What's Hot

What's Hot

News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health and longevity. We have an unparalleled track record of breaking stories about life extension advances.

 

  • Drinking coffee could lower risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Extra virgin olive oil: good for body and mind
  • Biologic aging correlates with wellness
  • Cells sense omega-3 to improve fat storage
  • Fish oil may help omega-3 deficient children with ADHD
  • Higher omega-3 levels associated with lower cardiovascular event risk
  • Depression linked with lower fruit and vegetable intake among older men and women
  • Omega-3 fatty acids benefit hospital patients
  • Nutrient supplements save children’s lives
  • How vitamin D slows melanoma growth
  • Trial finds soy isoflavones, vitamin D3 benefit women with irritable bowel syndrome
  • Aspirin could reduce rate of aneurysm growth
  • Vitamin D linked to gut flora diversity
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    Drinking coffee could lower risk of metabolic syndrome

    Drinking coffee could lower risk of metabolic syndrome November 29, 2019. Research discussed during a satellite symposium hosted by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee at the 13th European Nutrition Conference consolidates the latest findings concerning the beverage’s protective effect against metabolic syndrome. The symposium was organized by the Federation of European Nutrition Societies and took place in Dublin during October 15-18, 2019.

    Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of symptoms that include high blood pressure, increased waist circumference, insulin resistance, unhealthy blood lipids and high triglyceride levels, and is estimated to affect over a billion people worldwide. The presence of three of more metabolic syndrome factors increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    At the symposium, Assistant Professor Giuseppe Grosso of the University of Catania reviewed his research concerning the inverse association between coffee consumption and metabolic syndrome in Polish and Italian subjects and discussed potential mechanisms supporting the association. His findings suggest that phenolic acids and flavonoids that occur in coffee may be involved in coffee’s protective action. He additionally reviewed research that documented an association between moderate (three to five cups per day) coffee intake and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality during a given period.

    Associate Professor Estefania Toledo reviewed meta-analyses of the associations between metabolic syndrome and coffee intake and discussed research that included 22,000 participants in the Seguimiento University of Navarra cohort that investigated regular and decaffeinated coffee. It was determined that drinking one to four cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee per day was associated with reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

    Both men and women appear to benefit from the protective effect of coffee against metabolic syndrome. It was agreed that more research is needed concerning coffee’s protective mechanisms, particularly the role of coffee’s polyphenolic compounds.

    —D Dye

     

    Extra virgin olive oil: good for body and mind

    Extra virgin olive oil: good for body and mind November 27, 2019. Research conducted at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University indicates a brain benefit for extra virgin olive oil in older mice. The findings were reported on November 24, 2019 in Aging Cell.

    Olive oil is known for its many health benefits, including an ability to help protect against cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment. Acting on positive findings for olive oil in mice that were genetically engineered to develop the amyloid deposits that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, the current study evaluated the oil’s effects in mice engineered to develop defective tau proteins in the brain which block the communication of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

    Beginning at six months of age, the mice were fed a diet with or without extra virgin olive oil until the age of one year. At the end of the study, mice that received olive oil demonstrated better memory and cognition in comparison with the control mice as well as a 60% reduction in harmful tau deposits. Additionally, treated animals’ synapses, which are the connections between brain cells, showed increased activity.

    "Extra virgin olive oil has been a part of the human diet for a very long time and has many benefits for health, for reasons that we do not yet fully understand," commented senior investigator Domenico Praticò, MD, who is a professor the Director of the Alzheimer's Center at the Louis Katz School of Medicine. "The realization that extra virgin olive oil can protect the brain against different forms of dementia gives us an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms through which it acts to support brain health."

    "We are particularly interested in knowing whether extra virgin olive oil can reverse tau damage and ultimately treat tauopathy in older mice," he added.

    —D Dye

     

    Biologic aging correlates with wellness

    Biologic aging correlates with wellness November 25, 2019. Research reported this year in a supplement to the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences found a lower rate of increase in biologic aging compared to chronologic aging among individuals participating in a wellness program.

    Biologic age is estimated from molecular and physiologic measurements and has been suggested to be a better predictor of disease and premature mortality than chronologic age, which is a measure of how many years one has lived.

