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.


  • Increased biomarker level of flavanol intake linked with lower blood pressure
  • Coffee, green tea consumption associated with lower mortality risk among diabetics during five-year period
  • Dietary supplementation boosts exercise benefits in Air Force study
  • Vitamin K levels lower in stroke patients
  • Long term care residents missing out on vitamin D
  • Amino acids, creatine, HMB supplementation associated with greater muscle gains
  • Research suggests that a form of glucosamine could help MS patients
  • Protective stress response associated with increased iodide levels
  • Higher indictors of coffee intake associated with lower Parkinson disease risk
  • Bifidobacteria help manage inflammation


    Increased biomarker level of flavanol intake linked with lower blood pressure

    Increased biomarker level of flavanol intake linked with lower blood pressure October 23 2020. On October 21, 2020, Scientific Reports published the finding of a reduction in systolic blood pressure in association with higher levels of a biomarker of flavanol intake. Flavanols are bioactive compounds occurring in plant foods that have been associated with improved vascular function in several studies.

    The study included 25,618 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Norfolk cohort. Measurement of blood pressure and a urine biomarker of the intake of flavan-3-ol revealed a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 1.9 mmHg in men and 2.5 mmHg in women when subjects in the top 10% of biomarker levels were compared with those in the lowest 10%. The improvement was comparable to the effects associated with adherence to a Mediterranean diet or moderate sodium restriction. Hypertensive participants appeared to experience a greater benefit than those with normal pressure.

    "Previous studies of large populations have always relied on self-reported data to draw conclusions, but this is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health,” announced lead researcher Gunter Kuhnle. “We are delighted to see that in our study, there was also a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure.”

    "What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols - found in tea and some fruits - and blood pressure,” he continued. “This research confirms the results from previous dietary intervention studies and shows that the same results can be achieved with a habitual diet rich in flavanols. In the British diet, the main sources are tea, cocoa, apples and berries.”

    "In contrast to self-reported dietary data, nutritional biomarkers can address the huge variability in food composition,” he noted. “We can therefore confidently attribute the associations we observed to flavanol intake."


    —D Dye



    Coffee, green tea consumption associated with lower mortality risk among diabetics during five-year period

    Coffee, green tea consumption associated with lower mortality risk among diabetics during five-year period October 21 2020. Individuals with diabetes who would like to reduce their risk of premature mortality may want to consume more coffee and green tea according to the findings of a study published on October 20, 2020 in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

    The investigation included 2,790 men and 2,133 women participating in The Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, which is a multicenter prospective study designed to examine the effects of drug therapy and lifestyle on the lifespan of people with type 2 diabetes. Questionnaires completed upon enrollment provided information concerning coffee and green tea intake.

    During the five-month average follow-up period, 218 men and 91 women died, mainly from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Consuming one cup of coffee per day was associated with a 19% lower risk of mortality from all causes in comparison with subjects who consumed neither beverage, and drinking two or more cups was associated with a 41% lower risk. Among green tea drinkers, up to one cup daily was associated with a 15% lower mortality risk and two to three cups was associated with a 27% lower risk.

    Subjects who consumed at least two cups of coffee plus two to three cups of green tea daily had a 51% lower risk of death and those who drank two or more cups of coffee plus four or more cups of green tea had a 63% lower risk of dying than those who consumed neither beverage.

    “This prospective cohort study demonstrated that greater consumption of green tea and coffee was significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality: the effects may be additive,” Yuji Komorita and colleagues concluded. “Our results suggest that consuming green tea and coffee may have beneficial effects on the longevity of Japanese people with type 2 diabetes.”


    —D Dye



    Dietary supplementation boosts exercise benefits in Air Force study

    Dietary supplementation boosts exercise benefits in Air Force study October 19 2020. A trial reported on October 19, 2020 in Scientific Reports that evaluated the effects of nutritional supplementation among active duty members of the U.S. Air Force found that the nutrients boosted an exercise program’s physical and mental benefits.

    The double-blind trial included 148 men and women who engaged in a 12-week regimen consisting of aerobics and resistance training five days per week. Seventy participants also received a nutritional drink twice per day that contained protein, carbohydrates and fat, as well as calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), choline, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), folic acid, lutein, magnesium, phospholipids, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D and E. The remainder of the participants received a placebo drink that contained protein, carbohydrates and fat.

