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.


  • Hispanic and African-American adolescents need more vitamin D
  • Vitamin D recommended for individuals prescribed antidiabetic drug
  • Turtles may hold clues to longevity
  • Protective mechanism of aspirin against colorectal cancer explored
  • Lean tissue benefit of protein supplementation affirmed
  • Men and women with brain condition could be helped by vitamin E
  • Study finds metformin users have lower fracture risk compared to diabetics treated with insulin
  • Zinc may help combat pulmonary fibrosis
  • Another positive finding for coffee
  • Reduced testosterone levels in younger men associated with greater long-term risk of cardiovascular disease
  • High dose omega-3 may help lower blood pressure
  • Coffee drinking again linked with longer life


    Hispanic and African-American adolescents need more vitamin D

    June 29 2022. A study reported on May 30, 2022 in the Journal of Pediatric Health found that 61% of otherwise healthy ethnically diverse individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 years had low levels of vitamin D.

    “Black and Hispanic populations have a markedly high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and higher incidence and worse outcomes for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and renal disease, all of which have been linked to vitamin D levels,” reported first author Shainy Varghese, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, of the University of Houston. “This paper calls attention to the need to raise awareness among clinicians regarding social determinants of health and culturally sensitive dietary practices to improve vitamin D levels and prevent long-term complications.”

    Dr Varghese and colleagues examined the medical records of 119 adolescents who had information available concerning blood levels of vitamin D. Hispanic patients comprised 42.9% of the group, while 35.3% were African American and 21.9% were of Indian or Pakistani ethnicity.

    While 46 adolescents had insufficient levels of vitamin D, 73 had deficient levels. African American and Indian/Pakistani adolescents had a greater risk of being deficient than Hispanics.

    “This study can help nurses and health care providers assess the need adolescents may have for vitamin D supplements,” commented Kathryn Tart, who is the founding dean of the University of Houston College of Nursing.

    “We understand vitamin D levels are low across the board – seven out of ten U.S. children have low levels, raising their risk for various acute and chronic diseases,” Dr Varghese commented. “But the relationship of ethnic diversity and vitamin D levels is understudied and limited in adolescents.”  

    “Knowledge and understanding of the prevalence of low vitamin D levels, underlying features, and risk of low vitamin D levels among different ethnic groups are essential for primary care providers who must identify at-risk populations starting at a young age,” she added.


    —D Dye


    Vitamin D recommended for individuals prescribed antidiabetic drug

    June 27 2022. Findings from a study reported at the Control of Renal Function in Health and Disease conference, held June 26–30, 2022, suggest that diabetic individuals who have been prescribed sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors could benefit from vitamin D supplementation to protect against a loss of bone mineral density.

    SGLT2 inhibitors, which include canagliflozin, are considered a first-line therapy for diabetics at risk of kidney and heart disease. Some studies have shown that this class of drugs increases serum phosphate levels, which lowers the most active form of vitamin D (1,25-hydroxyvitamin D) in the body and increases fracture risk. “We inquired whether vitamin D deficiency would exacerbate adverse effects of canagliflozin on phosphate and vitamin D metabolism in kidney and whether vitamin D supplements would be protective,” Zhinous Shahidzadeh Yazdi, MD, and colleagues wrote.

    The study included vitamin D-deficient residents of an Amish community. Participants were given canagliflozin 5 days prior to being given vitamin D supplements and for 5 days after their deficiencies were corrected. Supplementation increased 25-hydroxyvitamin D (the standard measurement of vitamin D levels) from deficient levels of 16.4 ng/mL to sufficient levels of 45.3 ng/mL.

    Canagliflozin was associated with a decrease of 31% of 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D during the first period during which the drug was received, compared to 8% after the second period. Vitamin D was additionally associated with improvement in parathyroid hormone levels.

    The findings suggest that vitamin D supplements could help reduce the risk of adverse effects of SGLT2 inhibitor therapy on bone. “Longer term follow-up will be required to determine whether this accelerated loss of bone mineral density will eventually translate into an increased risk of bone fracture,” Dr Yazdi commented. “Accordingly, we recommend that patients and physicians consider the possibility of taking vitamin D supplements to restore normal vitamin D status in vitamin D-deficient patients receiving (or who will receive) SGLT2 inhibitors.”


