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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.


  • Mediterranean diet associated with ED improvement
  • PQQ supplementation associated with improved cognitive function among older individuals
  • Microbiome may explain flavonoid blood pressure benefit
  • High latitude African-Caribbean populations at risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • Some things do get better with age
  • Reanalysis of historic study data results in updated vitamin C recommendation
  • Vitamin D supplementation associated with better heart function in heart failure patients
  • Whey protein associated with improved microvascular function in patients with heart failure
  • Aging "a druggable condition"
  • Microbiome "a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy aging"
  • Vitamin D reduces need for opioid drugs
  • Supplements could reverse PTSD
  • Study finds folate lowers, rather than raises, colorectal cancer risk

    Mediterranean diet associated with ED improvement

    Mediterranean diet associated with ED improvement August 30 2021. Research reported at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2021, held August 27-30, revealed a beneficial effect of consuming a Mediterranean diet on erectile function in men with high blood pressure. “Erectile dysfunction (ED) often coexists in the hypertensive aging male population where endogenous testosterone typically declines,” observed researchers Athanasios Angelis of the University of Athens and colleagues.

    The study included 250 hypertensive men with ED. Questionnaire responses provided information concerning adherence to a Mediterranean diet, which is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean meat and olive oil, a moderate intake of dairy products and wine, and low amounts of red meat and saturated fat. Exercise capacity (assessed by treadmill testing), coronary flow reserve (the ability to increase blood flow when needed) of the left anterior descending artery, measures of arterial stiffness, blood testosterone levels and ED severity were evaluated.

    Participants who had a higher Mediterranean diet score had better coronary flow reserve, higher testosterone levels, increased erectile performance and less arterial stiffness in comparison with men who had lower scores. Men who had greater exercise capacity were also found to have better erectile function and other factors.

    “In our study, consuming a Mediterranean diet was linked with better exercise capacity, healthier arteries and blood flow, higher testosterone levels, and better erectile performance,” Dr Angelis stated. “While we did not examine mechanisms, it seems plausible that this dietary pattern may improve fitness and erectile performance by enhancing function of the blood vessels and limiting the fall in testosterone that occurs in midlife.”

    “The findings suggest that the Mediterranean diet could play a role in maintaining several parameters of vascular health and quality of life and in middle aged men with hypertension and erectile dysfunction,” he concluded.


    —D Dye


    PQQ supplementation associated with improved cognitive function among older individuals

    PQQ supplementation associated with improved cognitive function among older individuals August 27 2021. A trial reported on August 20, 2021 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition resulted in better memory and cognitive function among middle aged and older men and women who received supplements containing pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) disodium salt in comparison with a placebo.

    PQQ is an antioxidant found in cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, apples, bananas, green tea and other foods. PQQ supports the growth of new mitochondria, which are the cells’ energy-producing power plants. PQQ also protects nerve cells by increasing the expression of nerve growth factor and its receptors, as well as by suppressing the aggregation of amyloid beta.

    The trial included 58 participants between the ages of 40 and 80 years with aging-associated cognitive impairment who received 12 weeks of 21.5 milligrams PQQ per day or a placebo. Cognitive performance was evaluated before the treatment period and at 6 and 12 weeks. A questionnaire that obtained information concerning subjective forgetfulness was also administered at these time points.

    At the end of the trial, significant improvement was observed among the group that received PQQ in areas of cognitive function that included composite memory, verbal memory, reaction time, complex attention, cognitive flexibility, and executive function (judgement) compared to the placebo. Motor speed was also better in the PQQ group after 12 weeks. Subjective forgetfulness was improved at 6 and 12 weeks in PQQ treated participants in comparison with the placebo. Reported adverse effects were mild in both groups.

    Authors Yoshiaki Shiojima and colleagues cited several mechanisms that contribute to PQQ’s observed benefits. They concluded that the “study demonstrates that supplementation of PQQ disodium salt is useful in improving memory, attention, judgment, and cognitive function, in middle-aged to elderly population, who feel they have become more forgetful because of aging.”


    —D Dye


    Microbiome may explain flavonoid blood pressure benefit

    Microbiome may explain flavonoid blood pressure benefit August 25 2021. Research reported on August 23, 2021 in Hypertension suggests that the gut’s microbial community may mediate the reduction in blood pressure associated with increased intake of dietary flavonoids, which occur in plant foods. According to lead investigator Aedín Cassidy, PhD, and colleagues, “There is mounting evidence that the composition of the gut microbiome can partly explain the association between dietary flavonoids and cardiometabolic health.”

