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.




Study findings suggest inflammation resolution may be behind omega-3’s antidepressant effect

January 29 2023. Results from a study that evaluated the effects of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) among people with depression suggest that the benefit associated with omega-3 may be due to greater reduction of inflammation resulting from increased synthesis of pro-resolving lipid mediators by some individuals. The findings were reported on January 12, 2023, in Neuropsychopharmacology.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial demonstrating a differential response to EPA supplementation in patients with major depressive disorder, with overall greater ability to synthesize EPA- and DHA-derived lipid mediators in responders than non-responders,” authors Stefania Lamon-Fava and colleagues announced.

The study included 45 men and women with major depressive disorder, among whom 35 received 1, 2 or 4 grams EPA and 10 received matching placebo capsules. Depression scores and plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids, pro-resolving mediators (which are formed from omega-3 fatty acids and mediate the resolution phase of inflammation) and markers of inflammation were assessed before and after the 12-week treatment period.

The number of participants who had at least a 50% reduction in depression scores at the end of the study was greater among those who received the highest dose EPA compared with the placebo. Responders in the high dose group had greater increases in the pro-resolving mediators 18-HEPE and 13-HDHA than nonresponders. The increase in 18-HEPE was associated with significant reductions in plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) and depression scores.

“The inverse association of 18-HEPE with both systemic inflammation and symptoms of depression highlights the activation of the resolution of inflammation as a likely mechanism in the treatment of major depressive disorder with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation,” the authors concluded.


—D Dye


Lithium linked with longevity

January 27 2023. On January 11, 2023, the journal Aging published the finding of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of an association between lithium use and longer life.

“Nutritionally ingested lithium, as present in plant-derived foods and drinking water, is readily bioavailable and evenly disseminated in every tissue, but its distribution in food and water is variable and region-dependent,” authors Elisa Araldi, Catherine R. Jutzeler and Michael Ristow wrote. “Using geographic differences in lithium concentration as a natural experiment, studies in independent populations worldwide have demonstrated a positive correlation between trace amounts of lithium in drinking water and longevity.”

Lithium is prescribed in high doses for the treatment of bipolar and related disorders.

The study included men and women enrolled in the UK Biobank. Data supplied by the UK’s National Health Services provided information concerning lithium prescriptions. Two hundred seventy-six subjects who were treated with lithium for at least three months were each matched for sex, age at recruitment, mood disturbance diagnoses and other factors with two users of other antipsychotic drugs. They were followed for 11.9 years, during which 3,646 deaths occurred.

UK Biobank participants diagnosed with mood disorders had shorter lifespans than those not diagnosed with the disorders. When compared with users of other antipsychotic drugs, lithium users’ risk of mortality at a given age during follow-up was 72.6% lower (or 3.641 times less) than that of the comparison group.

“This study is the first to evaluate the effects of lithium on lifespan in a large aging observational cohort,” the authors announced.

They cautioned that “While these results may further support the use of lithium as a geroprotective supplement, it should be noted that doses applied within the UK Biobank/NHS setting require close supervision by qualified medical professionals.”


—D Dye


Meta-analysis affirms benefit for vitamin E in NAFLD

January 25 2023. Findings from a meta-analysis reported on December 21, 2022, in Cureus revealed a reduction in liver enzymes which, when elevated, are indicative of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), among men, women and children who received vitamin E supplements.

“Vitamin E is considered a cytoprotective factor,” Jithin Karedath, MD, and coauthors wrote. “It helps to prevent the liver's degenerative and inflammatory processes during exposure to various dietary factors, environmental pollutants, and xenobiotics.”

The meta-analysis included nine clinical trials that compared the effects of vitamin E to a placebo among a total of 569 NAFLD patients. Trial outcomes included changes in the liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), body mass index, total cholesterol and liver fibrosis (scarring) scores.

The meta-analysis determined that the reduction in liver enzymes from pretrial levels was significantly lower following supplementation with vitamin E compared with a placebo. Body mass index (BMI) was significantly reduced among supplemented participants compared with the placebo group participants. (Obesity is a risk factor for the development of NAFLD.)

No significant differences in total cholesterol were found between participants treated with vitamin E and those who received a placebo. There were also no significant differences between the treatment and placebo groups’ fibrosis scores at the end of the trials. However, of the nine trials included in the meta-analysis, only three evaluated fibrosis, resulting in a small sample size for evaluation.  

Vitamin E’s well-known antioxidant property may be protective in NAFLD, which is a progressive condition. “Even though data related to the pathogenesis of NAFLD is rare, oxidative stress can be a major factor in the progression and evolution of NAFLD among patients,” the authors noted.

