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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine April 2008
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Vitamin E Halves Cardiovascular Events in At-Risk Diabetics

Vitamin E Halves Cardiovascular Events in At-Risk Diabetics

Supplementation with vitamin E may reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events by more than 50% among type 2 diabetics with a defective gene for an important antioxidant protein, according to a new report.*

Patients with a defective gene for haptoglobin, an important antioxidant protein, are at increased risk of oxidative damage to blood vessel walls. Approximately 2-3% of the general population has type 2 diabetes and carries the defective gene. Such patients are at increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, and death, due to the defective protein.

Among these patients, supplementation with 400 IU of vitamin E/day for 18 months halved the risk of adverse events in a controlled clinical trial, compared with type 2 diabetic carriers of the defective gene who did not take vitamin E.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Milman U, Blum S, Shapira C, et al. Vitamin E Supplementation Reduces Cardiovascular Events in a Subgroup of Middle-Aged Individuals With Both Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and the Haptoglobin 2-2 Genotype. A Prospective Double-Blinded Clinical Trial. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Nov 21 [Epub ahead of print].

Phosphatidylcholine Reduces Steroid Dependency in Ulcerative Colitis

A promising new study reveals that phosphatidylcholine treatment can help patients with the inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, to be less dependent on steroid therapy.* Conventional treatment with immunosuppressants is usually recommended for this disease, but when these fail to work, there is a lack of suitable alternative therapy except long-term steroids.

As insufficient phosphatidylcholine in colonic mucus is thought to be a risk factor for ulcerative colitis, the German researchers in this study gave 500 mg of this supplement four times a day or a placebo to 60 ulcerative colitis patients who were on long-term steroid treatment, and in whom immunosuppressants had failed to work.

Up to 50% of the phosphatidylcholine group was able to successfully withdraw from steroid treatment and demonstrated improved clinical activity, compared with only 10% of the placebo group. Furthermore, 80% of the supplemented group was able to discontinue steroid therapy altogether without a worsening of the disease.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Stremmel W, Ehehalt R, Autschbach F, Karner M. Phosphatidylcholine for steroid-refractory chronic ulcerative colitis: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Nov 6;147(9):603-10.

Omega-3s, Vegetables Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Mounting evidence suggests that supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as well as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, significantly decreases the chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.1-5

One new study published in Neurology monitored the health and dietary patterns of over 8,000 French men and women 65 years and older, for at least four years.6 This study found that daily consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of dementia from all causes. Weekly fish consumption was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease in individuals lacking genes for apolipoprotein-E4 (apoE4). This genotype is an independent risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, researchers found that omega-6 oils, when not balanced by simultaneous consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, actually increased risk of dementia, even in the absence of the apoE4 genotype.6

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

1. Lau FC, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Nutritional intervention in brain aging: reducing the effects of inflammation and oxidative stress. Subcell Biochem. 2007;42:299-318.
2. Parrott MD, Greenwood CE. Dietary influences on cognitive function with aging: from high-fat diets to healthful eating. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1114:389-97.
3. Green KN, Martinez-Coria H, Khashwji H, et al. Dietary docosahexaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid ameliorate amyloid-beta and tau pathology via a mechanism involving presenilin 1 levels. J Neurosci. 2007 Apr 18;27(16):4385-95.
4. Cole GM, Frautschy SA. Docosahexaenoic acid protects from amyloid and dendritic pathology in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Nutr Health. 2006;18(3):249-59.
5. Lim GP, Calon F, Morihara T, et al. A diet enriched with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid reduces amyloid burden in an aged Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurosci. 2005 Mar 23;25(12):3032-40.
6. Barberger-Gateau P, Raffaitin C, Letenneur L, et al. Dietary patterns and risk of dementia: The Three-City cohort study. Neurology. 2007;69:1921-30.

Fruits, Berries with Meals Offset After-Meal Oxidative Stress

Fruits, Berries with Meals Offset After-Meal Oxidative Stress

The consumption of most meals increases oxidative stress, unless antioxidant-rich foods are included, according to scientists at a US Department of Agriculture research laboratory.* Investigators hypothesized that antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and berries, may increase antioxidant capacity following a meal, offsetting decreases in plasma antioxidant capacity associated with the consumption of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

To test the hypothesis, volunteers were enrolled in five clinical trials. Six to ten subjects consumed meals comprising fruits such as berries, grapes, kiwi, cherries, and strawberries, and/or a meal of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Blood antioxidant capacity was assayed before and after meals. Consumption of blueberries, grapes, or kiwi with a meal preserved plasma antioxidant capacity, while a meal without one of these foods led to a decline in antioxidant capacity.

“Consumption of high-antioxidant foods with each meal is recommended in order to prevent periods of [after-meal] oxidative stress,” investigators concluded.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Prior RL, Gu L, Wu X, et al. Plasma antioxidant capacity changes following a meal as a measure of the ability of a food to alter in vivo antioxidant status. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Apr;26(2):170-81.

High Vitamin C Level Helps Prevent Stroke

Having a higher level of vitamin C in the bloodstream is associated with a lower risk of stroke, according to a large British study.*

Plasma levels of vitamin C were measured in 20,649 men and women, ages 40 to 79 years, recruited from the general population. The participants were then monitored for strokes over an average of 9.5 years. People with the highest levels of vitamin C had a 42% lower risk of stroke than those with the lowest vitamin C levels. The difference was not explained by variations in age, sex, smoking status, alcohol consumption, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise habits, diabetes, previous heart attack, social class, or use of dietary supplements.

The investigators noted that high vitamin C levels may reflect healthful behaviors that reduce the risk of stroke, such as fruit and vegetable consumption. Low levels may help identify persons at higher risk of stroke.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Myint PK, Luben RN, Welch AA, Bingham SA, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT. Plasma vitamin C concentrations predict risk of incident stroke over 10 y in 20 649 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer–Norfolk prospective population study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan;87(1):64–9.

Healthy Lifestyle May Provide Extra 14 Years of Life

Healthy Lifestyle May Provide Extra 14 Years of Life

Individuals who practice just four healthy behaviors may live 14 years longer than those who don’t, according to a just-released report.* More than 20,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 79 years were followed for an average of 11 years. Questionnaires awarded one point each for not smoking, being physically active, consuming alcohol in moderation, and having a plasma vitamin C level consistent with eating five servings of vegetables or fruit per day.

Those who scored no points on the questionnaires were four times more likely to die than those who scored four points, and those with a score of two were twice as likely to die. Participants whose score was zero had the same risk of dying as subjects who were 14 years older who had practiced all four healthy behaviors.

These findings indicate that combined behavioral factors significantly impact longevity.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Available at: http://medicine.plosjournals.orgperlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050012&ct=. Accessed January 14, 2008.