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 suggests screening young women and teen girls for iron deficiency

June 30 2023. A research letter published June 27, 2023, in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported evidence that the prevalence of iron deficiency and anemia in teen girls and young women is high enough to warrant screening this group for these conditions.

Blood loss during menstruation can impact women's iron levels. Health screenings for females in this age group currently do not include testing for ferritin to evaluate the body's iron reserves.

"Although screening for anemia by measurement of hemoglobin level is recommended, there is benefit in identifying and treating iron deficiency in those without anemia because supplementation improves exercise performance and reduces fatigue, and iron deficiency is associated with increased all-cause mortality," Angela C. Weyand, MD, and colleagues wrote.

The study included 3,490 girls and women aged 12–21 who were enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2010 and 2015–March 2020 cycles. Iron deficiency was defined as a ferritin level of less than 25 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) and iron-deficiency anemia as ferritin of less than 25 mcg/L and hemoglobin of less than 12 milligrams per deciliter.

Iron deficiency was revealed in 38.6% of the group and 6.3% had iron-deficiency anemia. While menstruation was a risk factor for both conditions, over 25% of the girls who were not yet menstruating were deficient in iron.

"Iron deficiency is an under-recognized problem with adverse impacts, but its symptoms and even those of anemia are normalized in young females," said Dr Weyand, who is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Why are we not screening for a condition that is highly prevalent, easily diagnosed, easily treated and associated with serious symptoms and increased risk of death if not addressed?"


—D Dye


High carotene levels associated with lower amount of atherosclerotic plaque

June 28 2023. The July 2023 issue of Clinical Nutritionpublishedthe finding of a relationship between higher plasma levels of carotene and less atherosclerotic plaque.

Atherosclerosis, a buildup of arterial plaque that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, develops in people who have cardiovascular disease. Alpha- and beta-carotenes are antioxidant compounds that occur in yellow, orange and green fruits and vegetables, including apricots, bell peppers, broccoli, cantaloupes, carrots, lettuce, mangoes, papayas, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, an essential nutrient.

The study included 204 men and women who participated in the Carotid Atherosclerosis in Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic Individuals study. Dietary questionnaire responses provided data concerning the participants' adherence to a Mediterranean diet and fruit and vegetable intake. Blood samples were analyzed for total carotenes, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lipoproteins and other factors. Ultrasound imaging was used to evaluate carotid artery plaque.

One hundred thirty-four participants had atherosclerosis. Individuals in this group had significantly lower adjusted levels of plasma total carotene and large HDL particles than those who did not have atherosclerosis. Among women, an increase in beta-carotene and total carotene levels was associated with a decrease in plaque burden, defined as the sum of maximum heights of all plaques.

Men and women who had greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet or higher fruit and vegetable intake had higher plasma levels of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and total carotenes.

"The study concludes that the greater the concentration of carotenes in the blood, the lesser the atherosclerotic burden, particularly in women," lead researcher Gemma Chiva-Blanch of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya commented. "So, we can confirm that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and thus in carotenes lowers the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases."


—D Dye


Green coffee bean extract supplementation associated with healthier weight, BMI, waist circumference

June 26 2023. An umbrella review published June 21, 2023, in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition concluded that supplementing with an extract of green coffee beans is associated with reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in normal, overweight or obese adults, or among those with metabolic syndrome.

The umbrella review included five meta-analyses of controlled clinical trials that included a total of 53 studies and 2,117 participants. Four of the meta-analyses examined the effects of green coffee extract on weight, three evaluated BMI and four examined waist circumference. Green coffee extract dosage ranged from 193 milligrams (mg) to 1247 mg per day.

The review found significant reductions in weight in participants who received green coffee extract in comparison with the control group participants. Participants who were given 600 mg green coffee extract per day or less or received green coffee extract for more than seven weeks experienced greater weight-reducing effects compared to other subgroups. Green coffee extract was also associated with a significant reduction in BMI. Again, more than seven weeks duration of treatment was associated with greater effects. Waist circumference significantly decreased in association with green coffee extract, particularly when used for more than eight weeks.

"The elevated chlorogenic acid content which is present in green coffee can be responsible for its properties as natural antioxidant," Zhao Yang, PhD, of Beijing University of Chemical Technology and colleagues explained. "Chlorogenic acid's effect on obesity is linked to the suppression of hepatic triglyceride accumulation."

"The present umbrella meta-analysis confirms that green coffee extract administration reduces WC, BMI, and BW," they concluded. "Therefore, based on our findings, green coffee extract can be used as a complementary therapy in the management of obesity."


