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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.


  • Decreased CoQ10 levels associated with greater lung cancer risk
  • French maritime pine bark supplementation associated with improvements in diabetes complications
  • Study finds association between supplementing with zinc and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease
  • Coffee drinking associated with lower heart failure risk
  • Women: is your blood pressure too high?
  • Green tea compound boosts anticancer protein
  • Vitamin D supplementation could save money and lives
  • Higher folic acid levels linked to lower ED risk
  • Drinking coffee, tea associated with reduced risks of premature mortality
  • Broccoli compound extends lifespan in worm model
  • Time-restricted eating may help lower breast cancer risk
  • Pomegranate extract associated with enhanced lifespan in roundworms


    Decreased CoQ10 levels associated with greater lung cancer risk

    Decreased CoQ10 levels associated with greater lung cancer risk February 26 2021. A report appearing on February 6, 2021 in Cancer Medicine documented an increase in the risk of lung cancer among members of a low income population in the U.S. Southeast who had decreased plasma levels of CoQ10, a coenzyme involved in the body’s production of energy.

    The study included 596 participants in the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), which enrolled men and women residing in the southern United States who were recruited by mail or from Community Health Centers that served low-income households. A high percentage of participants had less than 12 years of schooling. Seventy-two percent of those with lung cancer were current smokers compared to 41.8% of the controls.

    Two hundred one participants with lung cancer were matched with 395 control subjects who did not have the disease. Blood samples collected upon enrollment were analyzed for plasma CoQ10.

    A median 973 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of CoQ10 was measured in the plasma of men and women with lung cancer in comparison with 1,076 ng/mL among those who did not have the disease. Among those whose CoQ10 levels were among the top one-third of participants, there was a 40% lower adjusted risk of lung cancer in comparison with having a level among the lowest third. Further analysis found a significant inverse association between CoQ10 concentrations and the risk of lung cancer in current smokers.

    “In this first prospective case-control study nested within the SCCS, we found an inverse association between plasma CoQ10 and lung cancer risk, particularly in cases diagnosed within one year following blood collection,” Chris Shidal of Vanderbilt University and colleagues wrote. “This association was also more apparent in individuals currently smoking. “These data may provide initial evidence of the utility of circulating CoQ10 level as a biomarker for lung cancer,” they concluded.


    —D Dye



    French maritime pine bark supplementation associated with improvements in diabetes complications

    French maritime pine bark supplementation associated with improvements in diabetes complications February 24 2021. A randomized trial reported on February 18, 2021 in Complementary Therapies in Medicine resulted in improvement of several factors related to type 2 diabetes among men and women who were given supplements containing French maritime pine bark extract.

    The trial included 46 diabetics between the ages of 30 and 65 years who were recruited from March 2018 to April 2019. Participants received two capsules that provided 50 milligrams each of French maritime bark extract or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Diet and medication use remained unchanged throughout the trial. Anthropometric factors, glycemic parameters, lipids and factors related to inflammation and kidney function were assessed at the beginning and end of the study.

    At eight weeks, waist circumference, waist to height ratio, hemoglobin A1c, total cholesterol, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1, an inflammatory cell that contributes to atherosclerosis), and urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (an early indicator of kidney disease) were lower at the end of the study among participants who received French maritime pine bark extract in comparison with the placebo. Serum fasting blood glucose levels were also lower at the end of the study in the group that received the extract; however, the reduction was not considered significant.

    “There is a growing body of evidence that suggests pine bark extract supplementation has some potentially beneficial metabolic properties such as anti-diabetic and hypoglycemic effects,” Elham Navval-Esfahlan and colleagues wrote.

    “The present study indicated that daily supplementation with 100 mg of pine bark extract in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and microalbuminuria had favorable effects on glycemic control, serum VCAM-1, and urinary albumin to creatine ratio level, as well as total cholesterol concentrations and abdominal obesity which could be helpful in the control of diabetes complications,” they concluded.


