Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: March 2020

In The News

Saturated fat linked to fatal prostate cancer; supplements support mental health; B12 deficiency implicated in migraines; and more.

High Saturated-Fat Diet and Fatal Prostate Cancer

A more rapid progression of prostate cancer is associated with consuming a high-fat diet and with obesity, an article published in the journal Nature Communications reported.*

Researchers examined how intake of dietary saturated fat by prostate cancer patients contributes to the growth of tumors and to mortality.

The scientists demonstrated that higher consumption of saturated fat mimicked an MYC overexpression, both in a mouse study and in humans. (The oncogene c-MYC plays a role in cancer initiation and progression.)

“c-MYC is a key factor in tumorigenesis, i.e. it induces malignant properties in normal cells and fuels the growth of cancer cells,” said lead author Dr. David Labbé, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Urology at McGill University.

In 319 human patients, those who had the highest level of saturated-fat-intake c-MYC signature were four times more likely to have fatal prostate cancer than men with the lowest intake.

Editor’s Note: “Even after removing obesity from the equation, patients with high levels of the saturated-fat-intake MYC signature are still three times more likely to die of prostate cancer,” Dr. Labbé said.

*Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 25;10(1):4358.

Dietary Supplements Can Benefit Mental Health

plants growing in a beaker

A meta-review of meta-analyses published in World Psychiatry: The Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association found a benefit for several dietary supplements in mental health disorders.*

Researchers selected 33 meta-analyses of randomized, controlled trials that included a total of 10,951 individuals with depression, stress and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

The strongest evidence emerged in favor of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for major depression, as an add-on treatment to antidepressant drugs. Omega-3s may also be effective in ADHD.

The review found evidence to support the use of N-acetylcysteine in mood disorders and schizophrenia. 5-MTHF (the bioactive form of folic acid) was beneficial as an add-on therapy for schizophrenia as well as major depression.

Editor’s Note:“Future research should aim to determine which individuals might benefit most from evidence-based supplements and to better understand the underlying mechanisms so we can adopt a targeted approach to supplement use in mental health treatment,” recommended senior author Jerome Sarris.

*World Psychiatry. 2019 Oct;18(3):308-324.

Migraines Associated with Low Vitamin B12

Woman holding kale

Among individuals who suffer from migraine headache, there is a greater risk of low levels of vitamin B12, and higher levels of methylmalonic acid (which is increased with B12 deficiency) according to a study published in the journal Headache.*

The study compared 70 men and women who experienced chronic or episodic migraines, to 70 healthy adults who did not have the condition. Fasting blood samples were analyzed for serum vitamin B12 and methylmalonic acid levels.

While the healthy group had vitamin B12 levels that averaged 667 pg/mL (picograms per milliliter), levels among migraine patients averaged 512 pg/mL.

As expected, methylmalonic acid levels (which are increased with B12 deficiency) were lower in the healthy group than in the migraine group.

Those whose vitamin B12 levels were among the top 25% of participants had an 80% decrease in the odds of having migraine compared to participants whose levels were among the lowest 25%.

Editor’s Note: The authors discuss the hypothesis that elevated levels of homocysteine could provoke migraine and suggest that vitamin B12’s involvement in the regulation of homocysteine may help support the association revealed by this study.

*Headache. 2019 Oct;59(9):1492-1503.

37% Lower Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment with Higher Magnesium Intake

plants growing in a beaker

A study of 6,473 women in the U.S., aged 65-79, found that those who consumed magnesium in amounts between 257.3 mg/day and 317.8 mg/day lowered their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment by 37%, compared to those who consumed less than 197 mg/day.*

The study, published in BMJ Open, looked at the intake of dietary and supplemental magnesium in postmenopausal women who were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) and who did not have dementia when they enrolled.

Magnesium consumption was compared with cognitive outcomes. Mild cognitive impairment was defined as being not enough to interfere with everyday activities.

The authors concluded that:

“Total magnesium intake between the estimated average requirement and the recommended dietary allowances may associate with a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment and/or probable dementia.”

Editor’s Note: While the recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women, Life Extension® and many health experts now advise that adults consume at least 500 mg each day.

*BMJ Open. 2019 Nov 3;9(11):e030052.

Restricting Eating to a 10-Hour Window Can Improve Cardiometabolic Health

Woman holding kale

Time-restricted eating, a type of intermittent fasting, promoted significant health benefits in patients with metabolic syndrome, a pilot study published in the journal Cell Metabolism reported.*

The study suggests that eating only within a 10-hour window, and not eating for a 14-hour stretch of time, can benefit individuals at risk for type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

A research team from the University of California, San Diego, and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, enrolled 19 participants, 13 men and six women, who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. For a 12-week period, their eating was restricted to a maximum of 10-hours daily, during which time they could eat anything they wanted, in whatever quantities they wished.

At baseline, the participants’ eating window, defined as the interval during which 95% of calories were consumed, was about 15 hours every day.

At the end of the study, the 29% reduction in the eating interval to 10 hours daily, was associated with a 3% reduction in weight, BMI, and percent of body fat, and a 4% reduction in waist circumference. Individuals also reported that they had more restful sleep. Many also saw lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Editor’s Note: “Time-restricted eating is a potentially powerful lifestyle intervention that can be added to standard medical practice to treat metabolic syndrome,” the authors stated.

*https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.004.

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