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 Mediterranean diet biomarkers associated with longer life
  • Calorie restriction may spare muscle
  • More on coffee
  • Calorie restriction cycles could help cancer patients
  • Meta-analysis finds benefits for dietary supplements among breast cancer patients
  • Could coffee and tea protect against stroke and dementia?
  • Coffee compound extended life span in animal model of ALS
  • Meta-analysis concludes benefit for curcumin in IBD
  • Anti-inflammatory diet may protect against dementia
  • Vitamin D supplementation associated with lower risk of heart attack or death during follow-up
  • Lipid levels change with vitamin D concentrations
  • Analysis affirms protective benefit of zinc supplementation against respiratory tract symptoms
  • Long-term omega 3 supplementation may protect those at risk of Alzheimer disease


    Higher Mediterranean diet biomarkers associated with longer life

    Higher Mediterranean diet biomarkers associated with longer life November 29 2021. Research reported on November 24, 2021 in BMC Medicine revealed that men and women with higher biomarkers of consuming a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of mortality during 20 years of follow-up.

    “Adherence to a Mediterranean diet has been almost exclusively assessed using dietary questionnaires, such as 24-h recalls and food frequency questionnaires, which are susceptible to random and systematic errors in estimating dietary intake,” the authors wrote. “The use of dietary biomarkers may improve the estimations of Mediterranean diet exposure during a long-term follow-up.”

    The study included 642 participants in the InCHIANTI study who were aged 65 years and older at enrollment. Laboratory tests performed upon at the beginning of the study provided information concerning biomarkers associated with consuming a Mediterranean diet, which included urinary polyphenols and resveratrol metabolites, and plasma carotenoids, selenium, vitamin B12, linolenic acid, EPA, DHA and the monounsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio.

    Four hundred thirty-five deaths occurred during follow-up, among which 139 were caused by cardiovascular disease. Among participants whose biomarker scores were among the top one-third of the subjects, there was a 28% lower adjusted risk of mortality from any cause compared to subjects whose scores were among the lowest third. When cardiovascular disease deaths were analyzed, being among the top third of biomarker scores was associated with a 40% lower risk. No association between Mediterranean diet intake as ascertained by food frequency questionnaires and mortality was observed.

    “Adherence to a Mediterranean diet assessed by a dietary biomarker panel based on key Mediterranean food groups, but not using a traditional food frequency questionnaire, was inversely associated with long-term mortality in older adults,” the authors concluded. “We would like to highlight the use of dietary biomarkers to improve nutritional assessment and to guide individualized dietary counseling to older people.”


    —D Dye


    Calorie restriction may spare muscle

    Calorie restriction may spare muscle November 26 2021. Research reported on September 10, 2021 in Frontiers in Aging determined that calorie restriction, a dietary practice associated with weight loss and longevity, may preserve muscle tissue.

    A reduction in calorie intake lowers the production of proteins—building blocks of the body’s tissues and organs that require a significant amount of energy to produce. A decrease in protein production is associated with lowered growth and reproduction. Evolutionarily, this helps an organism to conserve energy so that it can survive to reproduce when food becomes more available.

    By suppressing protein production in a roundworm, Aric N. Rogers, PhD, and colleagues observed that skin, nerve and reproductive tissue had less growth, but muscle tissue growth was accelerated. “The usual tradeoff with reduced protein synthesis is increased longevity for decreased growth and reproductive capacity,” Dr Rogers stated. “But in muscle tissue, we saw the opposite, which is not what we expected. We found that muscle tissue is privileged under conditions that are usually unfavorable for growth and reproduction – that its potential for growth is protected even when nutrients are scarce.”

    He suggested that muscle is preserved during calorie restriction to allow the animal to forage for food. Muscle activity could send a signal to the cell that foraging is high and, therefore, nutrients are scarce, whereas inactivity may signal plentiful nutrients. “We believe muscle may send a hormone-like signal that is dependent on contraction for production and release,” he explained. “If an organism isn’t using its muscles, this signal may inform the reproductive system that foraging activity is low – in other words, that food is plentiful – and, therefore, that conditions are optimal for making the next generation, thus redirecting cellular resources toward growth and reproduction.”

    The research could aid the development of calorie restriction mimetics without the side effect of lean tissue loss.


    —D Dye


    More on coffee

    Coffee consumption and Alzheimer's disease November 24 2021. A report published on November 19, 2021 in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience revealed an association between drinking more coffee and a lower risk of Alzheimer disease.