“The current meta-analysis may help to review the guidelines of NAFLD by providing high evidence levels,” they concluded.


—D Dye



Vitamin D improves prostate symptoms

January 23 2023. On January 4, 2023, an article in The World Journal of Men’s Health reported a study that found improvement in postvoid residual volume (urine retained in the bladder following urination, caused by prostate enlargement) and International Prostate Symptom Scores among men who received vitamin D.

The study included 29 men of an average age of 63.19 years who received injections of 25,000 IU vitamin D every two weeks for three months and a control group that consisted of 28 age-matched men who did not receive the vitamin. Both groups had deficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of less than 20 ng/mL at the beginning of the study. At the end of the three-month period, participants who received vitamin D were switched to an orally administered 25,000 IU vitamin D tablet every two weeks for nine months. Prostate volume, urine flow, postvoid residual urine volume, and testosterone and other blood values were assessed, and International Prostate Symptom Score and Aging Males’ Symptoms Scale questionnaires were completed at the beginning and end of the study.

At the end of one year, vitamin D levels were more than doubled among men who received vitamin D. While prostate volume measurements were similar between the groups at the beginning of the study, they increased in the control group while remaining relatively unchanged among men who received vitamin D.

International Prostate Symptom Scores and the psychological subscale of the Aging Males’ Symptoms Scale also improved among men who received vitamin D. According to authors Jeong Kyun Yeo and colleagues, “The study suggests that vitamin D supplementation may help with the psychological problems accompanying the hypogonadal symptoms in men over 40 years of age.”

They concluded that “Vitamin D supplementation suppressed the increase in the prostate volume and improved the lower urinary tract scores.”  


—D Dye



Greater EPA, DHA, DPA levels linked with lower risk of chronic kidney disease

January 20 2023. A study published on January 18, 2023, in The BMJ revealed that having higher levels of the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which are derived from fish or algae, is associated with a lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The current investigation included 19 studies and a total of 25,570 men and women who did not have CKD upon enrollment. Omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), EPA, DHA and DPA were measured in plasma phospholipids, red blood cell phospholipids, total plasma, total serum, cholesterol esters, or several lipid compartments. Participants were followed for a median period of 11.3 years, during which 4,944 developed CKD.

When the studies’ participants were pooled, the researchers determined that men and women whose total EPA, DHA and DPA level was among the top 20% had a 13% lower risk of developing CKD (defined as having an estimated glomerular filtration rate that decreased to less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) than those whose levels were among the lowest fifth. A slower decline in kidney function was also observed among those in the top 20%. No association was found between levels of the plant-derived omega-3 ALA and the development of CKD.

“Although our findings do not prove a causal relation between seafood omega-3 PUFAs and CKD risk, they are supportive and consistent with current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate intake of seafood as part of healthy dietary patterns, especially when seafood replaces the intake of less healthy foods,” authors Kwok Leung Ong of the University of New South Wales and colleagues wrote. “Further randomised controlled trials are warranted to assess the potential beneficial role of seafood omega-3 PUFAs in preventing and managing CKD.”


—D Dye



Study helps explain varying responses to vitamin D

January 18 2023. A study reported January 17, 2023, in JAMA Network Open revealed an association between higher body mass index and diminished response to vitamin D.

“This study sheds light on why we’re seeing 30-40 percent reductions in cancer deaths, autoimmune diseases, and other outcomes with vitamin D supplementation among those with lower BMIs but minimal benefit in those with higher BMIs, suggesting it may be possible to achieve benefits across the population with more personalized dosing of vitamin D,” senior author JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, explained. “These nuances make it clear that there’s more to the vitamin D story.”

Researchers evaluated data from 16,515 participants in the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), conducted between August 2021 and November 2018. VITAL evaluated the effect of supplementation with fish oil and/or 2,000 IU vitamin D on the health outcomes of 25,871 men and women. Blood samples collected at the beginning of the study were analyzed for total 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, bioavailable D and vitamin D binding protein. After 2 years of follow-up, blood from 2,742 participants was collected and reanalyzed. “The fact that we were able to look at this expanded profile of vitamin D metabolites and novel biomarkers gave us unique insights into vitamin D availability and activity, and whether vitamin D metabolism might be disrupted in some people but not in others,” Dr Manson remarked.

Among participants who received the vitamin, vitamin D biomarkers increased compared with a placebo after 2 years; however, increases were less in participants with a higher body mass index. “We observed striking differences after two years, indicating a blunted response to vitamin D supplementation with higher BMI,” first author Deirdre K. Tobias, ScD stated. “This may have implications clinically and potentially explain some of the observed differences in the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation by obesity status.”


