Life Extension Skin Care Sale

Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine May 2009
In The News

Media May be Biased Against Herbal Remedies

Media coverage of clinical trials may be slightly biased against herbal remedies in favor of pharmaceuticals, according to a literature review.*

The authors compared 201 newspaper articles on pharmaceuticals (based on 48 clinical trials) and 352 newspaper articles on herbal remedies (based on 57 clinical trials). In terms of study quality, the authors rated the herbal trials as equal to the pharmaceutical trials, despite being smaller and of shorter duration. Press coverage of both classes frequently omitted important details such as dosage, study methods, likelihood of risk, funding, and conflicts of interest. Further, newspaper coverage was more negative for herbal remedies than for pharmaceuticals, even after accounting for positive versus negative results in the original trials. Specifically, the tone was positive, negative, and neutral in 21%, 22%, and 57% of herbal articles, respectively, and 68%, 0%, and 32% of pharmaceutical articles.

Despite the recent increase in alternative-medicine clinical trials, the authors stated, “overall the media is not reporting on the trend toward evidence-based herbal medicine,” possibly because journalists “have subtle biases towards scientific method and conventional medicine.”

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Bubela T, Boon H, Caulfield T. Herbal remedy clinical trials in the media: a comparison with the coverage of conventional pharmaceuticals. BMC Med. 2008 Nov 26;6(1):35.

Vitamin D Deficiency Raises Risk of Caesarean Delivery

Vitamin D Deficiency Raises Risk of Caesarean Delivery

Low maternal blood levels of vitamin D increase the risk of a first-time Caesarean section in a study of women delivering between 2005 and 2007.*

In this study, 253 women were enrolled within 72 hours of birth and were tested for levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D; severe deficiency was defined as a value <15.0 ng/mL (37.5 nmol/L). Forty-three women (17%) underwent a Caesarean section as opposed to vaginal delivery. The Caesarean rate was 28% among women with vitamin D deficiency and 14% among women without deficiency. Women with vitamin D deficiency were 3.8 times more likely to undergo a Caesarean section, whereas high vitamin D was protective against this procedure.

Vitamin D deficiency is rising in industrialized countries, and Caesarean births have reached a record high of 30% in the United States. In these cases, arrest of labor could be due to impaired muscle strength or low calcium levels as a result of vitamin D deficiency.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Merewood A, Mehta SD, Chen TC, Bauchner H, Holick MF. Association between vitamin D deficiency and primary cesarean section. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Dec 23.

Carotenoids Help Protect Bone

High intake of carotenoids protects against loss of bone mineral density (BMD) over time among both men and women.* Carotenoids are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables that may inhibit bone resorption.

Study subjects were 334 men and 540 women (average age 75 years). Bone mineral density was measured at baseline and four years later in the femur and trochanter (leg), radius (arm), and lumbar spine, while food questionnaires were used for carotenoid intakes. Among men, loss of BMD in the trochanter over four years was significantly less pronounced among those with the highest intakes of total carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein + zeaxanthin. Among women, the highest level of lycopene intake was associated with a lower rate of BMD loss in the spine.

Although the findings were not consistent between sexes or across all bone sites, the results suggest a beneficial effect of carotenoids, especially lycopene, on BMD in elderly men and women.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

*Sahni S, Hannan MT, Blumberg J, Cupples LA, Kiel DP, Tucker KL. Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):416-24.

Strength Training and Aerobic Exercise Combo Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Functional Limitations

Combining resistance training with aerobic exercise is the best strategy for simultaneously reducing insulin resistance and improving functional limitations in obese older adults, according to a new report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.*

In this study, 136 sedentary, abdominally obese older adults with some degree of insulin resistance were randomly assigned to one of four groups for six months. Subjects in one group engaged in resistance exercise (strength training) only; another group of subjects did aerobic exercise; a third performed both forms of exercise; and the control group remained sedentary.

After controlling for other factors, such as age, sex, and baseline insulin resistance values, investigators determined that engaging in both aerobics and strength training yields improvements in both insulin sensitivity and functional limitations better than doing either form of exercise alone or being sedentary.

“The combination…was the optimal exercise strategy for simultaneous reduction in insulin resistance and functional limitation,” the researchers concluded.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

*Davidson LE, Hudson R, Kilpatrick K, et al. Effects of exercise modality on insulin resistance and functional limitation in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 26;169(2):122-31.

Vitamin C Intake Should be at Least 10 Times Higher Than RDA

Vitamin C Intake Should be at Least 10 Times Higher Than RDA

Intake of vitamin C should be increased to at least 1,000 mg/day, significantly higher than the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), according to a review of the literature.*

Vitamin C intake is necessary because the human body cannot synthesize it. Although the current RDA is 90 mg/day for men and 75 mg/day for women, authorities disagree about the optimal intake. Research continues to highlight the critical role of vitamin C for optimal immune function, prevention of oxidative DNA damage, resistance to infection, and prevention or treatment of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and degenerative conditions. Unfortunately, modern farming and food storage techniques have decreased the micronutrient content of foods, making it difficult to obtain enough vitamin C from diet alone.

The authors concluded that healthy persons should take at least 1,000 mg/day supplemental vitamin C, along with five servings of fruits and vegetables, to prevent disease.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

*Deruelle F, Baron B. Vitamin C: is supplementation necessary for optimal health? J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Dec;14(10):1291-8.

Regular Green Tea Consumption Helps Ward Off Breast Cancer

Regular Green Tea Consumption Helps Ward Off Breast Cancer

Regular green tea consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of breast cancer, according to a study in Chinese women.* The study was intended to clarify the effects of green tea on breast cancer risk.

Participants in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study included 3,454 newly diagnosed patients and 3,474 healthy controls selected from the general population and matched for age. Green tea consumption was reported during interviews.

