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What's Hot

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




Research suggests maximum limit to human lifespan not yet approached

March 31 2023. The authors of an article published on March 29, 2023, in PLoS One concluded that the maximum number of years that humans are capable of living has not been reached.

“A key but unresolved issue in the study of human mortality at older ages is whether mortality is being compressed (which implies that we may be approaching a maximum limit to the length of life) or postponed (which would imply that we are not),” wrote authors David McCarthy, PhD, and Po-Lin Wang, PhD.

Compression of mortality has been defined as a decrease over time in the variance of age at death. This usually occurs with an increase in the average age at which mortality occurs.

Drs McCarthy and Wang analyzed population mortality data for men and women between the ages of 50 and 100 years in 19 countries for the current research. They examined how mortality rates according to age differ between groups that were born in different years.

They found that recent improvements in mortality rates for people born during a specific year are consistent with postponement of mortality in which the maximum age at death is increased, as opposed to mortality compression in which this age is fixed and more people are attaining it.

“The pattern of postponement and compression across different birth cohorts explain why longevity records have been slow to increase in recent years: we find that cohorts born between around 1900 and 1950 are experiencing historically unprecedented mortality postponement, but are still too young to break longevity records,” they explained. “As these cohorts attain advanced ages in coming decades, longevity records may therefore increase significantly.”

“If there is a maximum limit to human lifespan, we are not yet approaching it,” they concluded.


—D Dye


Blueberries may help burn fat

March 29 2023. A study reported March 9, 2023, in Nutrients found a greater ability to burn fat during exercise among men who consumed freeze-dried wild blueberries.

“Adding a natural carb source, wild blueberries, increased fat oxidation during exercise,” lead researcher Taylor Bloedon, PhD, explained. “Typically, when people want to increase fat oxidation, they drastically decrease carb intake, forcing our body to adapt to use fat, although research shows cutting carbs may lead to negative health and performance outcomes.”

The study included 11 aerobically trained men who were instructed to avoid foods that contained high amounts of beneficial plant pigments known as anthocyanins (which are abundant in blueberries) before and during the study. Blood samples were collected before, after, and every 10 minutes during an initial 40-minute control exercise protocol on a bicycle. Urine samples were also collected prior to and after the cycling period. The men subsequently completed a two-week period during which they consumed a daily amount of freeze-dried wild blueberries that provided 375 grams of anthocyanins. This was followed by another cycling session.

During the exercise session that followed the period during which blueberries were consumed, the fat burning rate increased by 19.7%, 43.2%, and 31.1% at 20, 30, and 40 minutes. A decrease in carbohydrate oxidation was also detected at these time points.

“Increasing the use of fat can help performance, particularly in endurance activities as we have more fat stores to keep us going longer than we do carb stores,” Dr Bloedon stated. “Saving stored carbs also helps when we need to increase our intensity, often towards the end of the race or training session, or when challenged by an opponent. At these higher intensities we cannot rely on fat to fuel us as fat cannot be used as a fuel source for high-intensity activities.”


—D Dye


Self-harm less likely among young people who use melatonin

March 27 2023. A study reported on March 23, 2023, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry revealed a lower risk of self-harm among children and teenagers who were prescribed melatonin— a hormone produced by the body that initiates sleep—compared with the risks experienced prior to melatonin use.

“Given the established link between sleep problems, depression, and self-harm, we wanted to explore whether medical sleep treatment is associated with a lower rate of intentional self-harm in young people,” explained lead researcher Sarah Bergen, MS, PhD, of the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet.

The study included 25,575 males and females who received prescriptions for melatonin between the ages of 6 and 18 years. At least one psychiatric disorder had been diagnosed among 22,299 participants, including substance use, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, eating disorders, intellectual disabilities, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and tic disorders. Participants were followed from one year prior to being prescribed melatonin through one year following the beginning of treatment.

The researchers estimated the risks of self-harm for each participant by comparing the risk during the last unmedicated month with the risk that occurred within a year of melatonin treatment. They found a higher risk of self-harm prior to being treated with melatonin, particularly among adolescent girls with anxiety or depression. “This suggests that melatonin might be responsible for the reduced self-harm rates, but we cannot rule out that the use of other psychiatric medications or psychotherapy may have influenced the findings,” first author Marica Leone, PhD, commented.

