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.


  • Lithium associated with decreased suicide rates
  • People at risk of late onset Alzheimer disease may need more omega 3
  • Diet that mimics fasting could improve breast cancer therapy effectiveness
  • US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reveals low choline intake
  • Research suggests iron levels as a factor in aging
  • Omega 3 fatty acids may help protect brain from air pollution effects
  • Review concludes benefits for nutrients against viral infections
  • Vitamin C, carotenoid, grain intake associated with lower diabetes risk
  • Probiotic supplementation may help improve depressive symptoms
  • White blood cells in belly fat play role in immune maintenance
  • Antioxidants could help protect against stroke-related increase in dementia
  • CoQ10 provides relief to fatigued individuals in double-blind study


    Lithium associated with decreased suicide rates

    Lithium associated with decreased suicide rates July 29 2020. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on July 27, 2020 in The British Journal of Psychiatry supports an association between higher public drinking water levels of lithium and a lower risk of suicide.

    Lithium, a mineral that occurs in rocks and soil throughout the world, is used as a prescription drug to treat bipolar disorder in amounts that far exceed that provided by drinking water. Recent research has suggested a benefit for lithium supplementation in cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease.

    For their analysis, researchers selected 15 studies that provided data concerning drinking water lithium levels and suicide rates in a total of 1,286 regions, counties and cities in seven countries. They found a consistent association between higher amounts of lithium in public drinking water and lower suicide rates.

    "This synthesis and analysis of all available evidence confirms previous findings of some individual studies and shows a significant relationship between higher lithium levels in drinking water and lower suicide rates in the community,” noted coauthor Allan Young. “The levels of lithium in drinking water are far lower than those recommended when lithium is used as medicine although the duration of exposure may be far longer, potentially starting at conception. These findings are also consistent with the finding in clinical trials that lithium reduces suicide and related behaviors in people with a mood disorder."

    "This study shows that the boundaries between medication and nutritional interventions are not as rigid as we used to think, opening up the possibility of new treatments that span both domains,” commented Professor Carmine Pariante of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. “More knowledge of the beneficial properties of lithium and its role in regulating brain function can lead to a deeper understanding of mental illness and improve the wellbeing of patients with depression and other mental health problems."


    —D Dye



    People at risk of late onset Alzheimer disease may need more omega 3

    People at risk of late onset Alzheimer disease may need more omega 3 July 24 2020. Findings from a trial reported on July 17, 2020 in EBioMedicine indicate that people with a gene variant associated with a greater risk of Alzheimer disease in comparison with the rest of the population may have lower brain levels of omega 3 fatty acids, even with increased amounts are consumed.

    "Trials have been built on the assumption that omega-3s get into the brain," stated senior author Hussein Yassine of the University of Southern California. "Our study was specifically designed to address this question."

    The trial included 33 cognitively unimpaired men and women aged 55 and older with a first degree relative who has or had dementia. Fifteen subjects were carriers of APOE4, a genetic variation associated with an increased risk of developing late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Participants received capsules containing 538 milligrams of the omega 3 fatty acid DHA or a placebo four times daily for over six months. Participants also received daily B complex supplements, which are needed to incorporate omega 3 fatty acids into circulating phospholipids. Before and after the treatment period, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted to measure brain area volumes and tests were administered to evaluate cognitive function. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid samples were analyzed for levels of DHA and EPA (which can be converted in the body from dietary DHA).

    Cerebrospinal fluid DHA increased by 28% and EPA increased by 43% among those who received DHA capsules in comparison with the placebo; however, the increase in EPA in non-APOE4 carriers was three times as great as that of carriers. "E4 carriers, despite having the same dose, had less omega-3s in the brain," Dr Hussein observed. "This finding suggests that EPA is either getting consumed, getting lost or not getting absorbed into the brain as efficiently with the E4 gene."