    —D Dye



    Study finds association between supplementing with zinc and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease

    Coffee drinking associated with lower heart failure risk February 22 2021. An epidemiologic study conducted at the University of Manchester found an association between zinc supplementation and a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as a reduction in the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients. It was additionally determined that zinc deficiency accelerated memory deficits in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model compared to a control group, due to increased inflammation. The findings were reported in an article appearing on February 17, 2021 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

    For the epidemiologic study, Jack Rivers-Auty and his associates utilized data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database, which included 1,631 men and women who were cognitively normal or diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer's disease. Subjects were evaluated upon enrollment, at six and 12 months, and yearly thereafter. Data obtained at the beginning of the study provided information concerning the use of nutritional supplements.

    Among those who reported supplementing with zinc, just 6% were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, in contrast with 26% of those who reported no supplement use. Calcium, iron and magnesium also appeared to be protective. Zinc use was additionally associated with a less rapid rate of cognitive decline during up to ten years of follow-up.

    Giving mice zinc deficient diets was associated with increased cognitive decline due to enhanced NLRP3-driven inflammation, which was reversed by giving the animals diets that contained a normal amount of zinc. “These data suggest that zinc deficiency is causally accelerating cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and that these cognitive deficits are reversible,” Dr Rivers-Auty and colleagues wrote. “This research suggests that zinc status is linked to inflammatory reactivity and may be modified in people to reduce the risk and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” they concluded.


    —D Dye



    Coffee drinking associated with lower heart failure risk

    Coffee drinking associated with lower heart failure risk February 19 2021.The February 2021 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure published the findings of a study which concluded that drinking at least one cup of coffee daily may help reduce the risk of heart failure, which is diagnosed when the heart fails to pump blood adequately.

    "While smoking, age and high blood pressure are among the most well-known heart disease risk factors, unidentified risk factors for heart disease remain," observed senior author David P. Kao, MD, who is an assistant professor of cardiology and medical director at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado.

    The investigation utilized data from participants in the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study. The studies included a total of 21,361 participants who were followed for at least 10 years. Self-reported non-decaffeinated coffee drinking was categorized as zero, one, two, or three or more cups per day.

    Increased coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of heart failure. Among all participants, the risk of heart failure averaged 30% lower among subjects who consumed two or more cups coffee per day compared to zero cups. The researchers also observed a lower risk of heart failure in association with caffeine consumption from any source, which suggests that the compound is in part responsible for coffee’s benefit.

    "The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising,” Dr Kao remarked. “Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be 'bad' for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc. The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head.”


    —D Dye



    Women: is your blood pressure too high?

    Women: is your blood pressure too high? February 17 2021. The February 16, 2021 issue of Circulation published a research letter by a team from the Smidt Heart Institute which suggested that women may have a lower upper healthy blood pressure limit than men. Presently, the upper normal limit for adult systolic blood pressure is 120 mmHg; however, the current findings indicate that for women, this recommendation may need to be re-examined.

    “Our latest findings suggest that this one-size-fits-all approach to considering blood pressure may be detrimental to a woman’s health,” commented senior author Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMSc.

    The study utilized blood pressure measurements obtained in the Framingham Heart Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study. The studies included a total of 27,542 participants, among whom over half were women. During an average follow-up of 28 years, 27,424 participants developed cardiovascular disease, 3,405 had heart attacks, 4,081 developed heart failure and 1,901 experienced strokes.

    Women’s risk of cardiovascular disease began to increase at a lower systolic blood pressure range compared to men. Compared to less than 100 mmHg, a systolic pressure of 100-109 mmHg in women was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Among men, an increase in risk was observed at 130-139 mmHg. The risk of heart attack experienced by women whose systolic blood pressure was 110-119 mmHg was comparable to that of men whose systolic pressure was 160 mmHg or more. Differences were also observed for the risks of heart failure and stroke.

