Life Extension Update Exclusive
Meta-analysis confirms vegetable/fruit benefit in stroke prevention
In case anyone needs yet another compelling reason to eat more fruits and vegetables, the results of a meta-analysis published in the January 28, 2006 issue of The Lancet showed that consuming more than five servings per day reduces stroke risk by 26 percent. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the majority of developed countries, and the leading cause of disability.
Feng He, PhD, of St. George's University of London and colleagues analyzed data from eight studies that examined the association of vegetable and fruit intake with the risk of stroke. The combined studies included at total of 257,531 men and women among whom there occurred 4,917 stroke events. Food frequency questionnaires or dietary history interviews were completed at the beginning of the studies, and the subjects were followed for a median of 13 years.
The analysis found that eating three to five servings fruit and vegetables per day reduced the risk of stroke by 11 percent compared to individuals who consumed fewer than 3 servings. Subjects whose intake was greater than five servings per day experienced a relative reduction of 26%.
The authors could not say whether some specific types of vegetables and fruits are better than others, but note that an overall increase in their consumption should be of benefit for stroke protection. Increased intake of potassium, folate, fiber and/or antioxidants could explain the benefits of vegetables and fruits revealed in this meta-analysis. They conclude, "The average fruit and vegetable intake in most developed countries is about three servings per day, and current recommendations encourage five or more servings per day. Our results provide strong support for these recommendations. If these goals were achieved, stroke morbidity and mortality would be greatly reduced. Such diet modifications would also reduce other cardiovascular disease and some cancers."
In an accompanying commentary, Lynn M Steffen, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, noted that fewer than 25 percent of adults in the U.S. consume five or more servings of vegetables and fruit per day, and recommends the implementation of public health strategies to achieve this goal. In a graph included with the article, low fruit and vegetable intake ranked fifth as a modifiable risk factor in its contribution to worldwide deaths for the year 2000.
In the 1960s hypertension was identified as a treatable risk factor for stroke, and the decline in the incidence of and mortality from a stroke began when doctors began implementing aggressive anti-hypertensive therapies. In the 1970s aspirin was first demonstrated effective in preventing strokes, though few doctors prescribe aspirin even to this day to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Cigarette smoking has been proven conclusively as a major risk factor for stroke, and smoking cessation produces a significant risk reduction within 2 years.
Researchers now believe there are an immense number of mechanisms at work causing brain cell damage and death following a stroke. Each of these mechanisms represents a potential route for intervention, as well as prevention. Given the multidimensional nature of ischemic brain cell injury, stroke experts predict that no single drug will be able to completely protect the brain during a stroke. More likely, a combination of agents will be necessary for full recovery potential.
Most strokes culminate in a core area of cell death (infarction) in which blood flow is so drastically reduced that the cells usually cannot recover. This threshold seems to occur when cerebral blood flow is 20% of normal or less. Brain cells ultimately die as a result of the actions of calcium-activated proteases (enzymes which digest cell proteins), lipases (enzymes which digest cell membranes), and free radicals formed as a result of the ischemic cascade.
If you know an ischemic stroke is occurring, large quantities of antioxidant vitamins and herbs such as ginkgo biloba would be of benefit. Magnesium in an oral dose of 1500 mg is a safe nutrient to relieve an arterial spasm, a common problem in thrombotic strokes. If you take high-potency antioxidant nutrients at least 3 times a day, your chances of fully recovering from an ischemic stroke may be significantly improved.
Ginkgo Biloba Certified Extract
For nearly 2800 years the Chinese have used extracts from the Ginkgo biloba tree to treat a variety of conditions to maintain the healthy normal function of the brain, cardiovascular, blood and blood vessels, circulatory, and metabolic processes.
- Help to maintain normal circulation
- Help to maintain the normal function and tone of blood vessels
- Maintain oxygen and glucose metabolism in the brain
- Prevent capillary fragility and blood leakage into surrounding tissue
- Help the normal function of factors that maintain a normal blood flow
- Maintain normal coagulation of blood
- Reduce tissue damage caused by low blood flow
- May help control radiation-induced brain edema in-vitro
- Help slow the aging process in the brain
Life Extension Mix
Public service campaigns are encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Despite years of media publicity, 85 percent of Americans are not even eating the minimum recommendation of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Those who do report eating some produce often fail to consume the yellow and purple colored plants that are critical components of such a program.
Life Extension Mix™ contains 93 unique vegetable, fruit, and herbal extracts along with high-potency amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and special antioxidants. The Life Extension Mix formula is fortified with botanical extracts that help maintain healthy cells via physiological processes separate from traditional antioxidants. Consumption of these types of plants is being recommended based on research emanating from the world's most prestigious medical centers.
Life Extension Magazine January 2006
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