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.

 

  • Folic acid supplementation could counteract effects of sleep deprivation
  • Greater flavonol intake associated with lower Alzheimer risk
  • Supplementing with vitamin D associated with lower blood pressure in overweight children
  • Intermittent fasting benefits associated with ketogenesis
  • More evidence for vitamin C in the treatment of septic shock
  • Resveratrol improves blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c in type 1 diabetics
  • Fish oil supplementation associated with better testicular function
  • Meta-analysis supports the use of quercetin for high blood pressure
  • CoQ10 improves statin tolerability in randomized trial
  • Aspirin shows promise as colorectal cancer treatment
  • Tea drinkers live longer
  • Analysis suggests vitamin D supplementation may improve survival in p53-positive digestive tract cancer
  • Pycnogenol® supplementation improves ED, lipids
  • Intermittent fasting benefits associated with ketogenesis
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    Folic acid supplementation could counteract effects of sleep deprivation

    Folic acid supplementation could counteract effects of sleep deprivation January 31 2020. Research reported on December 17, 2019 in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity demonstrated a role for the B vitamin folic acid in the suppression of telomere damage and senescence-associated inflammation induced by sleep deprivation.

    Researchers at Tianjin Medical University in China fed mice diets that were deficient in folic acid or supplemented with folic acid for 78 days before a seven-day period during which the animals were deprived of sleep for 20 hours per day. Control groups of mice were maintained in non-sleep deprived conditions. Reactive oxygen species, superoxide dismutase (SOD), markers of inflammation and other markers associated with senescence, and telomere length were measured before and after the seven-day period.

    Compared to non-sleep deprived mice, deprived animals exhibited higher levels of reactive oxygen species indicating increased oxidative stress, lower levels of SOD, increased blood levels of markers of senescence-associated secretory phenotype and shorter telomeres which were reversed, in part, by supplementing with folic acid.

    “To our surprise, the secretion of senescence-associated cytokines and telomere damage are greatly improved by folic acid supplementation in mice,” Xiaoning Zhang and colleagues remarked.

    An additional investigation involving 98 men and women revealed longer telomeres in both good and poor sleepers who had higher serum folate levels in comparison with good and poor sleepers who had lower levels of the vitamin.

    “To our knowledge, this is the first study showing that folic acid could help resolve the sleep deprivation-induced aging-related phenotype change and could thus provide a major advance in the understanding of the function of folic acid,” the authors announced. “We conclude that folic acid supplementation could be used to effectively counteract sleep deprivation-induced telomere dysfunction and the associated aging phenotype, which may potentially improve the prognosis of sleeplessness disorder patients.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Greater flavonol intake associated with lower Alzheimer risk

    Greater flavonol intake associated with lower Alzheimer risk January 29 2020. An article appearing on January 29, 2020 in the journal Neurology® reported an association between consuming more plant compounds known as flavonols and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Flavonols include isorhamnetin, kaempferol, myricetin and quercetin which are found in vegetables and fruits, as well as in tea.

    The study included 921 participants whose age averaged 81 years. The subjects did not have Alzheimer disease at the beginning of the study. Questionnaires completed upon enrollment and each year thereafter during a six-year average follow-up period provided data on dietary intake that was analyzed for flavonol content. Participants were evaluated each year for the presence of Alzheimer's disease. Over the course of follow-up, 220 individuals developed the disease.

    The participants were divided into five groups according to their level of flavonol intake. Among those whose intake was highest at an average of 15.3 milligrams per day, 15% developed Alzheimer's disease compared to 30% whose intake was lowest at approximately 5.3 milligrams per day, resulting in a 48% lower adjusted risk during follow-up. When flavonol types were examined, subjects whose isorhamnetin, kaempferol and myricetin intake were highest had 38%, 51% and 38% lower risks of developing Alzheimer disease in comparison with a low intake.

    "More research is needed to confirm these results, but these are promising findings," stated study author Thomas M. Holland, MD, of Rush University. "Eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea could be a fairly inexpensive and easy way for people to help stave off Alzheimer's dementia. With the elderly population increasing worldwide, any decrease in the number of people with this devastating disease, or even delaying it for a few years, could have an enormous benefit on public health."

    —D Dye

     

     

    Supplementing with vitamin D associated with lower blood pressure in overweight children

    Supplementing with vitamin D associated with lower blood pressure in overweight children January 27 2020. An article that appeared on January 17, 2020 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a reduction in blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity among overweight children who received a high dose vitamin D supplement.

