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.
Vitamin D Vital for Heart Health
Previously, some studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Qi Sun, from Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues evaluated the associations between both dietary and supplemental vitamin D and cardiovascular disease risk. The team assessed data collected on 74,272 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and 44,592 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, none of whom had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. At the end of the study, 9,886 cases of coronary heart disease and stroke were documented. The researchers found a 16-percent reduction in heart disease among men who met the Dietary Reference Intake of vitamin D of at least 600 IU per day, as compared to men with daily intakes of less than 100 IU. Commenting on the potential mechanism, the team posits that vitamin D may influence the reninangiotensin system (linked to blood pressure regulation), function of the endothelium (the cells lining blood vessels), insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. The authors conclude that: “These observations suggest that a higher intake of vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of [cardiovascular disease] in men.”
Dr. Klatz observes: Reporting that increased intakes of vitamin D associate with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in men, these researchers expand the ever-growing body of data suggesting a key role for this vitamin in health and longevity.
Healthy Diet May Lower Vision-Loss Risk
Age-related macular degeneration accounts for half of all cases of blindness in developed countries, occurring in more than six out of every 100 Americans ages 40-plus. At least two gene variations are known to raise a person’s risk for AMD: one of the variations (called CFH) increases a person’s odds of macular degeneration up to 11-fold and another (called LOC387715S) raises them by up to 15-fold. Lintje Ho, from Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, and colleagues surveyed the eating habits of more than 2,000 subjects, ages 55 and older. All were tested for genetic susceptibility to macular degeneration, and all the participants had eye exams every three years for the next decade to determine who suffered vision loss. Among people with the CFH variation, greater amounts of either zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or lutein/zeaxanthin in the diet was linked to a smaller risk of macular degeneration, with 39 out of every 100 people who ate the lowest amounts of omega-3 fats (about 22 milligrams per day) developing vision loss, as compared to 28 out of every 100 people who ate the largest amounts of omega-3s (268 mg per day) developing the condition. For those who had the LOC387715S variation, reduced risk of vision loss was seen among people who ate greater amounts of zinc or omega-3 fats: 25 percent of people who ate 11.85 mg per day of zinc developed macular degeneration compared to 33 percent of people who ate just 7.5 mg per day. Reporting that: “High dietary intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties reduces the risk of early [age-related macular degeneration] in those at high genetic risk,” the researchers conclude that: Clinicians should provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of [age-related macular degeneration].”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Consuming a diet rich in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent age-related macular degeneration. This finding reaffirms the importance of eating a balanced and healthy diet.
Olive Oil May Prevent Stroke
Previous studies have associated olive oil with potentially protective effects against many cardiovascular risk factors. Rich in phenolic compounds, such as oleuropein and cafeic acid, olive oil is high in antioxidants and may confer anti-diabetic, anti-atherosclerotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Cecilia Samieri, from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, and colleagues followed 7,625 people with no history of stroke, aged 65 and older from three cities in France: Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. The participants were categorized by olive oil consumption into one of three groups: no use; moderate use such as using olive oil in cooking or as dressing or with bread; and intensive use, which included using olive oil for both cooking and as dressing or with bread. After adjusting their findings to account for diet, physical activity, body mass index and other risk factors for stroke, the researchers reported that people who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing had a 41-percent lower risk of stroke, compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet. The authors also measured blood plasma oleic acid, finding that high levels were associated with lower stroke incidence. With participants in the third tertile (highest levels of olive consumption) compared to those in the first tertile (lowest levels of olive consumption) having a 73-percent reduction in stroke risk, the researchers conclude that: “These results suggest a protective role for high olive oil consumption on the risk of stroke in older subjects.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Revealing that a regular consumption of olive oil may help to reduce the risk of stroke by over 40 percent, French researchers suggest a simple and accessible food-based intervention to mitigate stroke risk.
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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