“There is currently a youth mental health crisis, and the risk of self-harm and suicide is high,” Dr Bergen observed. “Our findings support the hypothesis that sleep interventions may reduce self-harm in this population, especially in girls.”


—D Dye


Curcumin could boost ovarian cancer therapy

March 24 2023. A Clinical Overview published on March 21, 2023, in Pharmacy Times discusses a potential benefit for curcumin, a compound derived from turmeric, when combined with chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Standard chemotherapy for ovarian cancer involves administration of the platinum compounds cisplatin or carboplatin along with a taxane such as paclitaxel for three to six cycles. Treatment is associated with side effects that include nausea and hair loss. Late-stage patients may develop resistance to chemotherapy, resulting in poor prognosis.

“Treating ovarian cancer is challenging,” stated coauthor Maria A. Pino, PhD, MS, BSPharm, of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. “The standard chemotherapeutic drugs have many adverse effects and I know that from my experience in patient care. What I found interesting is that there are some studies showing that adding curcumin reduced these adverse drug effects.”

Dr Pino, along with coauthors Rebecca E. Mathew and Christine Philipose, observed that curcumin has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties and few undesirable effects. Studies conducted with curcumin in ovarian cancer cells and animals revealed suppression of tumor cell growth and metastasis. Early-phase clinical trials of curcumin-containing products in combination with drugs used to treat colon, liver and oral cancers have resulted in positive outcomes.

“The interest in curcumin came from the students I mentored,” Dr Pino remarked. “We went through various publications on this spice for managing inflammatory conditions and its action as an antioxidant.”

“More studies will be needed to see if curcumin can consistently enhance the standard of ovarian cancer treatment and if so, at what dose,” she added.


—D Dye


Meta-analysis affirms weight management benefit for chili pepper compound

March 22 2023. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on March 20, 2023, in the British Journal of Nutrition supported a benefit for capsaicin, a compound derived from chili peppers, in weight management.

“Capsaicin, as the most important compound of chili pepper, is the major pungent principle in various species of capsicum fruits such as hot chili peppers and has long been globally used as an ingredient of spices, preservatives and medicines,” Wensen Zhang and colleagues at Zhengzhou University in China wrote. “Animal studies showed that dietary capsaicin may reduce the prevalence of obesity by suppressing inflammatory responses and enhancing fatty acid oxidation in adipose tissue and liver.”

The meta-analysis included 15 randomized trials that involved a total of 762 overweight or obese men and women. The trials compared the effects of encapsulated capsaicin or capsaicin as a food ingredient to a placebo.

Body mass index, body weight and waist circumference were significantly reduced among participants who were given capsaicin in comparison with the placebo groups. No significant effect for capsaicin on waist to hip ratio was determined. As possible mechanisms, Zhang and colleagues cited studies that revealed an increase in energy expenditure in association with the intake of capsaicin. Other research found that chili consumption promotes fat oxidation, lowers appetite and accelerates energy metabolism.

“This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that capsaicin intake has the potential to reduce body mass index, body weight, waist circumference, but did not affect waist to hip ratio,” the authors concluded. “The results suggest that dietary capsaicin supplementation could be considered as part of the weight management program for overweight or obese individuals.”


—D Dye


Omega-3 supplementation may benefit women with PCOS

March 20 2023. Results of a meta-analysis published on March 17, 2023, in the Journal of Ovarian Research revealed numerous improvements in insulin resistance and lipids in association with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal and metabolic condition that can include ovarian cysts, menstrual irregularities, infertility and other conditions.

For the meta-analysis, Jie Zhou of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and colleagues selected 11 randomized, controlled trials that included a total of 816 women with PCOS. The trials investigated the changes in metabolic status associated with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation or withfoods that provided at least 1000 milligrams per day omega-3 for at least eight weeks.

Compared with the control participants, women who received omega-3 supplements experienced reductions in waist circumference, fasting plasma insulin, fasting glucose, insulin resistance, triglycerides, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and increases in insulin sensitivity and adiponectin, a hormone involved in the regulation of glucose levels and fatty acid metabolism.

Analysis of the results according to trial duration showed improvements in body mass index, waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance, adiponectin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and LDL cholesterol associated with omega-3 supplementation for greater than eight weeks.

