What's Hot

What's Hot

News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health and longevity. We have an unparalleled track record of breaking stories about life extension advances.


  • Specialized pro-resolving mediators show promise against MS
  • Vitamin D, omega-3, exercise lower cancer risk by 61%
  • Kidneys may benefit from low dose lithium
  • Tocotrienol form of vitamin E could help protect against obesity
  • Poll finds half of parents provide supplements to their children
  • Vitamin E may improve immunotherapy response
  • Vitamin K2 supports cells’ power plants
  • Omega-3 fatty acids improve response to heart damage
  • Zinc-sensing receptor supports immune function
  • Vitamin K2 brain benefit
  • Vitamin C may help protect against chemo side effect
  • Stress markers high, antioxidants low in breast cancer patients
  • Omega-3 fatty acids could improve immunotherapy


    Specialized pro-resolving mediators show promise against MS

    April 29 2022. Research reported in an article appearing on February 2, 2022 in the Journal of Neuroinflammation suggested a role for specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease in which chronic inflammation occurs.

    Specialized pro-resolving mediators produced in the body from fatty acids (including omega-3) help maintain a healthy postinflammatory response. However, because these fatty acids are not completely converted to SPMs, the intake of supplemental SPMs and their precursors may help improve inflammation resolution. "Our results suggest that one of the body's mechanisms for resolving inflammation is not working properly in patients with multiple sclerosis, which could partly explain the episodes of autoimmunity they experience,” commented lead researcher Rubén López-Vales, PhD, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

    Although supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been found to benefit individuals with conditions such as metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease, effects of omega-3 in trials involving MS patients have been inconsistent. “It is very plausible that this lack of efficacy stems from the failure of MS patients to produce adequate amounts of SPMs, rather than from the bioavailability of omega-3 PUFA in their serum,” Dr López-Vales and his associates wrote.

    In a mouse model of MS, the team found that the SPM maresin-1 (MaR1) and other SPMs were below the limit of detection, while proinflammatory molecules derived from fatty acids were increased. SPMs also failed to be detected in serum and brain lesion samples from people with MS, who were discovered to have impaired expression of enzymes involved in the SPM synthesis. The administration of SPMs to mice suppressed proinflammatory molecules, beneficially modified aspects of immune function, enhanced neurologic outcomes and protected their nerves. The authors concluded that “Immunoresolvent therapies, such as MaR1, could be a novel avenue for the treatment of MS.”


    —D Dye


    Vitamin D, omega-3, exercise lower cancer risk by 61%

    April 27 2022. A study reported on April 25, 2022, in Frontiers in Aging revealed a significant reduction in the risk of developing cancer among older individuals who engaged in a strength exercise program combined with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

    “Apart from some preventive recommendations such as smoking cessation for lung cancer, public health efforts that focus on cancer prevention at midlife and older age have been largely focused on vaccination and screening efforts,” noted Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, DrPH, of University Hospital Zurich along with Walter C. Willet, MD, DrPH, of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues. “This may in part be explained by mixed findings from clinical trials that tested single public health interventions for cancer prevention. Alternatively, combined interventions taking advantage of potentially small additive benefits from several public health strategies are largely lacking.”

    The DO-HEALTH trial included 2,157 participants aged 70 and older who received 2,000 IU vitamin D3 alone, 1 gram omega-3 fatty acids alone, a thrice-weekly home strength exercise program alone, vitamin D3 plus omega-3, vitamin D3 combined with the home strength exercise program, omega-3 combined with the exercise program, both nutrients combined with the exercise program, or a placebo daily for 3 years. Participants were evaluated upon enrollment and at the end of each year of the study.

    While each treatment was associated with a small cancer-preventive effect, combining the three resulted in a 61% reduction in cancer risk.

    “In DO-HEALTH, our aim was to test promising combined interventions for cancer prevention taking advantage of potentially small additive benefits from several public health strategies,” Dr Bischoff-Ferrari explained. “In fact, novel cancer treatments aim to block multiple pathways for cancer development by combining several agents. We translated this concept into cancer prevention.”


    —D Dye


    Kidneys may benefit from low dose lithium

    April 25 2022. Like the rest of the body’s organ systems, kidney structure and function declines during aging. However, research findings reported on February 15, 2022 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggest that supplementation with low dose lithium could help protect against some of this decline.