    The finding suggests that lower doses of omega 3 typically administered in clinical trials may not always be effective. "If you use a lower dose, you can expect a less-than-10-percent increase in omega 3s in the brain, which may not be considered meaningful," Dr Yassine stated.


    —D Dye



    Diet that mimics fasting could improve breast cancer therapy effectiveness

    Diet that mimics fasting could improve breast cancer therapy effectiveness July 22 2020. Research reported on July 15, 2020 in Nature suggests a role for a fasting-mimicking diet in improving the efficacy of hormone-based breast cancer treatment, such as fulvestrant or tamoxifen.

    In a mouse model of hormone receptor positive breast cancer, the administration of fulvestrant along with periodic cycles of a diet that mimics fasting was associated with reductions in insulin, leptin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), all of which can affect cancer growth. Animals that received the combination experienced long lasting tumor regression and other benefits.

    "Our new study suggests that a fasting-mimicking diet together with endocrine therapy for breast cancer has the potential to not only shrink tumors but also reverse resistant tumors in mice," reported co-senior author Valter Longo, who is the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and professor of biological sciences at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "We have data that for the first time suggests that a fasting-mimicking diet works by changing at least three different factors: IGF1, leptin and insulin."

    Trials involving breast cancer patients also produced promising results. "Some patients followed monthly cycles of the fasting-mimicking diet for almost two years without any problems, suggesting that it is a well-tolerated intervention," commented co-corresponding author Alessio Nencioni. "We hope this means that this nutritional program that mimics fasting could one day represent a weapon to better fight cancer in patients receiving hormone therapy without serious side effects."

    "The results in mice are very promising. And the early clinical results show potential as well, but now we need to see it work in a 300- to 400-patient trial,” Dr Longo added.

    "I like to call it the nontoxic wildcard for cancer treatment."


    —D Dye



    US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reveals low choline intake

    US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reveals low choline intake July 20 2020. The Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC): Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, published on July 15, 2020, reveals the existence of insufficient intake of the nutrient choline among infants and toddlers, children aged 9 to 14 years, and pregnant and lactating women. The nutrient is essential for cognitive function and other areas of health.

    "The Committee's scientific report shines a light on the growing body of evidence that shows choline plays a critical role in health during specific life stages," stated Marie Caudill, PhD, RD, who is a professor at Cornell University. "Unfortunately, consumption data tell us choline is widely under-consumed, and it's concerning that those populations who would benefit most from choline, such as pregnant and lactating women and infants and children, fall short of meeting intake targets. In fact, only 8 percent of pregnant women are meeting choline recommendations."

    Choline occurs in egg yolk, fish, some beans, nuts, vegetables and whole grains, as well as other foods, however, getting enough choline can be challenging in the absence of supplementation. Of three food pattern styles presented by the DGAC to meet nutrient needs throughout life, none provided a sufficient intake of choline across the human lifespan. "The Committee's report clearly highlights the challenges of meeting choline intake targets through food alone," Dr Caudill noted. "Americans need guidance on how to choose supplements to help fill nutrient gaps, particularly for pregnant women as most recognized prenatal vitamins don't contain enough--if any--choline."

    "Choline's increased recognition in the DGAC report is an important scientific milestone for the public health community," acknowledged Jonathan Bortz, MD. "We are quickly approaching an inflection point in time for choline awareness."


    —D Dye



    Research suggests iron levels as a factor in aging

    Research suggests iron levels as a factor in aging July 17 2020. Research reported on July 16, 2020 in Nature Communications indicates that avoidance of high iron levels may be associated with a longer life.

    High iron levels increase damaging oxidative stress and have been linked with Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and other disorders.

    For their research, scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Germany utilized genetic data from over a million people. They identified ten regions of the genome associated with long lifespan, healthspan (years lived relatively free of disease) and extreme longevity. Genes associated with iron metabolism in the blood were found to be overrepresented in all three measures of aging. The finding indicates that these genes may contribute to a long and healthy life and could help explain some of the variance in rate of aging observed among different individuals.