“According to results of subgroup analyses based on study duration, the source and dosage of omega-3 PUFA, omega-3 PUFA with study duration greater than 8 weeks is more conducive to improve the metabolic status in insulin resistance and lipid profiles,” Dr Zhou and colleagues wrote. “Hence, we recommend PCOS patients replenish omega-3 PUFA with duration greater than 8 weeks regardless of the source and the dosage to retard the pathogenesis of PCOS related metabolic diseases.”


—D Dye


Mediterranean diet linked to lower prostate cancer risk

March 17 2023. A study reported December 23, 2022, in Cancers revealed lower levels of nutrients supplied by a Mediterranean diet among men with prostate cancer in comparison with men who were cancer-free.

A Mediterranean diet is rich in colorful fruits and vegetables that supply high amounts of carotenoids and other vitamins.

“This is the first preliminary study to evaluate the plasma concentrations of micronutrients and trace elements with respect to prostate cancer in the South Australian population,” the authors announced.

“Carotenoids may guard against certain types of cancer by limiting the abnormal growth of cells and/or by enhancing gap-junctional communication.”

The investigation included 116 men with late onset prostate cancer and 132 age-matched men who did not have cancer.  Blood samples were analyzed for plasma levels of homocysteine, retinol, the carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein; B vitamins folate and B12, vitamin E, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper and selenium.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein were all significantly lower among men who had prostate cancer compared to the control group. Among men with prostate cancer, plasma folate and vitamin B12 were nonsignificantly lower and homocysteine levels were higher. Among minerals, calcium, iron and copper were significantly higher in the prostate cancer group and selenium levels were significantly lower than levels measured in cancer-free men.

“Our recommendation is to adopt a Mediterranean diet enlisting the help of a dietician because people absorb nutrients in different ways, depending on the food, the digestive system, the person’s genotype and possibly their microbiome,” coauthor Permal Deo suggested.

“There is strong evidence that being overweight and tall increases the risk of prostate cancer,” he added. “Diets high in dairy products and low in vitamin E may also increase the risk but the evidence is less clear.”


—D Dye


Folic acid, B12 lower in men with ED

March 15 2023. The April 2023 issue of Sexual Medicine reported the finding of lower levels of B vitamins folic acid and B12, greater homocysteine levels and higher indicators of infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) among men with erectile dysfunction (ED) in comparison with healthy men.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium believed to infect about half of the world’s population and is the major cause of gastrointestinal ulcers.Because H. pylori immunoglobin G (Hp-IgG) titers have recently been found to be significantly higher in ED patients than in those without ED, the researchers involved in the current study hypothesized that infection with the bacterium could lead to malabsorption of folic acid and vitamin B12 which increases homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine promotes atherosclerosis, which is a primary cause of ED not due to psychological issues.

The study compared 84 men with ED to 42 men who did not have the condition. Blood samples were analyzed for serum levels of folic acid, vitamin B12, homocysteine, H. pylori IgG titers and other factors.

Men with ED had median Hp-IgG titers of 32.34 arbU/mL compared to a median of 20.88 arbU/mL among men without the condition. Serum folic acid levels in the ED group were less than half of those in the healthy group and vitamin B12 levels were also lower, while homocysteine levels were higher. Folic acid levels were found to be higher among men with moderate ED compared to those with severe ED, and were an independent risk factor for the condition.

H. pylori infection might lead to decreased folic acid and B12 and then increased homocysteine, which might be a mechanism leading to ED,” the authors concluded. “H. pylori eradication or folic acid and B12 supplementation might have certain clinical value in the treatment of vascular ED.”


—D Dye


Meta-analysis adds evidence to comfort-supportive property of PEA

March 13 2023. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on March 10, 2023, in the journal Nutrients affirmed the association between supplementing with palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and improvements in chronic pain, functional status and quality of life.

“Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid amide which was first isolated and described in 1957 as N-(2hydroxyethyl)-palmitamide,” Kordula Lang-Illievich of the Medical University of Graz and colleagues wrote. “PEA was initially extracted from soybean lecithin, egg yolk, and peanut meal and was reported to have anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model. It was later isolated from mammalian tissues and is an endogenous compound in the human body.”

For their review and meta-analysis, the research team selected 11 double-blind randomized controlled trials that included a total of 774 men and women with chronic pain. Conditions responsible for chronic pain included gynecologic diseases, neurologic diseases, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthritis, knee arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders. Studies evaluated the effects of oral PEA in doses of 300 to 1,200 milligrams per day administered in one or two doses. Treatment periods ranged from 10 days to 12 months.