    Researchers collected data from 3,558 participants in a wellness program that involved individualized coaching on exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress management. Participants were evaluated at one or more time points, during which blood test values and other data were collected to be used in the calculation of biologic age.

    For individuals who had two or more visits, biologic age decreased by an average of 0.16 years for each year of participation in the wellness program. An increase in biologic age in comparison with chronologic age was observed for participants with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, lung infection, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. (Type 2 diabetics had a biologic age that averaged 6.4 years greater than their chronologic age.)

    When blood test values were evaluated, hemoglobin A1c, a marker of inflammation, was the strongest predictor of an increase in biologic age. In addition to inflammation, toxin exposure also predicted increased biologic age. Higher levels of DHEA sulfate proved to be a predictor of lower biologic age in men and women.

    “We observed a significantly lower rate of change than the expected approximate one year/year in biologic age for individuals participating in a wellness program,” the authors write. “This observation suggests that biologic age is modifiable and suggests that a lower biologic age relative to chronologic age may be a sign of healthy aging.”

    —D Dye

     

    Cells sense omega-3 to improve fat storage

    Cells sense omega-3 to improve fat storage November 22, 2019. A report appearing on November 21, 2019 in Cell describes how a flagellum that extends from most cells detects the presence of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that act as signaling molecules to initiate the formation of new cells to store fat. Without this formation, fat is stored in existing cells that become larger. Larger cells are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and inflammation. "What you want is more, small fat cells rather than fewer, large fat cells," explained senior author Peter Jackson, PhD. "A large fat cell is not a healthy fat cell. The center is farther away from an oxygen supply, it sends out bad signals and it can burst and release toxic contents."

    Before single-celled organisms evolved into multicellular organisms, flagella extending from the cell body enabled them to move in the ocean and sense their surroundings. While evolution into multicellular organisms was accompanied by a loss of most flagella, the majority of cells retained a single flagellum known as the primary cilium which is used as an antenna to pick up signals.

    A search for the signal detected by the primary cilium led to omega-3 fatty acids. Binding of omega-3 to the FFAR4 receptor on the cilia of fat stem cells causes the cells to divide, resulting in more cells to store energy. Blockage of FFAR4 receptor signaling or the presence of saturated fat were shown to result in the storage of fat in pre-existing cells.

    "When we saw that the cell was responding to omega-3 fatty acids, we realized that this had changed from just a molecular biology story to a story showing the molecular biology of how diet controls stem cells," Dr Jackson stated.

    "What we are showing is the importance of stem cell activity in creating new fat cells as being critical for the body's energy management," coauthor Carl Johnson added.

    —D Dye

     

    Fish oil may help omega-3 deficient children with ADHD

    Fish oil may help omega-3 deficient children with ADHD November 20, 2019. A trial reported on November 20, 2019 in Translational Psychiatry found that supplementation with fish oil was associated with improved attention and vigilance among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who had low omega-3 blood levels.

    “Our results suggest that fish oil supplements are at least as effective as conventional pharmacological treatments among those children with ADHD who have omega-3 deficiency,” stated first author Jane Chang.

    Ninety-two Taiwanese children with ADHD were randomized to receive a high dose of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or a placebo for 12 weeks. Blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were measured before and after the treatment period.

    At the trial’s conclusion, red blood cell levels of EPA averaged 60% higher in children who received it. Children with low levels of EPA at the beginning of the trial demonstrated more focused attention and vigilance in association with supplementation. Effects associated with EPA supplementation among deficient children were greater than those which have been associated with the drug methylphenidate (Ritalin).

    “The omega-3 supplements only worked in children that had lower levels of EPA in their blood, as if the intervention was replenishing a lack of this important nutrient,” stated senior author Carmine Pariante. “For those children with omega-3 deficiency, fish oil supplements could be a preferable option to standard stimulant treatments. Our study sets an important precedent for other nutritional interventions, and we can start bringing the benefits of 'personalized psychiatry' to children with ADHD.”

    “It is possible that EPA deficiency is more common among children with ADHD in countries with less fish consumption, such as in North America and many countries in Europe, and that fish oil supplementation could therefore have more widespread benefits for treating the condition than in our study,” researcher Kuan-Pin Su added.