—D Dye



American Cancer Society reports increase in prostate cancer

January 16 2023. The January/February 2023 issue of the American Cancer Society journal CA: A cancer Journal for Clinicians published “Cancer statistics, 2023,” which revealed that, despite a decrease in overall cancer mortality, a 3% yearly increase in prostate cancer diagnoses occurred in the U.S. from 2014 through 2019 after a two-decade decline. A significant portion of the increase was due to diagnoses at advanced stages of the disease. Beginning in 2011, diagnoses of distant-stage (cancer that has spread and/or metastasized) prostate cancer have increased by 4.5% each year.

Between 2007–2014, prostate cancer diagnoses decreased by 40%. This reduction has been attributed to declines in prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing that resulted from recommendations against screening by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for men aged 75 years and older in 2008, and for all men in 2012. Failure to identify localized cases of prostate cancer likely led to the development of more advanced cancers that would not have occurred if the disease had been detected in its early stages.  

“We must address these shifts in prostate cancer, especially in the Black community, since the incidence of prostate cancer in Black men is 70% higher than in White men and prostate cancer mortality rates in Black men are approximately two to four times higher than those in every other racial and ethnic group.” American Cancer Society chief scientific officer William Dahut remarked.

“The increasing percentage of men presenting with advanced prostate cancer, which is much more difficult to treat and often incurable, is highly discouraging,” American Cancer Society CEO Karen E. Knudsen stated. “In order to end cancer as we know it, for everyone, it is imperative for us to focus on cancers where trends for incidence and mortality are going in the wrong direction.”


—D Dye



Healthy eating linked with lower risk of premature mortality

January 13 2023. A study reported in the February 2023 issue of the AMA journal JAMA Internal Medicine provided more evidence in support of healthy eating patterns.

The investigation included 44,085 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 75,230 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Dietary questionnaire responses were scored for adherence to the Healthy Eating Index 2015, Alternative Mediterranean Diet, Healthful Plant-based Diet Index and Alternate Healthy Eating Index.

There were 22,900 deaths among the Health Professionals Follow-up Study participants during 34 years of follow-up and 31,263 deaths among the Nurses’ Health Study participants during 36 years of follow-up. When men and women whose dietary adherence scores were among the top 20% of subjects were compared to those whose scores were among the lowest 20%, adherence to the Healthy Eating Index 2015, the Alternative Mediterranean Diet, the Healthful Plant-based Diet Index and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index was associated with respective 19%, 18%, 14% and 20% lower risks of mortality during the follow-up periods.

People who had greatest adherence to the Healthy Eating Index 2015, Alternative Mediterranean Diet, Healthful Plant-based Diet Index and Alternate Healthy Eating Index had respective 13%, 6%, 6% and 12% lower risks of cardiovascular disease mortality and 18%, 7%, 10% and 14% lower risks of cancer mortality during follow-up compared with individuals whose adherence was among the lowest 20%. The associations were similar among different races and ethnicities.

“Our findings support the recommendations of the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans to achieve long-term health benefits by adherence to various healthy eating patterns that can be adopted based on individuals’ health needs, food preferences, and cultural traditions, although all these diet patterns encourage high consumption of healthy plant-based foods,” authors Zhilei Shan, MD, PhD, and colleagues concluded.


—D Dye


Fewer melanoma cases among people who use vitamin D supplements

January 11 2023. A study reported on December 28, 2022, in Melanoma Research revealed a lower risk of melanoma or any skin cancer among people who reported regular use of vitamin D supplements.

The investigation included 253 men and 245 women between the ages of 21 to 79 years who were at risk of skin cancer. The group was examined according to non-use, occasional use or regular use of oral vitamin D supplements.

Among men and women who had normal immune responses, 18.1% of those who were regular vitamin D supplement users had past or present melanomas, compared to 32.3% of those who did not supplement with the vitamin. Regular vitamin D users had a 62.1% risk of any type of skin cancer compared with 74.7% of nonusers. Similar risks were found among the study’s 96 immunosuppressed individuals.

What’s Hot readers may recall an article published September 7, 2022, that reported a lower risk of overall survival among vitamin D-deficient melanoma patients in comparison with those who were not deficient in the vitamin. Other research findings have suggested a protective effect for vitamin D against melanoma tumor aggressiveness. “These earlier studies back our new findings from the North Savo region here in Finland,” Professor of Dermatology and Allergology Ilkka Harvima, MD, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland remarked. “However, the question about the optimal dose of oral vitamin D in order to for it to have beneficial effects remains to be answered. Until we know more, national intake recommendations should be followed.”

The North Savo region of Finland has a high rate of melanoma mortality relative to melanoma incidence. “For this reason, too, it is worth paying attention to sufficient intake of vitamin D in the population in this region,” Dr Harvima added.