    "Current recommendations for taking vitamin D are pegged to optimal bone health," noted lead author Kumaravel Rajakumar, MD, MS, who is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "But we know vitamin D is involved in more than building healthy bones. It can turn on and off genes that direct our cells to regulate blood glucose levels, and immune and vascular function."

    The randomized trial included 225 overweight or obese children between the ages of 10 to 18 years who were deficient in vitamin D. Participants received 600 international units (IU), 1,000 IU or 2,000 IU vitamin D daily for six months. Blood pressure, endothelial function, arterial stiffness and various blood values that included glucose and insulin were measured before the treatment period and at three and six months.

    While endothelial function and arterial stiffness remained unchanged, children who received 1,000 IU vitamin D had lower central-systolic, central-diastolic and systemic-diastolic blood pressure at six months in comparison with participants who received the recommended daily allowance of 600 IU vitamin D. Insulin sensitivity was improved at three and six months among those who received 2,000 IU vitamin D. “Treatment of vitamin D deficiency with these higher daily doses can have a positive impact on cardiometabolic health of children, without negative side effects,” Dr Rajakumar stated.

    “Our findings suggest that vitamin D status optimization, through its beneficial effects on blood pressure and glucose homeostasis, may have a primary preventive role in improving the long-term cardiovascular health of overweight and obese children,” the authors concluded.

    —D Dye

     

     

    More evidence for vitamin C in the treatment of septic shock

    More evidence for vitamin C in the treatment of septic shock January 24 2020. An article published on January 9, 2020 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reports the outcome of a study that contributes further evidence to a benefit for vitamin C in the treatment of septic shock, a systemic response to infection that causes low blood pressure and organ failure.

    The retrospective study included 43 children treated for septic shock with the steroid drug hydrocortisone, 43 children with septic shock treated with hydrocortisone plus intravenous vitamin C and thiamin (vitamin B1), and a control group that consisted of 43 patients of a similar clinical profile who received neither treatment. After 30 days, 30% of the children who received hydrocortisone and 28% of the control subjects died, while those who received the vitamins in addition to hydrocortisone experienced 9% mortality. And at 90 days, 14% of the subjects who received the combination treatment had died, compared to 37% who received hydrocortisone alone and 35% of the control group.

    "We were surprised and excited to see a substantial reduction in mortality after treating septic shock in children with a high dose of vitamin C combined with vitamin B1 and hydrocortisone," commented lead author Eric Wald, MD, MSCI, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "While based on a retrospective analysis, our results are especially compelling in that they are very similar to the positive outcomes found in a recent randomized controlled trial of vitamin C treatment for septic shock in adults."

    "While it is still unclear why vitamin C appears to reduce mortality from septic shock and we need to dig deeper to understand the mechanism, our results are incredibly promising," he added. "We hope to encourage larger, multicenter studies in children with septic shock to confirm our data."

    —D Dye

     

     

    Resveratrol improves blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c in type 1 diabetics

    Resveratrol improves blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c in type 1 diabetics January 22 2020. Findings from a preliminary trial reported on January 6, 2020 in Nutrients revealed benefits associated with resveratrol supplementation in participants with type 1 diabetes.

    The trial included 13 patients aged 12 to 45 years who were being treated for type 1 diabetes with insulin, with or without oral antidiabetic medications. Participants received 500 milligrams resveratrol twice daily for the duration of the 60-day trial. Fasting blood samples collected at the beginning of the study and at 30 and 60 days were analyzed for glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (a marker of long-term glucose control), total antioxidant capacity, malondialdehyde (a marker of oxidative stress) and other factors.

    At the end of the trial, hemoglobin A1c levels averaged 7.74% in comparison with pretreatment levels of 8.26%. Fasting glucose, which averaged 253.69 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before the treatment period, declined to 199.92 mg/dL after 30 days and 174.38 mg/dL after 60 days. Total antioxidant capacity significantly increased and malondialdehyde levels significantly decreased after 60 days of treatment.

    “In this exploratory clinical trial, we demonstrated for the first time that short-term treatment with resveratrol could decrease the levels of fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in young adult type 1 diabetes patients managed with insulin therapy,” authors Ali Movahed and colleagues announced. “The reduction in these parameters was achieved on top of the recommended insulin treatment without any adverse effects.”