    —D Dye

     

    Higher omega-3 levels associated with lower cardiovascular event risk

    Higher omega-3 levels associated with lower cardiovascular event risk November 18, 2019. Results of studies conducted by researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute, which were reported on November 17 at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, add evidence to a protective effect for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids against the risk of cardiovascular events and lack of an impact of omega-3 on the risk of prostate cancer.

    The first study included 894 patients scheduled to undergo coronary angiography to evaluate blood flow in the hearts’ arteries. Although the subjects had no history of coronary artery disease or heart attack, 40% were found to have severe heart disease and 10% had three vessel disease. Plasma levels of omega-3 metabolites including EPA and DHA were measured prior to follow-up

    The researchers observed an association between higher plasma levels of omega-3 and a lower risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke or death during follow-up, regardless of the presence of severe disease. "This study is important because we looked at how omega-3 helps patients who have already developed disease, and its effects on survival - both in getting to the first angiography to be diagnosed (vs. having a heart attack or worse before even knowing they have heart disease) and thereafter," stated lead researcher Viet T. Le.

    In the second study, 87 men with prostate cancer and 149 men who did not have the disease were tested for plasma EPA and DHA. The study failed to find an increased risk of prostate cancer in association with omega-3 levels, as was suggested by a 2013 study.

    "If I'm recommending omega-3 for my patients to save their hearts, I want to make sure I'm not putting them at risk for prostate cancer," Le commented. "Our study found no evidence of a link between the two."

    —D Dye

     

    Depression linked with lower fruit and vegetable intake among older men and women

    Depression linked with lower fruit and vegetable intake among older men and women November 15, 2019. An article appearing on November 6, 2019 in BMC Psychiatry reports protective effects for the intake of fruit, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids against the risk of depression.

    The study included 27,162 men and women between the ages of 45 to 85 years who participated in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Demographic data, depression, physical health, dietary intake and other factors were assessed upon enrollment. Subjects born outside of Canada accounted for 13.7% of the study population.

    The study found a greater likeliness of depression among immigrant women in comparison with Canadian-born subjects. For men, being in a relationship, having a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, calcium and high vitamin D sources, as well as other factors were protective against the condition. Chronic pain, stage 1 hypertension, low intake of fruit and vegetables, and other factors were associated with a greater risk of depression among women. Among all subjects, depression was associated with low grip strength and high nutritional risk as defined by responses to a standardized assessment tool (AB SCREEN™ II).

    The authors remark that fruit and vegetables contain magnesium, zinc and selenium that may help reduce inflammation, which is associated with depression. Additionally, fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants that decrease the effects of oxidative stress on psychological health.

    "We were interested to learn that omega-3 polyunsaturated fats were inversely associated with depression among men." commented coauthor Yu Lung, of the University of Toronto. "Future research is needed to explore the pathways but it is plausible that increased omega-3 fatty acid concentration in the diet may influence central nervous system cell-membrane fluidity, and phospholipid composition, which may alter the structure and function of the embedded proteins and affect serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission."

    —D Dye

     

    Omega-3 fatty acids benefit hospital patients

    Omega-3 fatty acids benefit hospital patients November 13, 2019. A review and meta-analysis reported on June 27, 2019 in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition concluded that the administration of parenteral nutrition solutions enriched with omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of infection and shorter hospital stays compared to standard solutions.

    Parenteral nutrition describes intravenous feeding in which lipid-based solutions deliver nutrients to patients who are unable to obtain adequate nutrition by consuming food. Earlier solutions were based on omega-6 fatty acids; however, concerns regarding a risk of increased inflammation in association with greater intake of omega-6 resulted in the development of formulas that contain medium-chain triglycerides, olive oil and fish oil.

    Researchers selected 49 randomized trials that compared the effects of parenteral nutrition enhanced with omega-3 to standard lipid emulsions among a total of 3,641 patients. Among 24 trials that investigated the effects of the solutions on infection, the risk was 40% lower among participants who received omega-3 enriched parenteral nutrition, and for the nine trials that evaluated sepsis, the risk was 56% lower. Analysis of ten trials that included data concerning intensive care unit stays found an average reduction of 1.95 days in association with omega-3 and among 26 trials that reported the length of hospital stays, a 2.14-day reduction occurred. A nonsignificant 16% reduction in mortality during the trials was revealed among participants who received an omega-3 enriched solution.

