New Research Shows Intermittent Fasting Beats Diabetes Drugs

Approximately 10% of Americans have type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose, or blood sugar. This disease can result in significant health complications, including heart disease, nerve impairment, and vision problems. A recent study indicates that intermittent fasting can be more effective at controlling blood sugar in individuals that have type 2 diabetes than commonly used diabetes medications.

Intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating and has gained popularity as an alternative weight loss strategy. This method restricts the window of time during which food is consumed, without imposing limits on the quantity or variety of food.

The study, carried out at 9 centers in China, was a randomized clinical trial, aimed at evaluating the impact of an intermittent fasting diet on blood sugar control in people that have type 2 diabetes. There were 405 participants who were divided into 3 groups. The first group followed an intermittent fasting diet plan of 5:2 and had meal replacements, while the remaining two groups took medications for treating type 2 diabetes, either empagliflozin or metformin.

The group that adhered to the intermittent fasting diet of 5:2 also had two fasting days that were non-consecutive per week. During these days they consumed a meal replacement product with calories set at 600 for men and 500 for women. During the other 5 days, participants consumed their normal breakfast and lunch and then changed the dinner meal replacement selection, while keeping track of their overall calorie consumption. During the study, research physicians and nutritionists provided the participants with guidance on diet and exercise and information on diabetes

Over the 16-week trial period, the participants that had followed the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet saw a substantial decrease in hemoglobin levels, an important indicator control of blood sugar. They averaged a loss of 1.9%, which contrasted to 1.5% on empagliflozin and 1.6% on metformin. The study noted substantial weight loss among those that adhered to the fasting diet. An average weight loss of 21 pounds resulted in the 5:2 group, while those in the metformin and empagliflozin groups lost on average 12 pounds and 13 pounds, respectively.

In conclusion, the 5:2 meal replacement approach could be used as a viable tool for people that have type 2 diabetes, possibly serving as an alternative to antidiabetic medications. This method is promising due to its manageable structure, which lets people maintain their regular lifestyle for most of the week while still benefiting from fasting.

The study underscores the potential of intermittent fasting as a practical, non-pharmaceutical approach to controlling type 2 diabetes, providing a flexible method for patients seeking a lifestyle-based approach.

To view the original scientific study click below:
A 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Meal Replacement Diet and Glycemic Control for Adults With Diabetes

Aging Reversed / ABC News

Now researchers have found a way not just to stop, but, reverse the aging process. The key is something called a telomere. We all have them. They are the tips or caps of your chromosomes. They are long and stable in young adults, but, as we age they become shorter, damaged and frayed. When they stop working we start aging and experience things like hearing and memory loss.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal Nature scientists took mice that were prematurely aged to the equivalent of 80-year-old humans, added an enzyme and essentially turned their telomeres back on. After the treatment they were the physiological equivalent of young adults. You can see the before and after pictures in the videos above. Brain function improved, their fertility was restored it was a remarkable reversal of the aging process. In the top video the untreated mouse shows bad skin, gray hair and it is balding. The mouse with it’s telomeres switched back on has a dark coat color, the hair is restored and the coat has a nice healthy sheen to it. Even more dramatic is the change in brain size. Before treatment the aged mice had 75% of a normal size brain like a patient with severe Alzheimers. After the telomeres were reactivated the brain returned to normal size. As for humans while it is just one factor scientists say the longer the telomeres the better the chances for a more graceful aging.

The formal study Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise was published in Nature.

Additional information published by Harvard can be found in the following articles.

Scientists Find Root Molecular Cause of Declining Health in the Old

Decoding Immortality – Smithsonian Channel Video about the Discovery of Telomerase

While scientists are not yet able to accomplish the same results in humans we believe we have developed a nutraceutical to help prolong youth and possibly extend life until age reversal therapy for humans becomes available.

Stem Cell Secret’s of 115 Year Old Woman

New evidence that adult stem cells are critical to human aging has recently been published on a study done on a super-centenarian woman that lived to be 115 years. At death, her circulating stem cell pool had declined to just two active stem cells from stem cell counts that are typically more than a thousand in younger adults. Super-centenarians have survived all the normal diseases that kill 99.9% of us before 100 years of age, so it has been a mystery as to what actually kills these hardy individuals. This recent data suggest that stem cell decline may be the main contributor to aging. If so, stabilizing stem cells may be the best thing one can do to slow your rate of aging.

