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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.




Anti-inflammatory diet plus supplements associated with improved survival among women with cancer

December 30 2022. Findings reported on December 8, 2022, in the British Journal of Cancer revealed a lower risk of mortality during a median 13-year follow-up among women with cancer who used nutritional supplements and consumed a diet that had a greater anti-inflammatory potential compared to supplement users whose diets were more pro-inflammatory.

The study included 3,434 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative. Dietary inflammatory index scores were calculated from food and supplement intake information provided by the women following primary invasive cancer diagnoses.

During a median 13 years of follow-up from the date of diagnosis, 1,156 deaths occurred. Women with the most anti-inflammatory dietary intake scores calculated from food and supplements had a 53% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a 42% lower risk of death from cancer, a 32% lower risk of death from other causes and a 42% lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to supplement users whose scores were the most proinflammatory.

Women with localized stage, regional stage or distant stage cancer had respective 30%, 37% and 64% reductions in the risks of mortality from all causes during follow-up if they consumed an anti-inflammatory diet plus supplements. “Later-stage or moderately/poorly differentiated cancers usually have a more inflammatory physiological state than early-stage cancers as a result of more disrupted metabolism, more weakened immune system and the biological changes related to metastasis,” Jiali Zheng and colleagues observed. “Under this condition, where several antioxidants or bioactive compounds with functions to support important signaling pathways were likely in shortage, an anti-inflammatory diet providing these nutrients could exert a more protective effect on mortality, compared to the effect among early-stage cancer survivors.”

The concluded that “A more anti-inflammatory diet plus supplements after a cancer diagnosis may improve survival for postmenopausal cancer survivors.”


—D Dye



Omega-3 fatty acid intake linked to lower risk of premature mortality among diabetic men and women

December 28 2022.The March 2023 issue of Acta Diabetologica revealed a lower risk of dying from any cause during follow-up among people with diabetes who had a higher intake of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in comparison with a lower intake.

The study included 4,854 diabetic participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2014. The average age of the men and women in the current study was 57.92 years. Dietary recall interview responses provided information concerning EPA and DHA consumption and EPA/DHA supplementation was ascertained. Mortality data was obtained through 2015.

During follow-up, 1,102 deaths occurred, including 266 caused by cardiovascular disease and 152 due to cancer. Increasing intake of EPA plus DHA was associated with a declining risk of all-cause mortality during follow-up. After adjusting the data for a number of factors, men and women whose intake of EPA plus DHA was among the top 20% of participants at greater than 122 milligrams per day had a 35% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a 20% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 25% lower risk of mortality from any cause compared to participants whose intake of the fatty acids was among the lowest 20% at 9.5 mg or less. When the risks of all-cause mortality associated with EPA and DHA were analyzed separately, greater DHA intake emerged as significantly associated with lower mortality risk.

“Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake was independently related to lower all-cause mortality in individuals with diabetes, suggesting an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids may prevent premature death among the population with diabetes,” authors Jing Xie of China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China and colleagues concluded.


—D Dye


Mushroom compound level predicts cognitive function

December 21 2022. Findings from a study reported on August 30, 2022, in Antioxidants revealed an association between lower plasma levels of ergothioneine (ET), a compound that occurs in mushrooms, and an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

"Before this study, there was little evidence that ET levels in the blood can predict the risk of developing cognitive issues,” noted lead researcher Barry Halliwell, of the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. “Our findings demonstrate that if your ET levels are low, your risk of developing cognitive problems increases.”

The study included 470 men and women of an average age of 73. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans conducted at recruitment determined the presence of cerebrovascular disease and/or brain atrophy and blood samples were evaluated for plasma ergothioneine. Neuropsychological tests administered at the beginning of the study and during up to 5 years of follow-up evaluated cognitive function.

At the beginning of the study, 189 study participants had dementia, 193 were cognitively impaired without dementia and 88 had no cognitive impairment. Men and women with low (below the median) ergothioneine levels had worse cognitive function in comparison with those who had high levels.

While cognitive function decreased over time among those with low or high levels of ergothioneine, the rate of decline was greater among participants who had low ergothioneine levels. When examined according to cognitive status, the long-term associations occurred only in participants who did not have dementia at the beginning of the study.