    The study included 227 adults who were aged 60 and older and cognitively normal upon enrollment in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of aging. Food frequency questionnaires completed at enrollment provided data concerning coffee intake. Cognitive assessments were conducted at enrollment and were readministered up to seven times during a period of no longer than 126 months. A subgroup of 60 participants received PET scans of the brain to evaluate cerebral amyloid beta levels at these time points and another group of 51 participants received MRI brain scans to evaluate gray matter, white matter and volume of the brain’s hippocampus, an area that shrinks in Alzheimer disease.

    “We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment - which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease - or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study,” reported lead investigator Samantha Gardener of Edith Cowan University in Australia. “It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms.”

    “If the average cup of coffee made at home is 240 grams, increasing to two cups a day could potentially lower cognitive decline by eight per cent after 18 months,” she elaborated. “It could also see a five per cent decrease in amyloid accumulation in the brain over the same time period.”

    “It’s a simple thing that people can change,” Dr Gardner remarked. “We need to evaluate whether coffee intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”


    —D Dye


    Calorie restriction cycles could help cancer patients

    Calorie restriction cycles could help cancer patients November 22 2021. Findings from a trial reported on November 17, 2021 in Cancer Discovery revealed that five days of a diet that mimics fasting is safe for people with cancer and could improve factors that affect prognosis.

    The trial included 101 patients with different cancers treated with standard therapies. Participants were assigned to a five-day low protein, low carbohydrate, plant-based diet that provided up to 600 calories on the first day and up to 300 calories per day during the remaining days. The regimen was repeated every three or four weeks for up to eight cycles. Each period of calorie restriction was followed by a period in which patients were instructed to adhere to healthy diet and lifestyle guidelines. Blood samples were collected before and at the end of each calorie restricted period.

    Severe adverse events related to the diet were reported by 12.9% of the participants, which was significantly lower than the 20% figure hypothesized by the researchers prior to the study. Median plasma glucose, serum insulin and serum IGF-1 were decreased by 18.6%, 50.7% and 30.3% after each cycle. In an evaluation conducted among a subgroup of participants after the first calorie restricted cycle, a reduction in peripheral blood immunosuppressive cells and an increase of immune cells known as activated CD8+ T cells was observed.

    To explore the effects of the diet on immunity within cancer patients’ tumors, the researchers performed an analysis of findings from an ongoing trial that administered the fasting-mimicking diet prior to tumor removal in breast cancer patients. Tumor microenvironments revealed enhanced tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and additional favorable immune factors when compared to biopsy samples obtained before the diet was initiated.

    “Cyclic fasting-mimicking diet is a safe, feasible and inexpensive dietary intervention that modulates systemic metabolism and boosts antitumor immunity in cancer patients,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye


    Meta-analysis finds benefits for dietary supplements among breast cancer patients

    Meta-analysis finds benefits for dietary supplements among breast cancer patients November 19 2021. A meta-analysis published in the November 1, 2021 issue of Cancers found associations between improved breast cancer prognosis and the intake of multivitamins and other nutrients.

    The meta-analysis included 63 studies that evaluated the association between dietary factors and breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer mortality and/or mortality from any cause during the studies’ follow- up periods among a total of 120,167 breast cancer patients.

    Increased beer consumption was associated with a significantly greater risk of recurrence and saturated fat was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer mortality.

    Among participants in the four studies that examined the association between fiber intake and all-cause mortality during follow-up, there was a 33% lower risk among the top 25% of consumers compared to those among the lowest 25%. For participants in studies that evaluated the effects of multivitamins, the risk of mortality was 12% lower and for antioxidant supplements, the risk was 17% lower.

    When subjects in five studies that examined vitamin C’s effects on breast cancer-specific mortality were examined, an intake that was among the top 25% was associated with an 18% lower risk compared to those among the lowest 25%. Analysis of the data according to whether the studies’ reported dietary factors before or after breast cancer diagnosis revealed a 29% lower risk of breast cancer-specific mortality in association with being among the top 25% of prediagnostic vitamin C consumers and a 12% lower risk of all-cause mortality among patients in the top 25% of postdiagnostic intake of multivitamins compared to the lowest group.

    “Based on our systematic review and meta-analysis, we recommend breast cancer survivors have a higher intake of soy isoflavones and lignans, multivitamins, and antioxidant supplements and a lower intake of saturated fats to improve prognosis,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye


    Could coffee and tea protect against stroke and dementia?