There are many theories of aging that have been proposed. For example, damage to cells and tissues from oxidative stress has been one of the most popular fundamental theories of aging for more than half a century. Yet antioxidant substances or genes that code antioxidant enzymes have proven largely ineffective in slowing aging when tested in model animals. Thus, interest by scientists has shifted to other hypotheses that might provide a better explanation for the slow declines in function with age.

Stem cells provide one such promising mechanism of aging. Of course, we all know that babies are young and vigorous, independent of the age of their parents. This is because adults have embryonic stem cells that can generate young new cells needed to form a complete young baby. Indeed, these embryonic stem cells are the product of continuously evolving stem cell populations that go back to the beginning of life on earth over 3.5 billion years ago!

In adults, the mostly immortal embryonic stem cells give rise to mortal adult stem cells in all the tissues of the body. These adult stem cells can regenerate your cells and tissues as they wear out and need replacement. Unfortunate, adult stem cells also age, which leads to fewer cells and/or loss of function in cell replacement. As functional stem cells decline, skin and organs decline with age.

Blood from world’s oldest woman suggests life limit

Time Magazine: Long-Life Secrets From The 115-Year-Old Woman

Somatic mutations found in the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman demonstrate oligoclonal hematopoiesis

The somatic mutation burden in healthy white blood cells (WBCs) is not well known. Based on deep whole-genome sequencing, we estimate that approximately 450 somatic mutations accumulated in the nonrepetitive genome within the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman. The detected mutations appear to have been harmless passenger mutations: They were enriched in noncoding, AT-rich regions that are not evolutionarily conserved, and they were depleted for genomic elements where mutations might have favorable or adverse effects on cellular fitness, such as regions with actively transcribed genes. The distribution of variant allele frequencies of these mutations suggests that the majority of the peripheral white blood cells were offspring of two related hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clones. Moreover, telomere lengths of the WBCs were significantly shorter than telomere lengths from other tissues. Together, this suggests that the finite lifespan of HSCs, rather than somatic mutation effects, may lead to hematopoietic clonal evolution at extreme ages.

Molecule Found to Restore Telomerase and Improve Cognition in Mice

Telomeres, which are located at the ends of chromosomes, play a crucial role in protecting DNA from deterioration. The enzyme telomerase helps preserve the length and structural integrity of telomeres, thereby regulating the aging process. Recent studies have identified a novel small molecule that can replenish telomerase levels and reverse signs of aging in senior mice. In preclinical models, significant reductions in aging indicators and symptoms were achieved.

Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) is a critical protein component of telomerase. As people age, the gene responsible for producing TERT tends to deactivate, resulting in lower levels of active telomerase in the body. Numerous laboratories have been working on developing treatments that can reactivate the TERT gene. Sustaining TERT levels in older lab models has shown to lessen cellular aging and inflammation, promote the generation of new neurons enhancing memory, and improve neuromuscular function, thereby boosting strength and coordination.

In recent research, scientists have identified a molecule, referred to as the TERT activator compound (TAC), that achieves this reactivation. They have discovered that activating the TERT gene extends telomeres in cells of tissues that grow and increase rapidly. Additionally, they found that this gene activation improved aging signs in cells that had not produced telomeres, indicating that TERT also plays a role in regulating aging-related genes beyond its conventional function in telomere maintenance.

Mice treated with TAC exhibited numerous anti-aging benefits compared to the control group mice. These included decreased cellular aging and neuritis, along with an increased production of new neurons in the hippocampus. Elderly mice, which began receiving TAC injections at about 20 months of age, which would be equivalent to a senior adult, showed enhanced cognitive performance after 6 months. Additionally, one test revealed improved grip strength in these mice, indicating that the compound also boosted muscle function.

The study emphasizes the considerable potential for regenerating aging organ systems and the possibility of therapeutically adjusting indicators of aging in the natural aging process. These initial findings are promising due to TAC’s effective absorption across various tissues, including the brain. Nonetheless, further investigations are crucial to fully determine its safety and efficacy in prolonged treatment scenarios.