    Lithium has been used for many years as a treatment for bipolar disorder. More recently, the trace element was found to extend the lifespan of roundworms and fruit flies. “Lithium’s effect on aging has been a hot topic, with several intriguing observations coming out in recent years,” commented Rujun Gong, MD, PhD, FASN, of the University of Toledo. “As people are living longer than ever, it’s crucial we find ways to slow or halt kidney aging. Our findings suggest lithium may indeed have significant potential to do just that.”

    After determining that disabling a gene responsible for producing the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3-beta) slowed kidney aging in mice, the researchers demonstrated that the administration of lithium chloride also helped preserve kidney function. “There are a lot of fancy, very expensive small molecule compounds being developed, but we recognized that lithium has been used as a standard inhibitor of GSK3-beta in basic science research for decades,” coauthor Lance Dworkin acknowledged.

    In psychiatric patients treated long term with lithium carbonate, Dr Gong and his associates observed better kidney function than patients matched for age who did not receive the drug. Their research suggested that less than a third of the dose used for bipolar disorder blocks GSK3-beta activity in the kidney.

    “If we can validate this in pilot studies and eventually large-scale clinical trials lithium may emerge as an effective anti-aging medication for the kidney and potentially other organ systems and help to better preserve the health and well-being of our aging population,” Dr Gong predicted.


    —D Dye


    Tocotrienol form of vitamin E could help protect against obesity

    April 22 2022. Investigative findings in mice reported on March 28, 2022, in Molecules suggest a potential role for members of the vitamin E family known as tocotrienols in the prevention of weight gain.

    Authors Yugo Kato of Shibaura Institute of Technology and colleagues noted that increased oxidation due to obesity may help explain why obesity raises the risk of developing various diseases. “To find new substances that prevent obesity and severe secondary diseases caused by obesity, such as neurodegenerative diseases, the substance needs to have not only anti-obesity effects but also strong antioxidant functions.”

    The researchers fed mice a high fat diet or a control diet that was significantly lower in fat and calories for 13 weeks with or without alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols. Body weight was measured at the beginning and end of the study.

    After 13 weeks, animals given a high fat diet predictably weighed more than those that received a control diet. However, mice that received tocotrienols gained less weight on the high fat diet and had less white fat accumulation around the kidneys. The weight of mice given a control diet was not affected by tocotrienol supplementation. Total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), free and esterified cholesterol were higher among high-fat diet-fed mice compared to animals given the control diet and tocotrienol supplementation partly protected against this effect.

    To explore the relationship between obesity-induced cognitive dysfunction and tocotrienols’ potential neuroprotective effects, the researchers evaluated cognitive function, brain oxidation and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). “Although mice behaviors were improved by oral tocotrienol intake, there were no significant differences in brain oxidation levels and BDNF expression,” Dr Kato and associates reported.

    “These results suggest that tocotrienols attenuate obesity via inhibition of body fat and serum cholesterol increase,” they concluded.


    —D Dye


    Poll finds half of parents provide supplements to their children

    April 20 2022. Responses to a poll conducted by University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children's Hospital indicated that half of U.S. parents of children between the ages of one to ten years give their children dietary supplements.

    Among children who received dietary supplements, 78% were given multivitamins, 45% received probiotics, 22% received omega-3 fatty acids, 44% received specific vitamins and 25% received specific minerals. Parents in higher income households were likelier than those whose income was lower to have children who regularly consumed supplements.

    According to the poll results, a third of parents stated that their child is a fussy eater and an equal amount agreed that their child did not consume enough fruit and vegetables. Nine percent were concerned that their child needed more fiber and 13% agreed that their child failed to obtain certain vitamins and minerals. Half of the parents concurred that providing their child with a healthy diet is expensive. “We know that fresh, healthy foods can be more expensive than processed or packaged items that are often higher in sodium and added sugars,” Mott Poll codirector Sarah Clark, MPH, commented. “This can make it especially frustrating for parents when children waste or refuse to eat healthy foods.”

    “Providers should be diligent about discussing nutrition with families so they understand what a healthy diet should include and are using supplements appropriately,” Clark remarked. “A balanced diet helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.  An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can negatively affect short and long-term health outcomes as well as school performance.

    “The reality for many parents is that getting children to eat healthy foods isn’t always easy,” she added.


    —D Dye


    Vitamin E may improve immunotherapy response

    April 18 2022. An article published on April 14, 2022 in Cancer Discovery reported improvement in the response to cancer immunotherapy among people and rodents who received supplemental vitamin E.