    "We are very excited by these findings as they strongly suggest that high levels of iron in the blood reduce our healthy years of life, and keeping these levels in check could prevent age-related damage,” commented coauthor Dr Paul Timmers of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. “We speculate that our findings on iron metabolism might also start to explain why very high levels of iron-rich red meat in the diet has been linked to age-related conditions such as heart disease."

    "Our ultimate aim is to discover how aging is regulated and find ways to increase health during aging,” coauthor Dr Joris Deelen of the Max Planck Institute for Biology stated. “The ten regions of the genome we have discovered that are linked to lifespan, healthspan and longevity are all exciting candidates for further studies."


    —D Dye



    Omega 3 fatty acids may help protect brain from air pollution effects

    Omega 3 fatty acids may help protect brain from air pollution effects July 15 2020. Research reported on July 15, 2020 in Neurology® revealed a protective effect for the intake of fish against damaging effects to the brain caused by fine particulate matter in the air.

    "Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and easy to add to the diet," commented study coauthor Ka He, MD, ScD, of Columbia University. "Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So, we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution."

    The study included 1,315 women whose age averaged 70 years. Questionnaires provided information concerning the amount and type of fish consumed each week. Blood tests analyzed red blood cell levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Exposure to air pollution was determined from the participants’ residential addresses. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain measured white matter volume.

    Women whose red blood cell omega 3 fatty acids were among the highest 25% had an average white matter volume of 410 cubic centimeters (cm3) while the white matter of those whose omega 3 levels were among the lowest averaged 403 cm3. Having a high level of omega 3 was also correlated with a larger hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory.

    For each 25% increase in air pollution levels, white matter volume was 11.52 cm3 smaller among those with low omega 3 and just 0.12 cm3 smaller among those whose levels were high. "Our findings suggest that higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the blood from fish consumption may preserve brain volume as women age and possibly protect against the potential toxic effects of air pollution," Dr He concluded.


    —D Dye



    Review concludes benefits for nutrients against viral infections

    Review concludes benefits for nutrients against viral infections July 13 2020. The results of a systematic review published on July 9, 2020 in the Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry provide evidence for specific nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, to strengthen the human immune system against viral infections.

    “Individuals with nutrient deficiencies have weakened immune system and they are more susceptible to viral infections such as COVID19, and also for exacerbations of the condition after the disease,” Fatemeh Bourbour of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and colleagues wrote. “Supplementation with some nutrients may support the body’s natural defense system by enhancing the immunity, epithelial barriers, cellular immunity, and antibody production.”

    Dr Bourbour and associates reviewed 51 articles that included reports of randomized clinical trials, case-control studies, in vivo studies and randomized trial meta-analyses that focused on the effects of nutrients in immunity and viral infections. They identified dietary protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D and E, iron, selenium and zinc as having a role in strengthening the immune system and supporting healthy immune function. In some studies, nutrient supplementation was associated with improved health status of virally infected individuals.

    Among mechanisms discussed are the role of amino acids in the immune system’s antiviral actions, vitamin A’s involvement in maintaining mucosal integrity, vitamin C’s anti-inflammatory effect in sepsis, vitamin D-associated reduction of viral replication rates and inflammatory cytokine levels and vitamin E’s antioxidant activity and ability to help maintain T-cell membrane integrity.

    The authors concluded that “Further clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings.”


    —D Dye



    Vitamin C, carotenoid, grain intake associated with lower diabetes risk

    Vitamin C, carotenoid, grain intake associated with lower diabetes risk July 10 2020. Studies reported on July 8, 2020 in The BMJ revealed a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among men and women who had higher blood levels of carotenoids and vitamin C, or a greater intake of grains in comparison with those who had lower levels.

