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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 5/2/12.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Friend or Foe? Uric Acid a 'Probable Cause' of CVD - Medscape, 4/30/12 - "Using the electronic database of the HMO, Clalit, starting in 2002, Leiba et al compared a historical cohort of healthy adults (40–70 years) with low uric-acid levels (<3 mg/dL) with those who had normal values (3.1–6.8 mg/dL) during 10 years of follow-up ... After 10 years of follow-up, healthy subjects with normal uric-acid levels had a 53% higher risk of developing hypertension (HR 1.53; p<0.001) compared with the hypouricemic group ... the risks of developing new-onset diabetes and chronic kidney disease were almost doubled (HR 1.84, p<0.001; and HR 1.93, p=0.055, respectively) in the normal-uric-acid-level group compared with the hypouricemic group ... "What do you do about it? I can't imagine putting people with normal uric acid on allopurinol, so it comes back to the usual kind of lifestyle advice.""

Prenatal Pesticide Exposure May Harm Kids' Brains - WebMD, 4/30/12 - "Compared to children with low prenatal exposure, those with high exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos had abnormalities in the cortex (the outer area of the brain) ... The cortex helps govern intelligence, personality, muscle movement, and other tasks ... In 2001, the U.S. EPA banned the residential use of chlorpyrifos. It still allows it on crops. It can also be sprayed in public places such as golf courses ... Since the pesticide was registered by the EPA in 1965, its use has become common in more than 50 crops, according to Dow. Among them are citrus fruits, apples, soybeans, sweet corn, and peanuts ... Wash produce well before eating, she says. Buying organic produce is a good idea"

Really? To Lower Your Risk of Diabetes, Eat Breakfast - NYTimes.com, 4/30/12 - "People who skip that all-important first meal of the day, studies show, suffer setbacks in mood, memory and energy levels. They are also more likely to gain weight, in part because of excess eating later in the day ... researchers followed 29,000 men for 16 years, tracking their diets, exercise, disease rates and other markers of health ... Those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than those who did not"

Vitamin D may protect against viral infections during the winter - Science Daily, 4/30/12 - "insufficient levels of vitamin D are related to a deficiency in our innate immune defenses that protect us from infections, neoplasias or autoimmune diseases. Since vitamin D levels decrease during autumn and winter when days are shorter and sunlight is relatively weak, this may explain why people are more prone to viral infection during these times. It also suggests that increased vitamin D intake, especially in older populations, could strengthen people's innate immunity against viral infections ... the researchers compared the changes in the blood levels of vitamin D among three groups of healthy subjects: young (age range: 20-30), middle (age range: 31-59), and elderly (age range: 60-86). They found decreased levels of vitamin D with aging, prompting researchers to compare whether such changes kept any relationship with toll-like receptor (TLR) expression measured on lymphocytes and monocytes and function after in vitro stimulation with specific ligands for each of the nine human TLRs and measurement of effector molecules, such as proinflammatory cytokines. Specifically, they found that the TRL most affected by a vitamin D insufficiency is TLR7, which regulates the immune response against viruses" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Kids With Type 2 Diabetes: Combo Treatment Best? - WebMD, 4/29/12 - "Combined treatment with the diabetes drugs metformin and Avandia proved more effective than metformin alone or metformin plus lifestyle changes for keeping blood sugar at normal levels ... 38% of patients who took metformin and Avandia failed treatment ... 46% of patients in the metformin and lifestyle part of the study failed treatment" - Note:  That was the combo I picked years ago for diabetes prevention even though I don't have diabetes.  See Avandia (rosiglitazone) at OffshoreRx.com.

