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Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine February 2012
In The News

Sugary Drinks May Increase Heart Disease Risks for Women

Sugary Drinks May Increase Heart Disease Risks for Women

A presentation at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida stated that women’s risk for developing heart disease and diabetes may increase if they consume two or more sugar-sweetened drinks daily.*

The announcement was based on a study performed by Christina Shay and her colleagues at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Shay assessed the drinking habits of over 4,100 women and men aged 45 to 84 from various ethnic groups with questionnaires. None of the participants had heart disease at the start of the program. The researchers evaluated each individual for weight gain, waist circumference, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and glucose over a five-year span.

The evaluation found that middle-aged women who drank two or more sugary drinks a day were close to four times as likely to have high levels of dangerous blood fats called triglycerides and impaired blood sugar levels, known as prediabetes. The same results were not found in men.

Editor’s Note: Life Extension® has long warned about the dangers of elevated blood sugar and has urged readers to avoid sugary beverages at all costs.

- J. Finkel

Reference

* American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011. Orlando, Florida. November 12-16, 2011.

Resveratrol Mimics Calorie Restriction’s Effects on Metabolism in Clinical Trial

Patrick Schrauwen and his associates report in Cell Metabolism that men supplementing with resveratrol experienced metabolic effects similar to those observed in animal studies of calorie restriction.* Resveratrol is a compound that occurs in red grapes, wine, and other plant foods. The current trial is the first to evaluate resveratrol’s metabolic effects in humans.

In a randomized, crossover study, eleven obese men received a placebo or 150 milligrams trans-resveratrol for 30 days each. Body mass index, whole-body energy expenditure, lipid storage, plasma markers of metabolic function, and other values were measured before and after treatment.

“We demonstrate beneficial effects of resveratrol supplementation for 30 days on the metabolic profile in healthy obese males, which seems to reflect effects observed during calorie restriction,” the authors write. “Although most of the effects that we observed were modest, they were very consistently pointing toward beneficial metabolic adaptations.”

Editor’s Note: The authors conclude that “Future studies should investigate the long-term and dose-dependent metabolic effects of resveratrol supplementation in order to further establish whether resveratrol supplementation has the potential to overcome the metabolic aberrations that are associated with obesity in humans.”

- D. Dye

Reference

* Cell Metab. 2011 Nov 2;14(5):612-22.

Whey Prevents Loss of Essential Muscle in Dieting Older Women

Age-related loss of muscle mass, called sarcopenia, negatively impacts an aging adult’s ability to function through daily life tasks, such as climbing stairs and lifting grocery bags. During a period of restricted calories, such as experienced while dieting, the loss of muscle mass is often accelerated further.

Whey protein may be able to counter that loss of muscle during a diet. In a recent six-month, double-blind study, 31 postmenopausal obese women were divided into two groups.* Both groups followed a 1,400-calorie restricted diet based on the USDA’s recommendations. One group received a 50 g whey protein supplement (2 x 25g) in the morning and evening; the other received carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin at an equal dose.

This study found that women fed the whey not only lost 3.9% more weight using the whey, but gained 5.8% more thigh muscle vs. the group getting the additional carbohydrates. Whey protein has a number of mechanisms that assist with weight loss and this latest study that finds it may preserve muscle mass adds to the long list of possible benefits of whey.

- W. Brink

Reference

* J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Nov;66(11):1218-25.

Supplementing a Low-Fat Diet with Fish Oil Reduces Prostate Cancer Growth

Supplementing a Low-Fat Diet with Fish Oil Reduces Prostate Cancer Growth

In an article published in Cancer Prevention Research, William Aronson and his associates report a benefit for a low-fat diet supplemented with fish oil in retarding the growth of prostate cancer.*

The current trial enrolled prostate cancer patients scheduled for surgical removal of the prostate gland. Four to 6 weeks prior to surgery, the men were divided to receive a diet in which 15% of calories were provided by fat, supplemented with 5 grams of fish oil per day.

Men who received fish oil had higher cell membrane levels of omega-3 and reduced omega-6 fatty acids at the end of the treatment period. Examination of the excised prostate glands found a reduced rate of cell proliferation in the fish oil-supplemented group as evidenced by staining with an antibody against a protein involved in cell growth.

