Life Extension Magazine February 2003
A 20th Anniversary
Broccoli: a wealth of phytochemicals
Broccoli may contain more cancer-preventing nutrients than any other plant. In 1992, scientists identified a broccoli compound called sulforaphane that helps mobilize the body's natural cancer-fighting resources and reduce the risk of developing cancer.27-33
Sulforaphane has been shown to block the formation of tumors initiated by chemical carcinogens. Moreover, sulforaphane has been demonstrated to induce cancer cell death via apoptosis (natural cell death).33,34 A large amount of data shows that sulforaphane and other broccoli compounds act as cancer chemopreventive agents by favorably modifying carcinogen metabolism via modulation of both Phase I and Phase II detoxification enzyme systems.35-39 This suggests that broccoli compounds prevent cancer by activating detoxifying enzyme systems and inducing cancer cell apoptosis.
Inhibiting DNA-adduct formation reduces incidence of mammary tumors. Sulforaphane was shown in one study to inhibit chemical-induced DNA adduct formation by 68% to 80%, suggesting that this broccoli extract may function as a breast cancer preventive agent.37 On the basis of mechanisms of carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke, sulforaphane appears to be a component in the prevention of lung cancer.
Broccoli contains the highest percentage of D-glucarate of any plant studied, along with a cornucopia of carotenes and other nutrients that provide a wide range of health benefits. Life Extension Mix contains a concentrated broccoli extract that is standardized to deliver precise amounts of sulforaphane and D-glucarate in each dose.
Apigenin is a flavonoid found in parsley, artichoke, basil, celery and other plants. A large number of published studies have demonstrated the anticancer properties of apigenin. Luteolin is a flavonoid found in many of the same foods that contain apigenin. While luteolin produces effects similar to apigenin, it has its own unique beneficial properties as well.
When apigenin was tested against other flavonoids on the growth of human breast cancer cells, apigenin showed the most effective antiproliferative effects.40 Other studies show that apigenin or luteolin bind to estrogen receptor sites on cell membranes in order to prevent overproliferation of these cells.41
Apigenin and luteolin have been tested against a wide range of different types of cancer, and these flavonoids have consistently been shown to induce cancer cells to differentiate into normal cells and undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death). When measured against 27 citrus flavonoids, luteolin had the most potent antiproliferative activities against several tumor cell lines.42
Luteolin may help prevent breast cancer. Several studies show that luteolin reduces excess estrogen formation and blocks the binding of estrogens to breast cell receptor sites.43,44 Life Extension Mix has the most concentrated bioflavonoid complex ever put into a dietary supplement and includes standardized extracts of luteolin and apigenin.
Enhancing glucose metabolism
Glucose that is not absorbed by cells is eventually converted into body fat. Aging cells lose their ability to utilize insulin for the purpose of absorbing glucose.45,46 This insulin-resistance is a direct cause of Type II diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and a host of age-related diseases.
Some of the underlying mechanisms required by cell membranes for youthful glucose metabolism have been identified, and Life Extension Mix contains well-documented nutrients to help break down age-related insulin resistance.
Chromium has been shown to improve peripheral insulin sensitivity, a parameter that is unlikely to be directly influenced by biotin. Thus, the joint administration of high doses of biotin and chromium is likely to combat insulin resistance, enhance glucose uptake by both liver and skeletal muscle and inhibit excessive hepatic glucose production.52 There are 200 elemental micrograms of chromium in the daily dose of Life Extension Mix.
Protecting against mitochondrial aging
Massive free radical damage occurs in the cells' energy power plants (the mitochondria), which can overwhelm the cells' antioxidant defense systems. Mitochondrial damage due to aging is a serious health problem in elderly people, whose energy levels decline precipitously even when they remain disease-free.53 The amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine has been shown to stimulate glutathione production for the purpose of providing protection against free radicals that are continuously being generated in mitochondria.54,55
Free radical damage is both a causative and contributing factor in the development of degenerative disease. Scientists are now concentrating on specific free radicals, the different part of the cell that these free radicals attack and the types of antioxidants that are needed to provide intra- and inter-cellular protection against oxidative stress. Life Extension Mix provides antioxidants, such as 600 mg of N-acetyl-cysteine and 500 mg of taurine per daily dose, to protect against differing types of free radicals both inside and outside of cells.56
Facilitating youthful methylation
Enzymatic and genetic activity throughout the body depends on the continuous re-methylation of DNA. The age-related breakdown of youthful methylation metabolism predisposes the body to a wide range of degenerative diseases. Maintaining healthy methylation patterns protects against DNA mutations that damage cells and can cause cancer.