    “The addition of resveratrol to insulin therapy in type 1 diabetes patients resulted in a significant and rapid reduction in the level of fasting blood sugar with a concomitant reduction in hemoglobin A1c and oxidative stress,” they concluded. “These observations warrant a detailed investigation as to the potential of resveratrol for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in future prospective randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trials.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Fish oil supplementation associated with better testicular function

    Fish oil supplementation associated with better testicular function January 20 2020. An article published in the January 2020 issue of JAMA Network Open reported the findings of a study which uncovered an association between the use of fish oil supplements and improved testicular function. The discovery could aid the estimated 15% of couples affected by infertility, which is caused by the male partner in many cases.

    “To our knowledge, no studies on the association of intake of omega-3 fatty acids supplements with semen quality among healthy men from the general population have been performed,” announced Tina Kold Jensen, PhD, and colleagues.

    The study included 1,679 Danish men of a median age of 18.9 years, among whom 475 reported using supplements during the three months prior to their participation in the study. Subjects received physical examinations and reproductive hormone and sperm analysis, and completed health, lifestyle and diet questionnaires that included queries concerning supplement use during the previous 60 days.

    Among the 98 men who reported using fish oil supplements, 53 used fish oil for 60 days or more. Fish oil users had larger testes, higher semen volume, greater sperm count, lower levels of the hormones follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), and a higher ratio of free testosterone to LH in comparison with men who did not use supplements. Using fish oil for more than 60 days was associated with greater semen volume and total sperm count, and larger testes compared to men who used fish oil for less than 60 days. Two percent of those who supplemented with fish oil had semen parameters below WHO reference limits in comparison with 7.5% of non-supplementers.

    “These findings suggest that intake of fish oil supplements was associated with better testicular function,” the authors concluded.

    —D Dye

     

     

    Meta-analysis supports the use of quercetin for high blood pressure

    Meta-analysis supports the use of quercetin for high blood pressure January 17 2020. A meta-analysis published on January 6, 2020 in Nutrition Reviews concluded a beneficial role for quercetin supplementation in people with high blood pressure.

    Quercetin is a flavonoid found in apples, onions, tea and other plant foods. “Accumulating evidence has shown that ingestion of quercetin or quercetin-rich foods confers a wide range of health-promoting effects such as anticoagulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, and antihyperglycemic activities and has positive effects on disorders of lipid metabolism,” write Haohai Huang of Dongguang Third People's Hospital in China and colleagues.

    The meta-analysis included 17 randomized, double-blinded trials that involved a total of 886 participants, many of whom had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Trials compared the effects of quercetin or a quercetin-rich extract to a placebo or no treatment for periods ranging from two to 12 weeks. In addition to blood pressure, plasma lipids and glucose and/or insulin were measured at the beginning and end of the studies.

    Pooled results of 13 treatment arms revealed a significant association between quercetin supplementation and reduced blood pressure. Quercetin administration was associated with a 3.09 mmHg average reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 2.86 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure. A decrease in triglycerides and increase in HDL cholesterol levels was observed among participants who consumed quercetin for eight or more weeks.

    “The results of this meta-analysis indicate that quercetin has the ability to lower blood pressure without causing any significant adverse effects and may have the ability to significantly reduce triglycerides,” the authors concluded. “Moreover, quercetin consumption significantly increased HDL cholesterol levels in cohorts that consumed quercetin for longer periods (greater than or equal to 8 weeks) and in trials with a parallel design. Quercetin consumption may be an effective dietary modality to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in humans.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    CoQ10 improves statin tolerability in randomized trial

    CoQ10 improves statin tolerability in randomized trial January 15 2020. Results from a randomized trial reported on October 21, 2019 in Drug Design, Development and Therapy indicate a potential protective effect for supplementation with the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) against side effects induced by statin drugs that would otherwise render treatment intolerable. The finding could help enable the use of the drugs by statin-intolerant individuals who have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

    The study included 60 participants aged 18 years and older with unhealthy LDL levels and statin-associated muscle pain. Statin intolerance was determined by an increase in patient levels of the enzyme creatine phosphokinase (CPK, which rises during muscle damage) and/or an elevation in liver enzymes known as transaminases and/or the onset of muscle pain and other symptoms.

    Participants' statin use was discontinued for a month followed by the reintroduction of half the previous statin dose plus 100 milligrams CoQ10 or a placebo daily for three months. Questionnaires concerning pain symptoms were administered at the beginning of the study and at one and three months.