Obstetric Complications, Cannabis Use Predict Early Psychosis - Medscape, 4/29/12 - "the most significant risk factor, she said, is cannabis"

FDA Approves New Erectile Dysfunction Drug Stendra - WebMD, 4/27/12 - "In clinical trials, 77% of men with general ED were able to get erections after taking Stendra, compared to 54% of men taking an inactive placebo pill"

Invisible helpers: How probiotic bacteria protect against inflammatory bowel diseases - Science Daily, 4/26/12 - "In experiments with mice, the scientists observed that lactocepin -- an enzyme produced from the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus paracasei -- can selectively interrupt inflammatory processes. As the scientists observed, lactocepin degrades messengers from the immune system, known as chemokines, in the diseased tissue. As a part of the "normal" immune response, chemokines are needed to guide defense cells to the source of the infection. In chronic intestinal disorders like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the otherwise highly effective defense mechanism against infectious agents is malfunctioning. Chemokines such as "IP-10" then contribute to the tissue damage due to chronic inflammatory processes, preventing the tissue from healing" - See probiotics at Amazon.com.

Eating more berries may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly - Science Daily, 4/26/12 - "The research team used data from the Nurses' Health Study -- a cohort of 121,700 female, registered nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 who completed health and lifestyle questionnaires beginning in 1976 ... increased consumption of blueberries and strawberries appear to slow cognitive decline in older women. A greater intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids was also associated with reduce cognitive degeneration. Researchers observed that women who had higher berry intake delayed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years ... while they did control for other health factors in the modeling, they cannot rule out the possibility that the preserved cognition in those who eat more berries may be also influenced by other lifestyle choices, such as exercising more" - See blueberry extract at Amazon.com.

Beyond apples: A serving a day of dark chocolate might keep the doctor away - Science Daily, 4/24/12 - "31 fortunate subjects were assigned randomly to consume either a daily serving (50 grams) of either regular dark chocolate (70% cocoa), dark chocolate (70% cocoa) that had been overheated or "bloomed," or white chocolate (0% cocoa). The subjects were asked to consume the chocolate for 15 days ... When compared to participants assigned to the white chocolate group, those consuming either form of dark chocolate had lower blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL, the "bad" form) levels coupled with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL, the "good" form) ... dark chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving glucose levels and lipid profiles. However, they cautioned that -- although habitual dark chocolate consumption may benefit one's health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease -- it must be eaten in moderation because it can easily increase daily amounts of saturated fat and calories"

Anti-depressants likely do more harm than good, study suggests - Science Daily, 4/25/12 - "Andrews and his colleagues examined previous patient studies into the effects of anti-depressants and determined that the benefits of most anti-depressants, even taken at their best, compare poorly to the risks, which include premature death in elderly patients ... The findings include these elevated risks: ... developmental problems in infants ... problems with sexual stimulation and function and sperm development in adults ... digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and bloating ... abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly ... You've got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects -- some small, some rare and some not so rare. The issue is: does the list of negative effects outweigh the minimal benefit?"

How old are you, really? - The Daily, 4/24/12 - "The number is derived by measuring the length of your telomeres, the caps at the ends of chromosomes that — like the plastic tips on shoelaces — protect the strands of genetic information from deteriorating. Telomeres naturally shorten with age, though at varying rates that can be accelerated by factors such as depression and chronic stress. With every cell division, telomeres lose length, eventually reaching a critical point at which the cell, no longer able to divide, becomes senescent or dies. Recent studies have linked shortened telomeres to diabetes, cancer, emphysema, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease ... Rosenberg warns his patients to not get tested unless they’re willing to make serious lifestyle changes once the results are in, including losing weight, exercising, taking vitamins and antioxidants and reducing stress"

Abstracts from this week's Doctor's Guide Nutrition/Dietetics plus abstracts from my RSS feeds (Click here for the journals, the PubMed ones at the top):

The Influence of Testosterone Suppression and Recovery on Sexual Function in Men With Prostate Cancer: Observations From a Prospective Study in Men Undergoing Intermittent Androgen Suppression - J Urol. 2012 Apr 12 - "Libido, sexual activity and perceptions of masculinity deteriorate during ONPhase. Of the sexually active men at baseline half will resume sexual activity despite 9 months of androgen deprivation therapy"

Levothyroxine Treatment of Subclinical Hypothyroidism, Fatal and Nonfatal Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality - Arch Intern Med. 2012 Apr 23 - "Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) has been associated with ischemic heart disease (IHD) ... We used the United Kingdom General Practitioner Research Database to identify individuals with new SCH (serum thyrotropin levels of 5.01-10.0 mIU/L and normal free thyroxine levels) recorded during 2001 with outcomes analyzed until March 2009 ... Treatment of SCH with levothyroxine was associated with fewer IHD events in younger individuals, but this was not evident in older people" - See thyroid hormones at International Anti-aging Systems.

