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.


  • Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower risk of postoperative delirium
  • Male pattern hair loss linked to decreased levels of vitamin D
  • Review summarizes evidence for nutraceuticals in increased health span
  • Soy peptide enters brain intact to boost memory
  • Vitamin D shows promise against chemo side effect
  • Higher folate levels associated with better cognitive function
  • Technique affirms fish oil’s effect against depression
  • Review concludes strong evidence for vitamin D in cancer prevention
  • Research provides insights into protein restriction
  • Gut reactive oxygen species linked to sleep deprivation death
  • New mechanism discovered for metformin
  • Drinking coffee may help digestive disorders


    Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower risk of postoperative delirium

    Higher Vitamin D Levels Associated with Lower Risk of Postoperative Delirium June 29 2020. The May 5, 2020 issue of The Heart Surgery Forum® published the finding of Turkish researchers of a potential protective effect for higher vitamin D levels against the risk of postoperative delirium in heart surgery patients over the age of 65.

    “Delirium after cardiac surgery is a devastating and important complication,” Naim Boran Tumer of SBU Ankara City Hospital and colleagues wrote. “Delirium is defined as ‘disturbance in attention (i.e., reduced ability to direct, focus, sustain, and shift attention) and awareness (reduced orientation to the environment).’”

    The study included 212 men and women who had coronary artery bypass graft surgery during 2016-2017. Patients were grouped according to whether their preoperative serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were lower or higher than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Sixty-five percent of the participants had preoperative vitamin D levels of less than 10 ng/mL.

    Postoperative delirium occurred in 30.2% of the patients, and was associated with a significantly increased risk of 30-day mortality. Among the group with low vitamin D levels, 34.8% experienced delirium, compared to 21.6% of the group with higher levels. Analysis of the data determined that having low vitamin D levels was associated with a 51.7% greater risk of delirium in comparison with higher levels. The authors remarked that the active form of vitamin D has been reported to lower central nervous system oxidative stress, help protect cognitive functions and help protect against delirium.

    “Vitamin D deficiency exacerbates delirium after coronary artery bypass graft with cardiopulmonary bypass,” Dr Tumer and colleagues concluded. “Whether the effects of vitamin D deficiency on this event represent separate or interrelated activities with cardiopulmonary bypass is an important question to be addressed and prospective randomized studies are necessary to confirm these results.”

    —D Dye



    Male pattern hair loss linked to decreased levels of vitamin D

    Male pattern hair loss linked to decreased levels of vitamin D June 26 2020. An article that appeared on June 9, 2020 in the International Journal of Dermatology reported the finding of association between deficient vitamin D levels and greater severity of androgenetic alopecia (otherwise known as male pattern hair loss) in young men.

    Researchers at Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi conducted a case-control study that age-matched 50 men with premature androgenetic alopecia with 50 healthy control subjects who did not have the condition. Participants were limited to those who were 30 years of age or younger. The rate of progression of the participants’ hair loss, alopecia grade and other factors were determined, and blood samples were analyzed for levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

    Vitamin D levels were significantly lower among men with androgenetic alopecia in comparison with the control participants. Eighty-six percent of the men with alopecia were deficient in the vitamin (with levels lower than 12 ng/mL) compared to 14% of the healthy controls. Vitamin D levels were not found to be related to how much sun exposure the men received.

    Men who were deficient in vitamin D had more severe hair loss than nondeficient men. Authors Sarita Sanke, MD, and colleagues remarked that investigations involving other types of hair loss also revealed an association with vitamin D deficiency and that downregulation of vitamin D receptors has been observed in a type of hair loss known as alopecia areata.

    “To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first study comparing serum vitamin D levels among males with androgenetic alopecia and healthy controls,” they wrote. “Our study showed a significant correlation between serum vitamin D levels and the severity of androgenetic alopecia. This is an important finding which may help in further understanding the pathogenesis of premature androgenetic alopecia.”

