July 1-7, 2011

By Dr Robert Goldman

Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 24,000 physician and scientist members from 110 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.

Vitamins, Minerals May Prevent Diseases
Whereas severe deficiency of vitamins and minerals required for life is relatively uncommon in developed nations, modest deficiency is very common among residents of the United States and Europe. Joyce C. McCann and Bruce N. Ames, from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California, examined moderate selenium and vitamin K deficiency to show how damage accumulates over time as a result of vitamin and mineral loss, leading to age-related diseases. Compiling and assessing several general types of scientific evidence, the team tested whether selenium-dependent proteins that are essential from an evolutionary perspective are more resistant to selenium deficiency than those that are less essential. They discovered a highly sophisticated array of mechanisms at cellular and tissue levels that, when selenium is limited, protect essential selenium-dependent proteins at the expense of those that are nonessential. They also found that mutations in selenium-dependent proteins that are lost on modest selenium deficiency result in characteristics shared by age-related diseases including cancer, heart disease, and loss of immune or brain function. Explaining that their results should inform attempts to locate mechanistic linkages between vitamin or mineral deficiencies and age-related diseases by focusing attention on the vitamin and mineral-dependent proteins that are nonessential from an evolutionary perspective, the researchers conclude that: “Modest [selenium] deficiency is common in many parts of the world; optimal intake could prevent future disease.”

Dr Klatz observes: In that cellular and tissue damage can occur over time as a result of vitamin and mineral loss, leading to age-related diseases, these researchers lend further evidence documenting the health-promoting role of vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Low-Fat Chocolate Milk Helps Build Muscle
Containing high-quality protein and key electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium), plus essential vitamins (B-complex and D), low-fat chocolate milk may provide an effective way to help athletes refuel and recover. In three related studies, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin compared the recovery benefits of drinking low-fat chocolate milk after exercise to a carbohydrate beverage with the same calories (similar to a typical sports drink) and calorie-free beverages. The new research linked drinking low-fat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise to:
• Improved Performance: Following an exhausting ride, trained cyclists had significantly more power and rode faster, shaving about six minutes, on average, from their ride time when they recovered with low-fat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink and calorie-free beverage. The 10 cyclists rode for 90 minutes at a moderate intensity followed by 10 minutes of high intensity intervals. During a four-hour recovery period, they drank one of the three recovery beverages immediately and two hours later before heading on a second 40 kilometre ride.
• Quicker Exercise Adaptation: Compared to the other recovery drinks, chocolate milk drinkers had twice the improvement in V02max – a measure of aerobic fitness and adaptation – after a 4.5-week cycling regimen that included intense exercise five days a week, followed by one of the three recovery beverages. The study included 32 healthy but untrained male and female cyclists.
• Better Body Composition (More Muscle, Less Fat): Chocolate milk drinkers gained more muscle and lost more fat during training, with a 3-pound lean muscle advantage at the end of the 4.5 weeks compared to athletes who grabbed a carbohydrate drink. The 32 healthy but untrained male and female cyclists rode for one hour, five days a week and drank one of the three recovery beverages immediately following and one hour post-exercise.
Submitting that: “Collectively, our research suggests that low-fat chocolate milk – easily accessible for most athletes – can improve performance and aid training for trained and amateur athletes faced with tough routines,” the researchers conclude that: “There’s something that chocolate milk naturally has that likely gives it the post-exercise advantage.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: Providing a balance of high-quality protein and key carbohydrates, low-fat chocolate milk after a workout gives athletes a training advantage, and this team’s findings suggest wide-ranging sports performance advantages of this simple and accessible beverage”

Cocoa May Promote Healthy Cholesterol
Rich in polyphenols and flavanols (catechins), and particularly the monomeric flavanol (-)epicatechin, cocoa has received increasing attention as a potential nutritional intervention to promote cardiovascular health. N. Khan, from the University of Barcelona (Spain), and colleagues enrolled 42 subjects, mean age of 70 years, and asked each subject to consume 500 mL of skimmed milk/day, either with or without 40 grams of cocoa powder, for four weeks. The 40 grams of cocoa powder provided 495.2 milligrams of polyphenols and 425.7 milligrams of proanthocyanidins. At the end of the study the researchers found that milk plus cocoa was associated with a 5-percent increase in HDL cholesterol levels, as compared to only milk.  In addition, cocoa plus milk was associated with a 14-percent reduction in oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, as compared to milk only. Noting that the polyphenols in cocoa may bind to LDL particles and therefore prevent them from being oxidized, the team concludes that: “Consumption of cocoa power … modulates the lipid profile in high-risk subjects for [coronary heart disease] … suggests a beneficial role for cocoa polyphenols in lipid metabolism.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that daily consumption of 40 grams of cocoa powder assists in increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol while reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, these researchers further advance the notion of chocolate as a functional food.

Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavors and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

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