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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.


  • Vegetable compound shows promise against diabetic kidney disease
  • Higher omega-3 levels linked with lower risk of death during 16-year period
  • Vitamin D supplementation could help reduce heart disease in African Americans and others at risk
  • Boosting NAD+ supports muscle metabolism
  • Meta-analysis concludes supplementation with some vitamins modestly effective against acute respiratory tract infection risk
  • Mitochondrial impairment caused by vitamin D deficiency may impair muscle function
  • Metformin could help treat chronic kidney disease
  • Antioxidants could help protect against cervical cancer
  • Higher dietary total antioxidant capacity associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment
  • Metformin associated with lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events
  • Folic acid, DHA improve factors related to cognitive function
  • Higher selenium levels associated with improved breast cancer survival
  • Regular aspirin use associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer mortality


    Vegetable compound shows promise against diabetic kidney disease

    Vegetable compound shows promise against diabetic kidney disease April 30 2021. Research findings presented on April 29, 2021 at the American Association for Anatomy annual meeting held during Experimental Biology 2021 revealed a potential benefit for phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a compound that occurs in watercress and other vegetables, against diabetic nephropathy: chronic kidney disease that develops in approximately one fourth of people with diabetes.

    “Diabetic nephropathy is a serious microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus and the major cause of end-stage renal disease,” Mohamed El-Sherbiny, PhD, and colleagues wrote.

    Previous research has indicated that a vegetable compound known as sulforaphane that is related to PEITC reduces diabetes-associated kidney damage. For the current study, the research team evaluated the effects of PEITC in a rat model of diabetic nephropathy. The animals were given 3, 10 or 30 milligrams per kilogram PEITC for eight weeks. Kidney function, inflammation, oxidative stress, total antioxidant capacity, antioxidant enzyme levels, protein glycation and kidney structure were assessed at the beginning and end of the treatment period.

    Phenethyl isothiocyanate administration was associated with improved kidney function, oxidant/antioxidant balance, inflammation and protein glycation, with higher doses associated with greater results. Kidney structure was also better preserved in association with PEITC.

    "Phenethyl isothiocyanate seems to manage one of the most serious and painful diabetic complications,” remarked Dr El-Sherbiny, who is a postdoctoral fellow at AlMaarefa University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Phenethyl isothiocyanate is naturally present in many dietary sources, importantly watercress, broccoli, turnips and radish.”

    "Our study provides, for the first time, evidence that PEITC might be effective as a naturally occurring agent to reverse serious kidney damage in people with diabetes," he announced. "Our study introduces mechanistic evidence of how PEITC might manage kidney injury associated with diabetes by targeting multiple interconnected pathways involved in diabetic nephropathy, including inflammation, glycation and oxidative status."


    —D Dye



    Higher omega-3 levels linked with lower risk of death during 16-year period

    Higher omega-3 levels linked with lower risk of death during 16-year period April 28 2021. An analysis of prospective studies published on April 22, 2021 in Nature Communicationsuncovered a decreased risk of mortality during an average of 16 years among men and women who had higher red blood cell or plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

    The analysis was conducted by William S. Harris and The Fatty Acids and Outcomes Research Consortium (FORCE). Dr Harris is a codeveloper of the Omega-3 Index, which measures omega 3 levels in red blood cell membranes. The team examined 17 prospective studies that evaluated associations between the risk of death from all causes and levels of the omega-3 fatty acids alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and EPA plus DHA.

    During the studies’ follow-up periods, 15,720 deaths occurred among a total of 42,466 men and women. Subjects whose EPA, DPA, DHA, and EPA plus DHA levels were among the top 10% of participants experienced a 9% to 13% reduction in mortality from all causes during follow-up compared to men and women whose levels were among the lowest 10%. When cause-specific mortality was examined, having EPA, DPA, DHA, or EPA plus DHA levels among the highest 10% was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, cancer mortality and mortality from all other causes combined (with the exception of the association between DHA and reduced cancer mortality, which was not considered significant).

    "Since all of these analyses were statistically adjusted for multiple personal and medical factors (i.e., age, sex, weight, smoking, diabetes, blood pressure, etc., plus blood omega-6 fatty acid levels), we believe that these are the strongest data published to date supporting the view that over the long-term, having higher blood omega-3 levels can help maintain better overall health," Dr Harris concluded.