    “If the ideal physiologic range of blood pressure truly is lower for females than males, current approaches to using sex-agnostic targets for lowering elevated blood pressure need to be reassessed,” stated Christine Albert, MD, MPH, of the Smidt Heart Institute. “This important work is far-reaching and has numerous clinical implications.”


    —D Dye



    Green tea compound boosts anticancer protein

    Green tea compound boosts anticancer protein February 15 2021. An article appearing on February 12, 2021 in Nature Communications reported the discovery of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York of a beneficial interaction between the green tea compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and a protein in the body known as p53 that can repair DNA damage and destroy cancer cells.

    "Both p53 and EGCG molecules are extremely interesting,” commented corresponding author Chunyu Wang, who is a professor of biological sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Mutations in p53 are found in over 50% of human cancer, while EGCG is the major antioxidant in green tea, a popular beverage worldwide. Now we find that there is a previously unknown, direct interaction between the two, which points to a new path for developing anti-cancer drugs.”

    The protein p53 has been called the guardian of the genome due to its role in DNA repair and in activation of apoptosis (programmed cell death) if DNA cannot be repaired. Dr Wang and colleagues determined that the interaction of p53 with EGCG disrupts its interaction with the protein MDM2 that normally causes its degradation. "Both EGCG and MDM2 bind at the same place on p53, the N-terminal domain, so EGCG competes with MDM2," Dr Wang explained. "When EGCG binds with p53, the protein is not being degraded through MDM2, so the level of p53 will increase with the direct interaction with EGCG, and that means there is more p53 for anti-cancer function. This is a very important interaction."

    “Our work helps to explain how EGCG is able to boost p53's anti-cancer activity, opening the door to developing drugs with EGCG-like compounds," Dr Wang concluded.

    Rensselaer School of Science Dean Curt Breneman noted that "Chunyu's research is laying the groundwork for new and successful therapies."


    —D Dye



    Vitamin D supplementation could save money and lives

    Vitamin D supplementation could save money and lives February 12 2021. Research conducted at the German Cancer Research Center, reported on February 4, 2021 in Molecular Oncology, concluded that if all Germans older than 50 years supplemented their diet with vitamin D, as many as 30,000 deaths from cancer each year could be eliminated and over 300,000 years of life could be gained.

    "In many countries around the world, the age-adjusted rate of cancer mortality has fortunately declined over the past decade," commented coauthor and German Cancer Research Center epidemiologist Hermann Brenner. "However, given the often considerable costs of many new cancer drugs, this success has often come at a high price. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is comparatively inexpensive in the usual daily doses."

    The investigation utilized national cancer mortality data from 2016 and three recent meta-analyses of clinical trials that evaluated the relationship between vitamin D intake and cancer mortality. The meta-analyses each concluded that vitamin D supplementation was associated with an approximate 13% reduction in cancer deaths.

    Based on 2016 population data, Dr Brenner and his associates calculated that it would cost 900 million euros for the 36 million German residents older than 50 years of age to receive 1,000 international units (IU) vitamin D per day for one year. The annual savings in cancer treatment costs for 30,000 men and women who would not succumb to the disease due to supplementing with vitamin D was estimated at savings of 1.154 billion euros, resulting in a net savings of 254 million euros.

    "In view of the potentially significant positive effects on cancer mortality - additionally combined with a possible cost saving - we should look for new ways to reduce the widespread vitamin D deficiency in the elderly population in Germany,” Dr Brenner stated. “In some countries, foods have even been enriched with vitamin D for many years.”


    —D Dye



    Higher folic acid levels linked to lower ED risk

    Higher folic acid levels linked to lower ED risk February 10 2021. A meta-analysis and systematic review published on February 7, 2021 in Andrologia documented an association between higher serum levels of the B vitamin folic acid and a lower risk of erectile dysfunction (ED).

