Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine February 2011

In The News

Cardiac Fat Oxidation Aided by Olive Oil Compounds

Cardiac Fat Oxidation Aided by Olive Oil Compounds

A team of researchers from Sao Paulo State University, Brazil, recently published a study in Nutrition Journal that tested the effectiveness of olive oil and its minor constituents as important dietary therapeutic interventions in preventive medicine in regards to obesity-induced cardiac metabolic changes.*

The study involved two groups of rats receiving hypercaloric-chow. Halfway through the study, each group was divided into subgroups, with one group receiving standard food and saline, another group receiving standard food and olive oil, a third group receiving standard food and oleuropein, a fourth group receiving standard food and cafeic acid, and several more groups involving rats receiving some combination of hypercaloric food, olive oil, oleuropein, and cafeic acid.

The results were conclusive, as the study demonstrated for the first time that olive-oil, oleuropein, and cafeic-acid enhanced fat-oxidation and optimized cardiac energy metabolism in obesity conditions. Olive oil and its phenolic compounds improved myocardial oxidative stress in standard-fed conditions.

—J. Finkel

Reference

* Nutr J. 2010 Oct 19;9:46.

Curcumin Could Prevent Liver Damage

Curcumin Could Prevent Liver Damage

A new study performed at Saint Louis University suggests that curcumin may have some promise in preventing or treating liver damage from an advanced form of a condition known as fatty liver disease.* Curcumin is contained in the plant turmeric, which has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years and is the chemical that gives curry its spicy nature.

The research specifically points to curcumin’s use as a potential weapon in the battle against a type of fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is commonly linked to obesity and weight gain.

“While research in an animal model and human clinical trials are needed, our study suggests that curcumin may be an effective therapy to treat and prevent liver fibrosis, which is associated with NASH,” said Anping Chen, PhD, director of research in the pathology department of Saint Louis University.

—J. Finkel

Reference

* http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/10/101029152755.htm. Accessed November 15, 2010.

Cinnamon Extracts Could Help Reduce Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk Factors

Cinnamon Extracts Could Help Reduce Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk Factors

According to new studies led by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Richard Anderson, a water-soluble extract of cinnamon could help reduce risk factors long associated with diabetes and heart disease.* Cinnamon extract has antioxidant compounds, which may be what is responsible for this data.

The study involved twenty-two obese participants with impaired glucose values, or “prediabetes.” Prediabetes occurs when cells show resistance to the higher-than-normal levels of insulin produced by the pancreas. The members of the study were divided into two random groups and either given a placebo or 250 milligrams of dried, water-soluble cinnamon extract twice daily with their diets. The results were measured through blood samples that were collected at the beginning of the study, after six weeks, and after 12 weeks. The study showed that water-soluble cinnamon extract improved several antioxidant variables by as much as 13% to 23%. These numbers led to decreases in fasting glucose.

—J. Finkel

Reference

* J Am Coll Nutr. 2009;28:16-21.

Fish Oils May Help Fight Diabetes

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry points to the use of fish oils as a weapon in the fight against diabetes.* Specifically, fish oils activate the transcription factor PPAR-gamma, which increases the regulation of adipocytes and helps to maintain glucose homeostasis.

The mice in the study that were fed the diabetes drug rosiglitazone, brand name Avandia®, had a significantly lower feed intake but showed no major effect on body weight or fat pad weight. The mice fed fish oil did not significantly decrease feed intake, but they did show significantly decreased body and fat pad weight.

These results suggest that there was increased glucose utilization and, therefore, a reduced blood glucose concentration in the transgenic mice. Also, the plasma adiponectin was elevated by fish oil treatment, suggesting a role of adiponectin in mediating the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) effect. These results suggest that PUFA may serve as a natural regulator of glucose uptake in vivo and these effects are mainly through PPAR-gamma function.

—J. Finkel

Reference

* J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Oct 20.

DHA Improves Stroke Recovery

Cinnamon Extracts Could Help Reduce Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk Factors

An article in Translational Stroke Research reports a neuroprotective effect for DHA given after ischemic stroke.*

Dr. Nicolas Bazan and his associates induced stroke in rats by occluding the middle cerebral artery. In a preliminary experiment, the animals received DHA intravenously following cerebral artery occlusion. A second experiment involved the administration of DHA post-stroke and the assessment of brain damage by MRI. In a third experiment, rats were given DHA or saline after stroke onset, after which their brains were examined for NPD1, a substance for which DHA is a precursor that has cell-protective effects.

The first experiment found a reduction in neurologic deficits in rats that received DHA compared with controls, even when DHA was administered 5 hours after the onset of stroke. In the study involving MRI, DHA treatment was associated with smaller infarcts. The third experiment revealed increased NPD1 synthesis in the DHA treated group.

Editor’s note: The findings identify a possible treatment for strokes and quantify the time limit of DHA’s effectiveness.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Trans Stroke Res. 2010 Nov 4.