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Life Extension Magazine

Top Ten Recommendations

1: Life Extension Mix

2: Life Extension Super Booster

3: Coenzyme Q10

4: Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer

5: Cognitex

6: Super EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans

7: Enhanced Natural Prostate with Cernitin (Men)

7: Bone Restore (Women)

8: Restoring Youthful Hormone Balance

9: S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe)

10: Aspirin

Recommendation: 6
Super EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans

DOSAGE: Four 1000 mg capsules a day of fish oil concentrate with added sesame lignans.

New studies about omega-3 fatty acids are so impressive that the Federal government has stated that fish oil can help save lives. In a report issued on April 22, 2004, an agency of the National Institutes of Health stated:

“Fish oil can help reduce deaths from heart disease”1

Supportive but not conclusive research shows that the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The problem is that the American diet is loaded with dangerous omega-6 and trans fats, while deficient in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Increasing consumption of omega-3s, such as those found in cold-water fish can mitigate this imbalance.2

There are several mechanisms attributed to fish oil’s beneficial effects. The latest government report cited the effect of fish oil on lowering triglycerides as a reason why fish oil reduces heart and blood vessel disease.1,3,4 Another beneficial mechanism of fish oil is to protect healthy blood flow in arteries.5-8 Other researchers have postulated that the most important effect of fish oil is its capacity to markedly reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins that contribute to a host of age-related disorders.9-11

Improving the Inflammation Suppressing Effects of Fish Oil
Life Extension has uncovered research that the addition of sesame lignans to fish oil enhances its beneficial effects.12 When fats are consumed, they are broken down into factors that either promote or suppress inflammatory reactions. Specialized enzymes in the body determine which inflammatory pathway fats will follow. Sesame lignans inhibit an enzyme (delta-5 desaturase) that causes dietary fats to be converted into arachidonic acid, a precursor to the toxic inflammatory factors prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4.13

Sesame lignans also increases levels of desirable DGLA (di-homogamma linolenic acid), the precursor to prostaglandin E1. This prostaglandin has demonstrated numerous health benefits including suppression of inflammatory events.14

Many people supplement with GLA (gamma linolenic acid) to increase their levels of DGLA and prostaglandin E1. When sesame lignans are combined with fish oil, DGLA levels rise dramatically and the inflammatory index of the fish oil greatly improves. We know sesamin (the lignan from sesame seeds) inhibits delta-5 desaturase activity resulting in an increase of DGLA which can displace arachidonic acid (AA) and decrease the formation of pro-inflammatory mediators. DGLA also suppresses inflammatory indices that inhibits production of dangerous inflammatory cytokines (such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha).14

Health conscious people have been swallowing a lot of borage oil supplements to obtain GLA (gamma linolenic acid), the parent of the biologically active DGLA (di-homogamma linolenic acid). Sesame lignans not only increase beneficial DGLA (and prostaglandin E1), but it also reduces pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid and decreases the formation of destructive prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4.13 For consumers, this means that a modest dose fish oil concentrate with sesame lignans may provide better benefits than higher dose fish oil and borage oil supplements.

Extending the Stability of Fish Oil in the Body
Whenever a polyunsaturated fat like fish oil is consumed, it rapidly degrades into byproducts that have no value, and can even generate excess free radical activity. Sesame functions as a powerful antioxidant, and its addition to fish oil lowers undesirable lipid peroxidation rates.15,16

Sesame suppresses the formation of free radicals from the DHA fraction of fish oil, which has extremely high oxidative susceptibility.17 A test of this effect was confirmed in rats fed a high DHA diet from fish oil. In the first part of the study, DHA first lowered vitamin E levels and raised a measure of free radical damage. Addition of sesame raised plasma and liver vitamin E higher than initial levels, increased concentrations of DHA, and completely suppressed free radical production from the DHA in tissues and serum.15

The combination of sesame and fish oil thus suppresses free radical production of fish oil by blocking lipid peroxidation and simultaneously boosting levels of other beneficial fatty acids (such as DGLA).14,15

Increased Burning of Blood Fats
In order for cells to produce energy, they must burn fatty acids in their mitochondria. The failure of liver mitochondria to properly burn fatty acids can result in excess accumulation of triglycerides in the blood. Triglycerides not burned as cellular fuel in the liver accumulate in the blood and contribute to arterial occlusion.

When rats were fed both sesame lignans and fish oil together, their hepatic fatty acid oxidation rates rose much higher than when fed fish oil alone. This study pointed out that the sesame-fish oil combination worked synergistically by increasing the mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver.12 It is interesting to note that fish oil-sesame combinations markedly help modulate inflammatory reactions, and the latest obesity theories are based on the fact that inflammation lowers leptin production which in turn, increases the deposition of fat on the body.18 Thus, the combination of fish oil with sesame not only improves mitochondrial energy output, but it may also further facilitate triglyceride reduction, inhibit body fat storage, while also guarding against the free radicals generated as an inevitable consequence of higher cellular metabolism.15,19,20

The Most Advanced Fish Oil Supplement
The science substantiating the benefits of even ordinary low concentration fish oil supplements is extensive. The problems people encounter is the need to swallow a lot of low-concentration fish oil capsules to obtain the desired effects. This often results in too few fish oil capsules being taken each day to duplicate successful clinical studies. Another issue is that some people experience digestive upset (mild regurgitation) in response to fish oil supplementation.

Life Extension has tested a number of fish oil concentrates in order to identify the one that causes the fewest complaints of digestive upset. The good news is that the easy-to-tolerate fish oil concentrate Life Extension has identified provides high concentrations of EPA and DHA, the fatty acids most responsible for fish oil’s many beneficial effects.21 This means fewer capsules to be swallowed.

