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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine June 2010
In The News

Green Tea Could Help Combat Diseases of the Eye

Green tea catechins are able to penetrate eye tissue, which may help protect against glaucoma and other eye diseases, according to Hong Kong researchers.

Chi Pui Pang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues orally administered a green tea extract to rats and measured catechin and 8-epi-isoprostane (a marker of oxidative stress) levels in the animals’ eye tissues at varying time points up to 20 hours later. The team found varying distribution of catechins throughout the animals’ cornea, lens, retina, choroid-sclera, vitreous humor, and aqueous humor. A significant reduction in 8-epi-isoprostane rapidly followed green tea administration and was well maintained in all tissue and fluid examined with the exception of the choroid-sclera, demonstrating the antioxidant activity of catechins absorbed by these areas.*

“Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress,” the authors conclude.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 10;58(3):1523-34.
Editor’s note: Delivery of orally consumed nutrients to the eye can be less than optimal. This study reassures those who consume green tea and green tea supplements that tea catechins do penetrate eye tissue to exert their antioxidant benefits.

Eating More Chocolate Associated with Fewer Cardiovascular Events

Eating More Chocolate Associated with Fewer Cardiovascular Events

An article published in the European Heart Journal reveals more good news for chocolate lovers: consuming as little as a square of chocolate per day could help reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease.*

Dr. Brian Buijsee of the German Institute of Human Nutrition and his colleagues analyzed data from 19,357 participants in the Potsdam arm of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer, which enrolled 27,548 middle aged men and women between 1994 and 1998. Subjects were followed for an average of 8 years.

Participants whose chocolate intake was among the highest 25% at an average of 7.5 grams per day had lower blood pressure and a 39% lower risk of experiencing heart attack or stroke compared to subjects whose intake was lowest at 1.7 grams per day.

The researchers attribute the benefits observed in this study to chocolate’s flavanol content.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Eur Heart J. 2010 Mar 31.
Editor’s note: Life Extension members obtain concentrated cocoa polyphenols (from dark chocolate) in many of the supplements they take.

Multinutrient Supplementation Reduces Body Fat and Lipids in Obese Women

An article published in the International Journal of Obesity reports a positive effect on fat loss and lipid lowering in obese women who consumed a daily multinutrient supplement.*

C. H. Sun and associates at Harbin Medical University randomized 96 women to receive a daily placebo, a calcium tablet, or a multivitamin and mineral supplement. After 26 weeks, women who received the multinutrient supplement had significantly lower body weight, body mass index, fat mass, respiratory quotient, and total and LDL cholesterol; and higher resting energy expenditure and HDL levels compared with placebo and baseline levels. Participants who received calcium alone had lower LDL and higher HDL levels than the placebo group at the trial’s conclusion.

“The findings of this study support the notion that besides calcium, obese individuals need other vitamins and minerals for balancing energy metabolism, controlling body weight and for improving lipid profiles,” the authors note.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Int J Obes. 2010 Feb 9.
Editor’s note: A multinutrient supplement not only ensures adequate vitamin and mineral intake while dieting, but, according to this study, may assist in weight loss.

DHA Destroys Neuroblastoma Cells

DHA Destroys Neuroblastoma Cells

A recent issue of the FASEB Journal reports the discovery of scientists at the Karolinska Institute of the ability of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, to kill neuroblastoma cells in vitro.*

Helena Gleissman, PhD and her colleagues tested the effect of DHA on cultured neuroblastoma cells and analyzed them for DHA’s metabolic byproducts. They found that while DHA itself destroyed the cancer cells, the fatty acid’s derivatives were even more effective at killing these cells.

The current study and previous research show that while DHA has been demonstrated to help protect neural cells from stress-induced apoptosis (programmed cell death), it also induces apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. “We hope that this study can provide a deeper understanding of the actions of omega-3 fatty acids and their products in cancer cells, and why they can be of such high importance in treatment of the disease,” Dr. Gleissman commented.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* FASEB J. 2010 Mar;24(3):906-15.
Editor’s note: The authors note that the finding may have implications for other cancers as well.