    —D Dye



    Vitamin D supplementation could help reduce heart disease in African Americans and others at risk

    Vitamin D supplementation could help reduce heart disease in African Americans and others at risk April 26 2021. Research scheduled for presentation at Experimental Biology 2021, held April 27-30, suggests that African Americans and other darker-skinned individuals could benefit from vitamin D supplementation to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.

    The skin pigment melanin filters ultraviolet light, thereby reducing the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D. "More darkly-pigmented individuals may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in areas of relatively low sun exposure or high seasonality of sun exposure," explained S. Tony Wolf, PhD, who is the lead author of the abstract.

    The purpose of the study was to investigate the associations between skin pigmentation, serum vitamin D and nitric oxide’s contribution to local heating-induced blood vessel dilation in the skin. (Nitric oxide supports healthy endothelial function by facilitating the blood vessels’ ability to relax.)

    Among the 18 participants in the study, those with more melanin in their skin had lower nitric oxide availability and vitamin D than participants with less melanin. Vitamin D levels were positively associated with nitric oxide activity.

    "These findings may help to explain some of the differences that we see in the risk for developing blood vessel dysfunction, hypertension and overt cardiovascular disease between ethnic groups in the United States,” Dr Wolf commented. “Although there are many factors that contribute to the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, vitamin D supplementation may provide a simple and cost-effective strategy to reduce those disparities."

    "Vitamin D supplementation is a simple and safe strategy to ensure vitamin D sufficiency," he added. "Our findings suggest that promoting adequate vitamin D status in young, otherwise healthy adults may improve nitric oxide availability and blood vessel function, and thereby serve as a prophylactic to reduce risk of future development of hypertension or cardiovascular disease."


    —D Dye



    Boosting NAD+ supports muscle metabolism

    Boosting NAD+ supports muscle metabolism April 23 2021. Results from a randomized trial reported on April 22, 2021 in Science revealed that supplementing with a compound that supports the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+, a coenzyme occurring in all living cells that is involved in metabolism) helped improve the ability of insulin to increase glucose uptake in the muscles of overweight postmenopausal women with prediabetes. Prediabetes is characterized by an elevation of blood glucose that is not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

    “In rodents, obesity and aging impair nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) biosynthesis, which contributes to metabolic dysfunction,” explained authors Mihoko Yoshino and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine.

    Twelve women were given a placebo and 13 women received supplements containing nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN, a compound used in the body’s synthesis of NAD+) daily for 10 weeks. Compared to values obtained at the beginning of the study, insulin-stimulated glucose disposal and skeletal muscle insulin signaling were greater at the end of ten weeks among women who received NMN, while no changes were observed in association with the placebo. Nicotinamide mononucleotide was additionally associated with improvement in the expression of genes involved in muscle structure and remodeling.

    "This is one step toward the development of an anti-aging intervention, though more research is needed to fully understand the cellular mechanisms responsible for the effects observed in skeletal muscle in people,” remarked coinvestigator Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD.

    "Although our study shows a beneficial effect of NMN in skeletal muscle, it is premature to make any clinical recommendations based on the results from our study," noted senior investigator Samuel Klein, MD. "Normally, when a treatment improves insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle, as is observed with weight loss or some diabetes medications, there also are related improvements in other markers of metabolic health, which we did not detect in our study participants."


    —D Dye



    Meta-analysis concludes supplementation with some vitamins modestly effective against acute respiratory tract infection risk

    Meta-analysis concludes supplementation with some vitamins modestly effective against acute respiratory tract infection risk April 21 2021. The January 2021 issue of BMJ Global Health published the results of a review and meta-analysis which concluded that supplementing with vitamins C and D is associated with a lower risk of acute respiratory infections and a reduction in the duration of symptoms.

    For their meta-analyses, Harvard University researchers selected 70 randomized trials that examined the effect of micronutrients on acute respiratory infection risk and symptom duration. Studies evaluated vitamins C, D and E, zinc and micronutrient combinations.

    Analysis of 24 trials that examined vitamin C’s effect on the common cold and nonspecific acute respiratory infection risk among 8,344 adults resulted in a 4% reduction among those who received the vitamin compared to those who did not receive it. Symptom duration was reduced by 9% in vitamin C supplemented participants.

    Vitamin E was associated with a 17% lower risk of common colds.

    Pooled data from 20 trials that evaluated vitamin D’s effects among 9,902 adults resulted in a 3% lower risk of acute respiratory infection and a 6% shorter duration among participants who received the vitamin compared to control subjects. Among six studies whose outcomes were based on clinical diagnoses or lab testing, the risk was 18% lower.