Metformin-based treatment for obesity-related hypertension: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial - J Hypertens. 2012 Apr 19 - "metformin (500 mg once per day) or placebo ... At 24 weeks, metformin compared with placebo did not have significant effects on blood pressure, blood glucose, high-density or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but it did reduce total serum cholesterol (0.27mmol/l, P = 0.038). Metformin also significantly reduced weight (-0.7 kg, P = 0.006), BMI (-0.2 kg/m, P = 0.024), waist circumference (-0.9 cm, P = 0.008), and both subcutaneous (-6.1 cm, P = 0.043) and visceral adiposity (-5.4 cm, P = 0.028) as measured by computed tomography, and lowered serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels (-0.6 mg/dl, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in adverse events" - See metformin at IAS.

Conjugated linoleic acid modulates immune responses in patients with mild to moderately active Crohn's disease - Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr 19 - "Thirteen patients with mild to moderately active CD were enrolled in an open-label study of CLA (6 g/d orally) for 12 weeks ... CD activity index (CDAI) ... Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) ... CLA significantly suppressed the ability of peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets to produce IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-17 and lymphoproliferation at week 12. There was a statistically significant drop in CDAI from 245 to 187 (P = 0.013) and increase in IBDQ from 141 to 165 (P = 0.017) on week 12" - See conjugated linoleic acid at Amazon.com.

One-Year Consumption of a Grape Nutraceutical Containing Resveratrol Improves the Inflammatory and Fibrinolytic Status of Patients in Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease - Am J Cardiol. 2012 Apr 19 - "In contrast to placebo and conventional grape supplement, the resveratrol-rich grape supplement significantly decreased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (-26%, p = 0.03), tumor necrosis factor-α (-19.8%, p = 0.01), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (-16.8%, p = 0.03), and interleukin-6/interleukin-10 ratio (-24%, p = 0.04) and increased anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (19.8%, p = 0.00). Adiponectin (6.5%, p = 0.07) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (-5.7%, p = 0.06) tended to increase and decrease, respectively. No adverse effects were observed in any patient. In conclusion, 1-year consumption of a resveratrol-rich grape supplement improved the inflammatory and fibrinolytic status in patients who were on statins for primary prevention of CVD and at high CVD risk (i.e., with diabetes or hypercholesterolemia plus ≥1 other CV risk factor). Our results show for the first time that a dietary intervention with grape resveratrol could complement the gold standard therapy in the primary prevention of CVD" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com.

A Case-Control Nutrigenomic Study on the Synergistic Activity of Folate and Vitamin B12 in Cervical Cancer Progression - Nutr Cancer. 2012 Apr 20 - "methylene tetrahydrofolatereductase (MTHFR) gene ... Serum folate, vitamin B12 (chemiluminescence assay), and homocysteine (EIA) along with genetic polymorphisms of MTHFR gene (polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism) were analyzed for 136 control subjects, 92 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) subjects, and 94 invasive cervical cancer cases (ICC). Statistically significant associations between MTHFR polymorphisms, serum homocysteine, and folate levels with cervical carcinogenesis were not evident, but we found that these parameters acted as effect modifiers of serum vitamin B12. The risk estimates observed for B12 became prominent only when there was a deficiency in serum folate levels [LSIL-odds ratio (OR): 14.9 (95% CI: 2.65 to 84.4); ICC-OR = 8.72 (95% CI = 1.55 to 48.8)] or when MTHFR A1298C polymorphic variant was present [LSIL-OR = 9.8 (95% CI = 2.61 to 36.7); ICC-OR = 10.0 (95%CI = 2.5 to 39.3)]. The statistical significance of this effect modification was further studied using an interaction model, where only folate was observed to have an influence on B12 levels as suggested by the odds ratio of 7.11 (95% CI = 0.45 to 111.9) obtained for ICC group, implicating a synergistic role of these 2 vitamins in invasive cervical cancer" - See folic acid products at Amazon.com and vitamin B12 at Amazon.com.