Pooled analysis of the studies found a significant reduction in pain intensity among participants who received PEA compared to the control group participants. Several studies also revealed associations between improved pain control and functional and quality of life improvements.

The authors of the report remarked that the findings support the consideration of PEA for people with chronic pain who poorly tolerate common pain relievers because of their side effects. “Our meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials reports a pooled effect favoring PEA over placebo or active comparators in the analgesic treatment of chronic pain,” they concluded.


—D Dye


Olive oil polyphenol supplementation associated with better exercise performance

March 10 2023. A study reported in a special issue of the journal Nutrients found improvement in aspects of exercise performance among men and women who received high polyphenol olive water, a byproduct of olive oil production, compared with a placebo.

“For a long time, I’ve been interested in the exercise benefits of polyphenols, such as those derived from cherries and beetroot,” commented lead author Justin Robins, who is an Associate Professor in Health & Exercise Nutrition at Anglia Ruskin University in England. “To gain similar benefits from olives you would have to consume large quantities daily, which isn’t realistic, so we were keen to test this concentrated olive fruit water.”

The study included 29 active participants of an average age of 42 years who were given a placebo or 28 milliliters of an organic olive fruit water phytocomplex high in the antioxidant hydroxytyrosol for 16 days. Aerobic exercise tests that assessed respiratory and other parameters were conducted before and after the treatment period.

Respiratory factors at exercise onset and oxygen consumption at lower levels of exercise intensity improved among participants who received olive water. Perceived exertion and acute recovery also improved. “Ours is the first study to investigate the use of this olive fruit water in an exercise setting and we found that 16 days of supplementation could have a positive influence on aerobic exercise, most notably at submaximal levels,” Dr Roberts announced. “We found that reduced oxygen cost and improved running economy, as well as improvements in acute recovery, indicate it could potentially benefit those who are undertaking regular aerobic exercise training.”

“We are also looking to investigate whether this product can be used for marathon training and recovery, as well as test its effectiveness in suppressing inflammation associated with exercise,” he added.


—D Dye


Mediterranean, MIND diets associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer disease

March 8 2023. The March 8, 2023, issue of Neurology® published the finding of a lower risk of brain plaques and tangles among men and women who followed Mediterranean or MIND diets. These plaques and tangles are increased in the brains of people with Alzheimer disease but are also found in those with normal cognitive function.

A Mediterranean diet consists of a high amount of fruit and vegetables and emphasizes leafy green vegetables along with three or more servings of fish per week and small amounts of wine. The MIND diet, while similar, emphasizes berries and suggests at least one serving of fish weekly.

The study included 581 individuals who arranged to donate their brains to science after their deaths. Annual questionnaires provided information concerning dietary intake. The participants’ ages averaged 84 years at the beginning of the study. Thirty-nine percent were diagnosed with dementia before death and 66% showed evidence of Alzheimer disease when their brains were examined.

Individuals with high Mediterranean diet scores had amounts of plaque and neurofibrillary tangles that were characteristic of individuals who were 18 years younger than those whose scores were lowest. A high MIND diet score was equivalent to having a brain 12 years younger than people with the lowest scores. Seven or more weekly servings of leafy green vegetables was associated with a brain that was nearly 19 years younger than those who consumed one or fewer servings.

“While our research doesn’t prove that a healthy diet resulted in fewer brain deposits of amyloid plaques, also known as an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, we know there is a relationship and following the MIND and Mediterranean diets may be one way that people can improve their brain health and protect cognition as they age,” study coauthor Puja Agarwal, PhD, concluded.


—D Dye


Tomato extract yields better skin

March 6 2023. A study reported March 1, 2023, in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found improvement in signs of skin aging among older women who supplemented with an extract of tomato that contained a standardized amount of the carotenoid lycopene.

“Carotenoids scavenge photo-induced free radicals and antioxidants, thus protecting cellular target molecules such as the cell membrane,” authors Elizabeth Tarshish, PhD, and Karin Hermoni, PhD, wrote. “Free radicals cause inflammatory responses, and by scavenging these free radicals, carotenoids can suppress cellular inflammatory response. Inflammation is one of the foremost causative factors for visible signs of aging.”

