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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine November 2010
In The News

Even Modest Weight Gain Still Dangerous for Blood Vessels

Even Modest Weight Gain Still Dangerous for Blood Vessels

A recent study performed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that putting on as little as 9 pounds of fat in the abdominal area puts even young, healthy people at risk for developing endothelial dysfunction.*

The study, led by Virend Somers, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, examined 43 healthy Mayo Clinic volunteers with a mean age of 29 years. The volunteers were then tested for endothelial dysfunction by measuring the blood flow through their arm arteries. Each person was assigned to either gain weight or maintain their weight for 8 weeks. The weight-gainers were then instructed to lose weight and were retested.

Of the volunteers who gained visceral fat (abdominal fat), researchers found that the regulation of blood flow through their arm arteries was impaired due to endothelial dysfunction. When the volunteers lost weight, the blood flow recovered.

“Endothelial dysfunction has long been associated with an increased risk for coronary artery disease and cardiovascular events,” Dr. Somers says. “Gaining a few pounds in college, on a cruise, or over the holidays is considered harmless, but it can have cardiovascular implications, especially if the weight is gained in the abdomen.”

—Jon Finkel

Reference

* Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2010-rst/5919.html. Accessed August 23, 2010.

Blueberries Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Metabolic Syndrome

Blueberries Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Metabolic Syndrome

An article published online in the Journal of Nutrition describes the outcome of a trial of obese men and women with metabolic syndrome which found a protective effect for blueberries against several cardiovascular disease risk factors.*

Researchers at Oklahoma State University randomized 4 men and 44 women to receive a beverage containing 50 grams freeze-dried blueberries or an equivalent amount of water daily for 8 weeks. At the treatment period’s conclusion, those who received blueberries had greater decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the controls. This group also experienced significantly greater reductions in plasma oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) and markers of oxidative stress.

“Our study findings suggest a cardioprotective role of dietary achievable doses of blueberries in men and women with metabolic syndrome, which includes a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressures and plasma ox-LDL and lipid peroxidation,” the authors write.

Editor’s note: A convenient year-round option is an encapsulated blueberry extract supplement.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Available at: http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/140/9/1582. Accessed August 23, 2010.

Greater Fiber Intake Associated with Reduced Heart Disease Mortality

The Journal of Nutrition reports a reduction in the risk of dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) among men and women who consumed high fiber diets.*

Researchers evaluated data from 58,730 participants in The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risks, carried out between 1988 and 1990. Follow-up was conducted until the end of 2003, during which 422 deaths from CHD, 983 from stroke and 675 from other cardiovascular disease were documented.

For men whose total, insoluble, and soluble fiber intakes were among the highest one-fifth of participants, there was a lower risk of dying of heart disease compared to those whose intakes were among the lowest fifth. Similar risk reductions were observed among women.

“Our results constitute supporting evidence that higher intake of both insoluble and soluble fiber, especially fruit and cereal fibers may contribute to the prevention of CHD in Japanese men and women,” the authors conclude.

Editor’s note: The authors list fiber’s cholesterol- and blood pressure-reducing effects, as well as its ability to improve insulin sensitivity, inhibit post-meal rises in glucose and triglycerides, and increase fibrinolytic activity, as mechanisms that prevent or delay the development of atherosclerosis.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Available at: http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/140/8/1445. Accessed August 23, 2010.

Resveratrol-containing Extract Suppresses Inflammation in Human Trial

Resveratrol-containing Extract Suppresses Inflammation in Human Trial

A report published online in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals the finding of a trial conducted at Kaleida Health’s Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York of an anti-inflammatory benefit for an extract of Polygonum cuspidatum, which contains resveratrol.*

Twenty healthy participants were randomized to receive a dose providing 40 milligrams resveratrol per day or a placebo for 6 weeks. Blood samples were analyzed for indices of oxidative and inflammatory stress, in addition to other factors.

The research team found a reduction in reactive oxygen species, which are unstable molecules that provoke oxidative stress and inflammation, in participants who received resveratrol. The resveratrol group also experienced a decrease in the inflammation protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha as well as inflammation markers interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP). “These actions, demonstrated for the first time in vivo, are consistent with potential anti-atherogenic and anti-aging effects,” the authors write.

Editor’s note: It is possible that Polygonum cuspidatum has other beneficial compounds in addition to resveratrol.

—D. Dye

Reference

* J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun 9.

Calorie Restriction, Exercise Rejuvenate Nerve Connections

An article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals a mechanism for exercise and calorie restriction in delaying some of the effects of aging.*

Joshua R. Sanes and his Harvard University colleagues compared a synapse known as the skeletal neuromuscular junction in young adult and aged mice. Synapses are the connections that exist between nerve cells or nerves and the muscles that they control. In young neuromuscular synapses, nerve endings match up with their receptors on muscle fibers, enabling efficient transmission of brain signals to the muscle. However, in aged synapses, nerve shrinkage can reduce contact with muscle receptors, leading to muscle wasting.

Dr. Sanes’ team found a variety of age-related differences between the synapses of the young and old mice. However, animals fed a calorie-restricted diet had reductions in these age-associated changes. Additionally, one month of exercise performed by 22-month-old mice partially reversed changes that had already occurred.

Editor’s note: The findings raise the question of whether calorie restriction mimetics might elicit similar benefits.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2010 Aug 17.

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