Regular consumption of green tea, when compared with no consumption, was associated with a 12% lower risk of breast cancer after controlling for several variables that might also affect the relationship. The reduced risk was considered modest but was statistically significant for the overall group of women. Risk reduction was also about 12% in premenopausal and postmenopausal women analyzed separately. Premenopausal women had a lower risk of breast cancer with increasing years of green tea consumption.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Shrubsole MJ, Lu W, Chen Z, et al. Drinking green tea modestly reduces breast cancer risk. J Nutr. 2009 Feb;139(2):310-6.

Higher Vitamin C Associated with Lower Blood Pressure

Higher Vitamin C Associated with Lower Blood Pressure

Higher blood levels of vitamin C intake are associated with lower blood pressure in young women.* Vitamin C has well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.

Participants were 242 healthy black and white women aged 18 to 21 years who were examined for blood pressure and blood levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C results were grouped into four categories from lowest to highest. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure declined significantly as the vitamin C level rose, and the results remained statistically significant even after adjusting for patients’ weight, race, diet, and education. A higher vitamin C level was also predictive of smaller blood-pressure changes during the year before measurement.

An effect of vitamin C on lowering blood pressure had already been documented in older and/or hypertensive patients. This study suggests a way to prevent high blood pressure and age-related cardiovascular disease beginning in young adulthood.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

*Block G, Jensen CD, Norkus EP, Hudes M, Crawford PB. Vitamin C in plasma is inversely related to blood pressure and change in blood pressure during the previous year in young Black and White women. Nutr J. 2008 Dec 17;7:35.

Antioxidant Supplementation May Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Antioxidant supplementation significantly reduces oxidative stress while improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood levels of chemicals associated with the development of diabetes, according to a new report.1

In this randomized, double-blind, controlled trial, 48 overweight and normal-weight young adults received an antioxidant cocktail containing vitamin E (800 IU), vitamin C (500 mg), and beta-carotene (10 mg), or placebo, for eight weeks. Endothelial adhesion molecules, lipid peroxidation, insulin resistance, and adiponectin were assessed at the start of the study and again after eight weeks. At the study’s onset, overweight individuals exhibited greater insulin resistance and had higher levels of endothelial adhesion molecules, which have been implicated in the development of diabetes and atherosclerosis.2

After eight weeks, the overweight individuals experienced increased insulin sensitivity and decreased levels of endothelial adhesion molecules. Additionally, their oxidative stress decreased, and their levels of adiponectin increased. Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with a reduced risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.3,4

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

1.Vincent HK, Bourguignon CM, Weltman AL, et al. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on insulin sensitivity, endothelial adhesion molecules, and oxidative stress in normal-weight and overweight young adults. Metabolism. 2009 Feb;58(2):254-62.
2.Song Y, Manson JE, Tinker L, et al. Circulating levels of endothelial adhesion molecules and risk of diabetes in an ethnically diverse cohort of women. Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1898-904.
3.Chahwala V, Arora R. Cardiovascular manifestations of insulin resistance. Am J Ther. 2008 Dec 23. 4.Yamauchi T, Kadowaki T. Physiological and pathophysiological roles of adiponectin and adiponectin receptors in the integrated regulation of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Dec;32(Suppl 7):S13-8.

Vitamin B12 Relieves Painful Mouth Sores

Vitamin B12 safely relieves recurrent aphthous stomatitis (i.e., painful mouth sores also known as canker sores) after six months of therapy.* Up to 25% of the general population experiences mouth ulcers, yet no effective long-term treatment exists.

The study included 58 patients who reported recurrent mouth sores at least every two months for the past year. Patients were randomly assigned to take one sublingual tablet per day of vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg) or matching placebo for six months.

Average duration of outbreaks, number of ulcers per month, and pain level all declined significantly over the entire study duration in the vitamin B12 group, but not in placebo patients; the differences between groups become particularly significant at months five and six. The benefit of vitamin B12 was unrelated to the patients’ blood levels of vitamin B12 measured at enrollment. By the end of the study, 74% of the vitamin B12 group but only 32% of placebo patients were ulcer-free.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

*Volkov I, Rudoy I, Freud T, et al. Effectiveness of vitamin B12 in treating recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Jan-Feb;22(1):9-16.

Highlights From the 2009 Drug Discovery For Neurodegeneration Conference

Highlights From the 2009 Drug Discovery For Neurodegeneration Conference

Scientists from around the country converged at the Drug Discovery For Neurodegeneration Conference in Washington, DC, February 2-3, 2009. The conference was presented by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, a public charity whose mission it is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias of cognitive aging.

An exciting revelation at the conference was that the pharmaceutical industry is substantially changing the model it uses to pursue new drug development. These changes include seeking more partnerships and new ideas from outside sources such as universities and smaller companies, as well as aggressively working to increase the rate at which therapeutic concepts are translated into actual clinical use.

The conference explored numerous novel technologies under development that should be of real benefit to future treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Among the promising agents under development are new compounds known as “penetrants,” which can improve the ability of drugs to pass through the blood-brain barrier.

Another area of intense research interest is the class of compounds called histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. These agents were discussed in the May 2004 issue of Life Extension magazine and show great potential as anticancer compounds and may also have uses in diseases affecting the central nervous system.

The Life Extension Foundation will continue to follow the cutting-edge research in these areas, since Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative ailments are a major concern to all aging adults. Clearly, effective treatments for these diseases are currently lacking. At present, controlling known environmental triggers of neurodegenerative disease (such as poor diet, smoking, etc.) and using nutrients known to protect the brain are still the best strategies for averting these disabling disorders.

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, visit www.alzdiscovery.org.

—Will Brink