~ February 2008 - At the Heart of Anti-Aging

Contents . . .
  • Living Longer, Healthier Lives with Resveratrol

    By David Nayor and Dale Kiefer

    Back in 2003, longevity scientists became excited when the natural, plant-derived compound resveratrol was found to extend the life span of yeast cells by as much as 70%. What got scientists so interested was that the gene expression changes induced by resveratrol in yeast cells were similar to those thought to confer longer life in human beings.

    Drug development companies are actively seeking to patent resveratrol-like molecules to create pharmaceuticals that would prevent and treat a wide range of age-related diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer's. The good news for consumers is that they can obtain resveratrol compounds in low-cost dietary supplements today.

    Resveratrol Basics

    Resveratrol is a polyphenol most commonly found in red wine and grapes. It is also found in peanuts, certain berries, some pines, and the roots and stalks of Japanese knotweed.

    Resveratrol plays an important role in the plant's natural defense system against injury, infection, and disease. Researchers became interested in exploring the health benefits of resveratrol after they observed the surprisingly low rates of heart disease found in populations that consume a diet high in saturated fat and red wine.

    Today, resveratrol is attracting attention for its unique ability to mimic the gene expression effects of caloric restriction, the only intervention that has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to prolong maximum life span and/or produce anti-aging effects in a variety of organisms, including mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys. These studies suggest that resveratrol may have similar health and longevity benefits in humans.

    Many people find the prospect of long-term caloric restriction too difficult and uncomfortable. A better option would be to find a means to mimic the beneficial effects of caloric restriction through a healthy, convenient dietary supplement such as resveratrol.

    Read more . . .
  • Blueberries Reverse Brain Aging

    By Laurie Barclay, MD

    Published scientific studies show that blueberries are packed with nutrients that not only improve cognitive function and delay neurological decline but also protect delicate brain structures against oxidative damage.

    Rich in powerful polyphenol compounds, blueberries have been shown to uniquely protect the brain against noxious influences such as free radicals, radiation, inflammation, and excitotoxicity. Furthermore, blueberries may even reverse age-related deficits in cognitive and motor function. Scientists have noted that blueberry compounds are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, then cross into the brain where they influence regions involved in memory and motor function—suggesting therapeutic roles against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

    In this report, we speak with some of the scientists at the forefront of this exciting area of research.

    Blueberries: A Nutritional Powerhouse

    Modern science has made much progress in discovering the benefits of specific compounds found in fruits and vegetables, such as vitamin C and resveratrol. Nutrient-dense "superplants" go a step further and are packed with complex blends of phytonutrients that work together to promote optimal health.

    Read more . . .
  • Coenzyme Q10 and Cancer

    Enhancing Treatment Outcomes and Improving Chemotherapy Tolerability

    By Julius Goepp, MD

    Few lay people understand that one of the reasons chemotherapy does not cure more cancers is that its inherent toxicity limits the dosage that can be administered. What this means is that even if the cancer is slowly being eradicated by the chemo drugs, the damage inflicted on healthy cells can be so severe that chemotherapy must be discontinued. A common side effect cancer victims face is chemotherapy-induced immune suppression that leaves patients susceptible to life-threatening infections.

    Fortunately, research suggests that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can offer critical support for those challenged with cancer, including improving the tolerability of chemotherapy and lessening its adverse impact on immune function. In addition, tantalizing evidence suggests that CoQ10 may help chemotherapy drugs more effectively battle cancer via several fascinating mechanisms. Here, we'll explore CoQ10's importance in combating cancer.

    Coenzyme Q10 Basics

    Best known in medicine today for its vital contributions to heart and brain health, exciting new discoveries point to broad and novel roles for CoQ10 as a "chemoprotectant" with tremendous promise as an adjuvant therapy in cancer treatment.

    Early recognition of CoQ10's potential as a cellular protectant came from the oncology laboratory of researchers studying the toxic effects of a potent chemotherapy drug, adriamycin (doxorubicin). Adriamycin is in the anthracycline class that kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA. At the high doses used in cancer treatment, however, adriamycin also interferes with mitochondria in healthy cells, causing damage to heart muscle that limits the drug's usefulness and safety. Remarkably, when researchers treated laboratory rats first with CoQ10 and then with adriamycin, they found survival rates of 80-86%, compared with just 36-42% in animals receiving the drug alone without the supplement.