    One investigation included 9,754 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study who had been diagnosed with new onset type 2 diabetes between 1991 and 2007 and 13,662 randomly selected participants. Because carotenoids and vitamin C are provided in high amounts by fruit and vegetables, levels of the vitamins ascertained by blood samples collected upon enrollment were used as biomarkers for the intake of these foods. Having higher levels of vitamin C and total carotenoids, alone or combined, were associated with a decrease in diabetes risk. Among those whose composite biomarker score was among the top 20% of subjects, the risk of diabetes was half that of those who score was among the lowest 20%. It was calculated that every 66 gram per day increase in fruit and vegetable intake could lower the risk of developing diabetes by 25%.

    The second study included 36,525 men who did not have diabetes upon enrollment in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and 158,259 nondiabetic women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study or Nurses' Health Study II. Pooled analysis of all subjects found that those whose grain consumption was among the highest 20% had a 29% lower rate of developing type 2 diabetes than those whose intake was among the lowest 20%. Consuming at least one serving daily of a whole grain cereal was associated with a 19% lower risk of diabetes compared to less than a serving per month.

    The findings support current recommendations to increase fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake for diabetes prevention.


    —D Dye



    Probiotic supplementation may help improve depressive symptoms

    Probiotic supplementation may help improve depressive symptoms July 08 2020. A systematic review published on July 6, 2020 in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health concluded a benefit for supplementation with probiotics with or without prebiotics among individuals with depression.

    While probiotics are helpful bacteria which reside in the intestinal tract that aide in digestion and other aspects of health, prebiotics are nutrients that support the growth of these microorganisms. A growing awareness exists concerning the role of gut microbiota in maintaining brain health.

    “Humans are an amalgamation of both ‘self’ material and a plethora of ‘non-self’ microorganisms, termed microbiota,” explained Sanjay Noonan and colleagues at the University of Brighton. “These two entities are interactive, and their symbiotic coexistence is crucial for maintaining health.”

    For their review, the researchers selected seven studies that enrolled a total of 361 men and women. Studies examined the effects on anxiety or depression of at least one probiotic bacteria strain among a total of 12 that included Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Clostridium butyricum MIYAIRI 588 (CBM588), Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Streptococcus thermophiles. One study evaluated a combination of probiotics and a prebiotic while in another, participants received either a probiotic or a prebiotic.

    “Every study demonstrated a significant, quantitatively evident, decrease/improvement of symptoms and/or biochemically relevant measures of anxiety and/or depression for probiotic or combined prebiotic–probiotic use,” the authors reported. “The results offer some insights into pre/probiotic use for anxiety, though these are largely limited, with no test cohort being investigated primarily for an anxiety disorder (though some test populations have clinically significant comorbid anxiety disorders).

    They concluded that the effects of prebiotic and probiotic therapy against depression and anxiety warrant further investigation in larger populations.


    —D Dye



    White blood cells in belly fat play role in immune maintenance

    White blood cells in belly fat play role in immune maintenance July 06 2020. An article appearing on July 6, 2020 in Nature Metabolism describes an immune-protective role for white blood cells known as eosinophils in belly fat (visceral adipose tissue) and a potential method to rejuvenate immune function.

    Belly fat has been associated with unhealthy inflammation, particularly as people grow older. “Adipose tissue eosinophils (ATEs) are important in the control of obesity-associated inflammation and metabolic disease,” wrote Daniel Brigger and colleagues at the Universität of Bern, Switzerland. “Here, we show that ATEs undergo major age-related changes in distribution and function associated with impaired adipose tissue homeostasis and systemic low-grade inflammation in both humans and mice.”

    Acting on this knowledge, the researchers transferred eosinophils from young mice into a group of aged mice. "In these experiments, we observed that transferred eosinophils were selectively homing into adipose tissue,” remarked coauthor Mario Noti, formerly of the Institute of Pathology of the Universität of Bern.

    Mice that received eosinophils exhibited improved physical and immune fitness which the researchers determined was partially mediated by eosinophil-derived interleukin-4. "In different experimental approaches, we were able to show that transfers of eosinophils from young mice into aged recipients resolved not only local but also systemic low-grade inflammation,” reported coauthor Alexander Eggel.