    —D Dye



    Review summarizes evidence for nutraceuticals in increased health span

    Review summarizes evidence for nutraceuticals in increased health span June 24 2020. A mini-review published on May 1, 2020 in Current Nutraceuticals documents evidence for nutraceuticals—natural compounds that have pharmaceutical-like properties—in slowing aging processes by delaying or preventing the development of multiple chronic diseases.

    The review focused on nutraceuticals that act as calorie restriction mimetics by reducing insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor signaling and increasing the activity of proteins known as sirtuins. Authors Ivan Pavlović of the University of Belgrade and colleagues observe that calorie restriction has been associated with a reduction in age-related disease including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer. “The most robust environmental manipulation for extending lifespan is caloric restriction without malnutrition,” they wrote. “Some nutraceuticals can mimic caloric restriction effects.”

    Life-extending nutraceuticals that modulate IGF1 signaling include aspalathin from rooibos tea leaves, the polyphenol quercetin found in fruit and vegetables, inositol (formerly classified as a B vitamin), epicatechin from cocoa and tea, resveratrol from grapes and blueberries, the carotenoid lycopene that occurs in tomatoes, the adrenal hormone corticosterone (which is usually increased by calorie restriction), butyrate produced by intestinal flora, and senolytic compounds, which induce the death of senescent cells that have ceased dividing.

    Sirtuins, which are proteins that are present in most cells, have been found to play a role in delaying cellular senescence. The authors list resveratrol as the most prominent activator of SIRT1, the gene that encodes sirtuin 1, which is one of seven different sirtuins found in mammals. Fisetin, curcumin from turmeric, berberine from berries, and myricetin and butein found in fruits and vegetables also increase SIRT1 expression.

    “Delaying aging processes by reducing diseases may be an attractive strategy for promoting longevity,” the authors concluded. “Nutraceuticals that are calorie restriction mimetics have the potential to promote longevity by modulating IGF1 and SIRT1 expression and function.”

    —D Dye



    Soy peptide enters brain intact to boost memory

    Soy peptide enters brain intact to boost memory June 22 2020. A communication published May 1, 2020 in Nature Partner Journals Science of Food revealed that a dipeptide derived from soy that is able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier exerted a protective effect on memory in a model of Alzheimer disease.

    The dipeptide, known as Tyr-Pro due to its component amino acids tyrosine and proline, was previously found to penetrate the blood-brain barrier when administered to mice. Brain imaging detected Tyr-Pro in the animals’ hippocampus, cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, striatum and cerebellum, all of which are involved in the regulation of memory.

    In the current study, mice were orally administered Tyr-Pro or a control substance for 16 days. On the seventh day, some of the mice were injected with amyloid beta, a protein that forms brain plaques characteristic of human Alzheimer disease. Tests administered on the 14th through 16th days of the experiment found that Tyr-Pro was associated with a reduction in memory impairment compared to the control Alzheimer mice.

    Tyr-Pro is the only dipeptide that has so far been identified as able to travel from the stomach to the brain while remaining intact. "On top of the possibility of being broken down during digestion, peptides then face the challenge of crossing a highly selectively barrier to get from the blood into the brain," explained lead researcher Toshiro Matsui, at the Faculty of Agriculture at Kyushu University. "While our previous studies were the first to identify a dipeptide able to make the journey, our new studies now show that it can actually affect memory in mice."

    "We still need studies to see if these benefits carry over to humans, but we hope that this is a step toward functional foods that could help prevent memory degradation or even improve our memories," he added.

    —D Dye



    Vitamin D shows promise against chemo side effect

    Vitamin D shows promise against chemo side effect June 19 2020. The June 2020 issue of Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care published a review by researchers at the University of South Australia that suggests a potential protective effect for vitamin D against the painful ulceration of the digestive tract known as gastrointestinal mucositis, which is induced by chemotherapy.

    "The severity and progression of various gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer, is associated with vitamin D deficiency,” commented lead author and PhD student Cyan L. Sylvester of the University of South Australia’s Clinical and Health Sciences division. “It appears that vitamin D helps suppress inflammation and enhances the function of T-cells which boosts immunity."

