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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine September 2009
In The News

B Vitamins May Benefit Autistic Children

A recent clinical trial suggests that supplementation with the B vitamins methylcobalamin and folinic acid may benefit autistic children.* Scientists believe that metabolic abnormalities underlie some neurobehavioral conditions such as autism, and that targeted nutrients may be therapeutic.

Investigators at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute treated 40 autistic children for three months with methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12 that is active in the central nervous system) and folinic acid, which has vitamin activity equivalent to folic acid.

At the study’s onset, autistic subjects had significantly different levels of biomarkers associated with oxidative stress and detoxification capacity, compared with healthy control subjects. After treatment, these biomarkers improved significantly, although not to the level seen in unaffected control children. Glutathione levels also increased significantly among autistic subjects.

“The significant improvements… suggest that targeted nutritional intervention with methylcobalamin and folinic acid may be of clinical benefit in some children who have autism,” researchers concluded.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):425-30.

Magnesium May Decrease Blood Pressure

Magnesium May Decrease Blood Pressure

According to a study from South Korea, magnesium supplementation decreases blood pressure in adults with hypertension.*

The study was conducted to determine the effects of magnesium on insulin sensitivity and blood pressure in overweight adults who had normal magnesium levels and no diabetes. A total of 155 participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 300 mg of magnesium per day for 12 weeks.

The results showed no meaningful differences between the overall groups in insulin sensitivity. However, when the groups were subdivided by blood pressure level at baseline, those with hypertension who received magnesium had significant decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure at 12 weeks, by an average of 5.6 and 2.0 mmHg, respectively, when compared with those who received placebo. Magnesium had no apparent effect on participants with normal blood pressure at baseline.

The authors concluded that “magnesium supplementation may help prevent the progression of hypertension” in healthy overweight adults.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Apr 7.

High Folate Levels Could Help Prevent Allergic Reactions and Reduce Symptoms

High Folate Levels Could Help Prevent Allergic Reactions and Reduce Symptoms

An article published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology revealed the discovery of a role for the B vitamin folate in lessening allergy and asthma symptoms.*

Pediatric allergist Elizabeth Matsui, MD, MHS and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 8,083 individuals aged 2 to 85 to obtain information on folate levels and respiratory and allergy symptoms.

Compared to subjects whose folate levels were highest, those whose levels were among the lowest were found to have a 30% greater risk of having high amounts of the immune system markers known as IgE antibodies, which are elevated in allergy. Subjects with low folate levels were also more likely to report allergies, wheezing, or asthma.

The finding adds evidence to those of previous studies that support a regulating effect for the vitamin on inflammation, the phenomenon that produces allergy symptoms.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Apr 29.

Moderate Levels of Estradiol Tied to Living Longer

Moderate Levels of Estradiol Tied to Living Longer

Estradiol levels that are either too low or too high increase mortality risk in men with chronic heart failure, according to a new study published in the influential Journal of the American Medical Association.*

More than 500 subjects were followed for three years as investigators examined the relationship between serum levels of estradiol and risk of death among men with systolic chronic heart failure

Based on estradiol levels, subjects were assigned to one of five categories. Statistical analysis revealed that men with the lowest and the highest levels of estradiol were at increased risk of dying. Moderate levels of estradiol (21.8-30.1 pg/mL) were correlated with living longer.

These findings highlight the importance of optimal hormone levels in the pursuit of longevity.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* JAMA. 2009 May 13;301(18):1892-901.

Ginger Reduces Nausea in Cancer Patients

Ginger Reduces Nausea in Cancer Patients

Daily ginger supplements relieved nausea among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, according to a study presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.* Nausea and vomiting affect about 70% of patients during chemotherapy.

Cancer patients were enrolled if they had already experienced nausea during chemotherapy and were scheduled to undergo further treatments. Four groups were randomly assigned to take either a placebo or ginger at various doses (0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 g/day), in addition to standard anti-vomiting drugs, beginning before the next chemotherapy cycle. Patients rated their level of nausea on a seven-point scale during days 1-4 of the following cycle.

A total of 644 patients were included, mainly women (90%) with breast cancer (66%). Nausea was significantly decreased by day 1 in all of the ginger groups, especially at the doses of 0.5 and 1.0 g/day. Nausea scores remained markedly higher in the placebo group.

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS

Reference

* J Clin Oncol. 2009;27(suppl):15s. Abstract 9511.

Diabetic Nerve Damage Tied to High Triglyceride Levels

Diabetic Nerve Damage Tied to High Triglyceride Levels

New evidence suggests that progression of diabetic neuropathy is closely tied to elevated triglyceride levels among diabetics.* Characterized by pain, tingling, and possible loss of function in affected extremities, diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of type 2 diabetes.

Investigators conducted two identical controlled trials in patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy. They examined specific nerves in the lower leg, measuring parameters such as myelinated fiber density and nerve conduction velocity. These parameters were reassessed one year later. Subjects exhibiting further deterioration in nerve function were diagnosed with progressive disease. Comparing baseline health parameters with disease progression, investigators concluded that only baseline triglyceride levels were predictive of progressive diabetic neuropathy.

“These data support the evolving concept that [high blood lipid levels are] instrumental in the progression of diabetic neuropathy,” researchers concluded.

—Dale Kiefer

Reference

* Diabetes. 2009 May 1.