    In a previous study conducted by the researchers, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, up to 18.5% of the association between lower amounts of visceral abdominal fat (which is associated with inflammation and metabolic syndrome) and greater intake of foods that contained a high amount of flavonoids known as anthocyanins could be explained by increased gut microbial diversity and an abundance of Clostridiales and Ruminococcaceae bacteria. The authors explained that flavonoid intake modifies gut microbiome composition, which contributes to flavonoid metabolism.

    The current research included 904 men and women from Germany’s PopGen biobank. Having a total flavonoid intake that was among the top third of subjects was associated with an average 2.9 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to a lowest third. When the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods was examined, a greater intake of anthocyanin-rich berries and red wine was associated with lower systolic pressure. These foods were also associated with greater microbiome diversity. Greater intake of berries as well as apples or pears was associated with a lower abundance of Parabacteroides bacteria. The researchers determined microbial factors explained 15.2% of the association between the intake of flavonoid-rich foods and lower systolic blood pressure.

    “Our gut microbiome plays a key role in metabolizing flavonoids to enhance their cardioprotective effects, and this study provides evidence to suggest these blood pressure-lowering effects are achievable with simple changes to the daily diet,” Dr Cassidy commented.


    —D Dye


    High latitude African-Caribbean populations at risk of vitamin D deficiency

    High latitude African-Caribbean populations at risk of vitamin D deficiency August 23 2021. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on July 19, 2021 in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency experienced by black individuals living in high latitude countries such as the UK in comparison with those at low latitudes, such as Brazil.

    For the meta-analysis, Rebecca M. Vearing, PhD, and colleagues selected 16 observational studies that included a total of 5,670 African-Caribbean subjects. In a pooled analysis of subjects who participated in studies that reported serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, vitamin D sufficiency, defined as having 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of at least 20 nanograms per milliliter, was detected in the majority, despite a low intake of the vitamin. However, when the subjects were analyzed according to the latitudes of where they resided, insufficient vitamin D levels were detected among those at high latitudes. For those at lower latitudes, insufficient levels occurred only among type 2 diabetics and those undergoing hemodialysis.

    While sufficient vitamin D intake was found among participants in studies at low latitudes, suboptimal vitamin D intake was reported in all the studies that involved people living at high latitudes.

    “As the majority of our vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight, for many people getting enough vitamin D may be a real challenge,” commented Dr Vearing, of the University of Surrey. “This research shows that eating a nutritionally balanced diet including foods that provide vitamin D -- such as oily fish, red meat, egg yolk and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals -- and taking regular supplements are key to boosting vitamin D status.”

    “These findings highlight a need, particularly in higher latitude countries, for public health and clinical action to improve the vitamin D awareness and status of African-Caribbean populations,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye


    Some things do get better with age

    Some things do get better with age August 20 2021. On August 19, 2021, Nature Human Behaviour reported findings from a study that revealed age-related improvement in two out of three brain networks involved in focus and attention.

    Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center evaluated alerting, orienting and executive inhibition in 702 participants between the ages of 58 to 98 years. The brain networks involved in these functions rely upon different genes, neurochemicals and areas of the brain, which suggests that the networks may also have different aging patterns. “We use all three processes constantly,” explained first author João Veríssimo, PhD, who is an assistant professor at the University of Lisbon. “For example, when you are driving a car, alerting is your increased preparedness when you approach an intersection. Orienting occurs when you shift your attention to an unexpected movement, such as a pedestrian. And executive function allows you to inhibit distractions such as birds or billboards so you can stay focused on driving.”

    While alerting abilities were found to decline during aging, orienting and executive inhibition improved, at least until the participants’ mid to late 70s. “These results are amazing and have important consequences for how we should view aging,” enthused senior investigator, Michael T. Ullman, PhD, who is the director of Georgetown University’s Brain and Language Lab. “People have widely assumed that attention and executive functions decline with age, despite intriguing hints from some smaller-scale studies that raised questions about these assumptions. But the results from our large study indicate that critical elements of these abilities actually improve during aging, likely because we simply practice these skills throughout our life.”