    “To the best of our knowledge, the current systematic review and meta-analysis is the largest conducted to date on this subject,” the authors announced. “This meta-analysis confirms and extends previous results in greater numbers of patients and clinical trials, providing greater precision. It provides clear evidence that omega-3 fatty-acid enriched PN provides significant clinical and nonclinical benefits over standard non-omega-3 fatty-acid enriched PN in adult hospitalized patients.”

    —D Dye

     

    Nutrient supplements save children’s lives

    Nutrient supplements save children’s lives November 11, 2019. Results from a meta-analysis reported on November 7, 2019 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adds evidence to an association between lipid-based nutrient supplementation and a lower risk of death among young children. The analysis is the first to evaluate the supplements’ effects on mortality.

    Common causes of death among this age group are respiratory illnesses and diarrhea. "These diseases are rarely fatal in places like the United States because the children are well nourished," noted first author Christine Stewart of the University of California, Davis.

    For the primary analysis, Dr Stewart and colleagues selected 18 randomized trials that included a total of 34,051 children between the ages of six months to two years. The trials evaluated the effects of lipid-based nutrient supplements that provided micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (calories, protein and essential fatty acids), designed for the prevention or treatment of malnutrition during transition from breastfeeding. "Picture a tiny package of fortified peanut butter that only has 100 calories," Dr Stewart explained. "It's enough to spread on a single piece of bread or it can be mixed with other foods."

    The analysis found a 27% lower risk of death from any cause among children who received the supplements compared with those who did not receive them. "The results show supplements could have effects beyond just preventing stunting, wasting and malnutrition," commented Dr Stewart. "From these data, we estimate that for every 227 children who receive the supplements for at least six months, one child death can be prevented. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of child mortality. This study really reiterates that."

    "It is encouraging to see that this intervention can reduce deaths after the age of 6 months, as there are few effective strategies beyond that age," senior author Kathryn Dewey added.

    —D Dye

     

    How vitamin D slows melanoma growth

    How vitamin D slows melanoma growth November 8, 2019. Results from an investigation reported on November 5, 2019 in Cancer Research found that vitamin D affects a signaling pathway in melanoma cells to slow growth and metastasis.

    “Higher serum vitamin D is associated with thinner primary melanoma and better outcome, although a causal mechanism has not been established,” wrote Sathya Muralidhar and colleagues. “As melanoma patients commonly avoid sun exposure, and consequent vitamin D deficiency might worsen outcomes, we interrogated 703 primary melanoma transcriptomes to understand the role of vitamin D-VCR [vitamin D receptor] signaling and replicated the findings in The Cancer Genome Atlas metastases.”

    They found that vitamin D receptor expression was protective against death from melanoma in primary and metastatic disease. Greater expression of vitamin D receptors in tumors was associated with upregulation of pathways that affect antitumor immunity and downregulation of proliferative pathways, including Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.

    Increasing the vitamin D receptor in melanoma cells implanted into mice slowed the growth of these cells and lowered the risk of metastasis to the lungs.

    "After years of research, we finally know how vitamin D works with VDR to influence the behavior of melanoma cells by reducing activity of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway,” commented senior author Julia Newton-Bishop of the University of Leeds. “This new puzzle piece will help us better understand how melanoma grows and spreads, and hopefully find new targets to control it.”

    "But what's really intriguing, is that we can now see how vitamin D might help the immune system fight cancer,” she added. “We know when the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is active in melanoma, it can dampen down the immune response causing fewer immune cells to reach the inside of the tumor, where they could potentially fight the cancer better.”

    —D Dye

     

    Trial finds soy isoflavones, vitamin D3 benefit women with irritable bowel syndrome

    Trial finds soy isoflavones, vitamin D3 benefit women with irritable bowel syndrome November 6, 2019. The December 2019 issue of the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN published the findings of a reduction in markers of inflammation and intestinal permeability among women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who supplemented with soy isoflavones and vitamin D3.

    The trial included 100 female IBS patients who received 40 milligrams soy isoflavones plus a placebo, vitamin D plus a placebo, soy isoflavones plus vitamin D, or two placebo supplements for six weeks. Plasma markers of inflammation, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-kB), total antioxidant capacity, and fecal serine protease activity, a marker of gut hyperpermeability, were measured before and after the treatment period.

