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Blood vessel with mixed glucose that is being supported with astaxanthin

In the News: Astaxanthin And Glucose Metabolism

Astaxanthin reduces blood glucose; exercise protects against bone-related illnesses; calorie restriction improves immune health; long-term omega-3 supplementation may reduce Alzheimer’s risk.

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

Astaxanthin has Beneficial Effects on Glucose Metabolism

The journal Nutrients published the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which 53 participants with prediabetes took 12 mg of astaxanthin once daily or a placebo for 12 weeks.*

This study used a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test as a way of measuring after-meal sugar spikes.

The researchers found that glucose blood levels significantly decreased in these study subjects compared to what they were before astaxanthin supplementation.

Various markers of glucose metabolism, such as A1c, Apo E, and malondialdehyde-modified low-density lipoprotein, were beneficially reduced. The Matsuda index (a parameter of insulin resistance) also improved after supplementation with astaxanthin.

Editor’s Note: “Our results suggest that oral astaxanthin may have preventive effects against diabetes and atherosclerosis and may be a novel complementary treatment option for the prevention of diabetes in healthy volunteers, including subjects with prediabetes, without adverse effects,” the authors concluded.

* Nutrients. 2021 Dec 07; 13(12), 4381.

Exercise Helps Protect Against Bone-Related Illnesses

A study published in Nature Regenerative Medicine reported that exercise could help protect against bone cancer and other bone-related illnesses.*

Using innovative technology to recreate the strain that bone cells experience during exercise, researchers found that a single exercise session caused bone cells to activate DNA repair, the cell cycle, and the P53 gene (a gene that suppresses tumors and fights cancer).

Exercise also started ossification, a process that helps build new bone and strengthen existing bone.

Editor’s Note: “Individuals with chronic diseases like osteoporosis or cancer can benefit from exercise…since this limits the amount of bone loss and improves survival rates, respectively,” the authors stated.

* npj Regen Med, 2021; 6, 32.

Calorie Restriction Can Positively Affect Immune Health

Research reported in the journal Science explored the relationship of consuming fewer calories to human immune response and inflammation.*

The thymus gland produces immune cells known as T cells. However, the gland accumulates fat and produces fewer of these cells during aging, contributing to a decline in immune function.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the thymus glands of participants in a calorie restriction study revealed less thymus fat and a greater ability to generate T cells in healthy people who restricted calories by about 14% for two years. Those who didn’t restrict their calories experienced no change.

Although no alterations in gene expression were observed in the T cells of calorie-restricted individuals, changes were detected in fat tissue. Expression of the gene that encodes PLA2G7, a protein involved in a mechanism of inflammation, was inhibited by calorie restriction.

Editor’s Note: “Moderately decreased food intake that does not cause malnutrition (caloric restriction) has beneficial effects on healthspan and lifespan in model organisms,” the authors stated.

* Science. 2022 Feb 11;375(6581):671-677.

Long-Term Omega-3 Supplementation May Reduce Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Use of omega-3 fatty acids over a longer term was associated with a reduced likelihood of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease among individuals with a genetic variant associated with increased risk, an article in the European Journal of Neurology reported.*

Researchers analyzed data from 1,670 individuals who did not have dementia upon enrollment in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative cohort.

Forty-one percent of the participants in the study were carriers of the APOE4 variant of the APOE gene, which is the strongest genetic determinant of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Participants were followed for up to 10 years, during which progression from normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s dementia was tracked.

Ten years or more duration of omega-3 use was associated with preserved cognition, as well as a reduction in cerebral amyloid and Alzheimer’s disease risk, among APOE4 carriers.

Editor’s Note: The authors concluded that, “These findings also indicated that genetic risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease could be modified, and their adverse effects can be attenuated and even neutralized by long-term omega-3 supplementation.”

* Eur J Neurol. 2022 Feb;29(2):422-31.