—D Dye


People who consume curry live longer

June 23 2023. An article published June 12, 2023, in GeroScience, the Official Journal of the American Aging Association reported the finding of longer life among consumers of curry, a combination of spices including turmeric, which contains curcumin. Curcumin has been associated with health benefits in a multitude of studies.

The current investigation included 4,551 men and women aged 55 years and older who were members of two combined Singapore Longitudinal Aging Studies (SLAS-1 and SLAS-2). Curry intake was categorized as "never or rarely" at less than once per year, "occasionally" at greater than once per year but less than once per month, "often" at greater than once per month and less than once per week, "very often" at greater than once per week but not daily and "daily" at once daily or more.

During 12 years of follow-up, 831 deaths occurred. Mortality from any cause during follow-up was highest among people who never or rarely consumed curry and lowest among those whose intake was categorized as often (which was an adjusted 46% lower). Daily use was 38% lower than the risk experienced by those who never or rarely consumed curry. Among those with cardio-metabolic and vascular disease, curry consumption lowered the risk of all-cause mortality by 39% compared with never or rare intake. Occasional to daily consumption of curry was associated with an increase in life expectancy of one year among individuals with cardio-metabolic diseases and by 1.9 years among those without the diseases.

"Moderate curry consumption may confer meaningful longevity benefits," authors Tze Pin Ng of the National University of Singapore and colleagues concluded. They noted that decreased measurements of systemic and immune inflammation were associated with increasing curry consumption, which suggests protective support of a healthy inflammatory response in association with curcumin intake. 


—D Dye


Greater omega-3 levels associated with slower decline in ALS patients

June 21 2023. A study reported in the June 21, 2023 issue of the American Academy of Neurology journal Neurology revealed adecrease in the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) among patients who had the highest plasma levels of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant foods, in comparison with those whose levels were lowest. The study also uncovered a lower risk of mortality during 18 months of follow-up among patients who had higher ALA levels as well as those who had greater levels of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which occurs in fish oil, or the omega-6 linoleic acid (LA).

The current study included 449 participants in the EMPOWER trial, which evaluated the effects of the drug dexpramipexole in ALS patients. Blood samples obtained at enrollment were analyzed for plasma fatty acid levels. Patient function was evaluated at the beginning of the study and at 12 months. Deaths occurred in 126 men and women by the end of the follow-up period.

Decline in function was less among patients whose ALA levels were highest. In comparison with those whose levels of the fatty acids ALA, EPA and LA were among the lowest 25% of participants, the top 25% had respective 45%, 55% and 46% lower risks of dying during follow-up.

"The link our study found between diet and ALS is intriguing and suggests, but does not prove, that people with ALS may benefit from incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids into their diet," commented first author Kjetil Bjornevik, MD, PhD, of Harvard. "It will now be important to conduct additional research looking specifically at the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid in people with ALS to further explore this possibility."


—D Dye


Meta-analysis findings affirm reductions in body weight, BMI with green tea supplementation

June 19 2023. A meta-analysis published June 10, 2023, in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition adds evidence to the benefit of supplementation with green tea to support healthy weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in overweight women.

"Green tea, made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, contains catechin, caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, glycoproteins, fibers, lipids, vitamins C, B, and E, and carotenoids," Yiyi Zhang and associates noted. "Green tea has piqued interest with its beneficial effects on weight loss and reducing diabetic and cardiovascular risks. Several studies have suggested that green tea assists with weight loss in overweight and obese women."

Zhang and colleagues analyzed 15 articles that reported the effects of green tea capsules, tablets, extract capsules or drink in women who were overweight or obese. Articles included 16 controlled trial arms that evaluated the effects of green tea on body weight, 17 on BMI and 7 on waist circumference.

Supplementation with green tea was associated with significant reductions in weight, BMI and waist circumference compared to the control groups. Subgroup analyses determined that at least 1,000 milligrams per day green tea or consuming green tea for eight weeks or more were significantly associated with decreased BMI. Green tea was also significantly associated with lower BMI in overweight compared to obese participants and was associated with a greater reduction in women with polycystic ovary disease than in healthy women. Waist circumference was significantly lowered among women who consumed green tea in trials that lasted less than 8 weeks and among healthy women.

"In clinical practice, health professionals can recommend using green tea combined with a balanced and healthy diet and regular physical exercise to improve anthropometric parameters and obtain weight reduction in obese/overweight women," the authors concluded.


