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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine December 2002

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Studies from throughout the world that can help you live longer

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December 2002 Table of Contents
  1. Coenzyme Q10, ginkgo and fibromyalgia
  2. Fertility and life span
  3. New warning label for Tamoxifen
  4. Carnosine and exercise performance
  5. DHEA and immune function
  6. Inflammation and diabetes
  7. CoQ10, vitamin E and energy metabolism
  8. Carnitine, CoQ10, taurine and heart function
  9. Passive smoking and your cat
  10. Melatonin and life span
  11. Calcium and weight loss
  12. Tea, inflammation and tumor growth
  13. Fitness and the risk of stroke
  14. Dietary supplements and ovarian cancer
  15. Black raspberries and colon cancer
  16. Green tea and muscle health

1. Coenzyme Q10, ginkgo and fibromyalgia

A study evaluated whether anecdotal claims of benefits from coenzyme Q10 and ginkgo in those with fibromyalgia could be substantiated. Participants received 200 mg of coenzyme Q10 and 200 mg of ginkgo biloba extract daily for 84 days. Their quality of life was evaluated by well-validated questionnaires that measured seven different subjective responses, after 4, 8 and 12 weeks. The quality of life scores showed progressive improvement during the study period and at its completion. There was a significant difference of scores from the start to the end. In the self-rating criteria, 64% claimed to be better, compared to 9% feeling worse. Any adverse effects were noted as being minor. Thus, coenzyme Q10, and ginkgo biloba improved the quality of life of those with fibromyalgia.

JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL RESEARCH, 2002, Vol 30, Iss 2, pp 195-199


2. Fertility and life span

A study found a link between longevity and the time of life a woman gives birth. The relationship between fertility and postmenopausal longevity was investigated in 1,635 women who lived past the age of 50. The study found that if a woman gives birth later in life, her life expectancy increases slightly. Life extension was linked to late births. Mothers who are 50 years old have a 38% decrease in mortality and an increase in remaining life of 3.93 years for every 10-fold decrease in the age of their youngest child. This amount of gain in remaining life expectancy would apply to a mother at age 50 with a two-year-old child as compared with a mother with a 20-year-old. The study also found evidence for the existence of vulnerable periods in human life tied to reproduction and aging that are characterized by phases of greater mortality. Thus, it was shown that giving birth later in life enhances female longevity.

JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES A-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND MEDICAL SCIENCES, 2002, Vol 57, Iss 5, pp B202-B206


3. New warning label for Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex), a common drug used to treat and prevent breast cancer has been linked to uterine cancer, blood clots and the risk of stroke. The FDA now requires a warning to this effect on the product label. The drug had also been linked to endometrial cancer, but now there is a risk of a rare and even more aggressive, usually malignant type of uterine cancer called sarcoma. The new FDA-required label states, however, that the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh its risks in women who already have breast cancer. The potential risk should thus be carefully considered on an individual basis for women seeking to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) June 2002


4. Carnosine and exercise performance

Carnosine may play a role in improving and increasing exercise performance. A study examined 11 healthy men during high-intensity exercise for concentration of carnosine in their skeletal muscle. Performance was measured when sprinting 30 seconds at a time on an exercise cycle. Carnosine was able to significantly buffer the acid-base balance in the skeletal muscles, which becomes unbalanced by the overproduction of hydrogen ions occurring in association with the build-up of lactic acid during high-intensity exercise. A significant association was demonstrated between the carnosine concentration and the composition of fast twitch type muscle fibers. The levels of carnosine were significantly related to the average expendable muscle power during the 30 seconds of sprinting, especially in the final 10 seconds. Thus, boosting carnosine levels could contribute to the improvement of high-intensity exercise performance.

Jpn J Physiol 2002 Apr;52(2):199-205


5. DHEA and immune function

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) can improve the function of an immune system that is suppressed due to shock from excessive bleeding. A study looked at immune cells affected by the loss of blood, such as lymphocytes (CD4(+), CD8(+), natural killer cells (NK), and macrophages in the blood of mice. Blood loss was associated with a rapid increase in NK cells. Twenty-four hours after resuscitation, there was an increase in the death of macrophages, as well as an increased CD4/CD8 ratio, and a decreased number of circulating CD8 immune cells. Mice then received 20 mg/kg of DHEA or placebo (saline). DHEA was found to normalize the process of cell death, as well as improve the circulation of the immune system cells. Thus, DHEA was shown to be effective in improving the functioning of the immune system after excessive bleeding.

