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.

 

  • Uterine fibroids shrink with supplement combo in pilot study
  • Supplementation with vitamin D associated with PCOS improvement
  • Probiotic cocktail reduces aging-related leaky gut in mice
  • Glucosamine supplementation associated with lower mortality risk during 8.9-year median
  • Higher magnesium intake, serum vitamin D associated with lower mortality risk in colorectal cancer patients during follow-up
  • Aspirin use associated with lower risk of digestive tract cancers
  • Eye disease research reveals protective effect for Med diet against cognitive decline
  • Low vitamin K associated with poor bone quality in women
  • Metformin use associated with improved postoperative survival among diabetics
  • Geroprotectors could help support immune system of older individuals
  • Higher vitamin D levels associated with improved quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors
  • Vitamin B3 could help prevent fibrotic eye disease
  • For some men, ED stands for Early Death
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    Uterine fibroids shrink with supplement combo in pilot study

    Uterine fibroids shrink with supplement combo in pilot study April 29 2020. A study reported in March 2020 in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences found a reduction in uterine fibroid volume among women treated with a combination of vitamin D, vitamin B6 and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant compound that occurs in green tea.

    Uterine fibroids (also known as myomas), are the most common benign uterine masses and affect between 5.4% to 77% of women worldwide. Lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased prevalence of fibroids and supplementation with the vitamin has improved symptoms. Epigallocatechin gallate has also shown benefits when administered to women with fibroids.

    Fifteen women with uterine fibroids were given 25 micrograms vitamin D, 150 milligrams EGCG and 5 milligrams vitamin B6 twice per day for four months while another group of 15 women received no treatment. Fibroid volume and number were evaluated by ultrasonography at the beginning and end of the study. Symptoms, menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, fatigue, quality of life and symptom severity were also assessed before and after the treatment period.

    Fibroid volume decreased by an average of 34.7% at the end of the study among women who received the combination supplement while increasing by 6.9% among the untreated control group. All aspects of quality of life increased in treated women while slightly decreasing among those who did not receive the supplement. Symptom severity was reduced in the women who received vitamins D and B6 and ECGC, as was the number of participants who reported heavy bleeding, fatigue and pelvic pain.

    “We showed for the first time the effectiveness of a combined supplementation with vitamin D and EGCG in the management of myomas and the correlated symptoms, opening new therapeutic scenarios and propelling further related investigations,” G. Porcaro and colleagues concluded.

    —D Dye

     

     

    Supplementation with vitamin D associated with PCOS improvement

    Supplementation with vitamin D associated with PCOS improvement April 27 2020. Results of a meta-analysis published on April 1, 2020 in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine indicate a protective effect for supplementing with vitamin D against some of the signs of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition estimated to affect 6% to 12% of reproductive age women. The syndrome can include numerous cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstrual periods, infertility, elevated levels of male hormones, obesity, disordered lipids, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

    For their analysis, researchers at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University and Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Zhejiang, China selected 11 randomized, controlled trials that compared the effects of vitamin D to a placebo among women a total of 483 women diagnosed with PCOS. Vitamin D supplements were administered daily, weekly, every other week, every 20 days, or once during the course of the trials. Trial duration ranged from eight to 24 weeks.

    The meta-analysis revealed a reduction in total testosterone among women who received vitamin D supplements in comparison with a placebo but no significant differences in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels. Tests for insulin resistance, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol also revealed significant decreases in vitamin-D-supplemented women compared to a placebo.

    “The present study found that vitamin D supplementation could affect insulin resistance, lipid metabolism and, to an extent, hyperandrogenism in patients with PCOS,” Chen-Yun Miao and colleagues concluded. “Therefore, vitamin D should be considered as a treatment for PCOS.”

    “Further studies should include large sample sizes and long‑term interventions, with double‑blind placebo controls,” they added. “An optimal dose of vitamin D should be determined to allow for an effective therapy to be developed.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Probiotic cocktail reduces aging-related leaky gut in mice

    Probiotic cocktail reduces aging-related leaky gut in mice April 24 2020. A study reported on April 17, 2020 in JCI Insight found a gastrointestinal benefit for a probiotic cocktail given to older mice and a life-extending effect for the amino acid taurine.