    “The findings not only change our view of how aging affects the mind, but may also lead to clinical improvements, including for patients with aging disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” he added.


    —D Dye


    Reanalysis of historic study data results in updated vitamin C recommendation

    Reanalysis of historic study data results in updated vitamin C recommendation August 18 2021. A new analysis of an old study, which appeared on August 16, 2021 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides support for a higher intake of vitamin C than the amount currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Based on the original study, WHO recommends 45 milligrams (mg) vitamin C per day for adults, an amount that many authorities believe is inadequate.

    The original research was conducted at the Sorby Research Institute during World War II to determine the quantity of vitamin C needed to prevent scurvy, a disease of severe vitamin C deficiency. Twenty participants received 0, 10 or 70 mg per day vitamin C for nine months, after which the vitamin was replenished. The subjects received experimental wounds to evaluate healing and scar tissue formation, which are impaired in scurvy due to inadequate collagen production.

    “The vitamin C experiment is a shocking study,” commented lead author Philippe Hujoel. “They depleted people’s vitamin C levels long-term and created life-threatening emergencies.”

    The original researchers concluded that 10 mg per day was sufficient to prevent scurvy, which led to the WHO’s 45 mg per day recommendation. However, the recent reanalysis of the data resulted in the conclusion that 95 mg vitamin C is needed by 97.5% of the population to protect against weak scar strength. The authors of the current report remarked that the higher amount is “consistent with the writing panels for the National Academy of Medicine and (other) countries.”

    “The failure to reevaluate the data of a landmark trial with novel statistical methods as they became available may have led to a misleading narrative on the vitamin C needs for the prevention and treatment of collagen-related pathologies,” Dr Hujoel and colleague Margaux L. A. Hujoel concluded.


    —D Dye


    Vitamin D supplementation associated with better heart function in heart failure patients

    Vitamin D supplementation associated with better heart function in heart failure patients August 16 2021. The outcome of a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effects of vitamin D supplementation on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in heart failure patients adds evidence to a beneficial effect for the vitamin in this patient population. The research was published in the June 2021 issue of the Portuguese Journal of Cardiology.

    Left ventricular ejection fraction is a measure of the percentage of blood the heart’s left ventricle pumps out during each contraction. Determination of LVEF is used in the diagnosis of heart failure.

    Researchers at Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran selected 13 trials that included a total of 1,215 heart failure patients for their analysis. Vitamin D dosages ranged from 400 international units (IU) to 50,000 IU per day for periods of 12 weeks to three years. Results of the meta-analysis revealed a significant 3.304% average increase in ejection fraction in association with vitamin D.

    “In this study we observed that vitamin D supplements can be significantly effective in enhancing the most important and the most common myocardial function index, ejection fraction, with a raw mean difference of 3.304,” Aryan Naghedi and colleagues concluded. “The clinical importance of this 3.3% enhancement of ejection fraction in patients with heart failure gains further value on when we look back in the literature for the significance of LVEF in patients with heart failure. In different validated studies and clinical trials, researchers concluded that enhancement in LVEF is directly associated with lower rehospitalization and cardiovascular mortality.”

    “Based on our observations, we conclude that before conducting a large number of high quality clinical trials and further meta-analysis, vitamin D should be prescribed to all patients with heart failure,” the authors recommended.


    —D Dye


    Whey protein associated with improved microvascular function in patients with heart failure

    Whey protein associated with improved microvascular function in patients with heart failure August 13 2021. The June 2021 issue of the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research reported a randomized pilot trial that revealed improvement in systemic microvascular circulation in heart failure patients who were supplemented with whey protein.

    The endothelium is the lining of the body’s arteries, whose function may be impaired in cardiovascular diseases, thereby reducing the arteries’ ability to relax, which adversely affects circulation. “It is important to note that macro- and microvascular dysfunctions are defined as the impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation and/or increased arterial stiffness, which are related to several cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and heart failure,” explained authors A. De Lorenzo and colleagues.

    The trial included 19 men and 6 women aged 52 years and older who had New York Heart Association class I or II heart failure. Participants received whey protein or a placebo for 12 weeks. Endothelial microvascular function was evaluated by measuring cutaneous microvascular flow and reactivity using acetylcholine to assess endothelial-dependent vasodilation and sodium nitroprusside to assess endothelium-independent vasodilation.