    Meta-analysis of 11 trials did not find a protective effect for zinc supplementation against respiratory infection risk; however, pooled data revealed a 47% decrease in the duration of symptoms among subjects who used zinc.

    Multiple micronutrient supplementation was associated with a twofold shorter duration of symptoms.

    “Our synthesis of global evidence from randomized clinical trials indicates that micronutrient supplements including zinc, vitamins C and D, and multiple micronutrient supplements may be modestly effective in preventing acute respiratory infections and improving their clinical course,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Mitochondrial impairment caused by vitamin D deficiency may impair muscle function

    Mitochondrial impairment caused by vitamin D deficiency may impair muscle function April 19 2021. The May 2021 issue of the Journal of Endocrinology published an article by researchers in England and Australia that suggests a mechanism for the decline in muscle function that occurs during aging. The researchers findings indicate that reduced energy produced in the muscles may be due to mitochondrial impairment caused by insufficient vitamin D.

    Mitochondria are organelles within our cells in which respiration and energy production take place.

    Andrew Philp of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia and his colleagues fed mice a diet that contained adequate or depleted vitamin D for periods of one, two and three months. Tissue samples were collected and analyzed for various factors, including mitochondrial number and function, at the end of each treatment period.

    After three months of vitamin D deficiency in mice given depleted diets, skeletal muscle mitochondrial function was found to be impaired by as much as 37%, although no reduction in muscle mass or number of mitochondria was observed. "Our results show there is a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle,” Dr Philp remarked. “They suggest that vitamin D deficiency decreases mitochondrial function, as opposed to reducing the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle. We are particularly interested to examine whether this reduction in mitochondrial function may be a cause of age-related loss in skeletal muscle mass and function."

    The study’s outcome suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels could help support mitochondrial and muscle function among older men and women. “Our data, when combined with previous in vitro observations, suggest that vitamin D-mediated regulation of mitochondrial function may underlie the exacerbated muscle fatigue and performance deficits observed during vitamin D deficiency,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Metformin could help treat chronic kidney disease

    Metformin could help treat chronic kidney disease April 16 2021. Research reported on March 29, 2021 in Scientific Reports suggests that the diabetes drug metformin could help prolong survival among people with nondiabetic chronic kidney disease.

    Metformin is used to improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics. Due to its ability to lower inflammation and fibrosis, the compound has also been associated with improvement in diabetic kidney disease. However, metformin’s benefit to nondiabetics with kidney disease had not been explored.

    Hirofumi Kai and colleagues at Kumamoto University in Japan investigated the effects of metformin in a mouse model of Alport syndrome, an inherited disorder characterized by type 4 collagen abnormalities that impair the kidneys’ ability to filter blood. The disease is currently treated with blood pressure medications such as losartan, yet treatment with the drugs does not prevent the kidneys from eventually failing.

    The researchers in the current study administered metformin or losartan to six-week-old Alport syndrome mice and healthy mice for five weeks. Both drugs extended lifespan and reduced kidney inflammation, fibrosis, protein in the urine and serum creatinine levels (which are elevated in kidney disease). While metformin improved the expression of genes affected by losartan, it also affected genes related to intracellular metabolism that were not impacted by losartan.

    In a mouse model of kidney injury induced by chemotherapy, metformin was associated with a reduction in both protein in the urine and injury to the kidneys’ glomeruli.

    “Our data and previous reports indicate that metformin can be considered a novel treatment option for chronic glomerular disease and chronic kidney disease,” the authors concluded.

    "This study appears to show that metformin has therapeutic effects for both diabetic and nondiabetic kidney disease," Dr Kai commented. "However, metformin is contraindicated in patients with severe renal dysfunction (estimated glomerular filtration rate of less than 30)."


    —D Dye



    Antioxidants could help protect against cervical cancer

    Antioxidants could help protect against cervical cancer April 14 2021. Research reported on March 18, 2021 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases revealed a protective effect for four dietary antioxidants against infection with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that are a leading cause of cervical cancer.

    The study included 11,070 women between 18 and 59 years of age who had participated in the 2003-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Hui-Yi Lin, PhD, and colleagues at Louisiana State University evaluated the relationship between serum levels of 15 antioxidants and vaginal HPV status, including no risk, low risk and high-risk strains of the virus.

