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Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine February 2011
Report

Broad-Spectrum Disease Defense with Novel Berry Extract

By Kirk Stokel

Combating Diabesity and the Metabolic Syndrome

The combination of obesity and diabetes has been referred to as “diabesity,” and is widely recognized as a precursor to metabolic syndrome.43 Scientists have convincingly demonstrated that C3G suppresses body weight gain in animals given a high fat diet.44 Astonishingly, the supplementation also completely normalized blood sugar and insulin elevations, and blocked elevation of the fat-associated cytokine leptin. These researchers also showed that C3G enhances secretion of beneficial cytokines such as adiponectin, which can help prevent progression to diabetes.45 These effects are produced by beneficial changes in expression of hundreds of genes.15

C3G also lowers blood sugar and enhances insulin sensitivity by downregulating a fat-related cytokine that contributes to insulin resistance.14

An astonishing and yet-to-be fully explored benefit of the anthocyanins is their ability to inhibit intestinal enzymes that break down starch for absorption. By blocking those enzymes, calories contained in starch remain in the intestinal tract and can’t contribute to weight gain. C3G and others in its family offer potent suppression of intestinal alpha-glucosidase and pancreatic alpha-amylase, two enzymes that can cause excess glucose absorption to occur.46-48

Why Anthocyanins Are So Potent
Why Anthocyanins Are So Potent

Cyanin molecules take their name from their deep blue color (“cyan” is derived from the Greek word meaning “pure dark blue”). Anthocyanins, the family to which C3G belongs, impart brilliant blue-to-purple colors in many fruits and vegetables.49 That coloration is not a coincidence; the chemical double-bonds in anthocyanins produce both their vivid color and their antioxidant activity.50

Diets rich in anthocyanins are well-known to reduce the risks of almost all age-related chronic diseases.51,52 Anthocyanins are well-absorbed as intact molecules, and they also undergo changes in the intestinal tract that can enhance their protective effects.53,54 Those benefits are available both to otherwise healthy people and those with existing metabolic risk factors.55 Maturing individuals should strive for intake of the equivalent of at least 5 servings of anthocyanin-rich foods daily.

C3G Restores Night Vision

The ability to see well in low-light conditions deteriorates rapidly with age, placing maturing individuals in greater danger of accidental falls, car accidents, and other preventable, injurious hazards. A primary cause of this so-called “night blindness” is light damage and oxidative stress in the retina. The retina is constantly exposed to highly focused beams of light, which include dangerous ultraviolet radiation.

C3G offers protection at several vital levels in the chain of events leading to heart attacks and stroke.

C3G plays a unique role in protecting retinal tissue from damage. It works by multiple mechanisms at several sites in the retina. Most importantly, C3G stimulates regeneration of the retinal pigment called rhodopsin.56 Rhodopsin is vital to vision in dim light. When depleted, rhodopsin takes longer to return to its normal, light-sensitive state. C3G increases the restoration of rhodopsin levels.57,58

C3G also serves to protect retinal cells against the harmful oxidation that is triggered by light.59 It accomplishes this by reducing the accumulation of a fluorescent pigment called A2E that amasses with age and interferes with normal retinal function. C3G’s ability to quench oxygen free radicals is credited with this effect.59

Retinal cells are nerve cells that are capable of transmitting electrical signals. C3G and other cyanidin components of berries have neuroprotective effects on retinal cells.60

Summary

Plant-based nutrients known as anthocyanins and their major component, C3G, afford aging humans multimodal protection against a broad spectrum of degenerative diseases. C3G offers comprehensive antioxidant protection, powerful control of inflammation at multiple levels, marked reduction in DNA damage, and beneficial regulatory effects on hundreds of vital genes. It confers real-world protection against age-related conditions ranging from night blindness to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Why Humans Suffer Night Blindness
Why Anthocyanins Are So Potent

At any age, under specific conditions, humans can be easily blinded, either by extremely bright light or total darkness. This is why law enforcement officers will often shine a floodlight on individuals they wish to apprehend at night. It overwhelms the eyes’ ability to make out any distinct image. This phenomenon touches specifically upon the danger of night blindness in aging humans.

Humans did not evolve the ability to see well in darkness. Aging is directly linked with a progressive and inevitable decline in your ability to see in dim-light conditions.61 The reason for this lies in the underlying mechanism of a highly reactive molecular compound unique to retinal tissue called rhodopsin.

Rhodopsin concentrates in the rod cells of the retina, which extend into the brain’s visual centers. Rod cells specifically enable perception of the contrast between light and dark (as opposed to the cone cells, which govern the perception of color).

When light strikes rhodopsin, it immediately breaks down into two distinct compounds: the protein opsin and the carotenoid pigment retinal.62 These two compounds generate electrochemical impulses that register in the brain as light or dark.63

The problem lies in the amount of time it takes for rhodopsin to reconstitute in the eye and restore your ability to see in dark conditions.64 Depending on your age and nutritional profile, it can take tens of minutes for the component molecules retinal and opsin to recombine into rhodopsin to restore your night vision.64

This interval of time poses the greatest risk of nightfalls, accidents, and other hazards, as your ability to perceive light and dark is almost entirely impaired. Picture the amount of time it takes for you to make out images clearly after moving from a brightly lit room to one that is almost completely dark. Or the amount of time your eyes require to see clearly again after having been blinded by a white light.

During this period, humans are virtually blind, unable to distinguish even the nearest objects with any clarity. As you grow older, this interval of blindness increases dramatically. C3G promotes the regeneration of rhodopsin, thus helping to improve vision in dark conditions.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

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