    Jiangnan Xu and colleagues at the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University in China selected six studies that included a total of 1,842 men for the meta-analysis. Pooled data from all participants revealed that folic acid levels among men without ED were approximately 3.37 nanograms per milliliter higher than levels measured among men with ED. When the three studies that classified men with ED according to severity were analyzed, the difference in folic acid levels between participants with and without the condition became greater with increasing severity. And when studies that included men whose ages averaged 30 years were compared with those whose participants were of an average age of 50, the differences in folic acid levels between men who had ED and those who did not were more pronounced in the younger group.

    The authors remarked that folic acid helps normalize homocysteine levels that damage the lining of the arteries. Elevated homocysteine levels also inhibit the formation of nitric oxide in the blood vessel lining, thereby contributing to the risk of ED.

    “As far as we know, our study is the first meta-analysis to explore the relationship between serum folic acid levels and ED, and the first systematic review to systematically elaborate the potential mechanism of the relationship between serum folic acid and ED,” Dr Xu and associates announced. “The results of our meta-analysis showed that serum folic acid levels were significantly lower in the ED group compared with the non-ED group, and serum folic acid level seemed to be closely related to the severity of ED.”


    —D Dye



    Drinking coffee, tea associated with reduced risks of premature mortality

    Drinking coffee, tea associated with reduced risks of premature mortality February 8 2021. An article published on February 4, 2021 in Stroke examined the association between regular consumption of coffee or green tea and the risk of mortality among myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack) or stroke survivors as well as individuals who had experienced neither event during an 18.5-year median follow-up period.

    The study included 478 stroke survivors, 1,214 heart attack survivors and 44,521 men and women with a history of neither event who were enrolled in the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk. Questionnaire responses provided information concerning the amount and frequency of coffee and green tea consumed.

    During the 18.5-year median follow-up, 9,253 deaths occurred. Among participants with no history of heart attack or stroke, drinking one to six cups coffee per week was associated with a 14% lower risk of mortality and two or more cups per day was associated with an 18% lower risk compared to non-drinkers. Further investigation revealed that coffee drinking was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality during follow-up among heart attack survivors but not stroke patients.

    Among those with a history of stroke, drinking one to six cups of green tea per week was associated with a 27% lower risk of dying from any cause during follow-up. A decline in risk was observed in association with an increase in the number of cups of tea consumed, with those who consumed seven or more cups per day experiencing the greatest risk reduction. Protective associations were also documented among heart attack survivors.

    “Green tea consumption can be beneficial in improving the prognosis for stroke or MI survivors, whereas coffee consumption can also be so for persons without a history of stroke or MI as well as MI survivors,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Broccoli compound extends lifespan in worm model

    Broccoli compound extends lifespan in worm model February 5 2021.The January 31, 2021 issue of Aging reported the findings of a team from the University of Heidelberg in Germany of an association between the intake of the compound sulforaphane, derived from broccoli and other Brassicaceae family vegetables, and longer survival of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

    “Several studies have described the isolation of natural substances from food plants and characterized them as suitable anti-aging agents; such substances include the phenol resveratrol from grapes and berries, the phenol curcumin from turmeric, the alkaloid berberine found in plants used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the polyphenol chlorogenic acid from coffee and tea, and chlorophyll from green vegetables, among others,” wrote Zhimin Qi and colleagues. “We asked whether sulforaphane may influence the lifespan and health span of C. elegans.”

    Adding sulforaphane to the worms’ diets increased the lifespan of various strains of C. elegans by an average of 17%. The mechanism of action was attributed to inhibition of abnormal dauer formation protein 2 (DAF-2)-mediated insulin and insulin-like growth factor signaling and its downstream targets, which positively affected other factors. (DAF-2 is part of a metabolic pathway that regulates the rate of aging.)

