Study finds inflammation doubles womens cardiovascular deaths

March 14, 2005 Printer Friendly
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Study finds inflammation doubles women’s cardiovascular deaths

What's Hot:

Inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis linked to cardiovascular disease mortality



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Life Extension Update Exclusive

Study finds inflammation doubles women’s cardiovascular deaths
A study published in the March 14 2005 issue of the American Medical Association journal, Archives of Internal Medicine found that postmenopausal women's white blood cell counts were predictive of cardiovascular events and death. Elevated white blood cell count, an indicator of an inflammatory state, proved to be independent of other cardiovascular risk factors, and was found to be comparable in magnitude to C-reactive protein (CRP).

Karen L Margolis, MD, of Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis , and colleagues analyzed information obtained from 72,242 participants in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, which enrolled 93,676 postmenopausal women. White blood cell counts were determined upon enrollment, as were other blood values and medical history. Annual questionnaires provided follow-up data, with the exception of a clinical examination at the third year.

There were 1,919 deaths during an average 6 year follow up period, with 187 from cardiovascular disease. It was found that women whose white blood cell counts were in the top one-fourth of participants had twice the risk of death from cardiovascular disease as women whose counts were in the lowest quarter. Women with white blood cell counts in the top fourth also had a 40 percent greater risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction, a 46 percent increased risk of stroke and a 50 percent greater risk of dying of any cause.

The authors state that white blood cell count is a widely available and inexpensive measure of inflammation. They conclude, "These data add to available evidence in men suggesting a similar link and suggest that the predictive role of the WBC count is independent of CRP. Cardiovascular risk categorization by inflammatory markers, including the WBC count, may identify high-risk individuals who are not currently identified by traditional risk factors; further studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of risk reduction in these patients."

In an accompanying editorial, Mary Cushman, MD of the University of Vermont added, "Improvement of the precision of ‘inflammation testing' by exploring even newer biomarkers or using combinations of tests is a ripe area for investigation. The latter will probably require pooled data from multiple studies to achieve precise risk estimates that can be translated into practice."

What's Hot

Inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis linked to cardiovascular disease mortality
The March 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism ( published the findings of Mayo Clinic epidemiologists that the body-wide inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis may be to blame for the increased risk of cardiovascular death in patients with the disease. Individuals with the disease have been shown to have a greater risk of dying of cardiovascular disease if they have large joint swelling, inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), rheumatoid lung disease or a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which measures inflammation in the body.


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.

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.

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. 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 pro-inflammatory 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 other anticoagulants.

Consuming at least 1000 mg  per day of carnosine and/or 300 mg of the European drug aminoguanidine can inhibit pathological glycation reactions in the body.

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L-cysteine is a conditionally essential amino acid, one of only three sulfur-containing amino acids, the others being taurine (which can be produced from L-cysteine) and L-methionine from which L-cysteine can be produced in the body by a multi-step process. Cysteine plays a role in the sulfation cycle, acting as a sulfur donor in phase II detoxification and as a methyl donor in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, one of the body's most important natural detoxifiers. N-acetyl-cysteine is the acetylated form of L-cysteine, which is more efficiently absorbed and used.


As people age, chronic systemic inflammation can inflict degenerative effects throughout the body. A primary cause of this destructive cascade is the production of cell-signaling chemicals known as inflammatory cytokines. Along with these dangerous cytokines, imbalances of hormone-like messengers called prostaglandins also contribute to chronic inflammatory processes.

As people grow older, structural alterations occur in their joints that lead to discomfort and loss of mobility. While conventional doctors rely on prescription drugs, scientists have identified a number of natural agents that provide broad-spectrum support for healthy joint function and structure.

Nobiletin is a citrus flavonoid that has demonstrated potent effects in suppressing destructive cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1 beta. In addition, nobiletin limits the production of joint damaging prostaglandin E2. A special boswellia extract known as 5-Loxin® inhibits the 5-lipooxygenase enzyme, reducing levels of joint damaging leukotriene B4.

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, 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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