Soluble Fiber Improves Immune Function

Soluble Fiber Improves Immune Function

An article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity reports the finding of researchers at the University of Illinois that soluble fiber reduces inflammation and strengthens immune function.*

Gregory Freund and colleagues gave mice low fat diets containing insoluble fiber or soluble fiber from citrus pectin for 6 weeks, after which the animals received an injection of lipopolysaccharide, which elicits the effects of bacterial infection. “Two hours after lipopolysaccharide injection, the mice fed soluble fiber were only half as sick as the other group, and they recovered 50% sooner,” coauthor Christina Sherry reported. “And the differences between the groups continued to be pronounced all the way out to 24 hours. In only six weeks, these animals had profound, positive changes in their immune systems.”

“Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells—they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection,” Dr. Freund stated.

—Dayna Dye

Reference

* Brain, Behav, Immun. 2010 May.
Editor’s Note: Soluble fiber can be obtained by consuming oats, apples, barley, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, strawberries, lentils, and carrots, or by using powdered supplements.

Diets High in Fat Increase Risk of Macular Degeneration

Decreased consumption of fat in one’s diet may help protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to results of the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

For their research, the investigators followed nearly 2,000 women aged 50 to 79 as part of the larger Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Via the use of questionnaires and retinal photography, they concluded that women who consumed the highest levels of dietary polyunsaturated fats were approximately twice as likely to have AMD when compared to those women who consumed the least. However, monounsatured fatty acids were associated with a lower risk of AMD.*

“This research adds to the large body of evidence from other studies to suggest that high fat intake is associated with having AMD, but extends the evidence to include earlier stages of AMD,” researcher Niyati Parekh, PhD of New York University, told Life Extension.

Dr. Parekh further explained that despite their findings, they do not suggest distinguishing between different types of fat, as other factors may be involved. “The total level of fat intake was associated with higher odds for AMD, without distinction about ‘type’ of fat,” said Dr. Parekh. “In this sample, monounsaturated fats came largely from meat and milk rather than added fat. Therefore, we speculate that vitamins and minerals which accompanied these fats in food may explain lower risk for AMD in some women.”

—Marc Ellman, MD

Reference

* Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;127(11):1483-93.

Soy Protective Against Lung Cancer

Soy Protective Against Lung Cancer

Soy consumption may help prevent lung cancer, based on findings of a large prospective study performed in Japan. For their study, researchers followed more than 75,000 men and women over an average of 11 years and found that those who consumed the highest quantities of isoflavones, which are obtained primarily from soy products, had the lowest chance of developing lung cancer during the study period.*

Interestingly, the researchers found that the association between increased soy and decreased lung cancer held true only for men who never smoked, but not in current or previous smokers. The findings were similar in women, although less significant. They measured soy consumption via a questionnaire inquiring about soy-rich products including miso soup, soymilk, fermented soybeans, and various forms of tofu. They admit that not specifically inquiring about isoflavone supplement use was a limitation of their study.

—Marc Ellman, MD

Reference

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):722-8.

Vitamin C May Protect Against Glaucoma

Vitamin C May Protect Against Glaucoma

Vitamin C may be protective against normal-tension glaucoma, according to a Japanese study. Normal-tension glaucoma is a form of glaucoma where optic nerve damage continues despite relatively low intraocular pressures (as opposed to traditional glaucoma where the intraocular pressure is elevated). The researchers hypothesized that vitamin C may play a role in glaucoma due to its antioxidant properties and the fact that its concentration is 15 times higher in the aqueous fluid of the eye than it is in the blood.

For their study, the researchers at the glaucoma subspecialty clinic of Keio University Hospital measured blood levels of vitamins A, folic acid, C, E, and uric acid in 47 patients with newly-diagnosed normal-tension glaucoma. They found that vitamin C levels were significantly lower in normal-tension glaucoma patients than in healthy controls without glaucoma (4.6 µg/mL vs. 6.3 µg/mL). They also found that uric acid levels were higher in the glaucoma patients. The researchers did not find a statistical difference in levels of vitamins A, folic acid, or E.*

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest further study in alternative treatments for glaucoma. “Vitamin C supplementation may be an alternative therapy for normal-tension glaucoma,” lead researcher Kenya Yuki, MD, told Life Extension.

—Marc Ellman, MD

Reference

* Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2010 Feb;248(2):243-8.

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