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.

 

  • Could B vitamin help prevent suicides?
  • Whether ground, instant or decaffeinated, coffee drinking associated with longer life
  • Antioxidant-rich foods, supplements may help prevent sarcopenia
  • Vitamin C supplementation associated with improved lung function in COPD
  • Investigation of green tea compound could lead to Alzheimer therapy
  • Lower risk of diabetes among people who drink tea
  • Meta-analysis finds less fatigue with CoQ10 supplementation
  • Higher omega-3 levels linked to better sleep
  • Vitamin D supplementation could help critically ill patients
  • Coffee may protect against thirty conditions
  • Vitamin D deficiency associated with worse survival among melanoma patients during 6.7-year median
  • Lower potassium intake linked to premature mortality risk
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    Could B vitamin help prevent suicides?

    September 30 2022. On September 28, 2022, JAMA Psychiatry reported the findings of a study of 866,586 men and women which showed an association between supplementing with the vitamin folic acid and a lower risk of attempted suicide.

    “There are no real side effects, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, you can get it without a prescription,” remarked lead author Robert D. Gibbons, PhD, who is a Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine at the University of Chicago. “This could potentially save tens of thousands of lives.”

    Dr Gibbons and his associates analyzed health insurance data from 162,072 men and 704,514 women who filled prescriptions for folic acid between 2012 and 2017. An additional analysis was conducted that included 259,600 individuals who were prescribed vitamin B12 during this period. Patients were followed for 24 months.

    Suicidal events were defined as suicide attempts or intentional self-harm resulting in an outpatient visit or inpatient admission. After adjusting for age, sex and other factors, supplementing with folic acid was associated with a 45% lower risk of suicidal events compared to not using the vitamin. Each month of folic acid use was associated with a 5% decrease in the risk of the events during the two-year follow-up. No association was found between vitamin B12 supplementation and suicide attempts.

    “When we first saw this result, we thought it was pregnancy,” Dr Gibbons commented. “Pregnant women take folic acid, and pregnant women tend to have a low suicide rate, so it's just a false association. So, we just did a quick analysis to restrict it to men. But we saw exactly the same effect in men.”

    The authors concluded that “Folic acid may be a safe, inexpensive, and widely available treatment for suicidal ideation and behavior.”

    Note: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

     

    —D Dye

     

    Whether ground, instant or decaffeinated, coffee drinking associated with longer life

    September 28 2022. Regardless of the type of coffee consumed, people who drink coffee may live longer, as indicated by research findings reported on September 27, 2022, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

    “In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” senior author Peter Kistler, PhD, stated.

    The study included 449,563 men and women enrolled in the UK Biobank, which recruited UK residents from 2006 to 2010 and collected data concerning dietary intake, including coffee consumed, and other factors. Individuals included in the current investigation did not have cardiovascular disease or heart arrhythmias at the beginning of the study.

    During an average follow-up of 12.5 years, 27,809 deaths occurred. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, people who reported drinking ground, instant or decaffeinated coffee had a significantly lower risk of dying from all causes during follow-up. The greatest risk reduction was associated with drinking 2 to 3 cups coffee per day, with ground coffee associated with 27% lower risk compared with no coffee drinking. Drinking any type of coffee was also associated with a reduced chance of developing cardiovascular disease, and 2 to 3 cups was again associated with the most protection. The development of arrhythmias was less among people who consumed ground or instant coffee, but not decaffeinated coffee.

    “Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components,” Dr Kistler remarked. “It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival. Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart healthy behavior.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Antioxidant-rich foods, supplements may help prevent sarcopenia

    September 26 2022. A systematic review and meta-analysis reported in the October 2022 issue of Clinical Nutrition concluded that consuming an antioxidant-rich diet or antioxidant supplements could help protect against sarcopenia: a loss of muscle mass, strength and function that can occur during aging.

    For the systematic review, Maria Besora-Moreno and colleagues at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain identified 19 observational studies and 9 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effect of diet on sarcopenia among men and women aged 55 years and older. Studies evaluated muscle mass, muscle strength, and/or physical function. Review of the observational studies found that increased intake of antioxidant-rich foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, tea, cocoa and oils) was associated with better sarcopenia outcomes.

    The meta-analysis included 4 randomized, controlled trials. Four trials evaluated muscle strength and 3 assessed physical function. (Data regarding muscle mass was not evaluated due to variance in measurement between trials.) Meta-analysis of trials that assessed physical function found improvement in association with higher fruit and vegetable intake, magnesium supplementation, and supplementation with vitamin E plus vitamin D and protein. A benefit was additionally determined for tea catechins on handgrip strength.