    "Our results indicate that the biological processes of aging and the associated functional impairments are more plastic than previously assumed,” Dr Noti observed.

    The current findings add more evidence to adipose tissue’s role as a source of pro-aging factors as well as reveal a new role for eosinophils in supporting healthy aging by sustaining adipose tissue homeostasis.

    "A future direction of our research will be to now leverage the gained knowledge for the establishment of targeted therapeutic approaches to promote and sustain healthy aging in humans,” Dr Eggel stated.


    —D Dye



    Antioxidants could help protect against stroke-related increase in dementia

    Antioxidants could help protect against stroke-related increase in dementia July 03 2020. An article recently published in CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets suggested a potential benefit for the administration of antioxidants following ischemic stroke to help protect against an associated increase in the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer disease.

    “To date there is growing evidence of the association of vascular risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol levels or diabetes mellitus with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease,” noted authors Anamaria Jurcau and Aurel Simion of the University of Oradea. “Unfortunately, simply managing these risk factors had little effect in reducing the incidence of dementia. These factors, however, strongly increase the risk of a patient to suffer an ischemic stroke and incident stroke approximately doubles the risk of dementia."

    The destruction of neurons that occurs up to two weeks following ischemic stroke is caused by the initiation of apoptosis (programmed cell death), in which oxidative species play a role. Oxidative species are quenched by antioxidant compounds.

    A 2019 study that included more than 10,000 participants revealed than an antioxidant known as edaravone administered within 48 hours following endovascular revascularization in patients with acute ischemic stroke was associated with a decreased risk of in-hospital mortality and greater independence at hospital discharge. Another study, reported at the International Stroke Conference 2020, found that nerinetide, a molecule that lowers intracellular nitric oxide (an oxidative species) during ischemia, improved the outcome of ischemic stroke patients who underwent blood clot retrieval.

    The authors suggested that Alzheimer disease develops slowly with aging and the presence of established vascular risk factors, but the burst in oxidative stress that follows a stroke accelerates the development of dementia. Further investigation of this hypothesis may provide greater support for antioxidant treatment in acute ischemic stroke to delay the onset or progression of dementia.


    —D Dye



    CoQ10 provides relief to fatigued individuals in double-blind study

    CoQ10 provides relief to fatigued individuals in double-blind study July 01 2020. Results from a study published on June 2, 2020 in Nutrients reveal a benefit for supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) against mild, daily fatigue.

    The study enrolled men and women aged 20 to 64 years who experienced fatigue during their daily lives for at least one month and no longer than six months. Twenty participants were given 100 milligrams (mg) of the form of CoQ10 known as ubiquinone, 22 participants received 150 mg of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 and 20 received a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Serum ubiquinol levels were measured, questionnaires that evaluated subjective fatigue were administered, and autonomic nerve function and biological oxidation assessments that were used to evaluate objective fatigue were conducted before the treatment period and every four weeks throughout the study.

    Levels of serum ubiquinol, which is the reduced form of CoQ10, were significantly higher at the end of the study in the group that received ubiquinol compared to levels measured in participants who received a placebo. Subjective levels of sleepiness or fatigue following cognitive tasks significantly improved in both groups that received CoQ10 in comparison with the placebo group. Participants who received ubiquinol additionally experienced improvement in subjective relaxation following the completion of cognitive tasks, sleepiness before and after tasks, task motivation, and serum oxidative stress levels. Serum levels of ubiquinol suggested positive correlations with relaxation after tasks, motivation for cognitive tasks and parasympathetic activity.

    “Results of evaluation of the effects of ubiquinol in healthy individuals with mild fatigue suggested that ubiquinol contributes to the improvement of quality of life in individuals with mild fatigue by reducing fatigue and sleepiness following cognitive function load, promoting motivated engagement with cognitive function tasks while providing a relaxing effect, and reducing oxidative stress,” Kei Mizuno and colleagues concluded.


    —D Dye


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