Life Extension Magazine®
Injured kidney due to prescription medications

In The News: June 2019

Heartburn drugs damage kidneys; reducing calories or eating once per day boosts lifespan; heritability affects longevity less than previously believed; higher EPA levels linked to healthier aging.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on March 2021.

Risk of Kidney Injury Linked to Common Medications for Acid Reflux

Over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat and prevent symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux have been found to have adverse effects, including kidney damage, according to a study in Scientific Reports.*

These medications, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), are available under popular brand names such as Prilosec OTC® and Nexium®. Originally developed to treat occasional episodes of heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, PPIs were effective and considered to be safe. But over the years people have continued to use them for prolonged periods.

“Recently, PPI use has come under scrutiny due to growing evidence of renal, cardiovascular, autoimmune, and neurologic adverse effects,” the study’s authors stated.

The researchers examined more than 10 million records from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, and asserted, “…we provided evidence of kidney injury and electrolyte imbalances in an alarming number of patients taking PPIs.”

Editor’s Note: The authors asserted that, “The observed increased risks of renal and electrolyte adverse effects of PPIs warrant more careful consideration in clinical practice. The risk-benefit ratio should be considered for the individual patient with respect to the adverse effects.”

* Sci Rep. 2019; 9: 2282.


What you need to know

Popular medications for acid reflux raise the risk of kidney injury; Eating once a day and calorie restriction increases longevity in mice; Lifespan is less related to genetics than previously thought; Omega-3 fatty acid decreases risk of unhealthy aging; CoQ10 improves biomarkers related to chronic kidney disease.

Eating Fewer Calories, or Only Once a Day, Can Lead to Longer Life

Woman cutting vegetables

An article published in Cell Metabolism found that there was greater longevity in mice who were fed fewer calories or only one time daily.*

Two groups, totaling 292 male mice, were divided to receive one of two diets. One diet was naturally-sourced, lower in fat and added sugar, and higher in protein and fiber than the other. Each group was further divided into three subgroups that received either unlimited access to food, 30% fewer calories than the first group, or one meal per day that contained the same number of calories consumed by the first group.

Calorie-restricted mice and mice fed once daily survived longer than the animals who ate as much as they liked. Restricted animals also experienced delays in the development of age-related damage to the liver and other organs. Diet composition was not found to affect the lifespan of these groups.

Editor’s Note: “Increasing daily fasting times, without a reduction of calories and regardless of the type of diet consumed, resulted in overall improvements in health and survival in male mice,” said the study’s lead author, Rafael de Cabo, PhD.

* Cell Metab. 2019 Jan 8;29(1):221-228.e3.


Heredity Less of a Factor in Longevity


Estimates of the heritability of longevity in humans have been higher than warranted, according to an article published in the journal Genetics.* Heritability is a measure of how much of a variation in a trait can be explained by genetic differences as opposed to lifestyle and other factors.

Using data obtained from a genealogy company, the researchers estimated heritability by examining the similarity of lifespan among relatives. In addition, similarities were also observed between people who were related only by marriage and did not share households.

The researchers found that heritability of lifespan was no more than 7%, in contrast with previous estimates of up to 30%. It was determined that past estimates had failed to account for the tendency of humans to select partners with traits similar to their own, a process known as assortative mating.

Editor’s Note: “What assortative mating means here is that the factors that are important for life-span tend to be very similar between mates,” said lead author Dr. J. Graham Ruby. “When we failed to take assortative mating into account, our own nominal estimates were similar to those of the literature.”

* Genetics. 2018 Nov;210(3):1109-1124.


Omega 3-Fatty Acid EPA Linked to Healthy Aging

Foods with healthy fats

Having a higher level of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, found in fish and seafood, is associated with a greater likelihood of healthy aging among older men and women, concluded a study in BMJ.* Healthy aging was defined as survival without chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, and kidney disease, as well as the absence of physical and cognitive dysfunction after the age of 65.

The study included 2,622 men and women with a mean age of 74, enrolled in the U.S. Cardiovascular Health study from 1992 to 2015. Annual clinical examinations conducted through 1999 and semiannual phone interviews ascertained health status and other factors. Blood samples collected at three time points were analyzed for the omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA, DPA, and ALA.

Among those whose EPA levels placed them among the top 20% of participants, the risk of unhealthy aging was 24% lower than the subjects whose levels were among the lowest 20%.

Editor’s Note: The authors concluded that, “These findings support guidelines for increased dietary consumption of n3-PUFAs [omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids] in older adults.”

* BMJ. 2018 Oct 17;363:k4067.


CoQ10 Benefits Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Woman serving salad

Supplementation with the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) provided several metabolic benefits for patients with chronic kidney disease, according to a review and meta-analysis published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design.*

Researchers selected seven randomized, controlled trials that included a total of 384 men and women with chronic kidney disease. Metabolic profiles evaluated during the trials included measurements of triglycerides, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, C-reactive protein, malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress, and creatinine (which is elevated in kidney disease).

The daily dosage of CoQ10 in the trials ranged from 30 mg to 200 mg administered for periods of 4 to 12 weeks. Pooled analysis of the subjects determined that CoQ10 supplementation was associated with a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, malondialdehyde and creatinine (a standardized mean difference of -1.65, meaning that CoQ10 improved creatinine levels in those with chronic kidney disease).

If creatinine is elevated above 1 mg/dL, this serves as an indictor of kidney impairment. (The standard reference range for elevated creatinine starts at 1.27 mg/dL, but Life Extension® views any level above 1.00 as an indicator to cut back on pain relieving (NSAID) drugs, reduce consumption of meat, or look at other risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes.)

Blood levels of creatinine are included in most CBC/Chemistry blood test panels.

CBC/Chemistry tests are included in the comprehensive Male and Female Panels many readers of this magazine have done annually.

A far more accurate blood test to assess kidney function is called cystatin-C.

To order any of these blood tests call 1-800-208-3444 or visit

Editor’s Note: Circulating concentrations of CoQ10 have been decreased in patients with chronic kidney disease, suggesting that CoQ10 supplementation may be an ideal antioxidant therapy for these patients, the authors noted.

* Curr Pharm Des. 2018;24(31):3710-3723.