The most significant improvement, however, is the addition of standardized sesame lignans to each capsule of this new fish oil concentrate. Sesame lignans help guard against the lipid peroxidation normally induced by fish oil, protect against degradation of fatty acids in the body, and enhance the normal inflammation-suppressing functions of fish oil.13,15

The name of this new supplement is Super EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans. Each softgel capsule provides 350 mg of EPA, 250 mg of DHA, and 10 mg of standardized sesame lignans. Suggested dose is only four capsules each day.

Compared to the Super GLA/DHA formula most members have been taking, this new easier-to-tolerate fish oil with sesame lignans is 35% less expensive and only requires four capsules a day (compared to six of the Super GLA/DHA). The sesame lignans in this new Super EPA/DHA have been shown to boost di-homogamma linolenic acid levels from ordinary dietary fats, thus reducing the need for many people to supplement with borage oil GLA.13

For those who still want to supplement with GLA from borage oil, a new borage oil supplement with sesame lignans is now available. Refer to the article How Sesame Lignans Enhance the Effects of GLA of this special issue of Life Extension, to learn how sesame lignans facilitate the conversion of ordinary fats into beneficial di-homogamma linolenic acid (DGLA).

More Info on Super EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans

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1. AHRQ Evidence Reports Confirm that Fish Oil Helps Fight Heart Disease. Press Release, April 22, 2004. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2004/omega3pr.htm

2. Kris-Etherton, PM, Taylor, DS, Yu-Poth, S, et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000, Jan;71(1 Suppl):179S-88S.

3. Mori, TA, Vandongen, R, Beilin, LJ, et al. Effects of varying dietary fat, fish, and fish oils on blood lipids in a randomized controlled trial in men at risk of heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5):1060-8.

4. Bruckner, G. Microcirculation, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids: an overview. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1997;415:195-208. Review.

5. Mayer, K, Merfels, M, Muhly-Reinholz, M, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids suppress monocyte adhesion to human endothelial cells: role of endothelial PAF generation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Aug;283(2):H811-8.

6. Andrioli G, Carletto A, Guarini P, et al. Differential effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil or soy lecithin on human platelet adhesion. Thromb Haemost. 1999 Nov;82(5):1522-7.

7. Li XL, Steiner M. Dose response of dietary fish oil supplementations on platelet adhesion. Arterioscler Thromb. 1991 Jan-Feb;11(1):39-46.

8. Bertomeu MC, Crozier GL, Haas TA, et al. Selective effects of dietary fats on vascular 13-HODE synthesis and platelet/vessel wall interactions. Thromb Res. 1990 Sep 1;59(5):819-30.

9. Jolly, CA, Muthukumar, A, Avula, CP, et al. Lifespan is prolonged in food-restricted auto-immune-prone [NZ-NZW] F[1] mice fed a diet enriched with [n-3] fatty acids. J. Nutr. 2001 Oct.;131(10):2753-60.

10. Grimble, RF Nutritional modulation of immune function. Proc Nutr Soc. 2001 Aug;60(3):389-97.

11. Calder, PC. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammation: from molecular biology to the clinic. Lipids. 2003 Apr;38(4):343-52.

12. Ide, T, Hong, DD, Ranasinghe, P, et al. Interaction of dietary fat types and sesamin on hepatic fatty acid oxidation in rats. Biochem Biophys Acta. 2004 Jun 1;1682(1-3):80-91.

13. Utsunomiya, T, Chavali, SR, Zhong, WW, et al. Effects of sesamin-supplemented dietary fat emulsions on the production of lipopolysaccharide-induced prostanoids and tumor necrosis factor alpha in rats. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep;72(3):804-8.

14. Chavali, SR, Zhong, WW, Forse, RA Dietary alpha-linolenic acid increases TNF-alpha, and decreases IL-6, IL-10 in response to LPS: effects of delta-5-desaturation of omega6 and omega3 fatty acids in mice. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1998 Mar;58(3):185-91

15. Ikeda, S, Kagaya, M, Kobayashi, K, et al. Dietary sesame lignans decrease lipid peroxidation in rats fed docosahexaenoic acid. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. (Tokyo). 2003 Aug;49(4):270-6.

16. Kang, M, Katsuzaki, H, Osawa, T. Inhibition of 2,2’-azobis[2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile]-induced lipid peroxidation by sesaminols. Lipids. 1998;33(10):1031-6.

17. Yamashita K, Kagaya M, Higuti N, et al. Sesamin and alpha-tocopherol synergistically suppress lipid-peroxide in rats fed a high docosahexaenoic acid diet. Biofactors. 2000;11(1-2):11-3.

18. Maachi M, Pieroni L, Bruckert E, et al. Systemic low-grade inflammation is related to both circulating and adipose tissue TNFalpha, leptin and IL-6 levels in obese women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Aug;28(8):993-7.

19. Ashakumary L, Rouyer I, Takahashi Y, et al. Sesamin, a sesame lignan is a potent inducer of hepatic fatty acid oxidation in the rat. Metabolism. 1999 Oct;48(10):1303-13.

20. Kushiro M, Masaoka T, Hageshita S, et al. Comparative effect of sesamin and episesamin on the activity and gene expression of enzymes in fatty acid oxidation and synthesis in rat liver. J Nutr Biochem. 2002 May;13(5):289-295.

21. Anonymous. Looking for the number-one omega-3. All three varieties are probably good for you, but evidence for the EPA and DHA in fish is the strongest. Harv Health Lett. 2003 Aug;28(10):6