    —D Dye


    Turtles may hold clues to longevity

    June 24 2022. Research described in articles published in the June 24, 2022, issue of Science calls into question evolutionary theories of aging.

    “Is senescence inevitable and universal for all living organisms, as evolutionary theories predict?” asked Rita da Silva, PhD, and colleagues. “Although evidence generally supports this hypothesis, it has been proposed that certain species, such as turtles and tortoises, may exhibit slow or even negligible senescence—i.e., avoiding the increasing risk of death from gradual deterioration with age.”

    “The exceptional longevity of chelonians (turtles) has long been appreciated, with reliable although anecdotal reports of individuals surviving for more than 150 years, which raises the question of whether they age at all,” wrote Steven N. Audstad and Caleb E. Finch in an accompanying perspective.

    Dr da Silva and her associates determined that approximately 80% of 52 turtle and tortoise species exhibit lower aging rates than humans. These animals are ectotherms whose body temperatures are regulated by their external environment, resulting in lower metabolism and slower aging in contrast with endotherms such as humans, who generate their own heat. However, this thermoregulatory mode hypothesis of aging does not explain the variance in rates of aging observed among ectotherms.

    Evidence was found in support of a protective phenotypes hypothesis of aging, which suggests that animals with protective traits including armor, shells or venom age more slowly. “It could be that their altered morphology with hard shells provides protection and has contributed to the evolution of their life histories, including negligible aging – or lack of demographic aging – and exceptional longevity,” stated coauthor Anne Bronikowski, PhD.

    “These various protective mechanisms can reduce animals’ mortality rates because they’re not getting eaten by other animals,” explained coauthor Beth Reinke. “Thus, they’re more likely to live longer, and that exerts pressure to age more slowly.”

    “Understanding the comparative landscape of aging across animals can reveal flexible traits that may prove worthy targets for biomedical study related to human aging,” Dr Bronikowski concluded.


    —D Dye


    Protective mechanism of aspirin against colorectal cancer explored

    June 20 2022. In 2011, a clinical trial uncovered a 63% reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer among a high-risk population who received 600 milligrams aspirin daily for two years. It is known that aspirin supports a healthy inflammatory response, affects cellular kinetics, lowers the rate of tumor cell division and increases the rate of cell death. Now, a study published in eLife on April 13, 2022, has revealed another potential mechanism for this effect.

    Natalia Komarova, PhD, of the University of California’s Department of Mathematics and her colleagues constructed mathematical models which determined that changes in tumor cell fitness are sufficient to contribute to the protection against colorectal cancer that has been associated with aspirin in epidemiologic studies.

    “We asked what aspirin does to the Darwinian evolution of cells,” explained coauthor Dominik Wodarz, who is a professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California Irvine Program in Public Health. “Cancer arises because cells evolve from a healthy state toward a pathogenic state where the cells divide without stopping. This happens when cells acquire a number of mutations, and these mutations are selected for. We found that aspirin affects these evolutionary processes and slows them down.”

    “What surprised us was that this mechanism could explain the level of protection seen in the human population quite well,” Dr Komarova added. “In other words, the predicted magnitude was consistent with the protective effect seen in the human population, in epidemiological studies.”

    “While the mechanisms that contribute to the protective effect of aspirin are likely complex and multi-factorial, our study demonstrates that direct aspirin-induced changes of tumor cell fitness can significantly contribute to epidemiologically observed reduced incidence patterns,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye


    Lean tissue benefit of protein supplementation affirmed

    June 17 2022. A “systematic review of systematic reviews” published on June 11, 2022, in Sports Medicine showedthat the addition of protein supplementation to resistance training is associated with a greater increase in lean body mass (body mass minus fat mass) in comparison with resistance training alone.

    Protein intake stimulates the synthesis of muscle protein.