    Higher serum levels of albumin and four antioxidants, including vitamins A, B2, E and folate, were associated with a reduced chance of having high-risk HPV. Women whose albumin levels were 39 grams per liter or less had odds of high-risk HPV that were 40% greater than those of women whose levels were above 44 grams per liter.

    When a nutritional antioxidant score was calculated based on the four vitamins, women whose score was among the lowest 25% had a 30% greater chance of high-risk HPV and a 40% greater chance of low-risk HPV than women whose scores were among the top 25%.

    "Our results showed that the women with the lowest quartile of the nutritional antioxidant score had a higher chance of both high-risk and low-risk HPV infection compared with the women with the highest quartile score after adjusting for other factors such as age, race, smoking, alcohol, and the number of sexual partners in past 12 months," commented Dr Lin.

    "Currently, there is no effective antiviral therapy to clear genital HPV infection," Dr Lin added. "It is important to identify modifiable factors, such as antioxidants, associated with oncogenic HPV infection in order to prevent HPV carcinogenesis onset."


    —D Dye



    Higher dietary total antioxidant capacity associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment

    Higher dietary total antioxidant capacity associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment April 12 2021. The results of a study reported on April 7, 2021 in The Journals of Gerontology® Series A revealed a lower risk of cognitive impairment among older individuals who consumed more antioxidants.

    The study included 16,703 participants in the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which enrolled men and women aged 45 to 74 years between April 1993 and December 1998. Questionnaires completed upon enrollment provided information concerning dietary and supplement intake that was evaluated for antioxidant content using the Comprehensive Dietary Antioxidant Index and the Vitamin C Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity. Disease status and lifestyle factors were updated during follow-up visits conducted every five to six years. Cognitive function was evaluated 20.2 years after the beginning of the study.

    Cognitive impairment was detected among 14.3% of the participants. Among those whose Comprehensive Dietary Antioxidant Index Scores placed them among the top 25% of participants, the risk of having developed cognitive impairment was 16% lower than that of participants among the lowest 25%. Those whose Vitamin C Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity was among the top 25% experienced a risk that was 25% lower. When antioxidant nutrients were individually analyzed, greater daily intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and flavonoids was associated with a reduction in the risk of cognitive impairment. Among carotenoids, alpha carotene and beta cryptoxanthin were found to be protective and among flavonoids, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavones and flavonols were associated with lower risk.

    “These findings suggested that higher total antioxidant capacity of midlife diet was associated with lower odds of cognitive impairment in later life,” authors Li-Ting Sheng and colleagues concluded. “The generalizability of results to other populations remains to be confirmed, and future studies with repeated measures of dietary variables and cognitive functions are still needed.


    —D Dye



    Metformin associated with lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events

    Metformin associated with lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events April 9 2021. The March 10, 2021 issue of Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases published a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials which concluded that the drug metformin is associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (nonfatal stroke, nonfatal heart attack and cardiovascular death) and a borderline lower risk of all-cause mortality during the course of the studies.

    “The Italian Society of Diabetology and the Italian Association of Clinical Diabetologists are developing new guidelines for drug treatment of type 2 diabetes,” Matteo Monami and colleagues wrote. “The effects of antihyperglycemic drugs on all-cause mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) were included among the critical clinical outcomes. We have therefore carried out an updated meta-analysis on the effects of metformin on these outcomes.”

    The mortality analysis included 13 trials with a duration of a year or more that compared the effects of metformin to a placebo, other diabetes drugs or no therapy among adult type 2 diabetics. Two of these trials provided data concerning the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events.

    Analysis of all trials found a borderline reduction in all-cause mortality among metformin-treated participants in comparison with the control subjects. When trials in which metformin was compared with sulfonylureas, GLP-1 receptor agonists or SGLT-2 inhibitors were excluded from the analysis, the reduction in mortality associated with metformin became a significant 29%.

    Data derived from the trials that reported major adverse cardiovascular events revealed a 48% lower risk of the events among participants who used metformin.

    “This updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows that, compared with placebo or other antihyperglycemic agents, treatment with metformin may significantly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adults with type 2 diabetes, with a possible beneficial effect also on risk of all-cause mortality,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Folic acid, DHA improve factors related to cognitive function

    Folic acid, DHA improve factors related to cognitive function April 7 2021. Findings from a randomized trial reported on March 13, 2021 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed improvements in aspects of cognitive function among men and women with mild cognitive impairment who consumed folic acid and/or the omega 3 fatty acid DHA.

