In The NewsMarch 2019
Probiotics Benefit Bones
Swedish researchers have discovered protective effects for probiotic supplementation against bone loss that occurs in aging humans.
What you need to know
Clinical trial shows a strain of probiotic increases bone mineral density; new study shows no decreased risk of death after 105 compared to 110 and older; coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of death; damaging glucose spikes occur even in nondiabetics.
In a randomized trial, 90 women ages 75 to 80, with low bone-mineral density were given a placebo or the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 for 12 months.
Tibial bone-mineral density was assessed at the beginning and end of the study.
The women who received the powder with the added probiotic lost only half as much bone compared with those who received placebo powders.
Editor’s Note: “Today there are effective medications administered to treat osteoporosis, but because bone fragility is rarely detected before the first fracture, there is a pressing need for preventive treatments,” commented co-author Mattias Lorentzon, who is a chief physician and professor of
geriatrics at Sahlgrenska Academy. “The fact that we have been able to show that treatment with probiotics can affect bone loss represents a paradigm shift. Treatment with probiotics can be an effective and safe way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in many older people in the future.”
*J Intern Med. 2018 Jun 21.
Research Suggests Limitless Longevity
The journal Science reports the conclusion of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Sapienza University of Rome that the risk of death, which increases exponentially up to an approximate age of 80 years, appears to level off after the age of 105.*
The findings contradict recent speculation by some biologists and demographers that there’s a fixed natural limit to human life.
“Theories about biological limits to lifespan and evolutionary shaping of human longevity depend on facts about mortality at extreme ages, but these facts have remained a matter of debate,” say lead author Elisabetta Barbi and her colleagues.
Among 3,836 residents of Italy between the ages of 105 and 109 years, there was a 50/50 chance of dying within one year and an anticipated additional lifespan of 1.5 years. These projections were the same for supercentenarians aged 110 and older, indicating a plateau effect.
Editor’s Note: In contrast, among women aged 90, the chance of dying within a year was found to be 15% and further life expectancy was 6 years, and for 95-year-old women, the one-year risk of mortality increased to 24% while life expectancy declined to 3.7 years.
*Science. 2018 Jun 29;360(6396):1459-1461.
Lower Mortality Risk Among Coffee Drinkers
A study involving close to half-a-million men and women found an association between increased coffee intake and a decline in mortality during a decade of follow-up, regardless of the presence of genetic variations that impact caffeine metabolism.*
The current investigation included 498,134 participants in the UK BioBank study. Questionnaires completed between 2006 and 2010 provided data concerning diet, including coffee consumption. Subjects were followed for an average of 10 years, during which 14,225 deaths occurred.
Compared to the risk of death during follow-up experienced by subjects who did not drink coffee, drinking less than a cup of coffee daily was associated with a 6% reduction in premature mortality. One cup was linked with an 8% lower risk, 2 to 5 cups with a 12% reduction, 6 to 7 cups with a 16% decrease and drinking 8 cups or more with a 14% lower risk.
Editor’s Note: The presence of genetic variations that indicate slow or fast caffeine metabolism did not appear to affect mortality risk and the associations were valid for both regular and decaffeinated coffee, which suggests that compounds other than caffeine may be the protective factors.
* JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Aug 1;178(8):1086-1097.
Nondiabetics Can Have High Glucose Spikes
A study reported in PLOS Biology reveals surprisingly high levels of post-meal glucose among healthy individuals.*
The study evaluated the findings of continuous glucose monitoring in 57 nondiabetic participants.
Use of a continuous glucose-monitoring device provides a better picture of glucose behavior throughout the day, as opposed to blood tests that evaluate fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1c.
After consuming three different standardized breakfasts (corn flakes with milk, bread with peanut butter, or a nutrition bar), the intensity of individual responses to the meals characterized the subjects as one of three “glucotypes”: low, moderate, or severe.
“We were very surprised to see blood sugar in the prediabetic and diabetic range in these people so frequently,” lead author Dr. Snyder remarked. “The idea is to try to find out what makes someone a ‘spiker’ and be able to give them actionable advice.”
Editor’s Note: “There are lots of folks running around with their glucose levels spiking, and they don’t even know it,” commented Dr. Snyder, who is a professor and chair of genetics at Stanford University. “We saw that some folks who think they’re healthy actually are misregulating glucose—sometimes at the same severity of people with diabetes—and they have no idea.”
* PLoS Biol. 2018 Jul 24;16(7):e2005143.