    The study evaluated the effects of a probiotic combination of five Lactobacillus and five Enterococcus strains isolated from the gut of healthy infants. Eighty-week-old male mice were given a high fat diet and randomized to receive the probiotic cocktail or a control substance for ten weeks. At the end of the study, the animals underwent glucose and insulin tolerance testing, measurement of whole body energy expenditure, evaluation of physical function (including exercise endurance and walking speed), gut microbiota analysis, measurement of leaky gut markers and postmortem tissue analysis.

    The researchers found improvements in high-fat diet-induced microbiota dysbiosis, leaky gut, inflammation, metabolic dysfunction and decline in physical function among mice that received probiotics. They determined that the treated animals’ gut microbiota reduced leaky gut by increasing the abundance of the amino acid taurine which stimulated tight junctions between gut cells, thereby lowering inflammation. Feeding taurine to the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans extended the worms’ life span for greater than two days, which is equivalent to ten to twelve human years. Taurine also decreased intestinal permeability and fat accumulation in older worms and improved physical function, which suggests that the amino acid could help with aging-related conditions including leaky gut and increased adiposity.

    “As a large portion of the world population gets older, the demand for interventions to address aging-related comorbidities like obesity, diabetes, hepatic steatosis and movement decline increase,” noted authors Shokouh Ahmadi and colleagues. “As these comorbidities are commonly associated with dysbiotic gut microbiome, leaky gut and inflammation, interventions that modulate the gut and resolve dysbiosis are good candidate approaches.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Glucosamine supplementation associated with lower mortality risk during 8.9-year median

    Glucosamine supplementation associated with lower mortality risk during 8.9-year median April 22 2020. An article published on April 6, 2020 in the BMJ journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases reported the findings of a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, digestive diseases or any cause during follow-up among men and women who supplemented their diets with glucosamine in comparison with those who did not use the supplement. Glucosamine is a popular nutritional compound used in the management of arthritis and joint pain.

    The study included 495,077 participants who enrolled between 2006 and 2010 in the UK Biobank study, which was designed to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a range of diseases and promote health. Questionnaire responses provided information concerning the use of glucosamine and other supplements. Causes of any deaths that occurred were ascertained through January 2017 for Scotland and February 2018 for England and Wales.

    During a median of 8.9 years, 19,882 deaths occurred, which included 3,802 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 8,090 from cancer, 3,380 from respiratory disease and 1,061 digestive disease deaths. In comparison with nonusers, regular users of glucosamine had an 18% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 6% lower risk of dying from cancer, a 27% lower risk of respiratory mortality, a 26% lower risk of dying from digestive disease and a 15% lower risk of dying from any cause.

    “The results of this large-scale prospective cohort study show that a considerable proportion (19.1%) of the UK population reported regular use of glucosamine supplements,” the authors wrote. “We observed that regular use of glucosamine supplements is associated with lower mortality due to all causes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and digestive disease. Further clinical trials and possibly pharmacological studies may increase our understanding of any potential benefit of glucosamine supplement use.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Higher magnesium intake, serum vitamin D associated with lower mortality risk in colorectal cancer patients during follow-up

    Higher magnesium intake, serum vitamin D associated with lower mortality risk in colorectal cancer patients during follow-up April 20 2020. A report appearing on March 19, 2020 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition described a study that revealed a lower risk of mortality during follow-up among colorectal cancer patients who had a higher levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and a greater intake of magnesium in comparison with those whose vitamin D status and levels of the mineral were lower.

    The current investigation included 1,169 colorectal cancer patients enrolled in the COLON and EnCoRe studies in the Netherlands. Blood samples obtained close to the time of diagnosis were analyzed for serum 25(OH)D levels. Questionnaires concerning diet prior to diagnosis were completed by the subjects and analyzed for intake of vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. Follow-up began at the date of blood collection and subsequent deaths were noted during a median period of 4.7 years.

    Deficient vitamin D levels were associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality in comparison with sufficient levels of 20 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) or higher. Among men and women whose magnesium intake from diet and supplements was among the top 25% of subjects, the risk of mortality during follow-up was 35% less than those whose intake was among the lowest fourth.

    The risk of death during follow-up was lowest for those with vitamin D sufficiency and greater magnesium intake. Subjects whose vitamin D levels were at least 20 ng/mL and whose magnesium levels were high had a 47% lower risk of mortality that those whose serum vitamin D level and magnesium intake were lower.

