune system, called immune senescence, is one of the biggest risk factors for many diseases that occur in advancing age.

Caloric restriction, or the Mediterranean-style diet, and effectively managing stress can promote healthy immune system functioning.

Emerging techniques to maintain healthy immunity include young stem-cell mobilized plasma, which may stimulate youthful immune activity in older recipients.

Natural interventions including reishi mushroom, cistanche, and Pu-erh tea may help counteract age-related immune decline.

Pneumonia – Pneumonia risk increases with age as a consequence of immune senescence.

Taking steps to boost immune function is of the utmost importance. Evidence suggests that regular aspirin use and treating pneumonia patients with adjuvant corticosteroids might improve outcomes.

Natural interventions like vitamin D, zinc, reishi mushroom, and probiotic supplements may help bolster immune defenses against pneumonia-causing pathogens. Combining these approaches with the pneumococcal vaccine could be lifesaving.