    The researchers are investigating ways to boost vitamin D’s activity in the intestine as atherapeuticoption for gastrointestinal mucositis."We know that vitamin D definitely does more than help absorb calcium, but we need to better understand and optimize its action in the gut before we can be 100 per cent confident that it could be a treatment option for gastrointestinal mucositis," coauthor Dr Andrea Stringer remarked. "We are investigating the effects of enhanced vitamin D activity in the intestine on both reducing damage and minimizing compositional change to the gut microbiome caused by chemotherapy agents."

    There is evidence that probiotics could decrease the severity of abdominal pain and diarrhea that may occur during chemotherapy; however, probiotics do not improve the physical damage associated with gastrointestinal mucositis. Dr Stringer stated that "Vitamin D shows the most promise and could prove the key hormone to alleviate suffering for cancer patients."

    “A greater insight into the exact mechanistic actions of both probiotics and vitamin D might reveal how to improve their use as therapeutic treatments for gastrointestinal mucositis,” the authors concluded.

    —D Dye



    Higher folate levels associated with better cognitive function

    Higher folate levels associated with better cognitive function June 17 2020. A study reported on April 24, 2020 in the British Journal of Nutrition found an association between higher levels of the B vitamin folate and better cognitive function among men and women who took part in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Dublin’s Trinity College. The findings help to allay the concern that higher folate levels resulting from food fortification, particularly among people with low levels of vitamin B12, could increase the risk of cognitive decline.

    "This is the largest study of the interaction between vitamin B12 and folate and cognitive function world-wide,” principal investigator and registered nutritionist Rose Anne Kenny announced.

    The current study included 3,781 participants from TILDA’s Wave 1 who were at least 50 years of age. Blood samples were analyzed for folate and vitamin B12, and cognitive function was assessed by the administration of two standard tests. The researchers determined that having a low level of vitamin B12 and a high level of folate was not associated with global cognitive performance and that having a normal level of vitamin B12 and high folate was associated with better cognitive performance compared with those who had normal concentrations of both vitamins.

    "Concerns surrounding associations between high intakes of folic acid and cognitive decline in older adults with low vitamin B12 have impeded mandatory folic acid fortification in Ireland,” noted first author Deirdre O’Connor. “Our study shows that a small percentage of older people in the community have this potentially adverse combination, but they are not at increased risk of poorer cognition. In fact, older adults with normal vitamin B12 and high folate levels performed better in cognitive tests than their counterparts with normal folate. This implies that elevated folate may benefit cognitive health in older persons in Ireland."

    —D Dye



    Technique affirms fish oil’s effect against depression

    Technique affirms fish oil’s effect against depression June 15 2020. An article appearing on June 5, 2020 in Molecular Psychiatry describes a new way to model major depressive disorder which found evidence for fish oil’s previously documented antidepressant effect.

    “Evidence from epidemiological and laboratory studies, as well as randomized placebo-controlled trials, suggests supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be efficacious for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD),” wrote Jiang-Zhou Yu and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago.“The mechanisms underlying omega-3 PUFAs potential therapeutic properties remain unknown. There are suggestions in the literature that glial hypofunction is associated with depressive symptoms and that antidepressants may normalize glial function.”

    In the current research, neuronal stem cell lines were generated from skin cells obtained from individuals with major depressive disorder who were responders or nonresponders to antidepressant therapy. The cells weredirected to become nervous system cells known as astrocytes, which are a type of glial cell, and treated with stearic acid or the omega 3 fatty acids EPA or DHA found in fish oil.

    The research team observed a response to omega 3 fatty acids in cells derived from both antidepressant responders and nonresponders. No response was obtained in association with the administration of stearic acid. “These results suggested that omega-3 PUFAs facilitate astrocyte differentiation and may mimic effects of some antidepressants by increasing production of neurotrophic factors,” the authors reported.

    "We saw that fish oil was acting, in part, on glial cells, not neurons," commented lead researcher Mark Rasenick. "For many years, scientists have paid scant attention to glia -- a type of brain cell that surrounds neurons -- but there is increasing evidence that glia may play a role in depression. Our study suggests that glia may also be important for antidepressant action.”

