LE Magazine December 2002
Great Health, Poor Brain Function?
Supplements can help
Q My grandfather is 89 years old and just doesn't seem to be himself. Sometimes he has a hard time finishing a sentence because he forgets what he was talking about. He is forever misplacing things like his keys and glasses and just doesn't seem to be interested in socializing anymore. Other than that, he is in great health and does not take any medications. It's a shame to be in such good health, but not have good brain function to enjoy it. Do you think that supplements can help at his age? I was on your web site, but there are so many to choose from, can you help?
A Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that is found in all cells but is especially concentrated in high amounts in the membranes of brain cells. PS makes up about 70% of the brain's nerve tissue mass. The brain produces it, but aging slows the production to sub-optimal levels, which precludes us from functioning at full mental capacity. Studies have shown that supplementation with PS can slow and may even reverse the decline of learning, mood, memory, concentration and word recall related to dementia or age-related cognitive impairment in middle-aged and elderly subjects [Altern Med Rev 1999 Jun;4(3):144-61]. A double blind, placebo-controlled study in geriatric patients (ages 65 to 93 years of age) showed that PS supplementation improved behavior, increased motivation, initiative and socialization. These patients suffered moderate to severe age-related cognitive decline before starting therapy. The patients received 300 milligrams of PS treatment for six months. [Aging (Milano) 1993 Apr;5(2):123-33]. For more information on our PS capsules, please go to www.lef.org. Also, see the September 2002 issue of the magazine.
Q I have been exploring other health related sites and noticed some places touting the advantages of liquid vitamins. They state that vitamins in capsule or pill forms do little because they are not broken down and cannot be absorbed by the body. Is this true?
A All supplements manufactured by the Foundation are issued a Certificate of Analysis, which specifies a maximum disintegration time. However, if you are concerned with absorption, that is a different issue. The ability to absorb nutrients will vary from person to person and depends largely on their digestive system. A healthy digestive system is essential for the body to absorb and fully use food and supplements. Many members take Super Digestive Enzymes to ensure that they are absorbing all the nutrients from food and supplements. This product contains the primary digestive enzymes-proteases, amylases and lipases. These function as biological catalysts, helping to break down protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also contains enzymes derived from the Aspergillus oryzae fungus, which have been shown in numerous studies to support healthy digestive function. These enzymes contain no fungal residue. Modern filtration technology enables these fungal enzymes to be ideal for human consumption. [Clin Nutr Insights 1997;5(10)]. For more information on digestive enzymes, please go to www.lef.org.
Q I am having a hard time deciding which essential fatty acids I should be taking, flax seed oil, GLA, fish oil or all of them? I am confused. Can you help me?
A There are two families of essential fatty acids (EFAs): omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fatty acids serve as building blocks for nerve cells, cell membranes and biochemical messengers such as prostaglandins. Essential fatty acids cannot be produced within the body and therefore must be provided through the diet. If the diet is lacking in EFAs, saturated fats will take the place of EFAs within cell membranes, reducing membrane fluidity and efficiency, to start a process of premature aging and disease development.
To get the maximum effect of EFAs, it is important to take them in the right proportions, in order to maximize the production of beneficial prostaglandins and other chemical messengers, while minimizing the production of harmful ones. Experimental studies confirm that a balanced combination is essential for maximal effect in lowering blood pressure, improving one's serum lipid profile and fighting inflammation. The Life Extension Foundation has a product called Super GLA/DHA with an optimal balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. For more information, please refer to the Directory of Life Extension Technologies or our web site at: www.lef.org.
Q Is there a connection between bone loss and cancer cell growth?
A Yes, some types of cancer (breast and prostate) have a tendency to metastasize to bone. This may result in weakening of the bones and an increased risk of fractures. A large percentage of men with prostate cancer also seem to have a high incidence of osteoporosis even before the use of therapies to lower the male hormone testosterone. When excessive bone loss is occurring, there is a release of bone-derived growth factors, such as transforming growth factor beta-1, which stimulate the prostate cancer cells to grow further. To make matters worse a substance called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is usually elevated in the presence of cancer cells, causes further breakdown of bone. There are several bisphophonate drugs, Aredia®, Zometa® (intravenous), Fosamax® or Actonel®, that your doctor can prescribe which can help prevent further bone loss and favor bone formation. It is also important to take bone-protecting supplements so that the body has an adequate supply of raw material to make healthy bone. These supplements include calcium, magnesium, boron and vitamin D. All of these ingredients and more can be obtained by taking Bone Assure. Also, consider taking vitamin K and Mega Soy Extract. For more information and references, please refer to the July 2002 issue of the magazine.
Q I was reviewing your Life Extension Mix and was impressed by its comprehensive nature. However, there were a few ingredients that I have never seen before. Calcium D-Glucarate and Ellagic Acid. Are these antioxidants? Can you provide more information?
A D-glucarate is a phyto-nutrient that protects against cancer-causing agents in a different way than standard antioxidants like vitamins C and E. The vitamins work by neutralizing free radicals in the body, but there are other ways the body can rid itself of DNA-damaging toxins that can cause cancer and other diseases. Another pathway of detoxification occurs when toxins or carcinogens are combined with water-soluble substances, making them easier to remove from the body. This process is called glucuronidation. The phyto-extract, D-glucarate has been shown to support this important detoxification mechanism. In one rat study, the administration of D-glucarate for five months inhibited the initiation stage of liver cancer after the rats had been intentionally exposed to a known carcinogen. Researchers concluded that D-glucarate has a direct effect in preventing liver cancer. [Toxicology 1992;74 (2-3):209-222].
Ellagic acid is another cancer preventing antioxidant. Ellagic acid acts as a detoxifying agent by binding to carcinogens and making them inactive. Clinical tests conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) showed that ellagic acid may help to prevent cancer, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and arrest the growth of cancer in persons with a genetic predisposition for the disease. These studies showed that ellagic acid induces cervical cancer cells to undergo apoptosis (normal cell death). [Cancer Lett (Ireland) 1999;136(2):215-221; Nutr Cancer (United States) 1995;23(2):121-130; Carcinogenesis 1994 Sep;15(9):2065-8; Cancer Lett (Ireland) 1987;36(2):203-211]. For more information on The Life Extension Mix please refer to the November 2000 issue of the magazine.
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