    “The use of dietary supplements during conventional cancer therapy has brought growing attention as an eminently practical approach,” wrote authors Xiangliang Yuan, PhD, and colleagues. “However, little is known regarding the effects of dietary components and nutritional supplements on current prevalent immunotherapies.”

    An immune response against cancer requires a series of events determined in part by the presentation to the immune system of abnormal proteins known as antigens. Dendritic cells present antigens to activate cytotoxic T lymphocytes for antigen-specific T cell response. However, dendritic cells can become dysfunctional, thereby limiting some immunotherapies’ effectiveness.  

    The research team examined the association between supplementing with vitamin E or multivitamins and response to an immunotherapy known as anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors among melanoma patients. Immune checkpoints stimulated by some cancers lower immune response to a stimulus, which protects cancer cells from immune attack. Immunotherapy patients who used vitamin E were found to have better survival than those who did not supplement with the vitamin.

    Vitamin E was also found to enhance the response to checkpoint inhibitors in mouse models of cancer; however, among animals with low tumor infiltrating dendritic cells, vitamin E was not beneficial. This indicated that the vitamin’s effects depended upon these cells. It was determined that vitamin E binds to dendritic cells’ SHP1 protein which regulates dendritic cell activity. By blocking SHP1’s action, dendritic cells’ ability to prime T cells is increased.

    “This work yielded important insights on the interaction between vitamin E and SHP1 that will guide us to develop more specific allosteric SHP1 inhibitors,” Dr Yuan stated. “Compellingly, it appears that unleashing dendritic cells by inhibiting SHP1 may be an advantageous strategy to enhance antitumor immunity.”


    —D Dye


    Vitamin K2 supports cells’ power plants

    April 15 2022. The April 1, 2022, issue of Nutrients reported the discovery of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences of a beneficial function of vitamin K2 (menaquinone) in the mitochondria (intracellular energy-producing organelles) of human cells similar to neurons. The finding suggested a potential protective effect for the vitamin against neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease.

    “The pathogenesis of Parkinson disease is complex, and the exact etiology and natural process have not been fully defined,” wrote Hengfang Tang and colleagues. “Previous studies indicated that mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy failure, and neuroinflammation play a role, and that mitochondrial dysfunction can exacerbate neuronal degeneration.”

    Following the administration of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), a neurotoxin that causes the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons, the research team observed a decrease in cell viability and mitochondrial membrane potential, along with an increase in reactive oxygen species, mitochondria-mediated programmed cell death and abnormal mitochondrial fission and fusion. However, subsequent administration of a form of vitamin K2 known as MK-7 inhibited mitochondrial damage and cell death. The vitamin exerted its protective effects through an ability to regulate mitochondrial membrane potential and alleviate oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species produced during mitochondrial respiration. It also helps maintain normal function of mitochondrial fusion, division, autophagy and generation, thereby repairing damaged mitochondria. Vitamin K furthermore induced mitochondrial biogenesis in cells damaged by 6-OHDA.

    “Vitamin K2 can inhibit the production of reactive oxygen species and relieve oxidative stress in cells, and repair mitochondrial dysfunction by regulating the mitochondrial quality-control loop,” the authors concluded. “It may play a role in other diseases related to oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cancer associated with oxidative stress and altered mitochondrial metabolism.


    —D Dye


    Omega-3 fatty acids improve response to heart damage

    April 13 2022. Research reported on March 25, 2022, in the American Journal of Physiology–Heart and Circulatory Physiology indicated that the quality of fat consumed determined the ability to resolve inflammation in rodent model of heart failure.

    “The big question for most people is whether a fat is good or bad, or is omega-3 helpful for heart health?’’ asked first author Ganesh V. Halade, PhD, of the University of South Florida. “We’re thinking beyond that by looking at how fat is used in the body after a heart attack and in what forms.’’

    “All fats are not created equal, and despite the extensive literature, the effect of fat intake is the most debated question in obesity, cardiovascular, and cardiorenal research,” he added.

    To induce inflammation, the team gave mice a diet that contained 10% safflower oil (a source of omega-6 fatty acids, used in many processed foods) for 12 weeks. Half of the animals subsequently received the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 8 weeks while the remainder continued to receive the safflower oil-supplemented diet.

    After inducing irreversible heart failure in the mice at the end of the treatment period, the researchers observed that animals that received safflower oil alone experienced greater inflammation and heart-kidney network dysfunction, but among those that received DHA, resolution of inflammation was observed as early as the first day of heart injury along with an increase in specialized proresolving mediator (SPM) expression in damaged areas and the spleen. DHA-supplemented animals also survived longer.

