Life Extension Magazine March 2011
In The News
An article published in The Lancet reveals a protective effect of low dose aspirin against the risk of dying from a number of cancers. “These findings provide the first proof in man that aspirin reduces deaths due to several common cancers,” the authors announce.*
Peter Rothwell and his colleagues pooled data from 8 randomized trials comparing the use of aspirin to no aspirin or another blood thinning agent to prevent vascular disease. Those who received aspirin had a 21% lower risk of dying from cancer over the treatment periods compared to those who did not receive the drug. Further analysis found a significant benefit after 5 years of follow-up, with aspirin use associated with a 34% lower risk of dying from all cancers and a 54% lower risk of dying from gastrointestinal cancer. Doses of aspirin higher than 75 milligrams were not associated with increased protection.
Editor’s note: “Perhaps the most important finding for the longer-term is the proof of principle that cancers can be prevented by simple compounds like aspirin and that ‘chemoprevention’ is therefore a realistic goal for future research with other compounds,” Dr. Rothwell stated.
* Lancet. 2010 Dec 7.
A trial described in the journal Gynecological Endocrinology found that the B vitamin folic acid significantly reduced the number and intensity of hot flashes experienced by a group of menopausal women.*
Brain release of the hormone norepinephrine and its metabolite MHPG has been found to be higher in women who experience hot flashes than in those who do not. In the current research, 46 women suffering from hot flashes were divided to receive 5 milligrams folic acid or a placebo daily for four weeks.
Nine of the women who received folic acid experienced complete elimination of hot flashes, and six had moderate improvement. Only one woman in the placebo group experienced a complete response. Participants who received folic acid also experienced a reduction in plasma MHPG. A review subsequent to the treatment period found that hot flashes returned in all subjects who had experienced improvement when supplementing with folic acid.
Editor’s note: While hormone replacement therapy is helpful in alleviating hot flashes, there are some women whose medical conditions preclude its safe usage.
* Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Sep;26(9):658-62.
In the Journal of Nutrition, an international team of researchers report an association between an increased intake of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine and a reduced risk of being overweight or obese.*
The team analyzed data from 4,429 men and women enrolled in the INTERMAP Study, a cross-sectional investigation of individuals residing in Japan, China, the UK, and the US. Increased consumption of branched-chain amino acids was associated with a lower adjusted risk of being overweight. For those whose intake was among the top 25% of participants, a 30% lower risk of being overweight was observed in comparison with those whose intake was lowest. Obesity among British and American subjects also had an inverse association with branched-chain amino acid intake, with a 25% lower risk occurring among participants whose BCAA intake was highest compared to those whose intake was among the lowest fourth.
Editor’s note: In their discussion of possible protective mechanisms for the amino acids against weight gain, the authors write that leucine may increase energy expenditure, stimulate the hormone leptin, and possibly increase the activity of mTOR, which, like leptin, regulates energy balance. The branched-chain amino acids may also help reduce impaired glucose tolerance, which contributes to obesity.
* J Nutr. 2010 Dec 14.
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