    “The present systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials established that antioxidant-rich foods or antioxidant supplementation could be a good tool to enhance and treat age-related sarcopenia, especially muscle strength and physical function,” the authors concluded. “The best interventions according to the meta-analysis of the randomized, controlled trials were supplementation of vitamin E in combination with vitamin D and protein, magnesium, tea catechins, and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Vitamin C supplementation associated with improved lung function in COPD

    September 23 2022. On September 10, 2022, the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease published a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials that found improvement in lung function among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who received vitamin C. The disease is characterized by airflow limitation and persistent respiratory symptoms.

    Ting Lei of The First Clinical Medical College of Lanzhou University in Lanzhou, China and associates identified 10 randomized, controlled trials that included a total of 487 adults with COPD for the meta-analysis. The trials compared lung function and/or antioxidant enzyme or nutrient levels of COPD patients who received vitamin C to a placebo or control group.

    The meta-analysis found improvement in forced expiratory volume in one second as a percentage (FEV1%, a measure of lung function) in association with vitamin C supplementation. When dosage was analyzed, it was determined that consuming more than 400 milligrams vitamin C per day was needed experience a significant benefit.

    The ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (another lung function assessment), and levels of vitamin C and glutathione, both of which are antioxidants, also improved among participants who received vitamin C supplements. The authors remarked that oxidative stress, which is a disturbance of the oxidant to antioxidant balance, has been suggested as playing a role in the development of COPD.

    The current investigation is the first systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effect of vitamin C supplementation in people with COPD.

    “We found that supplementing vitamin C to patients with COPD demonstrated vital clinical significance,” Lei and associates concluded. “Vitamin C supplementation could increase the levels of antioxidation in serum (vitamin C and glutathione) and improve lung function (FEV1% and FEV1/FVC), especially in patients treated with vitamin C supplementation greater than 400 mg/day.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Investigation of green tea compound could lead to Alzheimer therapy

    September 21 2022.Research conducted at UCLA demonstrated how the green tea compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) breaks up tau fibrils (which form in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients). The researchers identified other compounds that more readily enter the brain which also accomplish this. The findings were reported September 16, 2022, in Nature Communications.

    “Alzheimer’s disease is the consequence of neuronal death and brain atrophy associated with the aggregation of protein tau into fibrils. Thus, disaggregation of tau fibrils could be a therapeutic approach to Alzheimer’s disease,” Paul M. Seidler and colleagues explained. “Tau pathology likely propagates throughout the brain by prion-like seeding, in which aggregates in one diseased cell travel to adjacent cells and induce further protein aggregation.”

    A team from the laboratory of Professor David Eisenberg explored EGCG’s mechanisms by incubating tau tangles obtained from the brains of deceased Alzheimer disease patients with the compound. The observed that half of the tau fibers were gone within 3 hours while the remainders were partly degraded. All fibers disappeared within 24 hours. “The EGCG molecules bind to each layer of the fibers, but the molecules want to be closer together,” Dr Eisenberg reported. “As they move together the fiber snaps.”

    By screening potential compounds, the team identified 4 lead molecules that significantly reduced tau fibers. The molecules known as CNS-11 and CNS-17 additionally prevented the spread of tau fibers from cell to cell.

    “For cancer and many metabolic diseases knowing the structure of the disease-causing protein has led to effective drugs that halt the disease-causing action,” Dr Eisenberg observed. “But it’s only recently that scientists learned the structures of tau tangles. We’ve now identified small molecules that break up these fibers. The bottom line is, we’ve put Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid diseases in general on same basis as cancer, namely, that structure can be used to find drugs.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Lower risk of diabetes among people who drink tea

    September 19 2022. A presentation at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting, held September 19-23, 2022, revealed a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among regular tea drinkers compared with people who don’t consume the beverage.

    Xiaying Li of Wuhan University of Science and Technology and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 studies that included a total of 1,076,311 adults in 8 countries. Questionnaires completed by the participants provided information concerning tea intake and other factors.

    The researchers found that each cup of tea consumed per day was associated with a 1% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. During an average follow-up of 10 years, men and women who consumed 1 to 3 cups per day experienced a 4% lower risk of developing the disease and those who drank 4 or more cups had a 17% lower risk compared with people who did not drink tea. The findings were similar in association with green, oolong or black tea, in men and women, and in all study locations, which suggested that it is the amount of tea consumed that is the principal factor in diabetes protection.

    “Our results are exciting because they suggest that people can do something as simple as drinking four cups of tea a day to potentially lessen their risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” Li commented. “While more research needs to be done to determine the exact dosage and mechanisms behind these observations, our findings suggest that drinking tea is beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but only at high doses.”

    “It is possible that particular components in tea, such as polyphenols, may reduce blood glucose levels, but a sufficient amount of these bioactive compounds may be needed to be effective,” she added.