    At the end of 12 weeks, significant increases were observed in both endothelial dependent and endothelial independent vasodilation among participants who received whey protein. The authors of the report suggested that whey’s endothelial-dependent vasodilatory effect may be the result of its arginine content. Modulation of premature senescence of vascular smooth muscle cells and ACE inhibition by whey were suggested as endothelial-independent vasodilatory mechanisms.

    “Our results suggested that dietary supplementation with whey protein improved microvascular endothelial function and possibly smooth muscle structure in patients with heart failure,” the authors concluded. “It showed new findings regarding the vascular effects of whey protein, which may turn this nutrient into another constituent of therapeutic regimen of patients with heart failure in the future and after larger trials.”


    —D Dye



    Aging "a druggable condition"

    Aging “a druggable condition” August 11 2021. The 8th Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD) Meeting 2021, which is scheduled from August 30 to September 3 at the University of Copenhagen, will be the site of presentations by leaders in longevity and drug discovery concerning progress in the field of aging and potential interventions. ARDD’s goal is extend the healthy lifespan of everyone on the planet.

    “Aging research is growing faster than ever on both academia and industry fronts,” stated Daniela Bakula, PhD, of the University of Copenhagen. “The ARDD meeting unites experts from different fields and backgrounds, sharing with us their latest groundbreaking research and developments . . . I am particularly excited that being part of the ARDD 2021 meeting will provide an amazing opportunity for young scientists presenting their own work as well as meeting the experts in the field.”

    “Aging research is gaining traction in the biopharmaceutical industry,” noted Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, who is the CEO of Insilico Medicine. “To my knowledge, six out of the top 30 pharmaceutical companies in the world prioritized aging research for early-stage discovery or therapeutic pipeline development and several companies employ artificial intelligence for this purpose. We organize the annual ARDD conference for eight years in a row and the level of interest in aging biomarkers and noticed exponential growth in registrations over the past two years.”

    Morten Scheibye-Knudsen has investigated how DNA damage causes changes to metabolites and how replenishing these molecules may affect the rate of aging. “Aging is emerging as a druggable condition with multiple pharmaceuticals able to alter the pace of aging in model organisms,” he observed. “The 2021 conference is the best yet with top level speakers from around the globe. I’m extremely excited to be able to meet them in person at the University of Copenhagen in late summer.”


    —D Dye



    Microbiome "a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy aging"

    Microbiome “a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy aging” August 9 2021. A letter published on August 9, 2021 in Nature Aging documented the finding of researchers at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork of a potentially important role for the gut microbiome in brain aging.

    The microbiome comprises microbes, including bacteria and fungi, that reside in the human body, most notably in the digestive tract. These microbes have either positive or negative effects on health, depending upon their species and their balance with other microbes. The microbiome’s composition can vary in association with such things as diet, antibiotic use, diseases and age.

    “Previous research published by the APC and other groups internationally has shown that the gut microbiome plays a key role in aging and the aging process,” noted lead researcher John F. Cryan.

    Dr Cryan and colleagues transplanted fecal microbiota from either young, three-to-four-month-old or aged, 19-20-month-old mice into aged recipient mice. Microbiota from young animals reversed age-associated differences in brain and peripheral immunity, and the hippocampal metabolome and transcriptome in the aged recipients. Microbiota from young donors also reduced aspects of age-associated impairment in cognitive behavior in older recipients.

    “This research of Professor Cryan and colleagues further demonstrates the importance of the gut microbiome in many aspects of health, and particularly across the brain/gut axis where brain functioning can be positively influenced,” commented APC Director Paul Ross. “The study opens up possibilities in the future to modulate gut microbiota as a therapeutic target to influence brain health”

    “Our results reveal that the microbiome may be a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy aging,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye



    Vitamin D reduces need for opioid drugs

    Vitamin D reduces need for opioid drugs August 6 2021. A randomized trial reported on July 23, 2021 in Cancers found a reduced need for pain relief and less fatigue among cancer patients who received twelve weeks of high dose vitamin D.

    The multicenter Palliative-D study included 224 cancer patients receiving palliative care who were enrolled in advanced medical home care. All participants had deficient vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter at the beginning of the trial. Patients received 4,000 international units of vitamin D3 or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Changes in opioid pain reliever (fentanyl) use were assessed before the treatment period and every four weeks thereafter. Antibiotic use, fatigue and quality of life were also evaluated.