—D Dye


Multivitamin-mineral study demonstrates need for supplementation

June 16 2023. Findings from a trial reported June 9, 2023, in Nutrients suggest that older men need more than the nutritional content provided by their diets to maintain healthy levels of important nutrients.

The study included 35 healthy men aged 68 and older who received a multivitamin/multimineral supplement or a placebo for six months. With the exception of those who had been prescribed vitamin D to treat deficiency, the men did not use nutritional supplements for two months prior to the study period. Questionnaires completed during the study provided information concerning food intake, including vitamins and minerals. Lipids, metabolic markers, hemoglobin A1C, ferritin (an indicator of iron status), vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E and K, folate, the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene; calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, and oxygen consumption by a type of white blood cell known as monocytes, which is an indicator of cell function, were measured at the beginning and end of the study.

At the end of the study, test results from participants who received the multivitamin/multimineral indicated significant improvement in several nutritional biomarkers. "Our tests showed that many of these older men were not obtaining the optimal levels of several vitamins when the study started," reported lead researcher Tory M.  Hagen. "So there certainly was room for improvement."

"Several of the participants assigned to the placebo group had blood nutrition biomarkers fall during the study," he observed. "It suggests that food alone was not enough to keep their vitamin and carotenoid levels up."

"We were amazed to find that the men who took the placebo showed reduction in cellular oxygen consumption," he added. "This was not observed in men who took the multivitamin, suggesting a connection between vitamin status and white blood cell function that we are eager to explore further."


—D Dye


AMA journal reports improvement in adults with major depressive disorder treated with probiotics

June 14 2023. A trial reported in the August 2023 issue of JAMA Psychiatry found improvement among men and women with major depressive disorder (MDD) who consumed a probiotic supplement (Protexin) containing 14 strains of beneficial bacteria.

"The gut-brain axis is a truly fascinating and rapidly evolving area of microbiome research, first author Viktoriya L. Nikolova, PhD, stated. "The findings of this pilot study are an important step forward in our understanding of the role of probiotics in mood and mental health."

Forty-nine participants with MDD who had been using an antidepressant for six weeks or more with incomplete response were randomized to receive four capsules of the probiotic formula or a matching placebo for eight weeks. The probiotic supplement contained 2 × 109 colony-forming units per capsule of a formula that contained Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactococcus lactis, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Depression and anxiety symptoms were scored at the beginning of the trial and at 4 and 8 weeks.

Participants who received Protexin had greater improvements in depressive and anxiety symptoms at 8 weeks in comparison with the placebo group. No serious adverse events were reported during the trial.

"Non- or partial response to antidepressants is a huge problem and this study is an important first step in exploring the therapeutic potential of probiotics as a treatment for depression," senior investigator James Stone, PhD, remarked. "We found that probiotics were an acceptable and tolerable supplement in people already taking antidepressant medications. This now paves the way for studies looking at whether we see these beneficial effects of probiotics on depression and anxiety in larger populations of patients."


—D Dye


Vitamin D deficiency linked with premature mortality in large study of older adults

June 12 2023. A study reported May 18, 2023, in Frontiers in Nutrition adds evidence to the association between deficient vitamin D levels and a greater risk of premature mortality.

The investigation included 11,119 participants in the 2007-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) who were between the ages of 50 to 79 years. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 12 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or less were classified as severely deficient, 12.01 ng/mL to 20 ng/mL as moderately deficient, 20.1 ng/mL to 30.0 ng/mL as insufficient, 30.1 ng/mL to 40 ng/mL as sufficient and over 40 ng/mL as very sufficient. One-fifth of the subjects had deficient levels of 20 ng/mL or less.

During a median follow-up period of 97 months, there were 1,585 deaths. Deficient vitamin D levels were associated with a 67% greater risk of dying during follow-up from all causes in comparison with sufficiency. No association was found between vitamin D insufficiency and mortality risk. When causes of death were examined, participants who were deficient in vitamin D had over three times the risk of dying from pneumonia than those who had sufficient levels.

"In addition to ultraviolet B availability and dietary vitamin D supply, multiple factors can contribute to vitamin D statuses, such as working environment, outdoor physical activity, personal skin pigmentation, sun-screen usage, and other sun protective behaviors," Ting-Yi Wang of Sin-Lau Hospital in Taiwan and colleagues wrote. "Additionally, various vitamin D supplements with different proportions of intestinal absorption and bioavailability may also lead to differences in vitamin D levels."

"While vitamin D deficiency, but not vitamin D insufficiency, is associated with an increased risk of all-cause and pneumonia-related mortality, future research is needed to explore the potential causal relationship and underlying mechanisms," they concluded.