“This points to the possibility of using a simple blood test to detect ET levels for early screening in the elderly to identify those who may have higher risk of cognitive decline,” Dr Halliwell stated.

The researchers are planning a trial to evaluate the effects of ergothioneine supplementation among adults with mild cognitive impairment.


—D Dye


Joint replacement surgeries lower among metformin users

December 19 2022. A study reported on December 19, 2022, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that people with type 2 diabetes who used metformin had a significantly lower risk of total knee or total hip replacement.

Metformin is frequently the first drug prescribed for diabetes—a disease that has been identified as a risk factor for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis was associated with an average of 90% of total joint replacements in the current study.

The study included and women who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 45 or older between 2000 and 2012. Metformin use was defined as having occurred within 180 days before or after a new diabetes diagnosis. The researchers matched 20,347 metformin users with an equal number of metformin nonusers.

During the 14-year follow-up period, 837 patients received total knee replacements and 148 received total hip replacements. Metformin users had a 29% lower adjusted risk of total knee replacement, a 39% lower adjusted risk of total hip replacement and a 30% lower risk of undergoing either surgery than nonusers.

"We found that metformin use in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus was associated with a significantly reduced risk of joint replacement, suggesting a potential therapeutic effect of metformin in patients with osteoarthritis," wrote Changhai Ding, of the Clinical Research Center of Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues. “Metformin could decrease the risk of total joint replacement among patients with diabetes mellitus by multiple mechanisms, including by reducing inflammation, by sustaining adenosine 5′-monophosphate–activated protein kinase [AMPK] activity in chondrocytes and by regulating metabolism.”

“Randomized controlled clinical trials are warranted to determine whether metformin is effective in patients with osteoarthritis,” they concluded.


—D Dye


Endometriosis treatment from olive leaf

December 16 2022. In an article published November 22, 2022, in the Journal of Biomedical Science, researchers at Baylor College of Medicinereported a potential benefit foroleuropein, a compound occurring in olive lives, in a mouse model of endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, which can cause pain and bleeding. “Endometriosis depends on estrogen, a hormone well known for regulating a woman’s reproductive functions,” noted corresponding author Sang Jun Han, who is an associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor’s Center for Reproductive Medicine.

The disease is currently treated with drugs that lower estrogen and inflammation. “However, current endometriosis treatments have low efficacy, high recurrence rate and cause adverse effects in other tissues affected by estrogen,” Dr Han remarked.

In previous research, Dr Han’s team determined that estrogen receptor-beta (ER-beta) activity significantly contributes to endometriosis progression. “These findings suggest that selectively suppressing the activity of ER-beta could help treat the condition without side effects of current hormonal therapies targeting ER-alpha,” explained first author Yuri Park, who is a postdoctoral associate at Baylor’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

By screening natural compounds, the team discovered that oleuropein, which occurs in olive leaves, inhibits ER-beta but not ER-alpha activity. In mouse models of endometriosis, the administration of oleuropein suppressed endometriosis lesion growth. “In addition, oleuropein treatment was neither toxic to the liver nor did it affect the ability of female mice to have offspring,” Dr Han remarked. “In mice with endometriosis, oleuropein improved the pregnancy rate. We are excited by these promising findings as they support further exploration of the value of oleuropein as naturopathy for human endometriosis treatment. Oleuropein is less expensive than hormonal therapy, and our current findings suggest that it is safer than current treatments.”


—D Dye


Study suggests vitamin D needed to maintain muscle strength

December 14 2022. Research described on September 15, 2022, in Calcified Tissue International and Musculoskeletal Research revealed an association between lower levels of vitamin D and a greater risk of developing dynapenia: a loss of muscle strength associated with aging.

“Vitamin D is known to participate in various functions of the organism,” noted senior author Tiago da Silva Alexandre. “It’s a hormone and its many roles include helping to repair muscles and releasing calcium for muscle contraction kinetics. It was therefore expected to cause muscle alterations of some kind. That’s exactly what our study proved.”

The study utilized data from 3,205 men and women enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing who did not exhibit dynapenia as assessed by grip strength at the beginning of the study. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels measured at the study’s onset were categorized as deficient, insufficient or sufficient. Grip strength was reassessed after 4 years of follow-up.

Insufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 12-20 ng/mL or deficient levels of less than 12 ng/mL at the beginning of the study were associated with respective 55% and 70% greater adjusted risks of developing dynapenia over follow-up compared with sufficient levels of at least 20 ng/mL. When subjects with osteoporosis or who used vitamin D supplements were excluded from the analysis, the risks associated with insufficiency and deficiency were 77% and 78% greater. “Among individuals without osteoporosis and those who do not take vitamin D supplementation, the threshold of risk is higher,” the authors observed.

“Another conclusion to be derived from the results of the study is that it’s important to take vitamin D if you have a deficiency or insufficiency,” Dr da Silva Alexandre noted. “It’s necessary to explain to people that they risk losing muscle strength if they don’t get enough vitamin D.”


—D Dye


Supplemental, dietary antioxidant intake linked with lower dementia risk

December 12 2022. Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis published on November 29, 2022, in the journal European Geriatric Medicine revealed a relationship between increased intake of antioxidant vitamins C and E and a lower risk of dementia.

Futao Zhou and colleagues identified 75 studies from 19 articles that included a total of 28,257 participants for their review. The studies evaluated the association between intake from diet and/or supplements of beta-carotene, flavonoids, vitamin C and vitamin E with Alzheimer disease, all-cause dementia and cognitive impairment without dementia. The research included 2,557 participants with Alzheimer disease, 1,035 cases categorized as all-cause dementia and 6,197 cases of cognitive impairment without dementia.

When high intake of vitamins C or E was compared to low intake, high dietary plus supplemental intake of either vitamin was associated with a “markedly” lower risk of Alzheimer disease. High vitamin C from diet plus supplementation was associated with 30% lower risk and high vitamin E with a 27% lower risk of the disease in comparison with low intake. Each 20 milligram per day increase in vitamin C from diet, diet plus supplements, or overall, was associated with a 2% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer disease.

When dementia from all causes was examined, the authors reported that “It is supplemental, not dietary, use of vitamin E or vitamin C that can significantly reduce the risk.” High supplemental vitamin C intake was associated with a 19% lower risk of all-cause dementia and high supplemental vitamin E intake with a 20% lower risk compared with low intake.

“The findings support dietary guidelines that recommend increased intake of vitamin-C-rich foods accompanied by supplemental use of vitamin C which may be more beneficial to reduce the risk of Alzheimer-type dementia,” the authors concluded.


—D Dye


System-wide driver of aging discovered

December 9 2022. Research conducted at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois revealed that most molecular changes that occur during aging are associated with gene length and that aging is associated with increased activity of shorter genes, leading to unbalanced gene activity within the cells. The study was reported on December 9, 2022, in Nature Aging.

Thomas Stoeger, PhD, MSc, and colleagues analyzed gene changes from bone, muscle, blood and organ tissue obtained from killifish, mice, rats and humans. Genes provide the instructions for the manufacture of proteins in the body. Long genes encode large proteins, and short genes encode small proteins. Cells need a balanced number of large and small proteins to maintain homeostasis. “Cells and organisms work to remain balanced — what physicians denote as homeostasis,” senior author Luís A. N. Amaral explained. “Imagine a waiter carrying a big tray. That tray needs to have everything balanced. If the tray is not balanced, then the waiter needs to put in extra effort to fight the imbalance. If the balance in the activity of short and long genes shifts in an organism, the same thing happens. It’s like aging is this subtle imbalance, away from equilibrium. Small changes in genes do not seem like a big deal, but these subtle changes are bearing down on you, requiring more effort.”

“We have been primarily focusing on a small number of genes, thinking that a few genes would explain disease,” he added. “Now that we have this new understanding, it’s like having a new instrument. It’s like Galileo with a telescope, looking at space. Looking at gene activity through this new lens will enable us to see biological phenomena differently.”

The researchers hope their discovery will support the development of treatments to slow or reverse some of the signs of aging.


—D Dye


High brain levels of vitamin D linked to better cognitive function

December 7 2022. Research described in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association on December 7, 2022, revealed an association between better cognition and higher brain levels of vitamin D.