The study included 50 women aged 35 to 55 years with signs of facial aging who were not currently using carotenoid supplements. Participants consumed one capsule daily of Lycomato™ tomato extract, which provides 15 mg lycopene plus the carotenoids phytoene, phytofluene and beta-carotene, as well as vitamin E. Before and after 12 weeks of supplementation, the women’s’ skin was analyzed for pigmentary discolorations, wrinkles, texture, hydration, and firmness. The skin’s natural barrier was evaluated by measurement of transepidermal water loss.

At the end of the study, the participants’ skin barrier had significantly improved in comparison with measurements obtained before supplementing with the extract. Skin tone, facial lines and wrinkles, pore size and firmness improved as reported by the participants and by expert evaluation. Lines around the eyes were significantly reduced by 14.8% after four weeks and 26% following 12 weeks of tomato extract consumption. Skin brightness and luminosity had improved by 7.9% after four weeks and by 13.5% at the study’s conclusion. Additionally, skin inflammation was reduced, and texture visibly improved in association with supplementation.

“These supplements can increase dermal defense against ultraviolet irradiation and environmental pollutants, thereby contributing to better skin health and appearance expressed as ‘beauty from within,’” the authors concluded.


—D Dye


Pine bark extract boosts hair density in women

March 3 2023. A randomized trial reported on January 6, 2023 in Health Science Reports resulted in improvements in hair density and scalp water loss among women who received Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark extract in comparison with a placebo.

“Female pattern hair loss affects females of all ages with a trend to increase after menopause,” Carr Cai and colleagues wrote. “This disorder may have significant psychological impact and lead to anxiety and depression.”

The study included 63 postmenopausal women aged 45–65 years. Thirty-three participants received 50 milligrams orally administered Pycnogenol® three times per day while the remainder were given a placebo for six months. Photographs of the scalp were evaluated to determine hair density at the beginning of the study and at two and six months. Scalp skin parameters, including peripheral microcirculation and transepidermal water loss, were also evaluated at these time points.

Average hair density was similar in both groups at the beginning of the trial, with 225.8 hairs per square centimeter (hairs/cm2) in the Pycnogenol® group and 226.6 hairs/cm2 in the placebo group. Hair density increased significantly to 293.6 hairs/cm2 at two months and 278.6 hairs/cm2 at six months among those who received Pycnogenol® while increasing nonsignificantly in the placebo group. According to Dr Cai and coauthors, “This beneficial effect was associated with a decrease in resting flux of the scalp skin, which might indicate an improvement of microcirculation.”

A significant transient decrease in transepidermal water loss also occurred among participants who received Pycnogenol® but not among those who received a placebo. Among potential mechanisms for Pycnogenol® against female pattern hair loss, the authors suggested that the compound’s antioxidant effect may play a beneficial role.

“Oral intake of Pycnogenol® might have the potential to reduce hair loss in postmenopausal women,” they concluded.


—D Dye


People who use vitamin D supplements have lower dementia risk

March 1 2023. A large study reported in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring found alower risk of developing dementia among men and women who consumed vitamin D supplements.

“Preventing dementia or even delaying its onset is vitally important given the growing numbers of people affected,” noted coauthor Byron Creese.

The study included 12,388 individuals whose age averaged 71 years when enrolling in the US National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center. Participants were free of dementia upon enrollment and had at least one follow-up visit. Medication forms completed at the beginning of the study provided information on vitamin D supplementation.

During a 10-year period, 2,696 men and women developed dementia. Women were at greater risk of developing dementia than men. Supplementing with vitamin D2, vitamin D3 or calcium with vitamin D was associated with a 40% lower risk of dementia compared with no supplementation. All three types of vitamin D were associated with a reduction in the rate of dementia incidence. Vitamin D was also associated with significantly greater 5-year dementia-free survival compared with no vitamin D.

Supplementing with the vitamin was associated with greater benefits among women compared with men, people with normal cognition at the beginning of the study compared with those who had mild cognitive impairment and among noncarriers of the APOE4 gene, which increases the risk of Alzheimer disease.

“We know that vitamin D has some effects in the brain that could have implications for reducing dementia, however so far, research has yielded conflicting results,” commented lead researcher Zahinoor Ismail, MD. “Our findings give key insights into groups who might be specifically targeted for vitamin D supplementation. Overall, we found evidence to suggest that earlier supplementation might be particularly beneficial, before the onset of cognitive decline.”


—D Dye


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