Vitamin B12 works synergistically with folic acid and TMG to enhance DNA methylation and reduce toxic homocysteine in the blood. Scientific studies confirm that orally administered vitamin B12 supplements are effectively absorbed by more than 99% of humans.57 Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in many enzymatic processes required to maintain good health. Elderly people can suffer from severe neurological impairment if they are deficient in vitamin B12.58
Life Extension Mix contains high doses of folic acid and three different types of vitamin B12 along with a small amount of trimethylglycine (TMG).
Keep the blood flowing
As people grow older, their blood platelets become "sticky" and develop the propensity to clot inside blood vessels. While conventional doctors accept this as a normal consequence of aging, the scientific facts are that the risks of stroke and heart attack could be reduced dramatically by adhering to a program that inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation. Life Extension Mix contains a variety of nutrients such as ginger, grape-seed and bilberry that inhibit platelet aggregation.
Dr. Linus Pauling's last great work was to show that specific components in the blood called apolipoproteins are involved in atherosclerosis and aortic valve stenosis. Dr. Pauling showed that vitamin C and lysine can protect against apolipoprotein-induced vascular disease.60 Life Extension Mix contains the amount of lysine (500 mg) found in most lysine supplements. Those with valvular stenosis or atherosclerosis may want to take additional lysine.
Magnesium deficiency is a prime culprit in the epidemic of arterial disease that plagues the Western world. Life Extension Foundation members have obtained high doses of magnesium ever since Life Extension Mix was introduced. Different forms of magnesium have shown other beneficial effects at the cellular level in addition to vascular protection.61,62 Life Extension Mix contains magnesium arginate, magnesium taurinate and magnesium glycinate to provide magnesium to different parts of the cell.
Modulating immune function
The immune system has been extensively studied over the past 20 years, and scientists have shown how specific nutrients can enhance components of immune function decimated by normal aging.
Zinc and selenium supplements, for instance, when given to elderly populations, significantly reduce the incidence of infectious disease.63 One of the most important disease-preventing nutrients is selenium. While too much selenium can be toxic, it appears that most people take too little supplemental selenium out of concern over toxicity. Life Extension Mix contains 200 elemental micrograms of three different types of selenium and 35 elemental milligrams of zinc from two different forms of zinc to ensure maximum absorption.
Age-related autoimmunity can create a state of chronic inflammation throughout the body. New studies relate subclinical chronic inflammatory disease to the development of senility, atherosclerosis, aortic valve stenosis, some cancers and a host of other known inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and colitis.64-67 Life Extension Mix contains nutrients that can be taken to safely alleviate chronic inflammatory disease at the cellular level.
Choosing a multi-nutrient formula
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding on a multinutrient formula that you may be taking for the rest of your life. A significant concern among vitamin consumers is the quality of the individual ingredients that are contained in the formula. Life Extension Mix contains only top quality nutrient and herbal extracts.
Another factor to consider is whether the potencies contained in a multinutrient formula are adequate to provide the desired health benefit. The Life Extension Foundation reviews thousands of published studies in order to determine the ideal potencies of each vitamin, mineral, amino acid and plant extract that is blended into the Life Extension Mix formula. Most commercial multi-vitamin preparations do not provide enough lutein, lycopene and other expensive nutrients to produce a statistically significant disease risk reduction effect.
In some cases, minor modifications can mean a big difference in the benefit one obtains from a multi-nutrient formula. For instance, most people readily convert vitamin B6 to an enzymatically active form the body needs called pyridoxal-5-phosphate. Some people, however, do not convert vitamin B6, so Life Extension Mix contains enough biologically available pyridoxal-5-phosphate to ensure that no one taking this formula will suffer from a vitamin B6 deficiency. The same is true with pantothenic acid. While Life Extension Mix provides a huge dose of pantothenic acid, it also provides a small amount of the more biologically active pantothene.