    “Although our results should be confirmed in diet and lifestyle intervention studies, our findings could contribute to improving recommendations regarding magnesium and vitamin D intake for newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients,” Evertine Wesselink and colleagues concluded.

    —D Dye

     

     

    Aspirin use associated with lower risk of digestive tract cancers

    Aspirin use associated with lower risk of digestive tract cancers April 17 2020. Results from an updated meta-analysis reported on April 16, 2020 in the Annals of Oncology supporta protective effect for the use of aspirin against the risk of cancers of the digestive tract. The analysis is the largest and more comprehensive to date on the subject.

    Researchers in Milan selected 113 observational studies published through 2019 which provided information concerning cancer and the use of aspirin. Types of cancers investigated included colorectal, head and neck, squamous cell esophageal, esophageal/gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, stomach, liver, gallbladder and bile duct, and pancreatic cancers.

    In comparison with non-use, regular use of aspirin, defined as one to two tablets per week, was associated with a 27% lower risk of colorectal cancer, a 33% lower risk of squamous cell esophageal cancer, a 39% lower risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia, a 36% lower risk of stomach cancer, a 38% lower risk of cancer of the liver, gallbladder or bile ducts, and a 22% lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Higher doses of aspirin were determined to have a greater protective effect than lower doses.

    "There are about 175,000 deaths from bowel cancer predicted for 2020 in the EU, of which about 100,000 will be in people aged between 50 and 74,” commented senior author Carlo La Vecchia, MD. “If we assume that regular use of aspirin increases from 25% to 50% in this age group, this would mean that between 5,000 to 7,000 deaths from bowel cancer and between 12,000 and 18,000 new cases could be avoided if further studies show that aspirin does indeed cause the reduction in cancer risk. Corresponding figures would be approximately 3,000 deaths each for esophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancer, and 2,000 deaths from cancer of the liver."

    —D Dye

     

     

    Eye disease research reveals protective effect for Med diet against cognitive decline

    Eye disease research reveals protective effect for Med diet against cognitive decline April 15 2020. Investigators from the National Eye Institute uncovered a lower risk of cognitive decline in association with adherence to a Mediterranean diet among participants in randomized trials designed to evaluate the effects of nutritional supplements on age-related macular degeneration. The research was reported on April 13, 2020 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia®.

    The study included 7,756 men and women with and without age-related macular degeneration who enrolled in the Age-Related Eye Disease (AREDS) and AREDS2 trials. Questionnaires concerning food consumed during the previous year provided information on the participants’ consumption of specific Mediterranean diet components, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil and fish. The diet also is also characterized by lower intake of alcohol and red meat.

    Standardized tests administered after five years to participants in the AREDS study and to AREDS2 participants at the beginning of the study and at two, four and ten years evaluated cognitive function. Subjects who showed the greatest adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern were found to have the lowest risk of cognitive impairment. Intake of vegetables and fish were associated with the greatest protection. Subjects who consumed the most fish showed the slowest rate of cognitive decline after 10 years.

    Variants in the apolipoprotein E gene, which can play a role in susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer disease, did not impact the benefits associated with adherence to the diet, which demonstrates that a Mediterranean diet’s effect on cognitive function is independent of this genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease.

    "We do not always pay attention to our diets” noted lead author Emily Chew, MD, the director of the National Eye Institute’s Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications. “We need to explore how nutrition affects the brain and the eye."

    —D Dye

     

     

    Low vitamin K associated with poor bone quality in women

    Low vitamin K associated with poor bone quality in women April 13 2020. A study published on April 10, 2020 in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology reported the findings of researchers at Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of reductions in measures of bone qualities in association with higher levels of serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin, an indicator of vitamin K status.

    “Vitamin K is a liposoluble vitamin discovered in 1929, and its name derived from the German word koagulation,” Natsumi Tanaka and colleagues wrote. “Clinical intervention studies suggested that vitamin K supplementation might contribute to preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women.”

    The study included 358 men and 503 women aged 40 years and older. Heel bone qualities were measured using quantitative ultrasound, a method of examination that provides more information concerning bone strength than dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Blood samples were evaluated for serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin, a protein secreted by osteoblasts that becomes carboxylated in the presence of vitamin K. Undercarboxylated osteocalcin is not absorbed by bone matrix and is released into the blood, thereby indicating a lack of sufficient vitamin K.