To view the original scientific study click below:
TERT activation targets DNA methylation and multiple aging hallmarks

Could Losing Your Sense of Smell Signal Heart Trouble?

According to recent research, older adults who experience partial or complete loss of their sense of smell are 30% more likely to suffer from congestive heart failure compared to those with an intact sense of smell. Age-related decline in olfactory function typically starts around the age of 60, with previous studies indicating that smell impairment becomes more prevalent at this stage. Approximately one in four older adults suffers from some form of smell loss or impairment. Unfortunately, only around 30% of those experiencing loss of smell are aware of their condition.

It should be recognized that a decline in smell and taste often occurs naturally with aging. Given that this study primarily involved participants in their 70s, it’s expected that many exhibited symptoms of or were vulnerable to heart failure and loss of smell. Additionally, a weakened sense of smell is associated with cognitive decline, evidenced by reduced memory and language skills, and serves as an early sign of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

In this research, data from approximately 2,500 individuals participating in the National Institute on Aging’s Health ABC Study was analyzed. The participants, who initially joined the study in 1997 and 1998, were healthy older adults aged 70 to 79. The study followed them from their clinic visit in 1999 or 2000 for up to 12 years, or until they suffered a cardiovascular event or passed away. They examined the data to determine whether there was a correlation between olfactory loss and cardiovascular issues such as strokes, heart attacks, angina, congestive heart failure, or deaths resulting from coronary heart disease.

Upon concluding the study and adjusting for demographic factors, researchers discovered that participants with a loss of smell faced around a 30% risk of congestive heart failure, compared to individuals with normal olfactory function. The authors of the study also noted that they found no association between loss of smell and either heart disease or stroke.

The researchers indicated that these initial results imply a potential connection between diminished sense of smell and cardiovascular health in older adults, suggesting it could act as an early warning sign or predictor. The next phase involves expanding the research to include a more diverse range of participants. Should these results be validated, it will be crucial to explore the underlying mechanisms that associate olfactory loss with cardiovascular health.

To view the original scientific study click below:Olfactory Impairment and the Risk of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Older Adults

Xylitol’s Impact on Stroke and Heart Attack Rates

Concerns about the safety of artificial sweeteners have resurfaced. The term “sugar alcohol” might already sound concerning in terms of health, and recent findings support such skepticism. A study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic has found that xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute, is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, or deaths related to cardiovascular issues.

Xylitol, a sugar substitute with fewer calories and a low glycemic index, is a type of sugar alcohol naturally present in modest amounts in fruits and vegetables, and is also produced by the human body. Despite the name, sugar alcohols do not contain actual alcohol. As a food additive, xylitol resembles sugar in appearance and taste but contains 40% fewer calories. It is utilized in significantly higher concentrations than those occurring naturally in products like sugar-free gum, candies, toothpaste, and baked goods, and is often found in items marketed as keto-friendly.

The research team noted that over the last ten years, the use of sugar substitutes, including sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, has greatly increased in processed foods advertised as healthy options. Xylitol, in particular, is being integrated into dietary guidelines, and those most at risk of consuming it are individuals with diabetes, which are also the ones most vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, this uptick in the use of sugar substitutes coincides with growing concerns about escalating obesity rates.

The research team conducted a study involving over 3,000 participants from the U.S. and Europe over a three-year period. They discovered that individuals with the highest levels of xylitol in their blood were more prone to cardiovascular issues. To examine the immediate effects of xylitol, the researchers monitored platelet activity in participants who consumed drinks sweetened with xylitol and glucose. Following the consumption of the xylitol-sweetened drink, xylitol levels in the participants surged by 1,000 times, a spike not observed after drinking the glucose-sweetened beverage.