    —D Dye



    Review concludes strong evidence for vitamin D in cancer prevention

    Review concludes strong evidence for vitamin D in cancer prevention June 12 2020. A review appearing on May 30, 2020 in Seminars in Cancer Biology adds evidence to a protective effect for healthy vitamin D levels against the risk colorectal cancer and other malignancies.

    Although vitamin D is better known for its essential involvement in bone health, it is also a regulator of the immune system, which is now known to play a role in suppressing cancer. Professor Carsten Carlberg and Professor Alberto Muñoz describes the molecular basis of vitamin D signaling, which modulates pathways that affect cellular growth, differentiation and programmed cell death. The vitamin acts through the vitamin D receptor, which is transcription factor involved in gene expression and regulation.

    While studies have documented an association between higher vitamin D status and a lower risk of colorectal cancer, leukemias, lymphomas, breast cancer and prostate cancer, anticancer effects of vitamin D supplementation in clinical trials have been inconsistent. This may be due to a variation in individual responsiveness to vitamin D supplementation and a need to analyze health outcomes in relation to changes in individual vitamin D levels. For example, a quarter of the Finnish population appear to be low responders to vitamin D supplementation and require higher doses than other individuals.

    “The natural way of producing vitamin D3 via UV-B exposure of the skin should be used with precaution, since excessive sunbathing leads to sunburn and may cause different types of skin cancer. Unfortunately, only a limited number of foods, such as the fatty fishes salmon, tuna and mackerel, contain substantial amounts of vitamin D3,” the authors note. “This makes direct supplementation with vitamin D3 (800–4000 IU, i.e., 20−100 micrograms/day) an alternative strategy for optimizing the vitamin D status to 25(OH)D3 serum levels of 75–150 nanomoles (i.e., 30−60 nanograms/milliliter).

    —D Dye



    Research provides insights into protein restriction

    Research provides insights into protein restriction June 10 2020. Research reported June 9, 2020 in Nature Communications found that restricting the intake of one essential amino acid may be all that’s needed to obtain the benefits of protein restriction.

    Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot manufacture, which need to be obtained via the diet.

    Dietary protein dilution (DPD) describes a reduced intake of protein, which is replaced by other nutrients (often carbohydrates). While the DPD can increase food intake, there is a concomitant increase in energy expenditure. Dietary protein dilution is different than caloric restriction, which involves a decrease in the number of calories consumed. “Unlike severe protein/amino acid restriction, which is not compatible with vitality, moderate DPD promotes longevity in multiple species including flies, rodents and perhaps humans,” authors Yann W. Yap and colleagues explained. “Furthermore, DPD also affects health-span and preclinical studies have demonstrated that DPD can retard age-related diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia/fatty liver disease.”

    The team discovered that the restriction of essential amino acids, but not nonessential amino acids, is necessary for dietary protein dilution’s benefits. Further research in mice revealed that restriction of essential amino acids threonine or tryptophan was sufficient and necessary to mimic the metabolic effects of essential amino acid restriction without the usual loss of muscle mass. Additionally, restriction of threonine slowed the development of metabolic dysfunction associated with obesity.

    Mice that were genetically altered to enable threonine synthesis did not experience the benefits of a low threonine diet.

    “This highlights that a low threonine diet can induce many of the positive effects of dietary amino acid restriction while avoiding some negative side effects such as lean tissue wasting,” the authors wrote.

    —D Dye



    Gut reactive oxygen species linked to sleep deprivation death

    Gut reactive oxygen species linked to sleep deprivation death June 08 2020. Research reported on June 4, 2020 in Cell helps explain why premature mortality is associated with insufficient sleep.

    “The view that sleep is essential for survival is supported by the ubiquity of this behavior, the apparent existence of sleep-like states in the earliest animals, and the fact that severe sleep loss can be lethal,” Alexandra Vaccaro and colleagues wrote. “The cause of this lethality is unknown.”

    "We found that sleep-deprived flies were dying at the same pace, every time, and when we looked at markers of cell damage and death, the one tissue that really stood out was the gut," Dr Vaccaro reported. "I remember when we did the first experiment, you could immediately tell under the microscope that there was a striking difference. That almost never happens in lab research."

