Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine October 2009

In The News

Prostate Cancer and Pomegranate Juice

Prostate Cancer and Pomegranate Juice

A study that began in 2003 is starting to yield important information when it comes to treating men who have undergone standard treatment for prostate cancer. The findings of the study were recently presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association.1

The presentation described the trial that included 48 men 60+ years old who underwent radiation therapy or surgery to treat localized prostate cancer. After treatment, the men in the study all had escalating prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Men who fail initial prostate cancer treatment show a progressive PSA elevation.

A six-year follow-up of the men who drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice a day revealed that those who continued drinking the juice had lower PSA levels than those who quit drinking the juice and were no longer in the trial.2

—Jon Finkel

Reference

1. www.auanet.org
2. J Urol. 2009:181(Suppl); 4..

Excess Sugar May Shorten Life Span

Excess Sugar May Shorten Life Span

In a recent study published by the journal PLoS Genetics, scientists from the Université de Montreal discovered that when glucose was reduced in a yeast cell’s diet, their life span increased.*

Biochemistry Professor Luis Rokeach and his student Antoine Rouch used yeast cells in the study because their aging process is similar to those of human cells. As part of the study, they confirmed that after removing the gene of a glucose sensor from yeast cells, the life span was the same as for those on a glucose-restricted diet.

The removal of the glucose sensor’s gene showed that cells without the ability to consume glucose as an energy source are still receptive to the aging characteristics of glucose.

Professor Rokeach says “Thanks to this study, the link between the rise in age-related diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today’s diet is clearer. Our research opens a door to new therapeutic strategies for fighting age-related diseases.”

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* PLoS Genet. 2009:5(3):e1000408.

New Model of Cancer Development Proposed

In a recent Annals of Epidemiology, Cedric Garland and his associates at the University of California propose that cancer, rather than commencing with genetic mutations, is initially caused by a reduction in the ability of cells to stick together.* Research has shown that inadequate vitamin D can result in a loss of stickiness between cells as well as a loss of differentiation, which causes cells to revert to a stem cell-like state. Additionally, extracellular calcium ions are necessary for intercellular adherence.

Dr. Garland’s model is summarized by the acronym DINOMIT, which stands for the progressive phases of cancer development: disjunction (loss of intercellular communication), initiation (in which genetic mutations begin to be involved), natural selection of the most rapidly reproducing cancer cells, overgrowth, metastasis, and two dormant states known as involution and transition.

“The DINOMIT model provides new avenues for preventing and improving the success of cancer treatment,” Dr. Garland stated.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jul;19(7):468-83.

D is for Dieting

D is for Dieting

At the Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting, University of Minnesota assistant professor of medicine Shalamar Sibley, MD, MPH reported that men and women with higher vitamin D levels experienced a greater amount of weight loss when dieting compared to those with lower levels.*

For their study, Dr. Sibley and colleagues measured plasma vitamin D in 38 obese subjects prior to and following an 11-week diet plan that provided 750 calories less per day than the participants’ estimated needs. The researchers observed a linear relationship between baseline vitamin D levels and weight loss, with close to an additional half pound of weight loss associated with each 1 nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) increase in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

“Plasma vitamin D predicts subsequent weight loss, suggesting a potential role for vitamin D in promotion of weight loss, perhaps through effects on adipose metabolism,” the authors conclude in their abstract concerning the findings.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, OR14-5: Plasma Vitamin D: A Predictor of Subsequent Weight Loss Success, June 11, 2009.

Aging “No Longer an Unsolved Problem”

Aging “No Longer an Unsolved Problem”

In a symposium at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 19th World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, four biologists discussed their understanding of the reasons for the aging process.*

The speakers included Leonard Hayflick, PhD, Robin Holliday, PhD, Steven Austad, PhD, and Thomas Kirkwood, PhD. The scientists, working independently, have written books on the aging process that were published during the 1990s. Each came to the conclusion that “aging is no longer an unsolved problem.”

It is now known that the body’s repair and maintenance systems are the primary determinants of longevity. In one of several papers published on the subject, Dr. Hayflick described his understanding of aging in 2007 in a volume of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Hayflick and other scientists stress the importance of disseminating this information to a wide audience to help advance future research.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* NY Acad Sci. 2007 Apr.

Reduced Vitamin E Levels Linked with Poorer Quality of Life in Older Individuals

Reduced Vitamin E Levels Linked with Poorer Quality of Life in Older Individuals

A communication published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that reduced levels of vitamin E predicted poor quality of life and increased inflammation in older men and women.*

Researchers at the University Victor Segalen Bordeaux in France evaluated 23 men and 46 women who participated in the Three-City Study of aged individuals residing in Bordeaux, Dijon, and Montpellier, France. Better physical health was associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, and both improved physical and mental health were associated with higher vitamin E and tryptophan levels. Lower concentrations of vitamin E were correlated with higher levels of interleukin-6, and lower tryptophan levels with higher CRP concentrations.

“The present findings document a clear association between vitamin E levels and inflammatory pathways in the elderly and suggest that their interaction may influence quality of life,” the authors conclude.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Br J Nutr. 2009 Jun 1.

Review Affirms Multiple Benefits for Resveratrol

A review published in a recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research summarizes the health-promoting effects of resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in red grapes, wine, and other plant foods.*

“The breadth of benefits is remarkable—cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more,” stated lead researcher Dr. Lindsay Brown. “It sounds contradictory that a single compound can benefit the heart by preventing damage to cells, yet prevent cancer by causing cell death. The most likely explanation for this, still to be rigorously proved in many organs, is that low concentrations activate survival mechanisms of cells while high concentrations turn on the built-in death signals in these cells.”

“It is a cliché that ‘nature is a treasure trove of compounds,’ but studies with resveratrol show that this is correct!” Dr. Brown enthused.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Jun 10.

Prostate Cancer could be Delayed by Green Tea

Prostate Cancer could be Delayed by Green Tea

Green tea may stall the progression of prostate cancer due to its active compounds, according to a study done by the Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.*

The study used green tea extract in capsule form containing the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known to have antioxidant properties.

The research team, headed by Jim Cardelli, tested 26 prostate cancer patients, varying in ages from 41 to 68. Each patient took 4 capsules of the green tea extract a day (equivalent to 12 cups of green tea) for a month before they had their prostates removed.

The researchers found that the polyphenols in the extract lowered levels of proteins that tumors use to grow.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res. 2009 Jul;2(7):673-82.