Intensive Care Med 2002 Jul;28(7):963-8


6. Inflammation and diabetes

Research has suggested that inflammation may affect susceptibility to and predict the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study examined whether the markers of inflammation precede and predict development of diabetes. Diabetes can result when insulin is not correctly utilized by the body. This can lead to excessively high blood sugar levels that can increase the risk of blindness and kidney disease. One theory is that food causes the body's inflammatory response. Obese people may have a continuing problem with inflammation. The body may respond to this inflammation by blocking the proper function of insulin, which in turn leads to the development of diabetes. It is thought that certain prescription drugs that lower blood sugar can reduce certain inflammatory markers by 20% to 40% after six weeks, and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes. In the study, they found a 70% higher risk of developing diabetes with those who had the highest level of one marker, sialic acid. A total of four inflammatory markers (including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) were associated with an approximately 2 to 3-fold higher risk of developing diabetes. The inflammatory response may help explain why obesity can lead to diabetes.

Lancet 1999 May 15;353(9165):1649-52

Note: Mild chronic inflammation has already been linked to Alzheimer's disease, several forms of cancer, as well as heart attacks and strokes. Apparently, it is also a risk for type 2 diabetes. Fish oil is probably the strongest supplement we can take to lower inflammation, but we must also moderate our intake of omega-6 oils (most vegetable oils, beef), which can increase inflammation.


7. CoQ10, vitamin E and energy metabolism

Antioxidants, CoQ10 and vitamin E have a potential positive effect on lowered energy metabolism. An inherited disease, such as Friedreich's ataxia, caused by a gene mutation, may affect heart and muscle tissue metabolism. This gene mutation has been shown to reduce the activity of a certain mitochondrial protein. A deficit of this protein is associated with the buildup of iron in the mitochondria, increased sensitivity to free radicals, a deficit in activities related to respiration, and the impairment of energy metabolism in the heart and skeletal muscle. Recent pilot studies, demonstrating the positive effects of supplementation with CoQ10 and vitamin E on reduced energy metabolism, encourage the use of larger trials to confirm the results.

Free Radic Res 2002 Apr;36(4):461-6


8. Carnitine, CoQ10, taurine and heart function

Carnitine, CoQ10 and taurine may improve the functioning of the heart in congestive heart failure. A study determined whether supplementation would result in higher nutrient levels in the heart, and thus improve the function of the pumping action of the left chamber. Carnitine, CoQ10 and taurine are substances known to influence mitochondrial function and cell calcium. In the study, 41 participants had prior coronary bypass surgery, where the risk of death has been shown to be related to the volume of blood in the left chamber of the heart after contraction. After supplementation, the levels of CoQ10, taurine and carnitine in the blood were significantly higher than in the placebo group (138.17 vs. 56.67, 13.12 vs. 7.91, and 1735.4 vs. 1237.6, respectively). In the placebo group the diastolic volume in the left chamber of the heart rose by 10 ml. However, for those who took the nutritional supplement there was a drop of -7.5 ml of blood. Thus, diet supplementation with CoQ10, taurine and carnitine replenishes essential heart nutrients, improves functioning in those with heart dysfunction, and might improve the results of bypass surgery.

Am Heart J 2002 Jun;143(6):1092-100


9. Passive smoking and your cat

Passive smoking has been found to affect cats as much as it does humans. Passive smoke from a household of smokers raises the risk of your cat acquiring feline lymphoma, which kills 75% of cats within a year. The results of the study of 180 cats at a veterinary hospital showed that there was more than double the risk of developing this disease in cats exposed to second-hand smoke, and a three-fold risk for exposure of five years or more. Lymphoma is the most common tumor in cats. Thus, second-hand smoke may be endangering the life of your cat.

Am J Epidemiol 2002 Aug 1;156(3):268-73


10. Melatonin and life span

Melatonin has been shown to significantly increase the life span of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). According to the free radical theory of aging, proposed by Dr. Denham Harmon in 1954, free radicals are involved in the production of changes in cellular metabolism that lead to a time-dependent functional decline in all living beings. A study determined whether long-term melatonin supplementation could prevent free radical damage, and slow the aging process. The results showed that melatonin, added daily to the diet, significantly increased the flies' life span. The flies with the added melatonin lived 81.5 days compared to 61.2 days in the control group, representing a 33.2% increase in total life span in the melatonin group! There was also a 19.3% increase in time before the onset of death, and a 13.5% increase in average life span. Melatonin also increased the flies' resistance to toxicity brought on by an herbicide. In addition, there was also resistance to a high stress temperature level (96.8 F). Thus, melatonin may potentially slow the aging process in humans by means of its free radical scavenging properties.