“Many studies have implicated dietary or nutritional factors in cognitive performance or function in older adults, including many studies of vitamin D, but all of them are based on either dietary intakes or blood measures of vitamin D,” remarked first author Kyla Shea, PhD, of Tufts University. “We wanted to know if vitamin D is even present in the brain, and if it is, how those concentrations are linked to cognitive decline.”

The study included 209 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Cognitive function was assessed during the course of the project and brain tissue was examined following the participants’ deaths.

The Tufts University researchers assessed 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels in two areas associated with changes caused by Alzheimer disease, one region associated with vascular dementia and another area that did not have an association with cognitive decline related to either disease. They found vitamin D in all areas and a 25–30% lower risk of mild cognitive impairment or dementia among participants who had higher vitamin D levels. There was no association between vitamin D levels and indicators of brain pathology, including amyloid beta plaque or evidence of strokes.

“Dementia is multifactorial, and lots of the pathological mechanisms underlying it have not been well characterized,” Dr Shea stated. “Vitamin D could be related to outcomes that we didn’t look at yet, but plan to study in the future.”

“We now know that vitamin D is present in reasonable amounts in human brains, and it seems to be correlated with less decline in cognitive function,” she concluded.


—D Dye


Meta-analysis suggests CoQ10, folic acid, omega-3 most likely supplements to benefit cardiovascular health

December 5 2022. The December 13, 2022, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis that identified 3 supplements with antioxidant properties—coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), the B vitamin folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids—as showing the greatest potential to lower lower cardiovascular disease risk.

“Research on micronutrient supplementation has mainly focused on the health effects of a single or a few vitamins and minerals,” commented lead researcher Simin Liu, MD. “We decided to take a comprehensive and systematic approach to evaluate all the publicly available and accessible studies reporting all micronutrients, including phytochemicals and antioxidant supplements and their effects on cardiovascular risk factors as well as multiple cardiovascular diseases.”

Dr Liu and colleagues reviewed 884 trials that evaluated the association between 27 supplements and cardiovascular risk among 883,627 participants. While CoQ10, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids had the greatest evidence in their support, omega-6 fatty acids, L-arginine, L-citrulline, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, catechin, curcumin, flavanol, genistein and quercetin were also associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Concerning the top contenders, supplementing with CoQ10 was associated with a reduction in mortality from all causes during the studies’ follow-up periods, folic acid supplementation was linked to a lower risk of stroke and omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease events and cardiovascular disease mortality.

In an accompanying editorial, Juan G. Gormaz, PhD, and Rodrigo Carrasco, MD, PhD, concluded, “These results begin to open spaces for the integration of new tools into the therapeutic arsenal aimed at cardiovascular prevention in selected populations, which could be easily accessible and, with specific exceptions, would present a low frequency of adverse effects.”


—D Dye


Grapes may help protect against UV damage

December 2 2022. On November 30, 2022, Antioxidants reported the findings of a protective effect for consuming grapes against damage caused by ultraviolet exposure in the skin of human volunteers.

“The phrase ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' dates back to the time of Hippocrates,” first author John Pezzuto remarked. “Now, after 2500 years, and as exemplified by this human study conducted with dietary grapes, we are still learning the reality of this statement.”

In the current study, 29 men and women consumed 2 packets of freeze-dried grape powder per day (equivalent to 3 servings of grapes) for 2 weeks. UV radiation was delivered to an area on the back and minimal erythema dose (the minimum dose of UV light that causes skin reddening 24 hours after exposure) and other factors were assessed prior to and at 2 time points after the period during which the participants consumed grapes. Urine and fecal samples obtained before and after the 2-week grape treatment period were evaluated for metabolites and microbiome species.

The nine participants who exhibited greater resistance to UV irradiation after consuming grapes had differences in urinary metabolites and microbial abundance compared to the nonresponders. Among responders, 3 participants who continued to demonstrate greater UV resistance 4 weeks after the period during which grapes were consumed were found to have unique metabolic and microbiome profiles.

“We conclude that a segment of the population is capable of demonstrating greater resistance to a dermal response elicited by UV irradiation as a result of grape consumption,” the authors wrote. “It is uncertain if modulation of the gut-skin axis leads to enhanced UV resistance, but there is correlation. More broadly, it is reasonable to expect that these mechanisms relate to other health outcomes anticipated to result from grape consumption.”


—D Dye


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