    CoQ10 levels were higher at the end of three months among participants that received the coenzyme in comparison with the placebo group and pretreatment levels. Pain scores were lower in the CoQ10 group at the end of the study, while remaining essentially the same among those who received the placebo. Higher plasma levels of CoQ10 were associated with lower CPK levels among participants who received the supplement.

     “The addition of CoQ10 with half dosage statin in patients with previous intolerance to statins improves the perception of clinical symptoms such as asthenia, myalgia or pain,” authors Giuseppe Derosa and colleagues concluded. “CoQ10 was safe and effective in preventing the worsening of the lipid profile that would be expected with a reduced dosage of statin.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Aspirin shows promise as colorectal cancer treatment

    Aspirin shows promise as colorectal cancer treatment January 13 2020. The results of research reported on January 6, 2020 in Carcinogenesis add evidence to a protective effect for aspirin against colorectal cancer.

    "Some might say aspirin is a 'miracle drug' because of its potential to prevent diseases that result from chronic inflammation, such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and arthritis," senior author Ajay Goel, PhD, remarked. “We are getting closer to discovering the right amount of daily aspirin needed to treat and prevent colorectal cancer without causing scary side effects."

    Tumors generated from four colorectal cancer cell lines with and without microsatellite instability (which describes a predisposition to mutation) and PIK3CA gene mutations (associated with a greater risk of cancers of the colon) were implanted into 432 mice that were given 15 mg/kg, 50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg or no aspirin daily for two weeks. (The aspirin doses were the equivalent of 100 mg, 300 mg and 600 mg human doses.) The researchers observed a dose-dependent decrease in cell division rate and an increase in cell death rates in association with the administration of aspirin in all cell lines. The effect of aspirin on tumor cell proliferation rate was greater in tumors derived from cells with PIK3CA mutations than in those without the mutations. The percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis (programmed cell death) increased with the amount of aspirin consumed.

    “A computational model of 3D-tumor growth suggests that the growth inhibitory effect of aspirin on the tumor growth kinetics is due to a reduction of tumor colony formation, and that this effect is sufficiently strong to be an important contributor to the reduction of colorectal cancer incidence in aspirin-treated patients,” the authors wrote. “In conclusion, we provide a detailed kinetics of aspirin-mediated inhibition of tumor cell proliferation, which support the epidemiological data for the observed protective effect of aspirin in colorectal cancer patients.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Tea drinkers live longer

    Tea drinkers live longer January 10 2020. On January 8, 2020, the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reported the findings of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences of an association between tea drinking and longer life.

    The study included 100,902 participants in the China-PAR project2 who had no history of cancer, heart attack or stroke upon enrollment. Participants who consumed tea at least three times per week were categorized as habitual tea drinkers and those who consumed the beverage less than three times a week were designated as nonhabitual tea drinkers. Subjects were followed for a median of 7.3 years during which the incidence of cancer, heart disease and stroke, or death from any cause was documented.

    Habitual tea drinkers had a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke, a 22% lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and a 15% lower risk of mortality from any cause during follow-up in comparison with nonhabitual tea drinkers. In a subset of 14,081 participants who were assessed at the beginning and end of an 8.2-year average period, habitual tea drinkers who maintained their level of tea consumption over time had a 39% lower risk of heart disease and stroke, a 56% lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke and a 29% lower risk of all-cause mortality during the 5.3-year median follow-up period after the second survey.

    “Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term,” noted senior author Dongfeng Gu. “Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardioprotective effect."

    "In our study population, 49% of habitual tea drinkers consumed green tea most frequently, while only 8% preferred black tea,” she added. “The small proportion of habitual black tea drinkers might make it more difficult to observe robust associations, but our findings hint at a differential effect between tea types."

    —D Dye

     

     

    Analysis suggests vitamin D supplementation may improve survival in p53-positive digestive tract cancer

    Analysis suggests vitamin D supplementation may improve survival in p53-positive digestive tract cancer January 08 2020. Results from an ad hoc analysis of the AMATERASU trial reported on December 23, 2019 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention have provided evidence in support of the hypothesis that supplementing with vitamin D could improve relapse-free survival among individuals with p53-positive cancer of the digestive tract. Tumor protein p53 is the gene that is the most frequently mutated among all cancers and is considered “the guardian of the genome” due to its tumor suppressor effect.