    “The fat intake needs to be of optimal quality and used by the right enzyme of immune cells,’’ Dr Halade explained. “This is all about cardiac repair and the inflammation clearing molecules (resolution mediators) involved in that repair. It’s essential to the resolution process.’’


    —D Dye


    Zinc-sensing receptor supports immune function

    April 11 2022. It is known that zinc is a factor in a healthy immune system. Findings reported on March 25, 2022 in Blood provide some reasons why.

    Research conducted by Lorenzo Iovino, MD, had found that multiple myeloma patients who received transplants of their own blood stem cells after undergoing treatments that destroy diseased bone marrow cells experienced better immune recovery when supplemented with zinc. To understand how zinc accomplishes this, Dr Iovino and Jarrod Dudakov, PhD, studied mice. By giving the animals diets that were deficient in zinc, the research team observed shrinkage of the thymus gland, which plays a role in immune function by producing T cells. Three weeks of a diet that lacked zinc was associated with fewer mature cells.

    When mice were treated with radiation similar to that received by humans prior to stem cell transplants, T cells were replenished more slowly in zinc deficient animals. However, mice that received supplemental zinc prior to the treatment experienced improved recovery.

    It had been previously discovered that thymus cells release factors that stimulate the cells that support T cells to repair and regrow. Dr Iovino found that supplementing mice with zinc prior to radiation was associated with higher thymus levels of a repair factor known as BMP4 in comparison with animals that received a standard diet. It was determined that zinc surrounding cells that release BMP4 activates a renewal pathway. The researchers found that levels of the molecule GPR39 in BMP4-releasing cells (that senses changes in external zinc around these cells) increased after radiation damage and that a compound that stimulates GPR39 supports BMP4 release and regeneration of the thymus.

    “What we think is going on is, as you give zinc supplementation, that gets accumulated within the developing T cells,” Dr Dudakov explained. “It gets stored and stored and stored, then the damage comes along and the zinc is released. Now you have more zinc than you normally would, and it can instigate this regenerative pathway.”

    “I'm extremely excited about [activating GPR39] as a potential therapeutic strategy,” he added.


    —D Dye


    Vitamin K2 brain benefit

    April 8 2022. Results from a study presented at the American Association for Anatomy’s annual meeting, held during Experimental Biology 2022 which took place April 2–5, suggest that vitamin K2 could help protect the brain from aging-associated disorders.

    The study’s investigators remarked that people with severe dementia and individuals at an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease have an increased risk of reduced serum vitamin K levels.

    During a period of 17 months, three-month-old rats were supplemented with menaquinone-7 (MK-7, a form of vitamin K2) once per day for five days per week while another same-aged group received no MK-7. Cognitive function and behavior related to anxiety or depression were evaluated with maze, swimming and sociability tests.

    Rats that received vitamin K2 had less cognitive impairment, depression and anxiety, and better spatial memory and learning ability compared to untreated animals. When the two groups’ maze performances at the end of the treatment period were compared with untreated young adult rats, older animals that received MK-7 performed similarly to the younger rats, while the performance of older untreated rats was significantly lower. Examination of brain tissue uncovered evidence of a beneficial effect for vitamin K in pathways involved in inflammation and antioxidant activity. The researchers also found that treatment with the vitamin supported the expression of the amino acid tyrosine, which helps preserve cognitive function.

    “Vitamin K2 demonstrated very promising impact in hindering aging-related behavioral, functional, biochemical and histopathological changes in the senile aging brain,” commented senior author Mohamed El-Sherbiny, PhD, of AlMaarefa University. “Vitamin K2 can be proposed to be a promising approach to attenuate age-related disorders and preserve cognitive functions in aging individuals.”

    “Further clinical studies will be required to assess the appropriate dosage for protection against Alzheimer’s, especially in those treated with vitamin K antagonists,” he added.


    —D Dye


    Vitamin C may help protect against chemo side effect

    April 6 2022. Findings from a study presented at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting, held during Experimental Biology 2022 from April 2–5, indicate that vitamin C may help protect against muscle atrophy caused by the chemotherapy doxorubicin. Muscle atrophy, along with heart problems, can lower quality of life among cancer patients treated with the drug.