    Could coffee and tea protect against stroke and dementia? November 17 2021. Research reported on November 16, 2021 in PLOS Medicine revealed a reduction in the risk of stroke and dementia among coffee or tea drinkers compared to those who did not consume the beverages.

    The current study included 365,682 participants in the UK Biobank who were between the ages of 50 and 74 years at enrollment between 2006 and 2010. Questionnaires administered after enrollment provided information concerning the consumption of coffee and tea. During the follow-up period, which ended in 2020, 10,053 participants had at least one stroke and 5,079 developed dementia.

    Participants who consumed two to three cups of coffee, three to five cups of tea, or four to six cups of coffee and/or tea had the lowest incidence of stroke or dementia during follow-up. Consuming two to three cups of coffee or tea per day was associated with a 32% reduction in the risk of stroke and a 28% decrease in the risk of dementia in comparison with participants who consumed neither beverage.

    The risk of stroke-associated dementia was lower in coffee drinkers and among those who consumed tea in addition to coffee. Combining coffee with tea was associated with a 48% lower poststroke dementia risk.

    “Coffee is the primary source of caffeine and contains phenolics and other bioactive compounds with potential beneficial health effects,” Yuan Zhang and colleagues noted. “Likewise, tea contains caffeine, catechin polyphenols, and flavonoids, which have been reported to have neuroprotective roles such as antioxidative stress, anti-inflammation, inhibition of amyloid-beta aggregation, and antiapoptosis.”

    “Our findings support an association between moderate coffee and tea consumption and risk of stroke and dementia,” they concluded. “However, whether the provision of such information can improve stroke and dementia outcomes remains to be determined.”


    —D Dye


    Coffee compound extended life span in animal model of ALS

    Coffee compound extended life span in animal model of ALS November 15 2021. On November 15, 2021, Nature Neuroscience reported the discovery of higher levels of the proinflammatory fatty acid arachidonic acid in nerve cell samples from people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) compared to people without the disease. It was found that caffeic acid, a compound occurring in coffee, tea and wine, reduced symptoms and extended life in fly and mouse models of ALS.

    Acting on the knowledge of an ability of ALS patients to maintain eye movement (which is controlled by ocular neurons), despite the loss of most muscle control due to damaged spinal neurons, Gabsang Lee, DVM, PhD, and associates investigated genetic differences between ocular neurons from an ALS patient and those derived from individuals without the disease. They found greater activity in genes that control lipid metabolism in cells affected by ALS. Analysis of samples of ocular and spinal motor neurons from ALS patients and people who did not have the disorder revealed that spinal motor neurons from the patients with ALS had different types and amounts of lipids than ocular neurons, in comparison with samples from individuals without the disease. Spinal motor neurons affected by ALS had higher levels of arachidonic acid, which is involved in inflammation.

    Interfering with the arachidonic acid pathway by administering caffeic acid to fruit flies that were genetically engineered to express the characteristics of ALS resulted in more movement and longer life compared to flies that did not receive the compound. In a mouse model of ALS, caffeic acid was associated with improvement in muscle strength and the animals experienced a two-to-three-week extension of survival.

    Although the findings are promising, Dr Lee noted that “We don’t know yet why ocular and spinal neurons differ in lipid metabolism or what percentage of ALS patients have alterations in the arachidonic acid pathway.”


    —D Dye


    Meta-analysis concludes benefit for curcumin in IBD

    Meta-analysis concludes benefit for curcumin in IBD November 12 2021. The December 2021 issue of Complementary Therapies in Medicine published a meta-analysis which found improvements among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who received curcumin in comparison with a placebo.

    Inflammatory bowel disease is an intestinal condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Curcumin, an antioxidant that occurs in turmeric, has been associated with beneficial effects in numerous health concerns, which could be explained by its property of helping to maintain inflammation at a healthy level.

    Hossein Shahinfar and colleagues searched the literature for randomized double-blind trials that assessed the effects of antioxidants on IBD. Because most of the trials involved curcumin, seven trials that compared the effects of orally administered curcumin to a placebo among a total of 344 IBD patients were selected for the meta-analysis.