    At the end of 12 weeks, exercise alone was associated with improvements in strength and endurance, power, mobility and stability, heart rate, lean muscle mass, episodic memory, processing efficiency, executive function reaction time and fluid intelligence accuracy. Subjects who received the nutritional drink experienced an additional 1.5% gain in lean muscle mass, a 9% improvement in working memory, a 7.75% reduction in fluid intelligence reaction time, and a 2.4% reduction in heart rate compared to the placebo group.

    "It is clear that nutrition is a critical component for developing and maintaining the physical and cognitive performance of the men and women in the U.S. Air Force," commented lead investigator Adam Strang, PhD, of the Air Force Research Laboratory. "This research confirms that a nutritional supplement with the right nutrients can support and facilitate those improvements when paired with balanced exercise training. We hope to use this knowledge now and, in the future, to better prepare them for the complex and diverse mission sets they are facing."


    —D Dye



    Vitamin K levels lower in stroke patients

    Vitamin K levels lower in stroke patients October 16 2020. A study of chronic stroke patients reported on October 6, 2020 in the journal Nutrients revealed that the majority consumed an amount of vitamin K that was below recommended intake levels.

    The study included 60 men and women between the ages of 54 to 68 years who experienced more than six months of residual deficits after the onset of ischemic stroke. Dietary records were analyzed for the intake of vitamin K and other factors. The subjects were divided into groups according to whether their vitamin K consumption met or was below the recommended intake of 120 micrograms (mcg) per day for adult men and 90 mcg for adult women.

    Eighty-two percent of the study subjects reported an inadequate daily intake of vitamin K. An equal percentage of subjects did not report using a multivitamin supplement, most of whom did not meet the recommendation for vitamin K. Subjects who did not supplement their diets with vitamin D and calcium also failed to attain the recommended adequate intake levels of these nutrients. Those whose diet met the adequate intake of vitamin K were likelier to have a greater intake of vegetables, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin E in comparison with those whose intake was lower.

    Authors Chad Wessinger of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues remarked that vitamin K has a role in the prevention of vascular calcification and noted that “The potential relationship between vitamin K intake and cardiometabolic disease introduces vitamin K intake as a conceivable additional measure when assessing chronic stroke survivors’ risk of recurrence.”

    “Due to vitamin K’s potential therapeutic interactions with various diseases, controlled supplementation may be indicated for individuals struggling to consume adequate amounts,” they wrote. “Vitamin K supplementation should be considered as a potential adjuvant therapy to address atherosclerosis.”


    —D Dye



    Long term care residents missing out on vitamin D

    Long term care residents missing out on vitamin D October 14 2020. An article published on October 13, 2020 in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health reveals that many residents of long term care facilities are not receiving vitamin D supplements despite widespread deficiency and nearly three decades of recommendation by the English government.

    To understand this failure, Joseph Williams and Carol Williams of the University of Brighton conducted interviews with workers who had a role in long term residential care. They identified four factors: the perception of vitamin D supplements as medicines that need be recommended by the residents’ physicians, lack of awareness of national recommendations, ethical issues and practical issues. “This study highlights that a gap exists between public health guidance and practice around vitamin D supplementation in the care sector: the professionals involved in the care of elderly residents perceive vitamin D as a medicine rather than a food,” the authors concluded.

    "This research re-emphasises the role of vitamin D in health, an issue that has become even more relevant, given the growing body of evidence, including research published in this journal suggesting that it may help lower the risk of COVID-19 infection and/or ease the severity of symptoms, particularly among those at highest risk,” commented Sumantra Ray, who is the executive director of the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health.

     “We also know that an adequate level of vitamin D is key to the maintenance of good general health, and deficiencies can only be picked up by proactive testing, or when this isn't feasible, by adopting a preventive approach in line with Public Health England guidelines,” stated Shane McAuliffe, of the NNEdPro COVID19 Taskforce. “This means providing those who may not be able to obtain sufficient vitamin D through sunlight alone with vitamin D supplements throughout the year."


    —D Dye



    Amino acids, creatine, HMB supplementation associated with greater muscle gains

    Amino acids, creatine, HMB supplementation associated with greater muscle gains October 12 2020. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on October 8, 2020 in Nutrition Reviews concluded that supplementing with amino acids, creatine, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB, a metabolite of the amino acid leucine) and protein with added amino acids was associated with improvement in muscle mass.