    Researchers in Brazil selected 5 systematic reviews with meta-analyses of randomized trials that compared the effects of resistance training alone to resistance training combined with protein and/or amino acid supplementation. The 46 studies included in the meta-analyses involved a total of 2,925 men and women over 50 years of age. Supplemented groups received 12 to 40 grams of protein or 3 to 10 grams of amino acids while the control groups received a placebo or no supplementation.

    Among the 4 meta-analyses that evaluated lean body mass, 3 found a significant increase in association with resistance training plus protein supplementation compared to resistance training without supplementation. There was also a significant benefit for protein supplementation combined with training on muscle mass alone.

    “To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review of systematic reviews that examined the effects of protein supplementation associated with resistance training compared with resistance training without dietary protein intervention on body composition and muscle strength in older adults,” Alexandra Ferreira Vieira of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and colleagues announced. “It is possible to conclude that protein supplementation associated with resistance training induces greater increases in lean body mass compared with resistance training alone in older participants. In addition, it is suggested that the effect of protein supplementation on lean body mass is extended to the increase in muscle mass, while no additional effect of protein supplementation was observed on muscle strength in older adults.”


    —D Dye


    Men and women with brain condition could be helped by vitamin E

    June 15 2022. Leukoaraiosis is an abnormality in the brain’s white matter that appears on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as white matter hyperintensities. In an article published on June 2, 2022, in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at Cangzhou Central Hospital in Hebei, China reported improvements in factors related to leukoaraiosis among adults given supplements containing vitamin E.

    “Leukoaraiosis (LA) is a disease manifested by demyelination and gliosis in white matter, mainly caused by cerebrovascular diseases,” Yan Wang and colleagues wrote.  “Leukoaraiosis is closely related to the expression level of inflammatory factors, oxidative stress, and vascular endothelial dysfunction in patients. Vitamin E may play antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles in various diseases.”

    Wang and associates explained that increased serum inflammatory factors trigger leukoaraiosis and that evaluation of these factors is employed during assessment of the condition.

    The study included 160 men and women diagnosed with leukoaraiosis by MRI who had undergone testing for cognitive function. Participants received 200 IU, 400 IU or 600 international units (IU) vitamin E or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, blood samples were evaluated for the inflammatory factors C-reactive protein, complement C3 and C4, and matrix metalloproteins 2 and 9, as well as for markers of oxidative stress and endothelial function (function of the lining of the arteries, which is impaired in cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease).

    Inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial function improved in all groups that received vitamin E in comparison with the placebo. Cognitive function scores also significantly improved in the vitamin E-treated groups. Improvement in all measured factors was correlated with higher doses of vitamin E.

    “Vitamin E could be a potential drug for the clinical treatment of leukoaraiosis patients,” the authors concluded.


    —D Dye


    Study finds metformin users have lower fracture risk compared to diabetics treated with insulin

    June 13 2022. Findings from a study presented on June 11 at ENDO 2022, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society held in Atlanta, revealed a lower risk of fracture among diabetic patients treated with metformin in comparison with insulin or sulfonylurea drugs.

    “Patients using insulin or sulfonylurea are at a high risk of fractures compared to metformin-only users, and the risk could be higher in non-obese and well-controlled diabetic patients,” first author Sung Hye Kong, MD, of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Seongnam, South Korea reported.

    Despite having normal to high bone mineral density, Dr Kong and colleagues observed that people with diabetes are at increased fracture risk. Medications used to treat diabetes have long been suspected to responsible for the risk, but evidence for this effect has been limited.

    The investigation included data from 6,694 patients who were at least 50 years of age between 2008 and 2012 and who had used the same antidiabetic medications for more than one year. During a 6.1-year median follow-up, insulin users had an adjusted risk of major osteoporotic fracture that was 96% higher than the risk experienced by patients who used metformin. For hip fracture, the risk was three times greater among those who used insulin. When insulin was combined with metformin, the increased risk became insignificant. “From real-world data using the common data model, we found that insulin users were at elevated risk of major osteoporotic and hip fracture compared to metformin users, which was attenuated in users with a combination of insulin and metformin,” Dr Kong reported.