Health Focus (Rhodiola rosea):

Specific Recommendations:

News & Research:

  • Rhodiola rosea: Nature’s anti-depressant - Fox News, 3/7/12 - "Many studies support what even the ancient Chinese emperors knew - that Rhodiola rosea gives a terrific lift to body and mind. In one study of people with stress-related fatigue conducted in Sweden, the Rhodiola exerted an anti-fatigue effect, increased mental performance, decreased the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, and reduced stress overall ... In another study reported in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Rhodiola rosea caused improvement in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Yet another study of depressed people in Armenia showed significant improvement in overall mood as a result of taking Rhodiola rosea extract"
  • Rhodiola for What Ails You? - Dr. Weil, 5/15/08 - "A 2002 review in Herbalgram, the Journal of the American Botanical Council, reported that over the years, numerous studies of rhodiola in humans and animals have shown that it helps prevent fatigue, stress and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation. Evidence also suggests that it has an antioxidant effect, enhances immune system function and can increase sexual energy ... A study published in 2007 in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry showed that patients with mild-to-moderate depression who took a rhodiola extract reported fewer symptoms than those who took a placebo. And a study by researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that fruit flies that ate a diet supplemented with rhodiola lived an average of 10 percent longer than flies that didn't eat this herb"
  • Herbal Extract Found To Increase Lifespan - Science Daily, 12/5/07 - "Flies that ate a diet rich with Rhodiola rosea, an herbal supplement long used for its purported stress-relief effects, lived on an average of 10 percent longer than fly groups that didn’t eat the herb ... Although this study does not present clinical evidence that Rhodiola can extend human life, the finding that it does extend the lifespan of a model organism, combined with its known health benefits in humans, make this herb a promising candidate for further anti-aging research ... Rhodiola rosea ... has been used by Scandinavians and Russians for centuries for its anti-stress qualities ... patients taking a Rhodiola extract called SHR-5 reported fewer symptoms of depression than did those who took a placebo"
  • Warming to a Cold War Herb - Science News, 9/22/07 - "Government scientists had noted that rhodiola boosted the body's response to stress ... Almost immediately, my mind seemed clearer ... After a few days, I noticed I recovered from exercise more quickly"
  • Rhodiola - The Cellular Energy-Boosting Herb - Life Extension Magazine, 2/06 - "With its ability to increase mental energy and physical endurance, rhodiola has tremendous potential to counteract many negative effects of the aging process. Studies show that rhodiola can favorably support the body’s stress reaction, both mentally and physically. In research trials, rhodiola has been shown to boost brain function and have anti-cancer effects"
  • Cortisol, Stress, and Health - Life Extension Magazine, 12/05 - "Supplements to reduce high cortisol levels secondary to stress ... Vitamin C: 1000-3000 mg/day ... Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids):1-4 gm/day ... Phosphatidylserine: 300-800 mg/day ... Rhodiola rosea: 100-200 mg/day, standardized extract ... Ginseng: 100-300 mg/day, standardized extract ... Ginkgo biloba: 100-200 mg/day, standardized extract ... DHEA: 25-50 mg/day (any hormone supplementation should be monitored by your physician)"
  • Research puts rhodiola to the stress test - Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals, 7/04
  • Natural Sex Boosters Gaining Ground - WebMD, 5/5/04
  • I have heard that the herb Rhodiola rosea is helpful for breast cancer patients. Can you give me some information about it? - Dr. Weil, 6/25/03
  • Stress: The Hidden Factor For Weight Gain - Nutrition Science News, 4/01

Abstract:

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