While further research is necessary, it may be wise to steer clear of xylitol and other sugar alcohols, which typically end in ‘itol. It’s advisable to use small amounts of natural sweeteners like sugar, honey, or fruit instead. Rather than substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners, a better approach might be to focus on enhancing the diet with high-quality components such as vegetables and fruits that provide natural sugars.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Xylitol is prothrombotic and associated with cardiovascular risk

Potential Alzheimer’s Risk with Increased Daytime Napping

Recent research on older adults suggests that excessive daytime napping might be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly when it occurs concurrently with other warning signs like memory loss. Many individuals routinely enjoy afternoon naps. Short naps can refresh one’s energy and enhance productivity, but napping for extended periods often results in feeling lethargic and more tired than before

While there remains ongoing debate regarding the ideal nap length for health benefits, numerous studies advocate for keeping naps under 30 minutes to optimize their positive effects and avoid the drawbacks of longer sleep periods. The research found that longer naps were connected to cognitive deterioration in elderly men, while naps under 30 minutes did not increase the risk of cognitive issues.

The 14-year study involving 1,401 participants revealed that while all adults tended to nap more as they aged, those with progressing Alzheimer’s disease experienced a doubling in both the length and frequency of their daytime naps. While napping by itself is not a direct cause of Alzheimer’s, excessive napping could be a risk factor, potentially increasing the likelihood of developing the condition without necessarily confirming it will occur.

In line with earlier research, it was found that extended naps negatively impacted cognitive function, though the exact cause is unknown. Furthermore, such cognitive decline is frequently seen as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Daytime sleep patterns in older adults are often overlooked, and there is a lack of consensus on the management of napping in clinical practice. The study’s findings suggest that frequent daytime napping could indicate a higher risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. Additionally, an increase in napping duration each year may signal worsening or more severe progression of the disease.

The study revealed that both the length and frequency of naps increased with age, and there was a reciprocal, long-term link between daytime sleep and Alzheimer’s. Researchers aim to highlight the significance of monitoring changes in daytime sleep habits, as these alterations are crucial for understanding shifts in brain function related to circadian rhythms, cognitive decline, and dementia risk.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Daytime napping and Alzheimer’s dementia: A potential bidirectional relationship

Heartburn Medications and Their Link to Stomach Cancer

A recent review has established a connection between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a widely used type of heartburn medication, and an increased risk of stomach cancer. The findings suggest that using PPIs for more than three months significantly raises the risk of developing this cancer, whereas using them for shorter periods seems to present a lower risk.

PPIs effectively reduce stomach acidity by permanently attaching to the proton pumps in the stomach. These pumps are responsible for releasing protons, which are a key part of stomach acid, and the binding action of PPIs inhibits this release.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are frequently prescribed to manage acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to heartburn. They are also used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic variant of acid reflux, as well as stomach and intestinal ulcers. Some PPIs are available as over-the-counter medications.

In their review, the authors analyzed multiple studies examining the association between PPI usage and cancer risks. They discovered a significant relationship between the use of PPIs and the development of stomach cancer and polyps, though they found no evidence linking PPI use to other forms of cancer.

There are multiple potential mechanisms by which PPIs might contribute to cancer development. These medications increase the pH level of stomach contents, which could disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome. Such disruption might diminish the diversity and number of beneficial bacteria, leading to gastrointestinal inflammation. This inflammation may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria that produce carcinogenic substances.

While PPIs are very effective at managing potentially severe stomach ulcers, they can have accumulating negative effects over time. In contrast to antacids and H2 blockers, which are traditionally used for quick relief of heartburn, PPIs take longer to start working but have a more prolonged effect.

Many patients who experience GERD also suffer from underlying inflammatory gut issues that go unaddressed. By improving their diet over a period of 6-12 weeks, these issues can be managed, often leading to a significant resolution or improvement in GERD symptoms. As a result, patients may only need antacids for relief. Interestingly, although heartburn is commonly treated with acid reducers, it can paradoxically stem from low stomach acid, which might be caused by factors such as aging, thyroid disorders, or a specific autoimmune disease affecting the stomach.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Cancer Risk: A Comprehensive Review of Epidemiological and Mechanistic Evidence

The Effects of Alcohol-Based Mouthwash on Oral Health

The oral microbiome consists of bacteria residing in the mouth, which aid in food digestion and maintain oral health. Alterations in the composition of this bacterial community have been associated with periodontal diseases and certain types of cancer. According to a study in the Journal of Medical Microbiology the findings suggest that alcohol-based mouthwash could affect the levels of bacteria in the mouth.