    “The increased fracture risk in insulin users was exaggerated in non-obese and well-controlled diabetic patients, indicating the need for routine fracture risk assessment in these patients,” the authors suggested.


    —D Dye


    Zinc may help combat pulmonary fibrosis

    June 10 2022. Research reported June 1, 2022 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that zinc could help improve lung damage associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), an aging-associated condition characterized by scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs and difficulty breathing.

    "This study has the potential to be a game changer," co-senior author Paul Noble, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center predicted. "We identified a root cause of IPF-related lung damage and a potential therapeutic target that might restore the lungs’ ability to heal themselves."

    By studying type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2) derived from the lungs of patients with IPF and aged mice, Dr Noble’s team discovered that these progenitor cells had lost the ability to process zinc due to a deficiency of the zinc transporter ZIP8. In an experiment using miniature organs grown from the tissue of IPF patients, cells that lacked ZIP8 were unable to regenerate and form colonies like healthy cells. "The organoids with AEC2 cells that had the ZIP8 transporter were able to draw zinc into the cells, and then were able to regenerate and form more colonies," commented first author Jiurong Liang, MD. "The cells without ZIP8 didn’t have a way to draw zinc in, so they formed fewer colonies. This is how we determined that it is ZIP8 that allows the cells to use zinc."

    In mice in which the ZIP8 gene in type 2 alveolar epithelial cells was deleted, zinc supplementation improved lung fibrosis.

    "There have been few detailed studies of how zinc works in the lungs," commented co-senior author Dianhua Jiang, MD, PhD. "Ours is the first to identify the detailed function of zinc in lung biology, specifically in IPF. It was particularly exciting to discover that zinc regulates the production of two other key molecules that promote tissue regeneration, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and sirtuin1. These molecules have been implicated in tissue regeneration and aging."


    —D Dye


    Another positive finding for coffee

    June 8 2022. An article published on May 5, 2022, in Kidney International Reports revealed a lower risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) among coffee drinkers compared to people who don’t enjoy the beverage.

    “We already know that drinking coffee on a regular basis has been associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” corresponding author Chirag Parikh, MD, PhD, stated.

    Acute kidney injury occurs when kidney damage or failure develops within hours or days. During acute kidney injury, waste products normally filtered by the kidneys accumulate in the blood. Acute kidney injury often takes place in a hospital environment when patients’ kidneys may be affected by medical or surgical stressors.

    The investigation included 14,207 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which is an ongoing study of cardiovascular disease risk among individuals recruited from 1987 to 1989. Interviews conducted during a 24-year period provided information concerning the number of cups of coffee consumed each day.

    Acute kidney injury occurred among 1,694 participants during the course of the study. Those who reported drinking any amount of coffee had a 15% lower risk of acute kidney injury compared to nondrinkers. The greatest reduction was observed among those who consumed 2 to 3 cups coffee per day, which was associated with a 23% lower risk. (The decrease in risk was calculated as 17% when adjusting for numerous factors.)

    “We suspect that the reason for coffee’s impact on AKI risk may be that either biologically active compounds combined with caffeine or just the caffeine itself improves perfusion and oxygen utilization within the kidneys,” Dr Parikh stated. “Caffeine has been postulated to inhibit the production of molecules that cause chemical imbalances and the use of too much oxygen in the kidneys. Perhaps caffeine helps the kidneys maintain a more stable system.”


    —D Dye


    Reduced testosterone levels in younger men associated with greater long-term risk of cardiovascular disease

    June 6 2022. A retrospective study reported April 14, 2022, in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine suggested a protective effect of maintaining healthy testosterone levels against the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

    The investigation included 1,253 men whose information concerning serum testosterone levels and other factors was documented in the MJ Health Research Foundation database. The database included information obtained from medical examinations conducted at health screening centers in Taiwan. Participants were between the ages of 30 and 79 years at the first checkup. Ten-year cardiovascular risk at two medical checkups conducted an average of 1.5 years apart was calculated using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) and the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Estimator (ASCVD).

