Gerontologist Caleb Finch links life span improvements with reduced inflammation

September 20, 2004 Printer Friendly
In this issue

Life Extension Update Exclusive:

Gerontologist Caleb Finch links life span improvements with reduced inflammation


Chronic Inflammation

Featured Products:

Super Carnosine capsules

Super GLA/DHA capsules

Life Extension Magazine September 2004:

Fossils Record Dramatic Gain in Human Longevity

Life Extension Update Exclusive

Gerontologist Caleb Finch links life span improvements with reduced inflammation
Aging experts Caleb Finch and Eileen Crimmons of the University of Southern California have found that increased human life span is associated with reduced childhood exposure to infection, and believe that inflammation is the key to their theory. Increased human life span since the 1850s has been commonly attributed to improved nutrition, medicine and living conditions. In a paper published in the September 17 2004 issue of the journal Science, the duo offer a novel explanation for the trend.

Finch and Crimmons analyzed data on the health and mortality of Swedish men and women born between 1751 to 1940. By examining the subjects according to their year of birth, they were able to observe that as exposure in childhood to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria was reduced, the population began to live longer and healthier lives. Infectious diseases are the source of chronic inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer later in life.

Dr Finch stated that the findings are consistent with the fact that drugs that combat inflammation also lower cardiovascular disease and possibly Alzheimer’s disease risk. He explained, “We've put pieces together that are in front of everybody's nose and made a coherent hypothesis. Our main point is that in historical times when there was a lot of childhood mortality, even kids that didn't die got chronic infections. Those chronic infections from childhood onward accelerated vascular and other diseases.”

"Most people have been looking for an explanation for health change among the old in current conditions," Dr Crimmins added. "We're saying that part of the roots of health in old age lie in childhood. That is what makes this study different because we started looking at the person and their living conditions at a much younger age than other studies."


Chronic Inflammation
The pathological consequences of inflammation are well documented in the medical literature (Willard et al. 1999; Hogan et al. 2001). Regrettably, the dangers of systemic inflammation continue to be ignored, even though proven ways exist to reverse this process. By following specific prevention protocols suggested by the Life Extension Foundation, the inflammatory cascade can be significantly reduced.

For those who have multiple degenerative diseases, the cytokine profile blood test and the C-reactive protein blood test are highly recommended. This may be done through your own physician or the Life Extension Foundation. If your cytokine test reveals excess levels of cytokines such as TNF-a, IL-1(b), or both, nutritional supplementation, dietary modifications, and low-cost prescription medications such as PTX are advised.

The following supplements are suggested:

  • The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fraction of fish oil may be the most effective nonprescription supplement to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a precursor of PGE1, a potent anti-inflammatory agent. A product called Super GLA/DHA provides 920 mg of GLA, 1000 mg of DHA, and 400 mg of EPA in 6 capsules.
  • DHEA is a hormone that decreases with age. DHEA has been shown to suppress IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine that often increases as people age. Typical doses of DHEA are 25-50 mg daily, although some people take 100 mg daily. Refer to the DHEA Replacement protocol for suggested blood tests to safely and optimally use DHEA.
  • Nettle leaf has been shown to suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-a. Take 1000 mg daily.
  • Vitamin E and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) are protective antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E that contains gamma-tocopherol and tocotrienols provides the most broad-spectrum protection. Take 1-2 capsules daily of Gamma E Tocopherols/Tocotrienols. NAC is an amino acid with antiviral and liver protectant properties. One 600 mg capsule daily is recommended.
  • Vitamin K helps reduce levels of IL-6, a proinflammatory messenger. Vitamin K also helps in the treatment of osteoporosis by regulating calcium and promoting bone calcification. One 10 mg capsule daily is recommended for prevention purposes. Do not take vitamin K if you are taking Coumadin or some other type of anticoagulant medicine.
  • Consuming at least 1000 mg a per day of carnosine and/or 300 mg of the European drug aminoguanidine can inhibit pathological glycation reactions in the body.

Featured Products

Super Carnosine capsules

Carnosine is a multifunctional dipeptide made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine. It is found both in food and in the human body. Long-lived cells such as nerve cells (neurons) and muscle cells (myocytes) contain high levels of carnosine. Muscle levels of carnosine correlate with the maximum life spans of animals.

Carnosine levels decline with age. Muscle levels decline 63% from age 10 to age 70, which may account for the normal age-related decline in muscle mass and function. 1 Since carnosine acts as a pH buffer, it can keep on protecting muscle cell membranes from oxidation under the acidic conditions of muscular exertion. Carnosine enables the heart muscle to contract more efficiently through enhancement of calcium response in heart myocytes.

Super GLA/DHA capsules

Supplementation with the right proportions of fatty acids can maximize the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (E1 and E3), while suppressing pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4. In addition to avoiding saturated fats and high glycemic foods that contribute to chronic inflammation, eating omega-3 foods, and consuming supplements that provide GLA, DHA, and EPA can help control inflammation by bringing balance to the essential fatty acids.

Life Extension magazine September 2004

In the News: Fossils record dramatic gain in human longevity
A considerable increase in early human life span may have been a key factor in shaping modern civilization, according to a new fossil study published July 5, 2004, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists at the University of Michigan and University of California, Riverside, analyzed the ratio of older to younger adults in 750 hominid tooth samples from successive time periods, assessing the significance of differences in rates of molar wear. Their findings showed that the number of people surviving to an older age more than quadrupled during the early Upper Paleolithic Period around 30,000 BC, when Homo sapiens was becoming established in Europe.

Questions? Comments? Send them to or call 954 766 8433 extension 7716.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
1100 West Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
954 766 8433 extension 7716

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