    Among participants who received vitamin D, the need for fentanyl was lower by an average of 0.56 micrograms per hour each week compared to the placebo group. “The results showed that vitamin D treatment was well tolerated and that the vitamin D-treated patients had a significantly slower increase in opioid doses than the placebo group during the study period,” reported report coauthor Linda Björkhem-Bergman, who is a senior physician at Stockholms Sjukhem and an associate professor at the Department of Neurobiology, Healthcare Sciences and Society, at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “In addition, they experienced less cancer-related fatigue compared to the placebo group.”

    “The effects were quite small, but statistically significant and may have clinical significance for patients with vitamin D deficiency who have cancer in the palliative phase,” added first author Maria Helde Frankling, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Healthcare Science and Society at the Karolinska Institutet. “This is the first time it has been shown that vitamin D treatment for palliative cancer patients can have an effect on both opioid-sensitive pain and fatigue.”


    —D Dye



    Supplements could reverse PTSD

    Supplements could reverse PTSD August 4 2021. Research reported on July 12, 2021 in Molecular Psychiatry indicates that two nutritional supplements—vitamin A and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)—could eliminate the cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating long-term reaction to traumatic events that occurs in susceptible individuals.

    Examination of DNA in the blood of PTSD patients suggests that epigenetic changes can be caused by experiences in life. Epigenetics is the study of nongenetic influences on the expression of genes, in contrast with changes to the genes themselves. Epigenetic changes include DNA methylation, which occurs when a methyl group, consisting of carbon and hydrogen, is added to DNA.

    “Although PTSD has been associated with epigenetic alterations in peripheral white blood cells, it is unknown where such changes occur in the brain, and whether they play a causal role in PTSD,” wrote Gal Yadid and colleagues.

    The researchers mapped epigenetic DNA methylation marks in the brain’s nucleus accumbens region in an animal model of PTSD. Differences were observed between trauma-exposed animals that were susceptible to PTSD and resilient animals. In PTSD-susceptible animals, an enzyme known as DNMT3a, which transfers methyl groups to DNA, was observed to be lower.

    “Since epigenetic changes in diseases involve different gene pathways, rather than single candidate genes, we next searched for pathways that may be involved in PTSD,” the authors wrote. In their search for groups of genes with altered methylation in susceptible animals, they found that one group is controlled by the retinoic acid receptor, which is activated by vitamin A.

    Because DNMT3a increases DNA methylation, the team utilized SAMe, which donates methyl groups, and vitamin A to activate the retinoic acid receptor to reverse PTSD-associated behaviors. “Since these nutritional supplements are relatively nontoxic, they offer hope for a nontoxic treatment of PTSD that reverses the underlying genomic cause of the disease," Professor Yadid concluded.


    —D Dye



    Study finds folate lowers, rather than raises, colorectal cancer risk

    Study finds folate lowers, rather than raises, colorectal cancer risk August 2 2021. The July 2021 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the finding of an association between a lower risk of colorectal cancer and a higher intake of the B vitamin folate or its synthetic equivalent folic acid. The finding contradicts concerns that have been raised in regard to a possible link between an increased risk of colorectal cancer and greater folic acid intake resulting from mandatory food fortification.

    The study included 86,320 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Dietary questionnaire responses provided information concerning the subjects’ folate and folic acid intake.

    During follow-up from 1980 to 2016, 1,988 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed. The researchers, led by Walter C Willet of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, observed an association between rising folate or folic acid intake and decreasing colorectal cancer risk. Each daily increase of 400 dietary folate equivalents (which equal the number of micrograms of folate that naturally occur in foods plus 1.7 times the micrograms of folic acid added to fortified foods) was associated with a 7% lower risk of colorectal cancer during a 12-to-16-year period, which declined to 17% for a 16-to-20-year period and 13% for a 20-to-24-year period.

    Greater intake of synthetic folic acid was also associated with risk reduction. For each daily 400 dietary folate equivalent increase within 16 to 20 years and 20 to 24 years before diagnosis there was a 9% decrease in risk.

    “Folate intake, both total and from synthetic forms, was associated with a lower risk of overall colorectal cancer after long latency periods,” the authors concluded. “There was no evidence that high folate intake in the postfortification period was related to increased colorectal cancer risk in this US female population.”


    —D Dye


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