    In their introduction, Aitana Martin-Cantero and colleagues at the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital in Victoria, Australia, in collaboration with Andrea B. Maier of Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam noted that the progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and physical performance defined as sarcopenia is prevalent in up to half of men and women older than 80 years of age. A major contributor to sarcopenia is poor intake of protein and calories, which results in impaired muscle protein synthesis. “The variation in the rates of muscle mass decline among adults is dependent on modifiable lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity,” the authors noted. “Thus, interventions targeting these factors are thought to play an important role in the prevention and management of sarcopenia.”

    For their analysis, the team selected 29 randomized trials that included a total of 2,255 men and women aged 65 years and older who received a nutritional intervention or a placebo. Muscle mass was assessed via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and bioelectrical impedance analysis. Nutritional interventions consisted of essential or nonessential amino acids, different forms of creatine, HMB, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and protein supplementation with or without amino acids or other supplements.

    Overall, nutritional interventions benefitted muscle mass. Pooled summary effects indicated that amino acids, creatine, HMB, and protein plus amino acids had significant positive effects on muscle mass measures. “The findings highlight the potential role of nutrition as a strategy for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia in older age,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Research suggests that a form of glucosamine could help MS patients

    Research suggests that a form of glucosamine could help MS patients October 09 2020. Research findings reported on September 25, 2020 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry suggest a role for N-acetylglucosamine, a form of glucosamine, which is found in the joints and other tissues, against nerve demyelination that characterizes multiple sclerosis (MS).

    Demyelination occurs in several neurologic diseases. Myelin insulates the axons that extend from nerve cells and increases electrical signal conduction speed between neurons.

    A team led by Michael Demetriou, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), who is professor of neurology, microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of California School of Medicine, found that N-acetylglucosamine prevented neuro-axonal damage in adult mice with demyelination induced by a toxin. Giving oral N-acetylglucosamine to lactating mice increased myelination in their newborn animals via its presence in breast milk.

    "Interestingly, since N-acetylglucosamine is a major component of human breast milk but not baby formula, it may explain some of the cognitive function and myelination benefits realized by children fed breast milk as opposed to formula," noted first author Michael Sy, MD, PhD, who is an assistant professor of neurology at UCI School of Medicine and codirector of the regional MS program at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

    In humans with MS, lower serum N-acetylglucosamine levels were associated with increased measures of demyelination and microstructural damage. "The association of reduced N-acetylglucosamine serum levels with white matter changes in the brain of patients with multiple sclerosis suggests that N-acetylglucosamine deficiency may contribute to disease severity,” commented coauthor Alexander U. Brandt, MD, who co-led the clinical portions of the study.

    "We found that N-acetylglucosamine activates myelin stem cells to promote primary myelination and myelin repair," Dr Demetriou stated. "Our data raises the intriguing possibility that N-acetylglucosamine may be a simple therapy to promote myelin repair in multiple sclerosis patients."


    —D Dye



    Protective stress response associated with increased iodide levels

    Protective stress response associated with increased iodide levels October 07 2020. Research described on September 30, 2020 in Critical Care Explorations reveals a role for iodide—the free form of the mineral iodine—in the stress response of people and animals.

    Mark B. Roth, PhD, and colleagues examined blood samples collected from men and women who had undergone blunt force trauma or sepsis and hibernating artic ground squirrels. They found that plasma iodide increased by 17-fold within two hours of experiencing trauma and by 26-fold in sepsis patients compared to healthy human controls. Ground squirrels undergoing hibernation, which is associated with physiologic stress, had elevations in iodide as well.

    In mice, stress was generated by inducing a lack of blood circulation in a hind-limb, which is not a severe enough stress-inducing condition to stimulate an increase in blood iodide. Administering iodide after the injury but prior to allowing blood flow to return resulted in less muscle and heart damage, and a decrease in lung edema in comparison with untreated animals who underwent the same injury. Muscles of the injured hind legs of treated and untreated animals were observed to have higher iodide levels than uninjured hind legs. “The results presented here demonstrate that in response to significant physiologic stress, mammals increase blood iodide and that iodide supplementation improves outcome after injury,” the authors concluded.