Editor’s Note: Fish oil is high in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid that help combat pro-inflammatory compounds such as 5-lipoxygenase and leukotriene B4 that stimulate prostate cancer cell propagation.

- D. Dye

Reference

* Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Oct 25.

Regular Aspirin Use Cuts Hereditary Cancer Risk in Half

Regular Aspirin Use Cuts Hereditary Cancer Risk in Half

A study reported in Lancet found that using aspirin on a regular basis reduces the risk of developing hereditary cancers by 50% among those with an inherited disorder known as Lynch syndrome.* Lynch syndrome is caused by defects in genes responsible for detecting and repairing damaged DNA, which significantly increases the risk of cancer (primarily of the colon or uterus) in those affected by the disorder.

Professor Patrick Morrison of Queen’s University in Belfast and his colleagues analyzed data from nearly a thousand men and women with Lynch syndrome for the current study. In a decade of follow-up (sometimes a little longer), approximately 15% of the participants who reported regular aspirin use developed cancer, compared to 30% of those who did not regularly use the drug. The researchers suggest that aspirin could be destroying precancerous cells.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Morrison added that, “We aim now to go forward with another trial to assess the most effective dosage of aspirin for hereditary cancer prevention and to look at the use of aspirin in the general population as a way of reducing the risk of bowel cancer.”

- D. Dye

Reference

* Lancet. 2011 Oct 27.

N-acetyl Cysteine Helps Reverse DNA Damage Associated with Premature Aging

Human Molecular Genetics published a report concerning the discovery of a possible benefit for N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) in preventing and repairing DNA damage in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), one of several inherited diseases known as a laminopathies.*

Christopher J. Hutchison and his associates note that, “Fibroblasts from patients with the severe laminopathy diseases, restrictive dermopathy and Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome are characterized by poor growth in culture, the presence of abnormally shaped nuclei, and the accumulation of DNA double-strand breaks.” The team determined that the poor growth and double-strand breaks observed in the diseases are caused by high amounts of reactive oxygen species, as well as increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. While tests of normal fibroblasts showed efficient repair of double-strand breaks induced by reactive oxygen species, these breaks were unrepairable in fibroblasts from patients with laminopathy diseases. However, administration of NAC reduced DNA double-strand breaks, eliminated unrepairable reactive oxygen species-induced breaks, and improved growth.

Editor’s Note: Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome is a disease of premature aging in children that results in growth failure, the early appearance of degenerative diseases, and death between 8 and 21 years of age. “We’ve found that DNA damage can be controlled and our findings could be an important step to helping both children with progeria and older people to live lives that are less debilitating in terms of health problems,” Dr. Hutchison remarked.

- D. Dye

Reference

* Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Oct 15;20(20):3997-4004.

Long-Term Pomegranate Consumption Associated with Reduction of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Dialysis Patients

Long-Term Pomegranate Consumption Associated with Reduction of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Dialysis Patients

A presentation at the American Society of Nephrology’s Annual Kidney Week revealed the finding of Lilach Shema, PhD, and colleagues of a benefit for pomegranate juice in the prevention of increased heart disease risk factors in patients undergoing hemodialysis for kidney failure.*

One hundred and one dialysis patients were randomized to receive approximately 3.5 ounces pomegranate juice or a placebo three times per week for one year. Blood pressure, antihypertensive drug use, serum lipids, and carotid artery intima-media thickness (which measures atherosclerotic plaque) were assessed before and after the treatment period.

At the study’s conclusion, 22% of those who received pomegranate juice reported using fewer antihypertensive medications, compared with 7.7% of the placebo group. Blood pressure, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels improved over time among those who received pomegranate juice, but not in those who received a placebo.

Editor’s Note: While atherosclerosis increased in half of subjects who received a placebo, just 5% of those who received pomegranate experienced an increase and 25% had a decrease. No placebo patients experienced improvements.

- D. Dye

Reference

* American Society of Nephrology’s Annual Kidney Week. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. November 8-13, 2011.