    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are oxygen-containing chemicals whose interaction with other molecules, when excessive, can be damaging to the body. Reactive oxygen species can be neutralized by antioxidants, including specific nutrients. The researchers observed that a buildup of ROS in the gut of sleep-deprived flies preceded premature death. However, dietary administration of antioxidants, including melatonin, lipoic acid and NAD, allowed the flies to attain a normal life span.

    “We were surprised to find it was the gut that plays a key role in causing death,” commented senior author Dragana Rogulja. “Even more surprising, we found that premature death could be prevented. Each morning, we would all gather around to look at the flies, with disbelief to be honest. What we saw is that every time we could neutralize reactive oxygen species in the gut, we could rescue the flies."

    "We still don't know why sleep loss causes ROS accumulation in the gut, and why this is lethal," noted coauthor Yosef Kaplan Dor. "Sleep deprivation could directly affect the gut, but the trigger may also originate in the brain. Similarly, death could be due to damage in the gut or because high levels of ROS have systemic effects, or some combination of these."

    —D Dye



    New mechanism discovered for metformin

    New mechanism discovered for metformin June 05 2020. Research reported on June 3, 2020 in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care reveals a mechanism supporting the effects of the diabetes drug metformin.

    Metformin use has been associated with some of the benefits of calorie restriction.

    “Positron emission tomography (PET)–computed tomography has revealed that metformin promotes the intestinal accumulation of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a nonmetabolizable glucose derivative,” wrote Yasuko Morita and colleagues at Japan’s Kobe University. “It has remained unknown, however, whether this accumulation occurs in the wall or intraluminal space of the intestine.

    The current study included 24 pairs of type 2 diabetics matched for age, body mass index and hemoglobin A1c levels, half of whom had been prescribed metformin. The investigation utilized the relatively new [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography–magnetic resonance imaging ([18F]FDG PET-MRI) of the intestines.

    It was observed that uptake of [18F]FDG was greater in the intestinal jejunum, ileum and right or left hemicolon among participants who used metformin. Uptake was greater in the interior intestinal space rather than the intestinal wall, indicating that metformin promotes glucose transport from the circulation into the stool to be excreted.

    The newly discovered mechanism has been compared to that of a new diabetes drug known as an SGLT2 inhibitor that reduces blood glucose by excreting approximately ten grams of sugar per day into the urine. Although the current investigation did not determine the amount of sugar excreted, it is anticipated that future research will quantify this.

    —D Dye



    Drinking coffee may help digestive disorders

    Drinking coffee may help digestive disorders June 01 2020. A report issued by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee reveals benefits for coffee consumption in digestion and digestive disorders. The report is based on 32 peer reviewed articles that provided information concerning coffee and its effects in the digestive tract.

    "The effect of coffee on digestion is an evolving area of research,” noted report author Carlo La Vecchia of the Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health at the University of Milan. “Data indicates benefits against common digestive complaints such as constipation, as well as a potential reduction in the risk of more serious conditions like chronic liver diseases, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), gallstones and related pancreatitis.”

    Stones that occur in the gall bladder or bile duct are a common disorder that affects 10 to 15% of adults. A meta-analysis published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics cited in the current report found that, overall, there was a 17% reduction in the risk of gallstones in association with coffee consumption compared to the lowest level of intake. Further analysis uncovered an approximate 25% reduction in association with drinking six cups.

    Some of coffee’s benefits may be due to the beverage’s effect on intestinal microflora. Studies have indicated an increase in beneficial microflora, including Bifidobacteria, in association with coffee and its active compounds known as chlorogenic acids. A balance of healthy microflora is associated with improved digestion and is the subject of a growing number of studies concerning a role in disease prevention. Coffee also aids digestion bysupporting gut motility, stimulating stomach acid release and supporting bile and pancreatic secretions.

    While some coffee drinkers are concerned in regard to whether coffee promotes gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), most of the studies examined in the report found that coffee is not a strong contributor to the condition.

    —D Dye


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