    "We've known for many years that stress-induced inflammation makes injuries even worse," remarked coauthor Ronald Maier, who is surgeon-in-chief at Harborview Medical Center. "In this study we found that iodide could provide a recyclable, effective and safe way to block damage from excessive inflammation caused by over production of oxygen radicals after injury and provides a potential therapeutic approach to enhance recovery, prevent complications and reduce mortality in severely injured patients. The use of iodide in the clinical setting should soon be moving to clinical trials."

    "Our study suggests that rapid increases of iodide in the blood could represent an ancient response to stress that is shared across animals,” Dr Roth stated. “If we can harness this capability it could transform emergency medicine."


    —D Dye



    Higher indictors of coffee intake associated with lower Parkinson disease risk

    Higher indictors of coffee intake associated with lower Parkinson disease risk October 05 2020. Research reported on September 30, 2020 in Neurology® uncovered a lower risk of Parkinson disease among men and women with higher plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of caffeine and coffee metabolites. The finding held true for participants who had a genetic mutation that placed them at greater risk of the disease. A lower risk of Parkinson disease had previously been found among coffee drinkers who did not carry the mutation.

    The investigation compared 188 Parkinson disease patients to 180 people who did not have the disease. Some members of both groups had the LRRK2 mutation that predisposes people to Parkinson disease. Blood plasma and CSF samples were analyzed for caffeine, the coffee metabolites paraxanthine, theophylline and l-methylxanthine, and trigonelline, a marker of coffee intake. Two hundred twelve subjects completed questionnaires that collected data concerning their daily caffeine intake.

    Parkinson disease patients who had a normal copy of the LRRK2 gene had a 31% lower plasma caffeine level than noncarriers without the disease. Among those who carried the mutation, caffeine levels averaged 76% lower in Parkinson disease patients compared to unaffected carriers. Similar associations were observed for caffeine metabolites and trigonelline in plasma and CSF samples. Dietary questionnaire responses revealed that LRRK2 carriers with Parkinson disease consumed 41% less caffeine daily than carriers without the disease.

    "These results are promising and encourage future research exploring caffeine and caffeine-related therapies to lessen the chance that people with this gene develop Parkinson's," commented first author Grace F. Crotty, MD. "It's also possible that caffeine levels in the blood could be used as a biomarker to help identify which people with this gene will develop the disease, assuming caffeine levels remain relatively stable."

    "We don't know yet whether people who are predisposed to Parkinson's may tend to avoid drinking coffee or if some mutation carriers drink a lot of coffee and benefit from its neuroprotective effects," she added.


    —D Dye



    Bifidobacteria help manage inflammation

    Bifidobacteria help manage inflammation October 02 2020.The October 2020 issue of Anaerobe published the finding of researchers at the I. I. Mechnikov Research Institute for Vaccines and Sera and RUDN University in Russia of a protein occurring in the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum that blocks the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a). While inflammation is an essential defense mechanism in the body, an excess such as that which occurs during “cytokine storms” can be damaging and sometimes deadly.

    “Bifidobacteria are the prevalent group of bacteria inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of healthy children and amounting to a few percent of the total gut microbiota in adults,” Ilya N. Dyakov and colleagues wrote. “Bifidobacteria are known to play a significant role in shaping and sustaining the immune system. Today there is mounting evidence emphasizing the immunomodulatory properties of Bifidobacteria, which are due to both their cell components and metabolites.”

    The researchers sought to determine how one of B. longum’s surface proteins, known as FN3, binds or blocks cytokines. They found that FN3 binds to TNF-a, a major factor in cytokine storms. Confirmation of the ability of B. longum’s surface proteins to recognize specific cytokines supports the team’s hypothesis that the bacteria regulate our immune response.

    "Studies of cytokine-binding properties of microorganisms have become extremely important recently in view of the current epidemiological situation,” commented senior author Valery Danilenko, PhD, of RUDN University. “Uncontrollable inflammation or cytokine storm is one of the most prominent elements of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Selective binding of TNF-α, one of the key factors of inflammation, with a fragment of the FN3 protein of Bifidobacterium longum opens a prospect for developing new medicinal drugs that would slow down the cytokine reaction. It has already been agreed that a preclinical trial of a new FN3-based anti-inflammatory medication should be conducted as quickly as possible."


    —D Dye


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