The Life Extension Foundation has been a pioneer in uncovering novel approaches to prevent and treat the diseases of aging…often years ahead of conventional medicine.
The following is a brief chronology of what the Life Extension Foundation has published over the past 28 years:
In the 1980s
In 1980, the Foundation recommended that healthy people consume high doses of antioxidant nutrients to maintain their health. Since then, hundreds of studies have been published in prestigious journals documenting the role of antioxidants in protecting against disease. Interestingly, some studies show that modest doses of antioxidants are relatively ineffective, whereas the more potent antioxidant plant extracts that Life Extension introduced have demonstrated profound results in human clinical studies in both the prevention and reversal of common age-related disorders.
In 1981, The Foundation recommended the hormone DHEA as a way of slowing aging. There are now hundreds of published papers substantiating the anti-aging properties of DHEA, including helping to maintain youthful immune function, neurological competence, skin appearance, and a greater sense of well-being. DHEA is currently one of the most popular anti-aging supplements sold in the United States.
In 1981, The Foundation recommended B-complex vitamins to lower homocysteine blood levels. Homocysteine is now recognized as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Foundation members have been keeping their homocysteine levels low by taking folic acid, Vitamin B12, trimethylglycine (TMG), and vitamin B6.
In 1983, the Foundation recommended the use of low-dose aspirin on a daily basis to prevent vascular disease. The majority of cardiologists in the United States now prescribe low-dose aspirin to protect against a heart attack in cardiac patients.
In 1983, the Foundation warned its members against the intake of supplemental iron because of studies showing that excessive iron causes cancer. In 1988, The New England Journal of Medicinepublished an article showing that men with high levels of iron had a 40% increase in their overall risk of cancer.
In 1983, the Foundation was the first organization in the world to recommend the Japanese cardiac drug coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an anti-aging nutrient. The use of high-dose CoQ10 in the United States is enabling people with congestive heart failure to resume normal lives because this nutrient significantly boosts cardiac energy output. High-dose CoQ10 also has been shown to significantly slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease—something that drugs cannot yet do. A breakthrough in the field of anti-aging medicine occurred in 2006 with the publication of a study showing that CoQ10 (ubiquinol) slowed aging in middle-aged, senescent-accelerated mice by 40%. This ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is what most Life Extension members now supplement with.
In 1985, the Foundation published an article suggesting that the progression of AIDS could be slowed by vitamin supplementation. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided Life Extension’s premises in 1987 because the agency at that time did not believe that nutrition had anything to do with HIV progression. In the April 1995 issue of FDA Consumer, the FDA recommended vitamin supplements to slow the progression of AIDS—and a federal judge eventually forced the FDA to return everything it seized from Life Extension in 1987. Since 1985, hundreds of published studies have shown that the proper nutrient supplementation can dramatically slow the progression of the immune system decline that leads to AIDS.
In 1985, The Foundation introduced a carotenoid called lycopene as a dietary supplement for the purpose of preventing some forms of cancer. Lycopene is now accepted as one of the components of plants that has cancer-prevention properties.
In 1985, the Foundation recommended the drug cimetidine (Tagamet®) as an adjuvant cancer therapy. Since then, published studies reveal that this drug (most commonly associated with heartburn relief) can reduce the recurrence of certain cancers by as much as 79%.
In 1986, The Foundation recommended low doses of a European drug called deprenyl as a potential anti-aging therapy. The FDA eventually approved of deprenyl in higher doses to treat Parkinson’s disease, but has yet to recognize the anti-aging effects that low doses of this drug produce in healthy people.
In 1986, The Foundation recommended the drug ribavirin to treat lethal viral infections. It took twelve years for the FDA to approve ribavirin as a treatment for hepatitis C. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died because the FDA denied Americans access to this broad-spectrum anti-viral medication.
In 1988, The Foundation introduced phosphatidylserine to improve memory and slow brain aging. At a scientific conference on anti-aging medicine held in December 1997, phosphatidylserine was the hottest topic of discussion by speakers who were lecturing to 1,500 physicians about how to slow the aging process.
In 1991, The Foundation sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because the FDA failed to approve THA to treat Alzheimer’s disease. While the lawsuit was dismissed on technical grounds, it forced the FDA to finally approve THA seven years after it was shown in a New England Journal of Medicine report to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
In the 1990s
In 1992, The Life Extension Foundation introduced melatonin to the American public based on overwhelming evidence that this natural hormone is an effective anti-aging therapy. After several books were published extolling melatonin’s multiple benefits, every health food store in the United States began selling it in 1995.
In 1994, The Foundation warned that the commonly prescribed estrogen and synthetic progestin drugs could increase breast and ovarian cancer risk. Findings published years later confirmed these dangers. The natural hormone-balancing approaches long recommended by Life Extension have been shown to decrease common female cancers.
In 1996, The Life Extension Foundation published the first book that integrated hormone replacement, high-dose nutrient supplementation, prescription drugs, and conventional medical treatments for the purpose of preventing and treating 110 diseases that were not being effectively treated by conventional medicine alone.
In 1996, the Foundation revealed the crucial importance of monitoring blood levels of fibrinogen, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke that is woefully ignored by the mainstream medical community. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that high levels of fibrinogen are indeed a heart attack and stroke risk factor, just like high cholesterol levels.
In 1996, The Foundation founded the first mail-order blood screening service that offered state-of-the-art tests for age-related diseases directly to the public.
In 1997, The Foundation published a new theory on why cells malfunction as they age (decline in DNA methylation), and introduced several therapies that could help aging cells to rejuvenate. These therapies, which have been documented by hundreds of studies, are currently being prescribed for the treatment of depression, liver disease, and atherosclerosis.
In 1997, The Foundation recommended that certain patients temporarily take a combination of statin and COX-2 inhibiting drugs to inhibit cancer cell growth. Since then, several studies have confirmed the anti-cancer effects of these drugs that are not commonly associated with cancer therapy.
In 1997, The Foundation warned about the dangers of taking only the “alpha tocopherol” form of vitamin E. Since then, a number of published studies confirmed that aging people would benefit by also taking the “gamma tocopherol” form of vitamin E that Life Extension has long advocated.
In 1997, The Foundation introduced a European discovery called s-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) that safely alleviated depression, arthritis, and certain liver disorders.
In 1998, The Foundation introduced to the United States a natural herbal supplement called urtica dioca that has been used for more than ten years in Europe to relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy.
In 1998, the FDA approved the anti-viral drug ribavirin for use in hepatitis C patients. The Foundation fought the FDA for 12 years to force them to approve this lifesaving medication.
In 1998, The Foundation warned how excess estrogen levels in aging men may be a causative factor in the development of prostate cancer and provided easy and safe methods to mitigate these effects.
In 1998, The Foundation introduced Americans to a Japanese drug called methylcobalamin, a form of vitamin B12 that was particularly effective in protecting the brain against damaging excito-toxicity, and also reversing the course of certain neurological disorders.
In 1999, The Foundation showed how vitamin C may prevent nitroglycerin drug intolerance in patients with coronary artery disease.
In 1999, The Foundation showed how certain FDA-approved estrogen drugs may not protect against heart disease. A few years later, these very drugs were shown to increase cardiovascular disease in women.
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