Life Extension Magazine®
Bowl of curcumin enhance benefits of metformin

In The News: July 2019

Curcumin boosts metformin’s cardio-protection; vitamin D helps COPD patients; French oak wood extract improves PTSD symptoms; antioxidants protect against hypoglycemia damage; blueberry consumption lowers blood pressure.

Curcumin Enhances the Cardioprotective Effect of Metformin

A study published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy showed that curcumin can enhance the cardioprotective effect of metformin in rats with type I diabetes.*

For the study, diabetic rats received either 200 mg/day of metformin, 100 mg/day of curcumin, or a combination of both.

Prior to treatment, the animals developed cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it difficult to pump blood. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a major complication for patients with both type I and type II diabetes and can lead to heart failure and death.

Six weeks of treatment with metformin alone restored most of the measured parameters. However, the addition of curcumin enhanced metformin’s cardioprotective effect.

The combination resulted in a marked reduction in markers of cardiac injury and inflammation, while improving the damaged heart tissue.

Editor’s Note: “These findings suggest that a metformin and curcumin combination is a potential therapeutic candidate for diabetic cardiomyopathy in type I diabetes mellitus,” the authors concluded.

* Biomed Pharmacother. 2019 Jan;109:2136-2144.

Vitamin D Can Prevent COPD Patients from Getting Worse

Woman riding a bike

According to a study published in the journal Thorax, vitamin D supplementation can help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).*

In a meta-analysis of three randomized, controlled trials which took place in the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands, researchers identified data from 469 subjects.

The authors of the study found that patients with deficient vitamin D levels, lower than 10 ng/mL, who received supplementation, were far less likely to experience worsening symptoms and lung attacks. Participants who already had higher levels of vitamin D did not receive more protection when given additional supplementation.

Editor’s Note: Lead researcher Dr. Adrian Martineau, Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity at Queen Mary University of London, asserted that, “Our study shows that giving supplements to vitamin D-deficient COPD patients nearly halves their rate of potentially fatal attacks.”

* Thorax. 2019 Apr;74(4):337-345.

French Oak Wood Extract Eases PTSD

Man sitting in a thinking pose

A decrease in symptoms of post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) was found among patients who supplemented with French oak wood extract for four weeks, according to a study reported in Minerva Medica.*

The study included 15 men and 19 women between the ages of 25 and 52, who were receiving supportive psychotherapy for PTSD. Sixteen participants also received 300 mg of French oak wood extract daily for four weeks. PTSD symptoms and oxidative stress levels were assessed at the beginning and end of the study.

At the end of the treatment period, the percentages of participants with PTSD symptoms were all significantly lower among those treated with French oak wood extract compared to standard management alone. At the end of the study French oak wood extract supplementation was also associated with reductions in sleep difficulties, fatigue, irritability, and oxidative stress in comparison with standard management alone.

Editor’s Note: PTSD is a condition associated with recurrent, obsessive recollection of severe traumatic events and can involve episodes of rapid heartbeat, perspiration, and variation in blood pressure. Psychotherapy, exposure therapy, and drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are currently employed to treat the condition.

* Minerva Med . 2018 Oct;109(5):363-368

Antioxidants Protect Against Hypoglycemia’s Damage

Family playing soccer

Episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) are common occurrences among diabetics treated with insulin. Repeated episodes are associated with cognitive impairment, which can worsen over time. Research presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual conference suggests a protective effect conferred by antioxidants against damage to the brain caused by low glucose.*

In the study, insulin was used in a mouse model of type I diabetes to induce low glucose levels three times weekly for four weeks. One group of mice received sulforaphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli and other vegetables, 24 hours before each low blood glucose episode.

Treatment with sulforaphane resulted in lower levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term glucose control. Animals that received the compound experienced an increase in antioxidant markers, a decrease in free radical damage, and better memory, compared to those that were not treated with sulforaphane.

Editor’s Note: “The concentration of sulforaphane used in this study would not be attainable in a normal diet rich in vegetables,” commented researcher Dr. Alison McNeilly. “However, there are numerous, highly potent compounds in clinical trials which may prevent cognitive impairments caused by free radicals, to help diabetes patients.”

* 2018 Nov 19-21. Society for Endocrinology BES annual conference.

Blueberries Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Blueberries

Researchers have discovered that anthocyanins, a type of compound found in blueberries, can improve endothelial function, resulting in lower blood pressure, reported The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.*

The study was conducted by lead researcher Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos and colleagues at King’s College London. She noted that, “If the changes we saw in blood pressure function after eating blueberries every day could be sustained for a person’s whole life, it could reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 20%.”

Participants in the study were 40 healthy volunteers who were given either a drink containing 200 grams of blueberries daily or a matched control. The people were monitored for the effects on chemicals in blood and urine, as well as on blood pressure.

The findings showed that the beneficial effects of the blueberries on blood vessel function could be seen two hours later and were sustained for 30 days. During the monthlong duration of the study, in those participants who ingested the blueberries, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 5 mmHg.

Editor’s Note: The authors concluded that, “Daily one-month blueberry consumption increased flow-mediated dilation and lowered 24-hour ambulatory systolic blood pressure.”

* J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Feb 16.