    Undercarboxylated osteocalcin levels were significantly higher among men who were 80 years of age or older in comparison with those aged 40 to 49, 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 years. In women, levels were higher among those aged 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 years compared to those aged 40 to 49 and began to decline somewhat after the age of 69. Higher undercarboxylated osteocalcin levels were significantly associated with declines in ultrasound parameters in women but not in men.

    “Our results suggest that elevated serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin concentrations (vitamin K deficiency) contribute to increased porosity and decreased elasticity,” the authors wrote. “Further study is necessary to assess the mechanism of gender difference in the function of vitamin K.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Metformin use associated with improved postoperative survival among diabetics

    Metformin use associated with improved postoperative survival among diabetics April 10 2020. Research reported on April 8, 2020 in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Surgery revealed a lower risk of readmission or mortality following surgery among patients who were using the antidiabetes prescription medication metformin.

    The study included 10,088 men and women with diabetes who were hospitalized for major surgery between January 1, 2010 and January 1, 2016. Five thousand nine hundred sixty-two subjects who had a prescription for metformin during 180 days prior to their surgery were matched with 5,460 subjects who did not use the drug. The subjects were followed until December 18, 2018.

    Having been prescribed metformin prior to surgery was associated with a 28% lower 90-day postoperative mortality risk compared to the risk experienced by those who were not using metformin. Metformin was also associated with a lower 30-day and 90-day postoperative risk of readmission, indicating fewer postoperative complications. It was further determined that having a prescription for metformin was associated with a 22% increase in five-year survival in comparison with not having been prescribed the drug. Preoperative inflammation, as determined by the ratio of white blood cells known as neutrophils to leukocytes, was significantly lower among metformin-treated patients, which may be one mechanism through which the drug confers its protective effects.

    Authors Katherine M.Reitz, MD, and colleagues remarked that metformin-associated reductions in mortality risk did not significantly differ across several surgical specialties, which suggests that the drug’s advantages are not likely to be disease specific and that metformin may modulate the stress response generated by major surgery or confer superior outcomes regardless of the procedure.

    “The effectiveness of perioperative metformin in reducing postoperative morbidity and mortality in individuals without diabetes warrants an investigation with a prospective randomized clinical trial,” they recommended.

    —D Dye

     

     

    Geroprotectors could help support immune system of older individuals

    Geroprotectors could help support immune system of older individuals April 08 2020. An article published on March 31, 2020 in Aging suggests that the use of geroprotectors such as the drug rapamycin could help protect against viral infections such as COVID-19 among older men and women who are particularly at risk.

    Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, who is the chief scientist of the Biogerontology Research Foundation and CEO of the artificial intelligence company Insilico Medicine, has proposed labeling communicable diseases that are more harmful to older people as gerophilic and gerolavic infections. Although treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 are in development, Dr Zhavoronkov noted that older immune systems do not respond as well.

    "We are pursuing several strategies for drug discovery and repurposing using the latest advances in artificial intelligence integrated into our battle-tested discovery platform,” he stated. “However, it is clear that COVID-19 is a gerophilic and gerolavic disease. It is more severe and lethal in the elderly. Aging research yields insights that may not only help with COVID-19 but may help prevent many other diseases and increase productive longevity and re-ignite the economy.”

    He suggested repurposing geroprotectors such as rapamycin, metformin and other relatively safe drugs for the prevention of these infections and the initiation of clinical trials involving an older population.

    "Most of the companies and institutions are racing to create vaccines or drugs that target COVID directly,” noted Dmitry Kaminskiy of the Biogerontology Research Foundation. “But these interventions will not offer complete protection. We see that children and very young people do not have severe symptoms. Geroprotectors may help improve the odds for the elderly. And once the epidemic subsides, we will need to find new ways to boost the economy and there are established models showing that the best way to grow the economy is by increasing healthy productive longevity.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Higher vitamin D levels associated with improved quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors

    Higher vitamin D levels associated with improved quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors April 06 2020. A study reported on April 3, 2020 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found better quality of life among survivors of colorectal cancer who had higher levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

    The investigation included 261 participants in the Energy for Life after ColoRectal Cancer prospective study, which seeks to evaluate longitudinal associations between lifestyle factors and health related quality of life and prognosis after colorectal cancer. Subjects had been diagnosed with stage I to III colorectal cancer and were at least 18 years of age upon enrollment. Dietitians conducted home visits at diagnosis and at six weeks, six months, and one and two years after the end of treatment, during which blood samples were collected that were analyzed for vitamin D and information was obtained concerning quality of life.