—D Dye


Diabetics should pay attention to vitamin C

January 9 2023. Research reported September 21, 2022, in Nutrients suggests that low intake and serum levels of vitamin C may be particularly risky for adults with diabetes.

The study analyzed data from 25,206 men and 26,944 women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2018. Four hundred twenty-eight individuals had type 1 diabetes and 6,807 had type 2 diabetes. At the beginning of the study, 38% of the people had an intake of vitamin C that was below the estimated average requirement (EAR), which worsened to 46.5% by 2017-2018.

Individuals whose intake of vitamin C was lower than the EAR had a 20% higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared with an intake above the EAR, and those who did not use vitamin C supplements had a 28% greater risk than vitamin C supplement users. Low and deficient serum vitamin C levels were associated with fewer years of life in comparison with normal vitamin levels. Compared with an adequate intake of vitamin C, the risk of mortality through 2019 among type 2 diabetics was 25% greater for those with a very low intake of the vitamin. Deficient serum levels of the vitamin were associated with an 84% greater mortality risk compared with adequate levels. Not supplementing with vitamin C was associated with a 25% greater mortality risk among people with type 1 diabetes, a 20% greater risk among those with type 2 diabetes and a 24% greater risk among nondiabetics compared with supplementation.

“Observation of declining vitamin C intake and deleterious consequences of low serum vitamin C in US adults with diabetes suggests encouragement of vitamin C intake, including vitamin C supplementation of 500–1000 mg/day, may be beneficial for pre-diabetic and diabetic US adults,” the authors concluded.


—D Dye


Improved prostate cancer survival found among men who used zinc supplements

January 6 2023. A study reported in the March 2023 issue of the Journal of Urology found a lower risk of mortality from prostate cancer or any cause among men who supplemented with zinc.

“Biological and experimental evidence support restoration of normal zinc levels in malignant prostate cells as a promising prostate cancer treatment, yet the influence of zinc after diagnosis on prostate cancer survival in a human population is unknown,” Yiwen Zhang of Harvard University and colleagues noted. “Few studies have investigated post-diagnosis zinc supplementation and prostate cancer survival in a human population.”

The investigation included 5,788 men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer who enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study between 1986 and 2019. Fifteen percent of the men reporting using zinc supplements after their diagnosis. During an 11-year median follow-up, 3,198 deaths occurred, among which 527 deaths were caused by prostate cancer.

Men who reported using zinc supplements after being diagnosed with prostate cancer had an 18% lower risk of dying from the disease and a significant 16% lower risk of dying from any cause in comparison with men who did not use zinc. The protective effect was greatest among men who used low dose zinc supplements compared to high dose supplements. Among men who used low dose zinc, there was a 45% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 23% lower risk of dying from all causes compared to nonusers.

“Post-diagnostic low-dose zinc supplement use among nonmetastatic prostate cancer patients was associated with lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality,” the authors concluded. “A potential benefit of low-dose post-diagnostic zinc supplement for prostate cancer survival merits further study.”


—D Dye


Fish oil improves body composition, strength, performance in older individuals

January 4 2023. The December 2022 issue of Age and Ageing published a secondary analysis of findings from a randomized, double-blind trial that found improvements in body composition, muscle strength and physical performance among older men and women who consumed a supplement containing fish oil compared to a placebo.

The six-month trial included 187 men and women aged 60 and older. Ninety participants received 4 grams fish oil per day that provided 1.34 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.07 grams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) while the remainder received placebo capsules. Waist, hip and thigh circumferences; height, weight, blood pressure, body composition (total skeletal muscle mass, appendicular skeletal muscle mass, body fat mass and fat free mass), muscle strength, physical performance and blood chemistry values were measured before and after the treatment period.

Compared to the placebo group, thigh circumference increased among those who received fish oil, while waist and hip circumferences remained relatively the same. Total skeletal muscle mass, appendicular skeletal muscle mass, muscle strength (as evaluated by hand grip strength measurement) and physical performance (which was demonstrated by the ability to rise from a chair and walk) also improved among fish oil-supplemented participants compared with the placebo group.

The supplemented group additionally experienced a decrease in serum triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol.

“Despite the critical role of resistance training and supplementation of anabolic agent (e.g., testosterone and GH) in the management of skeletal muscle mass and function, nutritional supplements might be a preferred method to prevent the declines in muscle mass, strength and physical performance,” Dengfeng Xu and colleagues at Southeast University in China suggested.

“Our present trial demonstrated that a 6-month fish oil-derived omega-3 PUFA supplementation could beneficially affect the body composition, muscle strength, physical performance and serum lipid profiles in older people,” they concluded.


—D Dye


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