    One hundred sixty participants received 800 micrograms folic acid, 800 milligrams DHA, folic acid plus DHA, or a placebo daily for six months. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised test, which includes six verbal subtests and five performance subtests, was administered at the beginning of the study and at six and 12 months. Blood amyloid beta levels were measured at baseline and six months.

    At the end of the treatment period, intelligence quotient, and information, arithmetic and picture complement scores were higher in the group that received folic acid than the placebo. Folic acid-supplemented participants also had increases in blood folate and S-adenosylmethionine levels, along with a decline in homocysteine.

    Those who received DHA also experienced improved intelligence quotient and information and arithmetic scores, along with better digit span scores.

    Participants who received both folic acid and DHA had better arithmetic and digital span scores as well as higher blood folate and SAMe, and lower homocysteine. The group also experienced declines in amyloid beta 40 and amyloid beta 42 levels. (Amyloid beta 42 levels are increased in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients.)

    Cognitive test score improvements were not found to be maintained when assessed six months after supplementation discontinuance.

    “In terms of improving cognitive function, folic acid and DHA were more effective alone than when combined, and DHA was more effective than folic acid,” the authors noted. “The beneficial effect of folic acid + DHA supplementation on cognitive function may be mediated by amyloid beta protein reduction.”


    —D Dye



    Higher selenium levels associated with improved breast cancer survival

    Higher selenium levels associated with improved breast cancer survival April 5 2021. Research reported on March 16, 2021 in Nutrients revealed an association between higher serum levels of the mineral selenium and a greater chance of 10-year survival among women diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Previous research conducted by the current team had uncovered a correlation between low serum selenium levels and greater five-year survival among breast cancer patients. The current study analyzed 10-year survival among women included in the previous investigation.

    The study included 538 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 2008 to 2015 and received treatment at hospitals associated with Pomeranian Medical University. Age at diagnosis ranged from 26 to 89 years. Blood samples were analyzed for serum selenium levels, which averaged 86.2 micrograms per liter.

    The 10-year survival rate was 76.2% for the entire group. Among women whose selenium levels were among the lowest 25% of subjects, 10-year overall survival was 65.1%. Survival percentages improved in association with increasing selenium levels. Among women whose levels were among the top 25%, ten-year survival was 86.7%.

    As a possible protective mechanism for selenium, authors Marek Szwiec and colleagues remarked that selenium’s incorporation into selenoproteins protects against oxidative damage and lowers cancer risk. Selenoproteins also play a role in immunity and inflammation, thereby helping to reduce the risk of cancer. Research suggests that selenium’s impact on cell proliferation, programmed cell death and other factors may additionally be involved in its ability to protect against cancer.

    “A low selenium level might contribute to worse survival and for women with breast cancer,” the authors concluded. “Future studies in other geographic regions with low soil selenium levels should be done to confirm our findings. If confirmed, a study could be conducted to evaluate the impact of selenium supplementation on survival of breast cancer patients.”


    —D Dye



    Regular aspirin use associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer mortality

    Regular aspirin use associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer mortality April 2 2021. Research reported on February 2, 2021 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute uncovered an association between the long-term use of low dose aspirin, defined as at least 15 times per month, and a lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer.

    Previous research has established an association between aspirin use and lower colorectal cancer incidence. The current study included data from 2,686 participants in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II nutrition cohort who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer before or after enrollment. Questionnaires administered upon enrollment from 1992 to 1993, in 1997, and every two years thereafter provided information concerning the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin. Mortality was tracked through 2016.

    Although aspirin use initiated following diagnosis with colorectal cancer was associated with better outcomes in comparison with no aspirin use, the effect was significant if aspirin was used before being diagnosed. Compared to no aspirin use prior to diagnosis, those who used aspirin experienced a 31% reduction in the risk of dying from the disease.

    Aspirin’s protective effect against colorectal cancer mortality is due to its ability to reduce tumor metastasis. "Aspirin inhibits platelet activation, which also could inhibit metastases," explained lead author Jane C. Figueiredo.

    The use of other NSAIDs was not associated with a protective effect. While non-aspirin NSAIDs inhibit platelet activation, they do not do so permanently, as does aspirin.

    "More evidence is needed, but this association between baby aspirin and lower death rates is highly significant," Dr Figueiredo remarked. "These findings may provide an inexpensive lifestyle option to people seeking to prevent colorectal cancer, or to improve their prognoses if they are diagnosed."


    —D Dye


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