Life Extension Final Clerance Sale

Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine February 2010
In The News

Obesity Responsible for 100,000 Cancer Cases Annually

Obesity Responsible for 100,000 Cancer Cases Annually

A recent report from the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) states that excess body fat is now seen as a major cause of cancer.* Researchers at AICR studied seven cancers known to have links with obesity and calculated the actual case counts that were likely to have been caused by obesity. The numbers are staggering, including 49% of endometrial cancers, 35% of esophageal cancers, 28% of pancreatic cancers, 24% of kidney cancers, 21% of gallbladder cancers, 17% of breast cancers, and 9% of colorectal cancers.

Laurence Kolonel, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and AICR/WCRF expert panel member, presented the new preventability estimates and reviewed the evidence linking obesity to cancer risk. “We now know that carrying excess body fat plays a central role in many of the most common cancers,” he said. “And it’s clearer than ever that obesity’s impact is felt before, during and after cancer—it increases risk, makes treatment more difficult and shortens survival.”

Recent findings also suggest that excess body fat lowers immune function and increases oxidative stress, which can lead to DNA damage.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Available at: http://www.aicr.org/site/News2?abbr=pr_&page=NewsArticle&id=17333&news_iv_ctrl=1102. Accessed December 1, 2009.

Elevated Homocysteine Associated with Doubling of Women’s Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Elevated Homocysteine Associated with Doubling of Women’s Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

A thesis composed by Dr. Dimitri Zylberstein at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden links high levels of homocysteine in women with twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those with low levels.*

Dr. Zylberstein reports the results of a study involving participants in the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg. The women were followed for 35 years, making it the longest study to evaluate the relationship between homocysteine level and dementia.

“Alzheimer’s disease was more than twice as common among the women with the highest levels of homocysteine than among those with the lowest, and the risk for any kind of dementia was 70% higher,” revealed Dr. Zylberstein.

Although elevated homocysteine can be the result of vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies, it can also occur when vitamin status is considered normal according to current standards.

Editor’s note: Homocysteine can be reduced by taking folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 supplements. Those with stubbornly high homocysteine can sometimes lower it by taking 1,000-3,000 mg of trimethylglycine (TMG) each day. Those with intractably high homocysteine should take the metabolically active form of folic called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the daily dose of 2,000 mcg to over 10,000 mcg. Optimal homocysteine blood levels are below 7-8 µmol/L.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

*Dr. Dimitri Zylberstein thesis presented at the University of Gothenburg.

Long-term High Dose Vitamin D Well Tolerated

A letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that treatment with 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week was safe over an 8-week period, and could also be used every other week as maintenance.*

The researchers reviewed the records of 86 patients treated for vitamin D insufficiency. Forty-one subjects received 50,000 IU vitamin D2 weekly for 8 weeks followed by a maintenance dose of 50,000 IU every other week for up to 6 years. The remainder of the patients received every-other-week maintenance therapy.

For patients who received the starting therapy, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels rose to 37.2 ng/mL after 8 weeks. Maintenance therapy increased these levels to 46.9 ng/mL. For those who received only maintenance therapy, vitamin D levels increased to 47 ng/mL.

“While treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency, these large doses of vitamin D2 do not lead to vitamin D toxicity,” researcher Michael Holick concluded.

Editor’s note: It is interesting to see that even when these high doses of vitamin D are used, the average study subject did not attain optimal vitamin D blood levels of greater than 50 ng/mL. This further validates the importance for most people to take at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day for 60-90 days and then have their blood tested for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Dosage adjustment can then be made to achieve optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D status, which based upon the current scientific literature appears to be 50-80 ng/mL.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Arch Int Med. 2009 Oct 26;169(19).

Vitamin E Beats Drug Treatment for Liver Disease

Vitamin E Beats Drug Treatment for Liver Disease

At the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Arun Sanyal, MD of Virginia Commonwealth University reported the results of a trial which found that vitamin E was more successful than the antidiabetic drug pioglitazone at treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).* Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a progressive liver disease associated with fatty liver, insulin resistance, and obesity.

The study included 247 patients whose liver biopsies confirmed NASH within six months of the trial. Participants were randomized to receive 30 mg per day of pioglitazone, 800 IU per day vitamin E, or a placebo for 96 weeks.

While disease activity scores improved in 19% of the placebo patients, 34% of those who received pioglitazone and 43% of those who received vitamin E had improved scores.

The trial is the first large study to demonstrate a benefit for vitamin E in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis treatment.

Editor’s note: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease) can be effectively treated by losing weight and suppressing chronic inflammatory reactions in the body. The best nutrient to consider is polyenylphosphatidylcholine in the dose of 1,800 to 2,700 mg a day.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Green Tea May Help Protect Against Oral Cancer

Green Tea May Help Protect Against Oral Cancer

An article published in a recent issue of Cancer Prevention Research describes a protective effect for green tea against the progression of oral lesions that are at high risk of developing into cancer.*

Forty-one patients with oral premalignant lesions were randomized to receive one of three concentrations of a green tea extract or a placebo 3 times daily for 12 weeks. Among participants who received the highest concentrations of tea extract, 58.8% showed partial clinical responses, defined as improvement in degree of maturation of epithelium with no new lesions or progression, while complete or partial responses were observed in 36.4% of those who received the lowest extract dose and 18.2% of those who received the placebo.