    At the end of the study, plasma TNF-a levels were significantly lower among participants who received soy plus vitamin D or soy plus a placebo compared to women who received both placebos. Nuclear factor-kappa beta and fecal serine protease enzyme activity levels were significantly lower in all treatment groups in comparison with the placebo group. A trend toward higher total antioxidant capacity levels was observed among both groups that received soy.

    “To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial to investigate the effect of soy and vitamin D alone and in combination on inflammatory markers, antioxidant status and gut permeability on patients with IBS in order to elucidate some molecular mechanisms of action,” Mahsa Jalili of Norwegian University of Science and Technology and colleagues announce. “Although supplementation with soy or vitamin D alone can improve the biomarkers significantly, the effect of coadministration is higher than those supplements separately. Future research could clarify the efficacy of these supplements by investigating a longer period or different doses, or could incorporate biopsy sampling of investigation of different TNF-a single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).”

    —D Dye

     

    Aspirin could reduce rate of aneurysm growth

    Aspirin could reduce rate of aneurysm growth November 4, 2019. Research reported on October 29, 2019 in the Journal of Neurosurgery documented an association between aspirin therapy and a reduction in the rate of growth of intracranial aneurysms, a condition characterized by a weakened arterial wall that bulges outward. Compared to smaller aneurysms, larger lesions are at greater risk of rupturing, resulting in potentially lethal subarachnoid hemorrhages (bleeding within the brain). Due to risks associated with surgical intervention, small aneurysms of less than 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter are often left untreated and are monitored for growth with periodic imaging.

    Mario Zanaty, MD, of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and colleagues retrospectively evaluated data from 146 patients with multiple intracranial aneurysms whose primary lesions had been treated by surgical or endovascular methods and whose remaining small lesions were being monitored for at least five years following initial treatment. Medical history, including aspirin therapy that was defined as the use of at least 81 milligrams per day, was obtained from medical records. 

    During follow-up, 10.48% of 229 aneurysms grew in size and were treated. Subjects who were aspirin users had an 81% lower risk of aneurysm growth compared with nonusers. High blood pressure, drug abuse, a history of polycystic kidney disease and history of ruptured aneurysm were associated with significantly greater rates of growth.

    "This study is very promising, as it outlines for the first time the potential therapeutic effect of aspirin in decreasing aneurysm growth,” announced senior author David M. Hasan, MD, of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ Department of Neurosurgery. “If proven in a larger study, this could offer the first, cheap, effective over-the-counter therapeutic agent that could halt aneurysm growth and prevent rupture. Many people around the world could benefit from this."

    —D Dye

     

    Vitamin D linked to gut flora diversity

    Vitamin D linked to gut flora diversity November 1, 2019. A study reported on October 24, 2019 in Frontiers in Microbiology suggests that vitamin D beneficially affects the human gut microbiome. "In this study we show exciting new data that ultraviolet B light is able to modulate the composition of the gut microbiome in humans, putatively through the synthesis of vitamin D," reported researcher Bruce Vallance of the University of British Columbia.

    The investigation included nine women who were using vitamin D supplements during the winter prior to the study and twelve women who had not used vitamin D. Participants received three one-minute UVB exposure sessions during one week. Stool and blood samples collected before and after the sessions were respectively analyzed for gut bacteria composition and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

    Exposure to UVB was associated with an increase in gut microbiome diversity among participants who had not consumed vitamin D supplements during the prior winter. "Prior to UVB exposure, these women had a less diverse and balanced gut microbiome than those taking regular vitamin D supplements," Professor Vallance explained. "UVB exposure boosted the richness and evenness of their microbiome to levels indistinguishable from the supplemented group, whose microbiome was not significantly changed."

    The greatest improvement observed in stool composition was in the number of Lachnospiraceae bacteria. "Previous studies have linked Lachnospiraceae abundance to host vitamin D status," Professor Vallance noted. "We too found a correlation with blood vitamin D levels, which increased following UVB exposure."

    The authors announced that “This is the first study to show that humans with low 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels display overt changes in their intestinal microbiome in response to NB-UVB skin exposure and increases in 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, suggesting the existence of a novel skin-gut axis that could be used to promote intestinal homeostasis and health.”

    —D Dye

     

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