    Pooled analysis of the participants’ data revealed an increase in clinical remission of IBD compared to a placebo in association with curcumin, which remained significant among patients aged 40 years and older. In the two studies that reported changes in clinical symptoms, improvement was also observed in curcumin-treated participants. Among the six studies in which participants underwent endoscopy, endoscopic remission in participants treated with curcumin significantly increased. Again, the finding was significant among participants aged 40 and older. Clinical response among participants in three studies and quality of life in one study also improved in association with curcumin.

    “To the best of our knowledge, [the] current study is the first comprehensive meta-analysis on the effect of dietary antioxidants on clinical variables in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and its subtypes,” the authors announced. “Our meta-analysis showed that curcumin significantly improved clinical and endoscopic remissions in IBD patients. This supplementation also caused significant reduction in clinical symptoms of IBD patients along with better clinical response and increased quality of life.”


    —D Dye


    Anti-inflammatory diet may protect against dementia

    Anti-inflammatory diet may protect against dementia November 10 2021. The November 10, 2021, issue of Neurology® reported an association between greater adherence to an anti-inflammatory diet and a lower risk of dementia.

    The study included 1,059 participants of an average age of 73 years who were free of dementia upon enrollment. Dietary questionnaire responses provided information concerning food groups consumed during the previous month, including dairy products, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, legumes, added fats, alcoholic beverages, stimulants and sweets. Higher diet scores indicated a greater intake of proinflammatory foods and fewer servings of fruit, vegetables, beans, tea and coffee. Participants in the lowest one-third of dietary scores, indicative of the least inflammatory diet, consumed an average of 20 servings of fruit, 19 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of legumes and 11 servings of coffee or tea per week.

    During the three-year follow-up, 6% of the participants developed dementia. The researchers determined that each one-point increase in dietary inflammatory score was associated with a 21% increase in dementia, and that participants in the highest third of dietary scores had a three times greater risk of the condition compared to participants whose scores were among the lowest third.

    “There may be some potent nutritional tools in your home to help fight the inflammation that could contribute to brain aging,” stated study author Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, PhD, of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece. “Diet is a lifestyle factor you can modify, and it might play a role in combating inflammation, one of the biological pathways contributing to risk for dementia and cognitive impairment later in life.”

    “Our results are getting us closer to characterizing and measuring the inflammatory potential of people’s diets,” he added. “That in turn could help inform more tailored and precise dietary recommendations and other strategies to maintain cognitive health.”


    —D Dye


    Vitamin D supplementation associated with lower risk of heart attack or death during follow-up

    Vitamin D supplementation associated with lower risk of heart attack or death during follow-up November 8 2021. The October 2021 issue of the Journal of the Endocrine Society published findings from a retrospective study of US veterans that uncovered an association between supplementing with vitamin D and a lower risk of heart attack and mortality from any cause during up to 14 years of follow-up.

    The study included men and women treated at the Kansas City VA Medical Center from 1999-2018 who had low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL or less. Among 11,119 patients who were not treated with vitamin D supplements, follow-up vitamin D levels remained at 20 ng/mL or lower. For those who received the vitamin, levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL among 5,623 patients and to at least 30 ng/mL among 3,277 patients at follow-up.

    Men and women whose vitamin D levels improved to at least 30 ng/mL had a risk of heart attack that was 35% lower than patients whose levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL and 27% lower than the untreated group. The difference in risk between untreated individuals and those whose levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL was not determined to be significant. Patients whose vitamin D levels improved the most also experienced significantly greater heart attack-free survival during follow-up than the remainder of the patients.

    When mortality from any cause during follow-up was examined, men and women whose vitamin D levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL had a 41% lower risk, and those whose levels improved to 30 ng/mL or more had a 39% lower risk than the untreated group.

    “These results suggest that targeting 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL might improve prognosis in the primary prevention setting among individuals with vitamin D deficiency,” authors Prakash Acharya of the University of Kansas Medical Center and colleagues wrote.


    —D Dye


    Lipid levels change with vitamin D concentrations

    Lipid levels change with vitamin D concentrations  November 5 2021. On November 2, 2021 Scientific Reports published the finding of a relationship between changes in vitamin D levels and corresponding alterations in lipids.

    “Given the relatively sparse data on the association of vitamin D supplementation with changes in lipid levels, we sought to investigate this relationship in a real-world setting in which supplementation was inferred from year-to-year changes in vitamin D levels,” the authors wrote. “For this study, we retrospectively analyzed vitamin D and lipid levels among working-age adults who had serial monitoring as part of an annual employee health program.”