     

    —D Dye

     

    Meta-analysis finds less fatigue with CoQ10 supplementation

    September 16 2022. The results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials, published on August 24, 2022, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, support an anti-fatigue effect among individuals who supplemented with coenzyme Q10.

    “Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a popular nutritional supplement and a lipid-soluble antioxidant that is endogenously produced by the human body,” authors I-Chen Tsai of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University and associates observed. “CoQ10 supplementation has been successfully applied for reducing fatigue in patients with various conditions, including chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, as well as in healthy subjects.”

    For their analysis, Tsai colleagues identified 13 randomized, controlled trials that compared fatigue scores of participants who received CoQ10 or a placebo. The trials included a total of 1,126 participants. 

    Analysis of the 13 trials showed a consistent significant effect for CoQ10 in reducing fatigue. When trials that included healthy participants were analyzed separately from trials that included patients with fatigue-associated diseases, both supplemented populations showed decreases in fatigue, however the effects were significant among the unhealthy participants, who may have more severe CoQ10 depletion. Higher CoQ10 doses and longer duration of supplementation were correlated with increased fatigue reduction.

    The anti-fatigue effect of CoQ10 is unsurprising, given its role in energy production. Chronic fatigue syndrome patients have lower plasma levels of CoQ10 in comparison with healthy subjects. While the body makes some CoQ10, the authors remarked that studies have provided evidence that supplementing with CoQ10 does not affect the body’s synthesis of the coenzyme.

    “CoQ10 demonstrated a statistically significant fatigue-alleviating effect as compared with the evaluated placebos,” the authors concluded. “The effect was statistically significantly correlated with daily dose and treatment duration. Future studies are needed to investigate the lasting effects of CoQ10 on fatigue reduction after the discontinuation of supplementation.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Higher omega-3 levels linked to better sleep

    September 14 2022. Having higher blood concentrations of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was found to be associated with a reduction in excessive sleep in an analysis reported in 2022 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    Sleep duration of over 9 hours per night has been correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality from all causes.

    The analysis included 21,653 participants in 12 studies for whom information was available concerning sleep duration and/or difficulty falling asleep and blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA, ALA and, when available, DPA, and the omega-6 fatty acids AA and LA.

    When men and women whose fatty acid levels were among the lowest 20% of participants were compared to those whose levels were among the top 20%, individuals whose DHA intake was highest had a 22% lower risk of excessive sleep. Being among those who had the highest intake of EPA plus DHA and DPA was associated with a 24% lower risk. The authors noted that DHA’s role in regulating melatonin production helps regulate sleep.

     The article is “one of the largest papers published on links between sleep and dietary fats and opens up new lines of inquiry to benefit public health,” according to Wendelyn Jones of the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

    “Suboptimal sleep is a major public health problem,” remarked lead author Rachel A. Murphy of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. “This study provides new insight into factors that may help support healthy sleep. EPA and DHA intake can be easily modified through diet, although continued study of mechanisms underlying these fatty acids and sleep are needed.”

     

    —D Dye

     

    Vitamin D supplementation could help critically ill patients

    September 12 2022. Findings from a review and meta-analysis reported on September 6, 2022, in Critical Care suggest that providing critically ill patients with vitamin D supplements may improve some clinical outcomes, including survival.

    “Upon ICU admission, the majority of patients have significantly reduced 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, which remain significantly reduced over the entire ICU length of stay,” Johannes Menger and colleagues wrote. “In these patients, significantly reduced vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) serum levels are frequent and independently associated with higher incidence and severity of sepsis.”

    The researchers identified 16 trials that evaluated the association between vitamin D supplementation and mortality among critically ill individuals. Twelve studies reported intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, 9 reported 28-day mortality and 9 reported duration of mechanical ventilation. Study participants received vitamin D by mouth, feeding tube, intramuscular injection (IM) or intravenously (IV).  

    Vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 22% lower risk of overall mortality in comparison with a placebo or standard care. Among studies that reported 28-day mortality, vitamin D supplementation was associated with a trend toward a lower risk. Receiving vitamin D by injection or intravenously had the strongest effect. Patients who received vitamin D spent an average of 3.13 days less in the ICU and 5 fewer days on a ventilator than those who received a placebo.

    “To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of completed randomized clinical trials reporting evidence that vitamin D administration in critically ill patients may significantly affect multiple major clinical outcomes with lower overall mortality, shorter ICU length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation, particularly when vitamin D was administered via the IV/IM route,” the authors announced.

    “The results of this systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that vitamin D supplementation may be associated with reduced overall mortality in critically ill patients,” they concluded.

     

    —D Dye

     

    Coffee may protect against thirty conditions

    September 9 2022. The September 2022 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a large study that found a lower risk of 30 medical conditions in people who reported high coffee consumption compared to low intake.

