Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine July 2009

In The News

Green Tea Helps Prevent Periodontal Disease

Green Tea Helps Prevent Periodontal Disease

Daily intake of green tea helps reduce the risk of periodontal (gum) disease, according to a study conducted in middle-aged Japanese men.*

Participants were 940 men aged 49 to 59 years. The men underwent periodontal examinations to determine gum probing depth, attachment loss, and bleeding, and they completed questionnaires about toothbrushing habits and green tea intake. Higher intake of green tea reduced the risk of periodontal disease, such that each increase of one cup per day was associated with a significant decrease in gum probing depth, attachment loss, and bleeding, regardless of smoking status or frequency of toothbrushing.

Previous research indicates that green tea catechins inhibit periodontal bacterial growth and/or exert an antioxidant effect that inhibits inflammation, although more study is needed.

—­Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* J Periodontol. 2009 Mar;80(3):372-7.

CoQ10 Improves Endothelial Function in Statin-Treated Diabetics

CoQ10 Improves Endothelial Function in Statin-Treated Diabetics

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) improves endothelial function in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a new report.1 Coenzyme Q10 is an essential mitochondrial co-factor and natural antioxidant; its synthesis in the body is blocked by the statin drugs widely prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels.

Australian researchers wondered if administering supplemental CoQ10 to type 2 diabetic patients would improve indications of endothelial dysfunction.1 Characterized by inflammation of the blood vessel linings, endothelial dysfunction is believed to underlie atherosclerosis, which is the foundation of cardiovascular disease.

Twenty-three statin-treated diabetic subjects randomly received either 200 mg CoQ10 per day, or placebo, for three months. Analysis of arterial dilation and markers of oxidative stress revealed that patients receiving CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement in endothelial function, compared with the placebo subjects.1

These findings support previous reports that CoQ10 reduces oxidative stress and improves endothelial function.2,3

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

1. Diabetes Care. 2009 Feb 19.
2. Biofactors. 2008;32(1-4):129-33.
3. Eur Heart J. 2007 Sep;28(18):2249-55.

Lutein May Improve Vision

Lutein May Improve Vision

Lutein supplementation for 12 weeks improves vision in a group of people with chronic exposure to computer-display light.* Lutein is a carotenoid found in high concentrations in the eye’s macula (a region of the retina involved in detailed vision).

Thirty-seven healthy men and women aged 22 to 30 years were recruited. Each had used computers for an average of more than 10 hours per day over the past two years. Subjects were randomly assigned to take lutein 6 mg/day, lutein 12 mg/day, or placebo for 12 weeks. At study completion, a small improvement was found in visual acuity in the 12-mg lutein group, although the findings were not statistically meaningful. Contrast sensitivity, however, improved in both the 6-mg and especially the 12-mg lutein group, and many of these measurements were significant.

Previous research has proposed a promising role for lutein in age-related macular degeneration. Dietary or supplemental lutein intake is critical because the body cannot synthesize carotenoids.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Br J Nutr. 2009 Feb 19.

Smoking Increases Risk of Pancreatitis

Scientists have long known that alcohol intake increases the risk of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas characterized by severe abdominal pain. Now, new research suggests that smoking is also an independent risk factor for pancreatitis.*

Researchers in Denmark examined data from nearly 20,000 men and women. Two-hundred thirty-five participants developed pancreatitis during the follow-up period, which averaged 20 years. The researchers found that approximately 46% of these cases of pancreatitis were attributable to smoking.

“We found that smoking was associated with a higher risk of pancreatitis, and that this increase in risk was comparable in size with what we previously found for alcohol, meaning that smoking is actually as harmful for the pancreas as alcohol,” lead research Dr. Janne Tolstrup of the University of Southern Denmark told Life Extension®. “Also, we observed that the risk among former smokers was increased, indicating that it may take several years before the risk among former smokers is back to normal.”

The researchers are unsure of the exact biological mechanism that links smoking and pancreatitis, but they note that animal studies have demonstrated that smoking interferes with pancreatic function.

—Marc Ellman, MD

Reference

* Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 23;169(6):603-9.

Broccoli Sprouts Fight Ulcer Bacteria

Broccoli Sprouts Fight Ulcer Bacteria

A recent issue of Cancer Prevention Research published the results of a trial conducted by scientists at the Tokyo University of Science that determined sulforaphane, a compound that occurs in high amounts in broccoli and its sprouts, helps suppress Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for stomach ulcers and many cases of stomach cancer.*

Akinori Yanaka, MD, PhD, and colleagues divided 48 men and women infected with H. pylori to receive broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts for two months. Helicobacter pylori infection levels were assessed upon enrollment and at the conclusion of the treatment period. While all measures of infection were the same at eight weeks among participants who consumed alfalfa sprouts, they were significantly reduced among those who received broccoli sprouts.

“The highlight of the study is that we identified a food that, if eaten regularly, might potentially have an effect on the cause of a lot of gastric problems and perhaps even ultimately help prevent stomach cancer,” co-author Jed Fahey MS, ScD, concluded.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res. 2009 Apr;2(4):353-60.

Inadequate Heart Disease Prevention in Europe in Spite of Medication Use

Despite the ever-escalating use of antihypertensive and lipid-lowering drugs, high blood pressure and abnormally high blood lipid levels remain alarmingly common among heart disease patients in Europe, according to a study published in the influential journal, Lancet.*

British researchers extracted data from three international EUROASPIRE surveys; consecutive studies of cardiovascular disease risk factors and prevention measures among heart disease patients in nine European countries. Among more than 2,300 subjects, the frequency of obesity increased from 25% to 38% since the first EUROASPIRE study, conducted in the mid-1990s. The incidence of elevated blood pressure remained about the same throughout the surveys, but the incidence of elevated blood cholesterol levels was slashed by more than half between EUROASPIRE I and EUROASPIRE III. Nevertheless, high cholesterol remains a concern for about half of cardiovascular patients surveyed. Meanwhile, the frequency of type 2 diabetes increased from 17.4% to 28%.

The investigators noted a need for better control of risk factors. “To salvage the acutely [diseased heart] without addressing the underlying causes of the disease is futile; we need to invest in prevention.”

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Lancet. 2009 Mar 14;373(9667):929-40.

B Vitamins Beneficial in Celiac Disease

B Vitamins Beneficial in Celiac Disease

Vitamin B supplementation reduces blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid implicated in cardiovascular disease, among patients with celiac disease.* Celiac disease is a digestive disorder characterized by an abnormal immune response to gluten (a protein found in wheat) and poor absorption of nutrients. Malabsorption of B vitamins due to celiac disease often results in elevated homocysteine.

The study included 25 adults with celiac disease who took daily B-vitamin supplements, 26 adults with celiac disease not taking vitamins, and 50 healthy controls who were not taking vitamins. Blood samples were drawn to measure vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine. Patients with celiac disease who took vitamins had significantly higher B-vitamin levels and significantly lower homocysteine levels compared with the other two groups.

The authors concluded that “regular use of B-vitamin supplements is effective in reduction of homocysteine levels in patients with celiac disease and should be considered in disease management.”

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Feb 28;15(8):955-60.