    The study included participants in three cohorts whose serum vitamin D level changed by at least 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) between 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 or 2019 to 2020. The use of 10 ng/mL as a threshold for changes in vitamin levels was based on a trial in which the average one-year increase in vitamin D was 11.9 ng/mL in a subset of participants who received vitamin D supplements. Subjects included a total of 10,459 individuals whose vitamin D levels increased and 8,427 subjects whose levels declined by 10 ng/mL or more.

    Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decreased among participants whose vitamin D increased, while rising among those whose vitamin D levels were reduced. Differences between those whose levels rose and those whose levels decreased in the three cohorts averaged 10.71 to 12.02 mg/dL for total cholesterol, 7.42 to 8.95 mg/dL for LDL and 21.59 to 28.09 mg/dL for triglycerides. There was no significant association between changes in vitamin D and HDL cholesterol.

    “These findings are consistent with those of a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials demonstrating that vitamin D supplementation improves lipid profiles,” the authors concluded. “Furthermore, our findings support that reductions in vitamin D levels are associated with worsening lipid profiles.”


    —D Dye


    Analysis affirms protective benefit of zinc supplementation against respiratory tract symptoms

    Analysis affirms protective benefit of zinc supplementation against respiratory tract symptoms November 3 2021. Findings from a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials, published on November 1, 2021 in BMJ Open, add more evidence to a protective role for zinc against respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and their symptoms.

    Twenty-eight randomized trials that included a total of 5,446 men and women were included in the review. The trials evaluated the effects of zinc in participants who had or were at risk of contracting a viral RTI or respiratory tract illness predominantly caused by a viral infection.

    Pooled analysis of trials that compared the effects of orally administered capsules or topical nasal zinc to a placebo in the prevention of community acquired RTIs found a 32% lower risk of developing mild to moderate symptoms characteristic of a viral RTI among participants who received zinc supplements. Five respiratory tract infections per 100 person-months of zinc use were determined to have been prevented by zinc. Zinc did not prevent colds experimentally induced by human rhinovirus inoculation.

    Participants who received zinc had an 87% lower risk of developing moderately severe symptoms such as fever and a 28% lower risk of developing mild symptoms compared to the placebo subjects. Symptoms resolved an average of two days earlier in association with sublingual or intranasal zinc.

    “The role of zinc in viral RTIs appears to extend beyond supplementing nutritional intake to prevent or treat zinc deficiency,” authors Jennifer Hunter of Western Sydney University in Penrith, New South
    Wales, Australia and her associates wrote. “The marginal benefits, strain specificity, drug resistance and potential risks of other over-the-counter and prescription medications makes zinc a viable ‘natural’ alternative for the self-management of non-specific RTIs. It also provides clinicians with a management option for patients who are desperate for faster recovery times and might be seeking an unnecessary antibiotic prescription.”


    —D Dye


    Long-term omega 3 supplementation may protect those at risk of Alzheimer disease

    Omega 3 supplementation and Alzheimer's disease November 1 2021. Longer use of omega 3 fatty acids was associated with a reduced likeliness of developing late onset Alzheimer disease among individuals with a genetic variant associated with increased risk. The finding was reported on October 28, 2021 in the European Journal of Neurology.

    Researchers analyzed data from 1,670 men and women who did not have dementia upon enrollment in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative cohort, which was established to gather information concerning the relationships between biomarkers across the Alzheimer disease spectrum. Forty-one percent of the participants in the current study were carriers of the APOE4 variant of the APOE gene, which is the strongest known genetic determinant of late onset Alzheimer disease. Duration of use of omega 3 supplements, which included fish oil, EPA, DHA and ALA, was ascertained at enrollment. Participants were followed for up to 10 years, during which progression from normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer dementia was tracked.

    Participants who progressed to Alzheimer disease during follow-up tended to have consumed omega 3 for a shorter duration than those whose cognition remained stable. Further analysis determined that this difference was significant only among carriers of APOE4. Ten years or more duration of omega 3 use was associated with preserved cognition (particularly memory), as well as a reduction in cerebral amyloid (which is increased in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients) and Alzheimer disease risk among APOE4 carriers.

    “To sum up, taking omega 3 supplements regularly might be a promising approach to lowering Alzheimer disease risk in populations exposed to genetic risk,” the authors concluded. “These findings also indicated that genetic risk factors of Alzheimer disease could be modified, and their adverse effects can be attenuated and even neutralized by long-term omega 3 supplementation.”


    —D Dye


    What's Hot Archive