The most important reason one should choose a particular multinutrient formula is the state-of-the-art ingredients it provides. Thousands of published studies show that the risk of contracting cancer, stroke, ocular disorders and heart disease can be reduced by the proper intake of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and plant extracts. The difficulty for most people is that they don't know which nutrients are most important, or how much of each nutrient to take. Commercial supplement companies have fallen behind in keeping up with the breakthroughs in preventive medicine appearing in the medical literature. Life Extension Mix has been updated 15 times since its introduction in 1983 to provide the best disease-prevention nutrients known to science.
Despite the fact that costly top quality nutrients are used in Life Extension Mix, Life Extension Foundation members find that they save a considerable amount of money compared to the cost of other multinutrient formulas. Life Extension Mix provides more potency for less money than commercial formulas, while providing unique health-protecting extracts from plants.
The most recently added ingredients
The most recent ingredient added to Life Extension Mix has scientists so excited, that the National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Agriculture are spending millions of dollars to study its potential effects.
As most health conscious consumers are aware, a compelling body of evidence substantiates the ability of selenium to prevent a wide variety of diseases. Unlike most other supplements, selenium comes in a range of biological forms that perform very different functions in the body. The Life Extension Foundation recognized this fact in the early 1980s and included several forms of selenium in multi-nutrient formulas designed to reduce disease risk.
Over the past year, a new form of selenium has been identified that may be a highly effective cancer preventive. In addition, this new form of selenium has demonstrated unique properties that may someday result in it being used as an adjuvant cancer cell killing therapy.
The name of this new selenium compound is Se-methylselenocysteine. We call it SMSC for short. SMSC is the naturally occurring selenium found in plants such as broccoli, garlic and onions. Like chlorophyllin, SMSC has been shown to prevent DNA adduct formation that can lead to the development of cancer.68 When compared to other forms of selenium, SMSC prevented mammary cancer in rodents better than any other form of selenium tested.69,70 SMSC has been shown to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) to cancer cells in culture.68,71-74
What makes SMSC different from other forms of selenium is that it is not incorporated into the body's proteins. Critics of selenium supplementation have stated that the body cannot benefit from more than 55 mcg a day of selenium because that amount saturates the body's proteins. SMSC is not incorporated into any protein and is therefore completely bioavailable for chemoprevention and the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione perioxidase.75,76
This new cancer-fighting form of selenium has been added to Life Extension Mix. That means that at no additional cost, Foundation members can obtain this improved form of selenium (SMSC).
An increasing body of research indicates that vitamin D3 has potent and unique cancer preventing properties.77-79 In the past, scientists were overly cautious about supplementation with vitamin D because of potential toxicity. A recent study showed that even massive doses (as much as 10,000 IU a day) might be safe for some people. The potency of vitamin D3 has been increased to 400 IU in the daily dose of Life Extension Mix.
For the enlightenment of new members, Life Extension Mix is a multi-ingredient composition of extracts from vegetables, fruits, herbs and other food concentrates that have been documented in published scientific studies to prevent disease and slow premature aging. In addition, Life Extension Mix provides pharmaceutical potencies of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that have demonstrated significant health benefits. Most Foundation members use Life Extension Mix as the cornerstone of their overall program to attempt to live longer in optimal health.
Life Extension Mix has been designed, tested and personally used by those who insist on the strictest standards of purity for every nutrient included in the formula. Some people erroneously refer to Life Extension Mix as a multivitamin supplement, but a careful review of its ingredients shows that the formula is light-years ahead of any other nutrient formula on the market. Every ingredient in Life Extension Mix is based on scientific findings about the role that specific nutrients play in defending the body against degenerative disease.
New members are pleasantly surprised when they discover that Life Extension Mix can replace many of the individual supplements they were previously taking. The convenience of obtaining potent doses of nutrients is the prime motivation for taking Life Extension Mix. Another reason that Life Extension Mix is so popular is that it saves the serious supplement user hundreds of dollars a year compared to the cost of buying the ingredients in the formula on an individual basis.
Life Extension Mix makes it practical to follow a scientifically designed disease prevention program. The Life Extension Mix formula has been continuously improved over the past 20 years to provide protection against newly identified mechanisms that have been implicated in the development of degenerative disease.
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