    “Our study showed that the reduction in serum total testosterone levels were correlated with the increase in the 10-year risk of cardiovascular events estimated both by the FRS and ASCVD Risk Estimator in young male participants aged 30 to 49 years,” Han-Hsuan Yang and colleagues reported.

    “The reason why the reduction in testosterone levels affected the increase in cardiovascular risk only in men below 50 years of age might be due to the fact that this hormone in younger individuals is heavily dependent on numerous factors, which are probably more likely to increase cardiovascular risk than aging itself,” they suggested. “Testosterone fluctuations in young men are more related to social, work, or sexual activities, while an age-related decline is more prominent in elderly individual.”

    Cardiovascular risk was not affected by low serum testosterone levels measured at the beginning of the study. Dr Yang and associates suggested that a decrease in serum testosterone levels increases cardiovascular risk via changes in blood pressure or lipid profiles.


    —D Dye


    High dose omega-3 may help lower blood pressure

    June 3 2022. Findings from a meta-analysis published June 1, 2022, in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggested that 2 to 3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids may be an optimal dose to lower blood pressure.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy individuals is 1.1 to 1.6 grams per day, depending upon age and sex.

    The meta-analysis pooled data from 71 trials published during 1987 to 2020 that evaluated the association between blood pressure and the intake of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from food and/or supplements among 4,973 adults with or without hypertension. Trial duration averaged 10 weeks. Participants who consumed 2 to 3 grams EPA plus DHA experienced an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of 2.6 mmHg compared to those who did not receive the fatty acids. Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 1.64 mmHg and 1.80 mmHg in association with 2 and 3 grams, respectively. Systolic blood pressure decreased by 4.5 mmHg among hypertensive participants who consumed 3 grams per day omega-3. “Doses of omega-3 fatty acid intake above the recommended 3 g/d may be associated with additional benefits in lowering blood pressure among groups at high risk for cardiovascular diseases,” the authors suggested.

    “According to our research, the average adult may have a modest blood pressure reduction from consuming about 3 grams a day of these fatty acids,” commented co-corresponding author Xinzhi Li, MD, PhD, of the School of Pharmacy at Macau University of Science and Technology. “Most of the studies reported on fish oil supplements rather than on EPA and DHA omega-3s consumed in food, which suggests supplements may be an alternative for those who cannot eat fatty fish such as salmon regularly.”


    —D Dye


    Coffee drinking again linked with longer life

    June 1 2022. Yet another study has found an association between coffee drinking and a lower risk of premature mortality. The research was reported May 31, 2022, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    The investigation included 171,616 men and women who did not have cancer or heart disease upon enrollment between 2006 to 2010 in the UK Biobank prospective cohort study. Participants were 37 to 73 years old at recruitment. Responses to queries concerning diet and health behaviors at enrollment provided information concerning coffee intake and other factors.

    During a 7-year median follow-up period, participants who consumed unsweetened coffee had up to a 29% lower risk of death (which was associated with drinking 2.5 to 4.5 cups per day) compared to those who did not drink coffee. Participants who drank sugar-sweetened coffee had up to a 31% lower risk, associated with consuming 1.5 to 2.5 cups per day. The association between artificially sweetened coffee and mortality risk was inconclusive.

    In an accompanying editorial, Christina C. Wee, MD, MPH, observed that “The average dose of added sugar per cup of sweetened coffee was only a little over a teaspoon, or about 4 grams. This is a far cry from the 15 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce cup of caramel macchiato at a popular U.S. coffee chain.”

    She added that the findings are “reassuring in demonstrating that most study participants who drank coffee added no or only small amount of sugar and this pattern of intake was not harmful from a mortality risk perspective and was potentially beneficial.”

    “This prospective analysis found that moderate consumption of unsweetened coffee and that of sugar-sweetened coffee were associated with similar reductions in risk for all-cause, cancer-related, and cardiovascular disease-related mortality,” authors Dan Liu, MD, of Jinan University and colleagues concluded.


    —D Dye


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