Experimental Gerontology, 2002, Vol 37, Iss 5, pp 629-638


11. Calcium and weight loss

A high calcium diet may accelerate the rate of fat loss in those who are overweight. Calcium plays a major role in energy metabolism. In response to low-calcium diets, there is an increased release of vitamin D, which stimulates the calcium to flow into fat cells, causing fat gain. Mice respond to low calcium diets with accelerated weight gain. When dietary calcium is increased, vitamin D levels are suppressed. Calcium increases the breakdown of fat and maintains heat production during over-consumption on a high calorie diet. There is a highly significant reduction in the odds of being obese associated with increasing dietary calcium intake. Dairy sources of calcium exert a strong anti-obesity effect on fat metabolism due to the effect of other biological compounds, indicating a role for dairy products in the control of obesity. Thus, controlling the amount of calcium may be a viable way of preventing and managing obesity in humans.

Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition, 2002, Vol 21, Iss 2, pp 146S-151S


12. Tea, inflammation and tumor growth

Black tea and green tea have been shown to inhibit inflammation and tumor growth. A study evaluated the effect of tea extracts on tumors in mice. The tea caused a slight increase of the endogenous antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD), in the blood. The extracts lowered the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), a stress marker that indicates the presence of free radical damage. There was also an anti-inflammatory response in the mouse paws. Both black and green teas were shown to inhibit tumor growth and prevent metastasis. Thus, black and green tea may inhibit inflammation, reduce free radicals and protect against the development of cancer.

Phytotherapy Research, 2002, Vol 16, Suppl. 1, pp S40-S44


13. Fitness and the risk of stroke

Moderate and high level fitness reduces the risk of stroke in men. A study examined the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and stroke mortality in 16,878 men (ages 40 to 87) over a 10-year period. They were given a medical evaluation that included self-reported health habits and a maximal treadmill exercise test. The results showed an opposite association between cardiorespiratory fitness and stroke mortality. The most highly fit men in this group (40%) and moderately fit men had a 68% and a 63% lower risk of stroke mortality, respectively, when compared with the least fit (20%) men. Achieving a moderate to high level of cardiorespiratory fitness may lower risk of death due to stroke.

Medicine And Science In Sports And Exercise, 2002, Vol 34, Iss 4, pp 592-595


14. Dietary supplements and ovarian cancer

Studies have suggested that high levels of vitamins C and E may protect against the risk of ovarian cancer. A study used a food frequency questionnaire and additional questions on supplements to ascertain participant data. The study looked at 168 cases of ovarian cancer, the results of which showed that the highest levels of vitamins C (greater than 363 mg/day) and E (greater than 75 mg/day) from supplements, or from a combination of diet plus supplements, reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 55% and 56%, respectively. The levels of vitamins C and E associated with the protective effect were well above the current U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). The consumption of antioxidants from diet alone was unrelated to risk. Thus, supplemental vitamins C and E may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Nutrition And Cancer-An International Journal, 2001, Vol 40, Iss 2, pp 92-98


15. Black raspberries and colon cancer

A study examined the effects of black raspberries on tumors of the colon. Animals were given diets containing 0%, 2.5%, 5% or 10% black raspberries. The levels of a particular biomarker, Urinary 8-OhdG (related to the degree of oxidative DNA damage implicated in several carcinogenic processes) were reduced by 73%, 81% and 83% respectively, for all groups. The total number of tumors decreased by 42%, 45% and 71%, respectively, again for all groups. Black raspberries modulate free radical stress and thus may be effective in inhibiting the development of colon cancer in humans.

Nutrition And Cancer-An International Journal, 2001, Vol 40, Iss 2, pp 125-133


16. Green tea and muscle health

Green tea extract may improve muscle health by diminishing or delaying tissue death. A study examined whether green tea could reduce muscle tissue death in mice with muscular dystrophy (MS). Young mice were fed a diet for four weeks supplemented with 0.01% or 0.05% green tea extract. The lower dose that was tested is equal to about seven cups of green tea/day in humans. The results showed that green tea significantly and dose-dependently reduced cell death in the fast-twitch long-leg muscle. There was no effect on the slow-twitch calf muscle. Free radical stress was also concentration-dependently decreased. Thus, green tea extract is a potent antioxidant that may improve muscle health by protecting tissue from free radical-induced cell death.

American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, Vol 75, Iss 4, pp 749-753



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