Reduced Vitamin C Intake Among Heart Failure Patients Associated with Increased Mortality Over One Year

At the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011, it was reported that heart failure patients have a greater risk of inflammation and death over follow-up when consuming a diet that provides an inadequate amount of vitamin C.*

Eun Kyeung Song, PhD, and associates measured C-reactive protein (CRP) in 212 men and women diagnosed with heart failure. Food diaries were analyzed for the intake of vitamin C. Participants were followed for a year, during which 61 subjects experienced cardiac events or death due to cardiac causes.

Having a low intake of vitamin C was associated with a 2.4 times greater risk of having elevated CRP levels compared to those whose intake was adequate. Subjects who had reduced dietary vitamin C and high CRP had almost twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease over follow-up than those who had a greater intake of the vitamin and lower CRP levels.

Editor’s Note: C-reactive protein (CRP) increases with inflammation and is a risk factor for heart disease.

- D. Dye

Reference

* American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011. Orlando, Florida. November 12-16, 2011.

BPA Levels Rise 1,221% After Five Days Eating Canned Soup

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that volunteers who had one can of soup per day for five days had urine BPA (bisphenol A) levels rise by over 1,221% compared to people who consumed fresh soup over the same time period.*

Bisphenol A or BPA, is an organic compound that is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. It is added to the lining of foods and drink cans and some studies have shown that it interferes with reproductive development in animals. BPA levels have also been associated with a higher risk of developing several diseases and conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

The lead author, doctoral student Jenny Carwile stated that, “Previous studies have linked elevated BPA levels with adverse health effects. The next step was to figure out how people are getting exposed to BPA. We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.”

Editor’s note: Life Extension went to great lengths to encase its cruciferous vegetable soups in pouches that are free of BPA.

- J. Finkel

Reference

* JAMA. 2011 Nov 23;306(20):2218-20.

Stroke Risk Declines with Greater Number of Healthy Lifestyle Factors

Stroke Risk Declines with Greater Number of Healthy Lifestyle Factors

The Archives of Internal Medicine reports that the greater number of healthy lifestyle factors one has, the more protection one gains against stroke.*

Gang Hu, MD, PhD, and colleagues analyzed data from 17,287 men and 19,399 women who participated in surveys in 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002. Participants were followed through 2007, during which 1,167 ischemic strokes and 311 hemorrhagic strokes occurred.

Lifestyle factors evaluated in the study included being a nonsmoker, having a body mass index of less than 25, engaging in light to moderate physical activity, consuming vegetables at least three times per week, and having a light to moderate weekly intake of alcohol. Compared to the risk of stroke experienced by those having one or fewer factors, having two, three, four, and five factors was associated with a 34%, 43%, 49%, and 67% adjusted reduction.

Editor’s Note: When stroke was analyzed according to type, having two, three, four, and five factors was associated with a 33%, 40%, 50%, and 70% lower risk of ischemic stroke and a 37%, 51%, 51%, and 60% decreased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

- D. Dye

Reference

* Arch Intern Med. 2011 Nov 14;171(20):1811-8.

Low-Carb Diet May Slow Tumor Growth

Low-Carb Diet May Slow Tumor Growth

Researchers from the Terry Fox Laboratory in Vancouver, British Columbia recently concluded that a diet low in carbohydrates may slow the growth of tumors.*

During their study, scientists compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet to that of a typical “Western” diet in a group of mice. A typical “Western” diet is characterized as being high in carbohydrates and low in protein. The mice were divided into two sub-groups, with one group eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, and another eating the reverse. Both groups were fed equal calories.

The researchers found that both murine (mice) and human carcinomas grew slower in mice fed diets containing low carbohydrates/high protein compared with a Western diet. Mice fed the lower carbohydrate diet exhibited lower blood glucose, insulin, and lactate levels. In an important development for Life Extension® readers, mice that were genetically predisposed to develop breast cancer that were fed a Western diet had rates of cancer nearly 50% by the age of one year, whereas no tumors were detected in mice being fed the low-carbohydrate diet over the same time

- W. Brink

Reference

* Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 1;71(13):4484-93.