    Italian researchers confirmed this effect in a particularly vulnerable group of human patients--children with cancer. One group of children with leukemia or lymphoma received chemotherapy with anthra-cycline drugs plus CoQ10, while the other group was treated without the supplement. The researchers studied the children's heart function using echocardiography, a means of directly viewing the beating heart and its structures with ultrasound. Under the punishing effects of the drugs, all children suffered some loss of cardiac function, but those in the CoQ10-supplemented group showed significantly less impairment than those in the drug-only group. The treating physicians concluded that their data demonstrated "a protective effect of CoQ10 on cardiac function during therapy."

    Read more . . .
  • Optimal CoQ10 Levels Improve Heart Failure

    Alleviating Congestive Heart Failure with Coenzyme Q10

    By Peter H. Langsjoen, MD, FACC

    One of the most frequent causes of hospital admissions in older adults is the devastating condition known as congestive heart failure. Characterized by disabling symptoms of difficulty breathing, fatigue, and swelling of the extremities, congestive heart failure also increases the risk of early demise.

    Fortunately, scientists have discovered that the mitochondrial energizer coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can offer powerful assistance to those challenged with congestive heart failure, improving the heart’s pumping ability and even reducing the need for medications.

    Since CoQ10 levels are depleted by aging and statin medications and tend to be low in those with congestive heart failure, achieving optimal blood levels of CoQ10 may be an important strategy for safeguarding cardiac health.

    What is CoQ10?

    It has been 50 years since Fred Crane discovered CoQ10 in 1957.1 Since that time, scientists have discovered what this extraordinary molecule is and what it does in settings of both health and disease. It is important to clarify that a coenzyme should not be confused with an enzyme (a protein that accelerates a biochemical reaction). A coenzyme is a simple molecule (many vitamins are coenzymes) that is essential for the normal function of specific enzyme systems in our cells. Coenzyme Q10 is the cofactor or coenzyme for three large enzyme systems that are essential for 90% of cellular energy production. Because the heart muscle uses more energy than any other tissue and normally has the highest concentration of CoQ10, it is very sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency.

    Coenzyme Q10 is well established to be a clinically relevant first-line antioxidant in our defense system against excess oxidative stress. It is the only fat-soluble antioxidant that is synthesized by our body and is capable of regeneration back to its reduced or antioxidant form through normal cellular enzyme systems. Its location in the lipid mitochondrial membranes is particularly important, as mitochondria are the major site of free-radical production, and CoQ10 is an excellent free-radical scavenger.

    Read more . . .
  • Featured Product: Super BioActive CoQ10 Ubiquinol - When it comes to achieving optimal results from your CoQ10 supplement, how much you absorb is of critical importance. Since 1983, Life Extension has continuously sought out the purest, most bioavailable CoQ10 available. Now, Japan's largest CoQ10 producer has patented a form of CoQ10 that offers unprecedented bioavailability capable of increasing human blood levels up to 8 times more efficiently than the higher-absorption CoQ10 products on the market today.

    In studies from Japan, this superior new form of CoQ10 has shown remarkable antiaging effects. In one study, it was 40 percent more effective than conventional CoQ10 in slowing markers of aging in middle-aged mice.1 In a study of aged rats, this new form of CoQ10 demonstrated anti-fatigue effects that were 2.5 times greater than conventional CoQ10 supplements.

    The reason this new form of CoQ10 is so effective is that scientists have succeeded for the first time in producing a stabilized ubiquinol capsule form of CoQ10. While CoQ10 exists in both ubiquinol and ubiquinone forms, the ubiquinol form has been shown to be vastly more bioavailable than conventional ubiquinone CoQ10. In a study measuring absorption in humans supplementing with 150 mg and 300 mg, far lower doses of ubiquinol CoQ10 produced blood plasma levels of CoQ10 that were equivalent to those produced by much higher doses of ubiquinone. In fact, it would take up to 8 times more ubiquinone than ubiquinol to raise CoQ10 blood levels to the same level.

    With its superior absorption and ability to remain bioavailable over much longer periods of time, most healthy people will need to take just one capsule twice daily to obtain significantly higher blood levels of CoQ10.
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