    In previous research, doxorubicin-treated rats given vitamin C had improved survival and markers of heart health, which were attributed to a decrease in inflammation and oxidative stress. The current study sought to determine whether vitamin C could also lower the adverse effects of doxorubicin in skeletal muscle. The research team evaluated skeletal muscle mass and oxidative stress markers in groups of rats that were treated with doxorubicin, vitamin C, doxorubicin plus vitamin C, or neither compound. Compared to rats that received doxorubicin without vitamin C, animals that received both compounds exhibited less oxidative stress and greater muscle mass.

    “Our results suggest vitamin C as a potential adjunct therapy to assist in the management of peripheral muscle disorders after treatment with doxorubicin, thereby improving functional capacity and quality of life and reducing mortality,” stated first author Antonio Viana do Nascimento Filho, who is a master’s student of medicine at University Nove de Julho in Brazil. “It is exciting that the vitamin C prophylactic and concurrent treatments given for just one week before and maintained for another two weeks after the use of doxorubicin was sufficient to attenuate the side effects of this drug on skeletal muscle, contributing to a hugely positive impact on the health of the studied animals. Our work demonstrated that vitamin C treatment can mitigate the loss in muscle mass and improve many markers of free radicals’ imbalance in rats subjected to doxorubicin administration.”


    —D Dye


    Stress markers high, antioxidants low in breast cancer patients

    April 4 2022. Research presented on April 2, 2022, at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting held at Experimental Biology 2022 revealed blood inflammatory and stress marker variations between women with breast cancer and those who did not have the disease.

    The study compared 498 women with breast cancer with an equal number of age-matched women without the disease. Serum samples were analyzed for matrix metalloproteinases, interleukins, heat shock proteins, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a, a proinflammatory cytokine), nitric oxide, inducible nitric oxide synthase, malondialdehyde (MDA, a marker of oxidative stress), vitamins A, C and D, the antioxidant glutathione, and antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.

    Compared to women who did not have breast cancer, breast cancer patients exhibited overexpression of the inflammatory marker matrix metalloproteinase 9, the proinflammatory protein interleukin-1, heat shock protein 27 (which can be protective as well as destructive), TNF-a, nitric oxide, inducible nitric oxide synthase and MDA. Women with breast cancer had low levels of vitamins A, C and D, glutathione, catalase and SOD.

    “The breast cancer pathophysiology included an overbalance of oxidants or stress markers and an underbalance of antioxidants,” observed first author Samina Malik, MBBS, MPhil, of the University of Lahore in Pakistan. She remarked that this proportion of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory factors could play a crucial role in breast cancer metastasis and serve as a diagnostic marker.

    “It can be extrapolated how the increased levels of oxidative and nitrosative stress species along with inflammatory cytokines predispose to the incidence of cell invasion, cell migration and epithelial-mesenchymal transition,” Dr Malik and coauthor Arif Malik concluded. “Therefore, it infers that increase in growth factors i.e., VEGF, TGF-β and Bcl2 under the influence of said variables play a crucial role in the metastasis of breast cancer.”


    —D Dye


    Omega-3 fatty acids could improve immunotherapy

    April 1 2022. Research findings presented by Abigail Kelly at the American Society for Investigative Pathology’s annual meeting, held during the Experimental Biology meeting April 2–5, 2022, revealed a benefit for adding omega-3 fatty acids to cancer immunotherapy.

    Immunotherapy involves harnessing the body’s immune system to combat cancer or other diseases and is predicted to revolutionize cancer treatment.

    An increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a lower risk of cancer, while greater intake of omega-6 fatty acids may have a stimulatory effect.

    “Dietary interventions can be powerful tools because they are relatively simple and inexpensive to implement,” Kelly stated. “Our findings show that omega-3 supplementation has the potential to broadly improve immunotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs in the clinical setting.”

    The research team fed mice a standard diet, a diet enhanced with omega-3 or a diet high in omega-6 beginning 10 days before injecting them with tumor cells. A week following the injections, the animals were given immunotherapy, an anti-inflammatory treatment, both therapies or no therapy.

    Compared to a standard diet, the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the diet resulted in less tumor growth in animals that received immunotherapy or immunotherapy plus anti-inflammatory therapy, while an omega-6-enhanced diet was associated with significant acceleration of the growth of one tumor type.

    “We demonstrated, for the first time, that the combination of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory treatment was more effective when mice were fed diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acids,” Kelly announced. “This is very promising because dietary supplementation is easy to implement for cancer patients and can be added for patients already on immunotherapy.”


    —D Dye


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