    The AMATERASU randomized trial compared the effects of supplementation with 2,000 international units (IU) vitamin D to a placebo in 417 patients treated with surgery for cancers of the digestive tract. Although initial analysis of five-year survival reported last year in JAMA did not find a significant difference between the groups, JAMA editorialists noted that “The study had a treatment allocation imbalance for age, and post hoc age-adjusted analysis revealed a statistically significant benefit in favor of supplementation.”

    The current analysis sought to determine whether patient cancer tissue differences in p53, the vitamin D receptor and Ki-67, a protein associated with cellular proliferation, modified the effect of vitamin D supplementation on digestive cancer risk. Among 226 patients with p53 mutations, five-year relapse free survival was 79% among those who received vitamin D in comparison with 57% in the placebo group, while relapse-free survival did not significantly differ among those without the mutations. No significant effect modification by the vitamin D receptor or Ki-67 was observed.

    “These results generate a hypothesis that vitamin D supplementation may improve relapse-free survival in patients with p53-positive digestive tract cancer,” Taisuke Akutsu of Jikei University School of Medicine and colleagues concluded.

    —D Dye

     

     

    Pycnogenol® supplementation improves ED, lipids

    Pycnogenol® supplementation improves ED, lipids January 06 2020. A randomized trial reported in 2019 in Bratislava Medical Journal resulted in improvement in erectile dysfunction (ED) and lipid levels in men who received Pycnogenol®, an extract of French maritime pine bark that has antioxidant and other properties.

    Thirty-two men with ED and diabetes and 21 nondiabetic men with ED received a placebo or 120 milligrams Pycnogenol® daily for three months. The men's age averaged 49 years and time since ED diagnosis ranged from 2-57 months. Participants consumed a standard diet and did not consume other supplements with antioxidant properties during the trial. Blood samples collected at the beginning of the study, at one and three months, and a month after discontinuation of the treatments were analyzed for lipids, glucose and other factors. Erectile function was evaluated by responses to International Index of Erectile Function questionnaires completed prior to the treatment period and at one, two, three and four months.

    While nondiabetics' improvement in erectile function at three months averaged 22%, diabetic participants who received Pycnogenol® improved by 45%, which changed their status from severe to moderate ED. The placebo group experienced no significant changes. Total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) improved in both diabetic and nondiabetic subjects that received Pycnogenol®, with a greater benefit among the diabetics. Glucose also improved among the treated diabetic group.

    Authors B. Trebaticky and colleagues at Comenius University and Bratislava University Hospital remarked that Pycnogenol® has antioxidant effects as well as an ability to inhibit nuclear factor-kappa beta (involved in inflammation), cyclooxygenase (also involved in inflammation) and angiotensin converting enzyme (which increases blood pressure). It also has blood glucose-lowering effects.

    “Pycnogenol® seems to have a beneficial effect on treatment of ED especially in patients with diabetes mellitus,” they concluded. “This needs to be verified by larger placebo-controlled studies and longer treatment endpoints.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Intermittent fasting benefits associated with ketogenesis

    Intermittent fasting benefits associated with ketogenesis January 03 2020. The December 26, 2019 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine published a review by Rafael de Cabo, PhD, and Mark P. Mattson, PhD, that provided scientific support for intermittent fasting, a practice associated with the benefits of calorie restriction.

    Intermittent fasting can involve the restriction of food intake to a limited period of time, such as between six to eight hours per day, alternate day fasting, or a 5:2 pattern in which food intake is restricted to one meal per day for two days of the week, allowing healthy eating during the remaining five days. It has been found that diets that reduce calorie intake on at least one day per week are associated with elevated levels of ketone bodies used for fuel. This metabolic switch to the use of ketones for fuel results in several health benefits.

    Earlier research attributed calorie restriction's benefits to a reduction in damaging oxygen free radical production. While this may be one of the diet's positive effects, researchers failed to take into account that the rodents in the studies can have a daily fasting period of up to 20 hours due to consumption of their daily food allotment within a couple hours of receiving it, which stimulates ketogenesis.

    "We are at a transition point where we could soon consider adding information about intermittent fasting to medical school curricula alongside standard advice about healthy diets and exercise," Dr Mattson stated. While he observed that ‘some people are unable or unwilling to adhere’ to fasting regimens, he believes that most men and women can adapt to the technique. "Patients should be advised that feeling hungry and irritable is common initially and usually passes after two weeks to a month as the body and brain become accustomed to the new habit," he noted.

    —D Dye

     

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