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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine April 2003

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Controlling Cholesterol
With Policosanol

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Q I have been taking policosanol for a few months now and I am pleased with the results. My cholesterol is 220, but ratios were very good. I keep hearing that I should get them below 200. I am worried because heart disease runs in my family. My father and grandfather both died of heart attacks before they were 60. Can I increase my dose to two tablets per day?

A Policosanol can be taken twice a day. For best results take one with dinner and one at bedtime. Do not take it in the morning, as it will not be as effective. In reference to lowering your cholesterol levels below 200, keep in mind there is some research indicating that extremely low levels of cholesterol may increase stroke risk. Researchers found the lower the cholesterol level, the higher the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Those with levels below 180, had twice the risk of hemorrhagic stoke compared to those with levels at 230. This study was presented at the 24th American Heart Association Conference. It is important that anyone taking policosanol check their blood to verify they are maintaining optimal total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Total cholesterol should be between 180-220 (mg/dl), beneficial HDL should be over 50, while dangerous LDL should be under 100.
If you are concerned about the risk of heart disease, there are other diagnostic tests you can take in addition to measuring cholesterol levels. If you have not done so, it would be advisable to get the following blood tests: homocysteine, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen. If you wish to read more about these tests, please refer to the Cardiovascular Disease Protocol on the web site at: www.lef.org.

Q Do you know how much caffeine per capsule is in your lightly caffeinated super green tea? How does this compare to the caffeine content in a single cup of regular tea and of coffee? Are there specific health benefits for a low daily intake of caffeine?

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A Each capsule of our lightly caffeinated green tea extract contains 10 mg to 20 mg of caffeine. A six ounce cup of brewed or drip coffee usually has anywhere from 80 mg to 175 mg of caffeine, and tea generally provides between 50 mg to100 mg of caffeine. Numerous studies have demonstrated caffeine's potential to provide cancer-preventive protection by inhibiting the formation and decreasing the size of both malignant and nonmalignant tumors. Further, caffeine has also been shown in studies to enhance the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy and radiochemotherapy drugs by sensitizing cells to the killing effects of these genotoxic drugs. However, the most compelling finding was caffeine's ability to induce apoptosis independent of any other factor. While the debate over the use of caffeine continues, these findings are significant and would suggest a closer examination of the role of caffeine in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Please refer to the August 2002 magazine for references.

Q Does your melatonin come from animal sources? If it is such a great product with anticancer and antioxidant properties, why is it only recommended for older adults and not everyone?

A The Foundation's melatonin is synthetically produced and 99% pure. It contains no animal products. While Life Extension has recommended melatonin to just about everyone over age 40, the medical establishment has not caught up to this incredibly inexpensive supplement that could be of enormous benefit to aging individuals. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland and falls drastically with advancing age. Peak nighttime levels of melatonin in humans are about twice as high in young people (21 to 25 years) than in middle aged people (51 to 55 years), and about four times as high in young people than in old people (82 to 86 years). The 24-hour secretion of plasma melatonin has been shown to be approximately twice as high in 20-year-old men and women as in 60-year-old men and women. These findings suggest that the age-related depletion of melatonin may be a cause of the deficits and diseases associated with aging.

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Q I recently broke a bone in my foot. From past experience, I am slow to heal, so I am looking for something to help speed up my healing. Can you recommend anything?

A There are several products you can try and even take together. A good calcium supplement, such as the Bone Assure might be helpful. This product contains a range of minerals that are vital to maintaining strong, healthy bones. Also, you can take the amino acids L-arginine and L-lysine. One study showed that L-arginine and L-lysine seem to possess some properties able to influence bone fracture healing. The results of this study indicate that these amino acids accelerate and ameliorate the healing processes and positively contribute to good healing of bone fractures [Ann Ital Chir (ITALY) Jan-Feb 1996, 67 (1) p77-82; discussion 82-3].

The study did not provide actual dosages. The book, Life Extension: A Practical, Scientific Approach by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw recommends dosages between 3 and 10 grams of L-arginine and between 500 mg and 1500 mg L-lysine.

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