—D Dye


Is taurine the Fountain of Youth?

June 09 2023. Research reported June 9, 2023, in Science suggests "taurine deficiency as a driver of aging."

Taurine, an amino acid that is one of the most abundant in humans, is found in meat and made in the body; however, its production declines during aging. By measuring serum taurine levels in mice, monkeys and humans, Parminder Singh, PhD, and colleagues found an 85% reduction in the amino acid in 15-year-old monkeys in comparison with 5-year-olds and an 80% decrease in older compared with younger humans. Mice also showed a decline in taurine levels with aging and those that lacked the major taurine transporter in the body had shorter adult life spans than normal mice. Normal mice that were given taurine experienced an increase in median life span of 10–12% and an increase in life expectancy at 28 months of age of 18–25% compared to animals that did not receive taurine.

Supplementation with taurine was shown to reduce cellular senescence, protect against telomerase deficiency, suppress mitochondrial dysfunction, and decrease DNA damage. Giving middle-aged monkeys taurine resulted in improvement in bone, immunologic and metabolic health.

An analysis of 11,966 men and women found an association between lower taurine and taurine compounds in the body and a greater incidence of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation and type 2 diabetes. Exercising resulted in higher taurine blood metabolites, leading the researchers to conclude that this increase in taurine may contribute to exercise's antiaging effects. 

"Aging is associated with systemic changes in the concentrations of molecules such as metabolites," Dr Singh and associates wrote. "However, whether such changes are merely the consequence of aging or whether these molecules are drivers of aging remains largely unexplored. If these were blood-based drivers of aging, then restoring their concentration or functions to ‘youthful' levels could serve as an antiaging intervention."


—D Dye


Meta-analysis affirms omega-3 benefits in osteoarthritis

June 07 2023. Results from a meta-analysis reported on june 24, 2023, in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research affirm what many people with osteoarthritis already know: that omega-3 fatty polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as occur in fish oil, can help relieve pain and improve function.

"With the improved understanding of the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, a variety of medications have been used in these patients, such as analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors," Wen Deng of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and colleagues wrote. "However, due to the potential adverse events associated with the long-term use of these medications and the poor efficacies of these agents in some patients with osteoarthritis, substantial patients have been seeking alternative and complementary agents for relieving the symptoms and improving the function of the affected arthritis. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been suggested to be effective for patients with osteoarthritis because of their efficacy for attenuating the systemic inflammatory response and the catabolic environment that accelerates cartilage degradation."

The meta-analysis included nine randomized, double-blind trials that evaluated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids among a total of 2,070 osteoarthritis patients. Deng and associates determined that omega-3 significantly relieved arthritis pain in comparison with a placebo. Subgroup analyses found effectiveness for omega-3 in high or low doses and in treatment of varying length. Analysis of the eight studies that reported the effects of omega-3 on joint function also found improvement. No significant differences in adverse effects were observed between participants who received omega-3 and those in the placebo groups.

The authors concluded that "Supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is effective to relieve pain and improve joint function in patients with osteoarthritis."


—D Dye


Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower mortality among Black Americans with colorectal cancer

June 05 2023. A study reported june 31, 2023, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed a lower risk of dying from any cause among low-income non-Hispanic Black Americans with colorectal cancer who had higher serum levels of vitamin D.

"Observational studies show high pre-diagnosis 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with lower mortality after colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis," Thomas P. Lawler and colleagues noted. "Results from clinical trials suggest vitamin D supplementation june improve outcomes among CRC patients."

The current investigation included Black Americans enrolled in the Southern Community Cohort Study between 2002 and 2009 who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer after enrollment. 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels measured at enrollment were classified as deficient, insufficient or sufficient.

A higher vitamin D level was associated with lower overall mortality as well as a trend toward reduced mortality from colorectal cancer through 2020. The vitamin's protective effect against overall mortality was strongest among females, current smokers and those who were obese. Men and women with sufficient levels of vitamin D had a 39% lower risk of dying during follow-up compared with deficient individuals. Higher vitamin D levels were associated with lower mortality in cases with at least three years between the time that blood was drawn and diagnosis, leading the authors to remark that vitamin D measured several years before diagnosis reflects levels during tumor formation where the vitamin june influence developing tumor characteristics.

"We observed a significant inverse association between higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and overall mortality risk in a Black American sample of colorectal cancer cases," they concluded. "Due to the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and disparate burden of cancer mortality in this population, including larger numbers of Black Americans in clinical trials to determine the causal impact of vitamin D supplements on colorectal cancer mortality is warranted."


—D Dye


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