Alcohol-based mouthwashes are commonly used by the public for daily oral hygiene, such as combating bad breath or preventing periodontitis. However, it’s important to be informed about the potential risks of their use.

Researchers have discovered that daily use of alcohol-based mouthwash significantly increases the abundance of two aggressive bacterial species in the mouth. These bacteria are associated with various diseases, including gum disease, and cancers of the esophagus and colon. It was also observed a reduction in a group of bacteria known as Actinobacteria, which play a key role in regulating blood pressure.

Many mouthwashes sold include alcohol, which may cause a short-lived burning feeling, a bad taste, and dryness in the mouth. This alcohol not only kills harmful bacteria but also the beneficial ones. On the other hand, mouthwashes without alcohol don’t eliminate all bacteria but rather help establish an alternative balance with the bacteria in the mouth.

It’s crucial to note that mouthwash use does not directly cause cancer. Alcohol-containing mouthwash might contribute to increased risk when combined with other factors such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, or poor diet, but research does not indicate that it is a sole cause of cancer. Although studies show that daily use of alcohol-based mouthwash can alter the oral microbiome, researchers are cautious about drawing definitive conclusions from these findings.

Alcohol-based mouthwash may be safe to use for short periods, but based on the findings and other types of evidence, long-term use is not recommended.

To view the original scientific study click below:
The effect of daily usage of Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash on the oropharyngeal microbiome: a substudy of the PReGo trial

Why Chronic Pain is More Common in Older Adults

As we age, our senses, particularly sight and hearing, gradually deteriorate. Similarly, our ability to perceive touch-related sensations like cold, heat, movement, and vibration also declines. However, the sensation of pain does not diminish in the same way. In fact, aging is commonly associated with an increase in chronic pain, which can often be linked to conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, research focused on the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), a crucial area of the brain involved in pain signal processing, indicates that pathways responsible for inhibiting pain are less effective as we age.

Previous studies have revealed that PGC-1a, a key player in mitochondrial development and operation, also impacts neuronal functions, particularly in neurons that process pain signals. Nonetheless, the interplay among PGC-1a, the S1 pain sensation, and aging has not been thoroughly investigated.

This study involved two groups of wild-type Black 6 mice, one group aged 4 weeks and the other 18 weeks. It was found that the younger mice exhibited almost three times as much PGC-1a expression compared to the older group. The mice underwent an injury involving constriction of the sciatic nerves to their hind legs. Recovery was slower in the older mice, who displayed increased sensitivity to touch and for an extended duration. The researchers describe this phenomenon as ‘aging-associated pain chronification.’

In a subsequent experiment, the researchers developed a group of mice with only one functional allele of PGC-1a, as opposed to normal mice that possess two. At 4 weeks old, both groups were subjected to the same type of injury as in the previous study. The mice with diminished PGC-1a expression suffered more severely than the older mice, with none fully recovering within 7 weeks. This effect was consistent across both male and female mice.

Following leg injuries, the brain activity of both younger and older mice was analyzed. On day 7, activity levels in the S1 excitation neurons were similar across both age groups. By day 35, however, the increased activity had subsided in the younger mice, whereas it remained significantly higher in the older mice. Activity in interneurons, which link the S1 to other parts of the brain, was reduced in both groups on day 7, but by day 35, it had only returned to normal in the younger mice. Subsequent testing with highly targeted drugs revealed that increased interneuron activity correlated with behaviors indicative of reduced chronic pain.

By employing an adeno-associated virus (AAV) to enhance PGC-1a production in older animals, researchers were able to reduce their chronic pain post-injury to levels comparable to those observed in younger animals. Additionally, similar to the younger animals, there was a decrease in excitation neuron activity and an increase in interneuron activity observed on day 35 after the injury.

These findings indicate that chronic pain in older adults is not solely due to conditions like arthritis but can also stem from a decline in vital brain functions related to aging. Consequently, future treatments that aim to restore these brain functions could play an essential role in alleviating such pain.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Aging-associated decrease of PGC-1a promotes pain chronification