    Sulforaphane also increased health span, resulting in a delay in aging-associated physiologic decline. Mobility, appetite and food intake were greater in worms that received sulforaphane, while the accumulation of the aging-associated pigment lipofuscin was reduced. Other experiments revealed that sulforaphane enhanced oxidative stress resistance.

    "We are the first to report that sulforaphane prolongs the lifespan and increases the health span of C. elegans through the inhibition of DAF- 2/insulin/IGF-1 signaling and the activation of DAF- 16/FOXO nuclear transcription in C. elegans,” the authors announced. “Our study provides a promising hint regarding the suitability of sulforaphane as a new anti-aging drug.”


    —D Dye



    Time-restricted eating may help lower breast cancer risk

    Time-restricted eating may help lower breast cancer risk February 3 2021. Research conducted in mice suggests that a form of intermittent fasting known as time-restricted eating could help lower the risk of developing breast cancer as well as reduce its growth and metastasis. A report of the findings appeared on January 25, 2021 in Nature Communications.

    Using two different obese postmenopausal female mouse models, researchers divided each group to receive 24 hours or 8 hours per day of access to a high fat diet, or an unrestricted control diet that was not high in fat. Both high fat diet-fed groups consumed a similar number of calories.

    Animals that received a control diet remained lean throughout the study while the groups that were allowed unrestricted access to the high fat diet gained weight and had higher glucose levels. However, both groups that received timed restricted food provision exhibited stabilized body weight and had glucose levels that were the same on average as mice that received the control diets. When the animals were injected with breast cancer cells, tumor growth in the time-restricted fed group was not distinguishable from that of the control group and significantly less than the group that consumed an unlimited high fat diet. "We were able to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce hyperinsulinemia, restore circadian rhythms and reduce tumor growth by simply modifying when and for how long mice had access to food," reported senior author Nicholas Webster, PhD.

    "Time-restricted eating has a positive effect on metabolic health and does not trigger the hunger and irritability that is associated with long-term fasting or calorie restriction," noted first author Manasi Das. "Through its beneficial metabolic effects, time-restricted eating may also provide an inexpensive, easy to adopt, but effective strategy to prevent and inhibit breast cancer without requiring a change in diet or physical activity."


    —D Dye



    Pomegranate extract associated enhanced lifespan in roundworms

    Pomegranate extract associated enhanced lifespan in roundworms February 1 2021. A report appearing on January 11, 2021 in EXCLI Journal documented the findings of researchers at Shri Alpesh N. Patel P.G. Institute of Science and Research of life span benefits for pomegranate extract in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

    “The pomegranate (Punica granatum L) is recognized as an ancient edible fruit and is considered as ‘Food of Gods’ as it is symbolic of abundance, productiveness, and well-being,” wrote Mukesh G. Chaubey and colleagues. “Recent interest in using P. granatum is because of its anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-virus, and anti-proliferative activity along with several other health benefits.”

    Investigation of pomegranate’s beneficial compounds found a higher total phenol concentration in extracts of the outer peel in comparison with extracts of the inner peel and aril juice. The greatest flavonoid content was observed in the inner peel and the highest amount of vitamin C was detected in an extract of pomegranate juice. Four tests of free-radical scavenging activity revealed significant antioxidant effects for outer and inner peel, and juice extracts.

    In C. elegans, lifelong administration of low or high dose extracts of pomegranate outer peel, inner peel or juice was associated with the worms surviving an average of five days longer at 25 degrees Celsius and three days longer at 20 degrees than untreated control worms, resulting in average lifespans of 25 and 15 days. High doses of the extracts were associated with greater increases in survival than low doses. Outer peel, inner peel and juice extracts were associated with similar increases.

    “The current findings indicate that due to high antioxidant and anti-aging capacity, pomegranate could be used as a supplement to enhance the growth and survival rate,” the authors concluded. “The pomegranate extracts can be used as a natural pharmaceutical product for treating neurodegenerative diseases and oxidative stress-induced disorders.”


    —D Dye


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