    The investigation included 395,539 men and women enrolled in the UK Biobank, a prospective study conducted in the United Kingdom from 2006 to 2010. Participants reported the amount and type of coffee habitually consumed upon enrollment. Less than a cup of coffee per day was categorized as low coffee intake, 1 to 3 cups as moderate and 4 or more cups as high. UK Biobank inpatient hospital data provided information concerning participants’ medical diagnoses during a median 11.8 years of follow-up.

    The research team analyzed the relationship between coffee drinking and 496 medical conditions. They found a lower risk of 30 conditions in association with a high intake of coffee. Coffee’s protective effects were greater among women than men.

    Four major disease clusters were less prevalent in association with high coffee intake. Men and women who consumed a high amount of coffee had a lower risk of cardiometabolic and gastrointestinal conditions. Among men, coffee drinking was associated with a lower risk of alcohol-related disorders and in women, with a reduction in estrogen-related conditions.

    “Our findings support the notion that the potential health benefits of habitual coffee consumption may be mainly attributable to coffee’s impact on the cardiometabolic and gastrointestinal systems,” the authors wrote. “Given that multiple coffee components (e.g., caffeine) have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative effects, it is biologically plausible that coffee intake might modulate the risks of diseases in these systems.”

    “Our finding of weaker associations for high-level intake of decaffeinated coffee, compared with high-level intake of regular coffee, also suggests the importance of caffeine,” they noted.

     

    —D Dye

     

    Vitamin D deficiency associated with worse survival among melanoma patients during 6.7-year median

    September 7 2022. Findings from a study presented September 7, 2022, at the 31st European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress revealed more than double the risk of lower overall survival among melanoma patients who were deficient in vitamin D in comparison with patients who were not considered to be deficient during a median follow-up period of 6.7 years.

    “Although previous research has identified that normal levels of vitamin D play a protective role in melanoma survival, this study aimed to further understand this relationship,” noted first author Inés Gracia-Darder of Hospital University Son Espases in Mallorca, Spain. “These findings suggest that vitamin D has a significant impact on people with melanoma, showing in particular that vitamin D deficient patients have a lower overall survival.”

    The retrospective study included 264 men and women with invasive melanoma who had information available concerning serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels following diagnosis. Study subjects who had deficient levels, categorized as less than 10 ng/mL, had a risk of overall mortality that was 2.45 times greater than those whhose vitamin D levels were categorized as normal or insufficient at 10 ng/mL or more.

    “Our study suggested that vitamin D deficiency could play a role in melanoma overall survival but not for melanoma specific survival,” the authors of the report concluded. “We observed that lower vitamin D levels are independently associated with worse overall survival in melanoma patients in concordance with previous studies from other populations.”

    “Although the mechanisms underlying the association between vitamin D and melanoma overall survival still require further investigation, this study will hopefully encourage further research examining whether vitamin D supplements may have the ability to improve the prognosis for vitamin D deficient melanoma patients and increase their overall survival,” Dr Gracia-Darder stated.

     

    —D Dye

     

    Lower potassium intake linked to premature mortality risk

    September 2 2022. A study reported on August 26, 2022, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a higher risk of dying during a median 5.8 to 7.8-year follow-up period in association with a lower intake of potassium. The risk was similar between individuals with normal or impaired kidney function.

    “In healthy adults, higher dietary potassium intake is recommended given that potassium-rich foods are major sources of micronutrients, antioxidants, and fiber,” Yoko Narasaki of the University of California, Irvine and colleagues explained. “Yet among patients with advanced kidney dysfunction, guidelines recommend dietary potassium restriction given concerns about hyperkalemia [elevated blood potassium—ed.] leading to malignant arrhythmias and mortality.”

    The investigation included 37,893 continuous participants in the National Health and Nutrition Education Survey (NHANES, 1999–2014) whose potassium intake was calculated from 24-hour dietary recall interviews. Mortality data was collected through the end of 2014.

    Among subjects with impaired kidney function, those whose potassium intake was among the lowest one-third had a risk of dying during a median 5.8-year follow-up period that was 18% greater than those among the top third. For participants with normal kidney function, mortality risk for those among the lowest third was 17% higher during a median 7.8 years of follow-up.

    High intake of potassium primarily from plant sources was associated with lower mortality during follow-up in comparison with a low intake of the mineral from animal-dominant sources. In the group with impaired kidney function, a 24% greater risk of mortality during follow-up occurred among those who consumed a low amount of potassium paired with a high amount of protein compared to high potassium/high protein.

    “Lower dietary potassium scaled to energy intake was associated with higher mortality, irrespective of kidney function,” the authors concluded. “Further studies are needed to elucidate pathways linking potassium intake and co-existing dietary factors with survival in populations with and without chronic kidney disease.”

     

    —D Dye

     

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