March 2-8, 2012
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.
Black Tea Lowers Blood Pressure
Black tea is rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant compound associated with heart health. Jonathan Hodgson, from the University of Western Australia, and colleagues enrolled 95 men and women, ages 35 to 75 years, all of whom were regular tea drinkers, in a randomised double-blind trial. The study subjects had a mean body mass index of 25 kg/m2 and a mean daytime ambulatory systolic blood pressure of 121 mm Hg at baseline. During the first four-week period of the study, all of the participants consumed a low-flavonoid diet along with three cups of regular leaf tea per day. During the six-month intervention period, the participants were randomised to either drink three cups per day of 1,493-mg powdered black tea solids that contained 429 mg of polyphenols and 96 mg of caffeine, or a placebo drink matched in flavour and caffeine content. Whereas from the study start to six months, there were no changes in energy and nutrient intake, urinary sodium and potassium excretion, or body weight in either group, the researchers noted significant differences in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, primarily observed in daytime. Among the subjects who drank the tea, systolic blood pressure readings were 2.7 mm Hg lower at three months and 2.0 mm Hg lower at six months; diastolic readings were 2.3 and 2.1 mm Hg lower, respectively. Positing that tea consumption improves endothelial function, the study authors submit that tea flavonoids reduce levels of endothelin and thereby contribute to reduced vascular tone and lower blood pressure.
Dr Klatz observes: Observing that people who drink three or more cups of black tea daily enjoy lower blood pressure, these researchers add further date to the growing body of evidence suggesting a functional health role for the ubiquitous beverage of tea.
Senior Runners Continue to Excel
In recent decades, the participation of elderly trained people in endurance events such as marathon running has dramatically increased. Previous studies suggest that the performance of master runners (those age 40 years and over) during marathon running has improved. Romuald Lepers, from the University of Burgundy (France), and colleagues analysed the chronometric performances of competitors in the New York marathon in accordance with age and sex over the 1980-2009 period. They classified runners who successfully completed he race into 10 separate age categories (20-29; 30-39; then every 5 years from between 40 and 79). Whereas the average times achieved by the 10 best male and female athletes in age categories below 60-64 have not changed over the last 30 years, there was a sharp decrease in times for the senior age categories: for an average marathon time achieved of 3 hours and 50 minutes, men in the 65-69 age category improved by 8 minutes between 1980-1989 and 1990-1999, and 7 minutes between 1990-1999 and 2000-2009. Similarly, the average time achieved by women in age categories above 45-49 fell significantly. For example, the average performance for the 55 age category improved by 33 minutes between 1980 and 1990 (for an average race time of 4 hours and 20 minutes), and by 8 minutes between 1990 and 2000. Concluding that, over the last two decades, the performances of the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have particularly improved, whereas their younger counterparts have remained stable, the study authors submit that: “These data suggest that male (65 years [and older]) and female (45 years [and older]) master runners have probably not yet reached their limits in marathon performance.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: The best male marathon runners over age 65, and the best female marathon runners over age 45 continue to consistently improve on race results – these are findings that clearly support the notion that we continue to safely push the envelope on peak human performance.
Pepper Compounds for Weight Management
A meta-analysis by Perdue University (Indiana, US) reports that certain compounds in hot peppers, as well as sweet peppers, help to promote energy expenditure suppress appetite. Richard D. Mattes and colleagues have identified that capsaicin (found in hot peppers) and capsiates (present in sweet peppers) both exert thermogenic effects when consumed. Writing that: “The magnitude of these effects is small,” the study authors conclude that: “Purposeful inclusion of these compounds in the diet may aid weight management, albeit modestly.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Both hot peppers and sweet peppers contain compounds that exert modest weight management benefits – a discovery that points to the underestimated role of dietary choices in maintaining a lean and fit physique.
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.
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