The trial is the first to test the effects of green tea as a cancer preventive among those with premalignant oral lesions.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res. 2009 Nov; 2(11):919-21.

Heart Disease, Stroke, Heart Failure, and Premature Death All Linked to Insufficient Vitamin D Levels

Heart Disease, Stroke, Heart Failure, and Premature Death All Linked to Insufficient Vitamin D Levels

The results of a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Conference in Orlando confirmed a strong association between the presence of reduced vitamin D levels and a greater risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, and dying over follow-up in men and women 50 years of age and older.*

Brent Muhlestein, MD and his colleagues followed 27,686 subjects with no history of heart disease for an average of 1.2 years. Those with very low vitamin D levels were 45% likelier to develop heart disease, twice as likely to develop heart failure, 78% more likely to experience a stroke, and 77% likelier to die than those with normal levels.

“This was a unique study because the association between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease has not been well-established,” Dr. Muhlestein commented.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

*American Heart Association’s Scientific Conference in Orlando.

Vitamin Treatment Improves ED in Men with Elevated Homocysteine

An article published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine describes research conducted at the University of Rome which found that it may be necessary to reduce homocysteine before treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) can be effective.*

The study included 75 men with erectile dysfunction who were treated with sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) for 2 months. Nonresponders to the drug were treated with 600 mg vitamin B6 per week and 15 mg folic acid per day along with sildenafil for 6 weeks.

All of the 18 patients who initially failed to respond to drug treatment had high levels of homocysteine and low folic acid levels. Subsequent to the 6 week course of vitamin therapy, all but two participants experienced improvement in ED.

The association of hyperhomocysteinemia with vascular disease supports the mechanism for homocysteine-reducing agents in improving ED, which is caused primarily by the same factors that affect the coronary arteries.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* J Sex Med. 2009 Aug 17.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Boost Glucosamine’s Arthritis Benefit

In a recent issue of the journal Advances in Therapy, German researchers report that the addition of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to glucosamine sulfate resulted in improved alleviation of symptoms compared to glucosamine alone.*

The researchers enrolled 177 men and women moderate-to-severe hip or knee osteoarthritis. Participants were randomized to receive glucosamine sulfate with or without the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for 26 weeks.

When an at least 80% reduction in pain was evaluated, 44% of those in the combination group compared to 32% of those who received only glucosamine were categorized as responders. Combination therapy was received by twice as many patients who reported a 90 to 100% reduction in pain compared to those who received glucosamine alone.

The authors remark that while glucosamine sulfate improves cartilage metabolism, EPA and DHA further reduce degradation by suppressing inflammation, which lowers swelling and pain.

Editor’s note: Life Extension members have long been advised to use a combination of glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate along with omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help manage arthritis. Life Extension suggests 1,400 mg EPA and 1,000 mg DHA per day, such as are supplied by two Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract, along with 1,500 mg glucosamine and 1,000 mg chondroitin.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Advances in Therapy. 2009 Sep;26(9).

Soy Shows Promise for Colon Cancer Prevention

Soy Shows Promise for Colon Cancer Prevention

An article featured in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Research reveals the discovery of a team at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland of compounds occurring in soy that could help prevent and possibly treat colon cancer.*

Julie Saba, MD and her associates discovered that natural lipid molecules called sphingadienes may be responsible for some of the cancer-preventive benefits found in soy. They first identified the compounds in fruit flies and found that they had the effect of inducing the death of mutant cells. 

“It’s very exciting,” enthused Dr. Saba. “First, we are encouraged to find a natural molecule that could be consumed through soy products as a strategy to help prevent colon cancer. Second, this information is important because we can build on our understanding of the structure and metabolism of sphingadienes in terms of developing new drugs to treat people who already have colon cancer.”

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Cancer Research. 2009 Dec. 15.

Antioxidants Could Offer Protection to the Lungs During Flu Season

Soy Shows Promise for Colon Cancer Prevention

A report published in a recent issue of the FASEB Journal revealed a protective effect for antioxidants against lung damage caused by influenza.

Sadis Matalon and colleagues at the University of Alabama demonstrated that the virus damages the lungs via its M2 protein, which attacks the cells of the lungs’ lining by disrupting their ability to remove fluid. In an experiment using human airway cells, those transfected with M2 revealed increased levels of damaging molecules known as reactive oxygen species. Co-administration of M2 with glutathione ester (an antioxidant compound) prevented M2 from causing damage.

“The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlight the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new treatments,” Dr. Matalon remarked. “Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the treatment of flu.”

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Available at: http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/11/3829.
Accessed December 1, 2009.

Resveratrol May Prove to be HRT Alternative

Resveratrol May Prove to be HRT Alternative

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that resveratrol may possibly offer a safer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) alternative and chemoprevention of breast cancer because of its estrogenic activity and high antitumor activity.*

Resveratrol is a phytoestrogen, which is a natural plant substance found in foods such as grape skins and red wine that display weak estrogen-like activity toward mammals. The directive of the study was to assess the estrogen-like effects and antitumor effects of individual dietary phytoestrogens by analyzing their effects on tumor cell growth, cell cycle activity and apoptosis (programmed cell death).

“Because it (resveratrol) stimulated the transcription of endogenous estrogen receptor (ER) and proapoptotic effects, this phytoestrogen is the most promising candidate as an HRT alternative and chemopreventive reagent for breast cancer,” the researchers concluded.

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Oct 2.