    Forty-five percent of the subjects had deficient levels of less than 20 ng/mL vitamin D upon diagnosis. Increasing increments of serum vitamin D over time were associated with improved quality of life and less fatigue.

    Supplement users had higher vitamin D levels than nonusers. Better global quality of life and less fatigue were associated with a change from being a nonuser to a user of vitamin D supplements, although the researchers did not determine this improvement to be significant.

    “To our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate longitudinal associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations and health related quality of life outcomes in colorectal cancer survivors,” the authors announced. “Placebo-controlled randomized trials are needed to examine the potential advantage of the use of vitamin D supplements in colorectal cancer survivors for improvement of health related quality of life and fatigue to clarify questions on cause and effect and to deepen the understanding of possible underlying mechanisms.”

    —D Dye

     

     

    Vitamin B3 could help prevent fibrotic eye disease

    Vitamin B3 could help prevent fibrotic eye disease April 03 2020. Research reported on April 2, 2020 in the journal Cell Reports suggests a protective role for the form of vitamin B3 known as niacinamide or nicotinamide against transformation of cells in the retinal pigment epithelium that could lead to fibrotic eye diseases.

    During aging, or with diabetes or eye injury, the layer of cells known as the retinal pigment epithelium which support the retina can transform to acquire characteristics of aggressive mesenchymal cells. The result is the development of fibrous membranes that are similar to the damaging cells in retinal scar tissue that can cause retinal detachment.

    Niacinamide was found to inhibit these cell transformations and promote the transition of mesenchymal cells to epithelial cells, thereby helping preserve the original identity of these cells. Treatment with the vitamin was associated with changes in cellular DNA sequences and activation of factors that regulate cell transformation. "Now we know the epigenetic landscape that is associated with the changes activated by nicotinamide, which gives deeper insights into cell transformations and provides an opportunity to explore a pathway for new therapeutic approaches for any condition or complication associated with wound healing,” commented co-lead researcher Sally Temple, PhD. 

    "This is the first study that shows how nicotinamide can inhibit invasive wound healing, but also reverse the development of membranes associated with scar tissue," co-lead investigator Timothy Blenkinsop, PhD, of Mount Sinai announced. "This discovery helps evolve our understanding of wound healing, as well as good inflammation versus bad inflammation. Good inflammation essentially nudges the system into a regenerative response, while bad inflammation can create harmful scar tissue formation. This is an exciting time to understand how this compound can be used to treat and reverse not only fibrotic diseases of the retina but other diseases too."

    —D Dye

     

     

    For some men, ED stands for Early Death

    For some men, ED stands for Early Death April 01 2020. Research scheduled for presentation at ENDO 2020, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society which will be held online in June, uncovered a greater risk of early mortality among men with erectile dysfunction (ED) compared to those who did not suffer from the condition. The findings will be published this year in a supplemental section of the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

    The current study examined the association between hormone levels and sexual function among 1,913 participants in the observational European Male Ageing Study (EMAS), which investigated aging-associated hormone changes and health outcomes in older men. The men were followed for an average of 12.4 years, during which there were 483 deaths.

    Among men who had normal levels of testosterone, the presence of sexual symptoms was associated with a 51% greater risk of death during follow-up compared to men who did not report these symptoms. Men whose free (unbound) testosterone levels were among the lowest 25% of subjects had a 43% greater risk of mortality during follow-up than those whose levels were among the top 25%. Those who reported three sexual symptoms had a 77% greater risk of death compared to men who had no symptoms. Erectile dysfunction alone was associated with a 40% greater early mortality risk, and poor morning erections with a 30% greater risk compared to the risk experienced by men who did not report these conditions. The early mortality risk associated with low testosterone combined with sexual symptoms was 92% higher compared to having normal testosterone and no symptoms.

    "As both vascular disease and low testosterone levels can influence erectile function, sexual symptoms can be an early sign for increased cardiovascular risk and mortality," noted lead researcher Leen Antonio, MD, PhD, of KU Leuven-University Hospitals in Belgium.

    —D Dye

     

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