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LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE JANUARY 19 2001
IN THIS ISSUE, JANUARY 19 2001: LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: Large
study shows omega-3 fatty acids do not increase hemorrhagic stroke risk;
WHAT'S HOT: Long-sought stroke prevention in diabetes with ramipril;
PROTOCOLS: Hemorrhagic stroke, Thrombotic stroke; FEATURED PRODUCTS OF
THE WEEK: Super MaxEPA liquid, Super K; LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE:
Carnosine and stroke neuroprotection; SUPER SALE ON FOR THE MONTH OF
Large study shows omega-3 fatty acids do not increase hemorrhagic stroke
Fish consumption has been demonstrated to lower the risk of stroke in
several studies, however, because of ecologic studies showing Greenland
Eskimos having a high intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found
in fish oils had an excess risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared with Danish
Caucasians, the concern has been voiced that while consuming fish or fish
oil is effective at preventing thrombotic stroke, the risk of hemorrhagic
stroke could be increased. The January 17, 20001 issue of the Journal of
the American Medical Association published the results of large study
which is the first of its kind showing the effect of fish and omega-3
fatty acid consumption on stroke broken down by type of stroke.
Researchers used data from the Nurses' Health Study, which utilized data
from 79,839 women between the ages of 34 to 59 years in 1980 who were
followed up for fourteen years. The study participants completed food
frequency questionnaires which provided the researchers with data
concerning fish consumption. The amount of omega-3 fatty acids consumed
was calculated by the researchers according to the type of fish eaten.
During the follow-up period, 574 strokes were reported, which included 303
ischemic strokes, 181 hemorrhagic strokes, and 90 of undetermined origin.
Reduction in stroke risk was correlated with the amount of fish consumed.
Fish and omega-3 fatty acid consumption was inversely associated with the
risk of thrombotic stroke, especially among women who did not take
aspirin. Women who consumed fish two or more times per week experienced a
48% reduction in thrombotic stroke.
No association was found between the consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty
acids and the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. The study authors note
that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is lower in the United States than
that of Greenland Eskimo or Danish groups studied. This knowledge should
help to alleviate concerns that fish oil supplements might increase
hemorrhagic stroke risk.
The authors propose the following mechanisms for omega-3 fatty acids'
ability to diminish stroke incidence: platelet aggregation inhibition,
decreased blood viscosity, leukotriene formation suppression, fibrinogen
reduction and lowering of blood pressure.
Long-sought stroke prevention in diabetes with ramipril
The January 2 2001 issue of American Heart Association (AHA) journal
Circulation and the January issue of AHA's Stroke published a
comprehensive article entitled "Primary Prevention of Ischemic Stroke : A
Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Stroke Council of the
American Heart Association" which, among other important guidelines,
recommended the use of the drug ramipril, or Altace R to diabetics to
prevent stroke. These latest recommendations are based on the findings of
the HOPE Trial, which stands for Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation
which showed that diabetics taking the drug can reduce the risk of stroke
by a third. The findings of the HOPE trial were published in the January
20, 2000 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the
number one killer of diabetics and diabetics are two to four times more
likely to suffer a stroke than nondiabetics. Of 9541 patients enrolled in
the HOPE trial, a substudy 3577 diabetics with at least one other
cardiovascular risk factor were give ramipril or a placebo. Jeffrey
Probstfield, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Washington and
Investigator of the HOPE study commented, "In patients with diabetes who
took Altace, the risk reduction for stroke was 33 percent . . . The HOPE
results also showed that Altace protects people with diabetes beyond just
reducing risk of events. Patients treated with Altace have a 22 percent
reduction in the need for laser eye therapy and a 16 percent lower risk of
permanent kidney damage."
The most common diagnostic procedures for determining the cause of
hemorrhagic stroke are CT scan, MRI, and cerebral angiogram. These
procedures are used to determine the type of stroke and the specific area
of the brain that has been affected. Treatment of the stroke is based on
the findings of these procedures.
There are two subcategories of hemorrhagic stroke: intracerebral
hemorrhage (ICH) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Although ICH and SAH
are very similar, they generally result from different causes.
Intracerebral hemorrhage is defined as the rupturing of cranial blood
vessels, resulting in the leakage of blood into brain tissues. The most
common risk factor for ICH is chronic hypertension; hypertension causes
arteries and arterioles to become weakened, resulting in leakage. A
Chinese study noted that there was considerable increased risk for ICH in
hypertensive patients who did not regularly take their medications.
Additional risk factors for ICH include drug and alcohol abuse,
anticoagulant medications, age, gender, and race. Excessive alcohol
consumption and drug use, particularly of cocaine and amphetamines, are
the most common causes of ICH for people in their 20s and 30s.
Anticoagulants, such as Coumadin or Heparin, are prescribed for a variety
of conditions, including ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, and deep
Treatment of hemorrhagic stroke is based on the underlying cause of the
hemorrhage and the extent of damage to the brain: treatment includes
medication and surgical intervention. In patients with
hypertension-induced ICH, initial treatment involves the use of
antihypertensive agents. If the hemorrhage results from the use of
anticoagulants, such as Coumadin or Heparin, these medications are
discontinued immediately. Protamine and vitamin K may be given to reduce
bleeding in patients with anticoagulant-induced bleeding.
We often consider "heart attack" as a "life or death" health event.
Strokes have been given less attention, but the new realization that the
disease is an acute event has now led to stroke being referred to as a
"brain attack." Thrombotic strokes are a major cause of brain attacks, and
are caused in part by atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diseases that
cause abnormal arterial blood clot formation (thrombosis) such as atrial
fibrillation and heart valve replacement.
An analysis of 18 trials documented a 23% reduction in stroke risk with
anti-platelet agents. The drug ticlopidine was found to be the most
effective anti-platelet agent, but its adverse side effects frequently
restrict its long-term use. A more benign approach such as use of aspirin
or nutrients like ginkgo biloba, melatonin, fish oil, and garlic, as well
as green tea extract, may be as effective and are free of side effects.
Consideration should now be given to the use of melatonin as part of an
integrated treatment for thrombotic stroke according to a 1998 report
which says "Melatonin is one of the most powerful scavengers of free
radicals. Because it easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier, this
antioxidant may, in the future, be used for the treatment of Alzheimer's
and Parkinson's diseases, stroke, nitric oxide, neurotoxicity and
hyperbaric oxygen exposure." (Biol. Signals Recept., July1998,
FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK
Super MaxEPA Liquid
Dale Alexander Emulsified Super MaxEPA is the first and only emulsified
MaxEPA available. MaxEPA is a blend of fish oils which is concentrated to
provide a rich source of biologically active omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty
acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Only a pure special blend of natural lecithin and apple pectin is used to
help mechanically (not chemically) reduce and disperse (emulsify) the
natural oil globules of the MaxEPA into millions of tiny droplets making
the fatty acids EPA and DHA more readily available to the digestive system
for superior absorption, assimilation and utilization.
Vitamin K is a powerful antioxidant that has been approved for the
treatment of osteoporosis in Japan since 1995. The vitamin has also shown
promise in other areas. Now, you too can reap the benefits of the vitamin
with Super K, a low cost dietary supplement that contains a natural form
of vitamin K1 and K2.
Health benefits associated with vitamin K:
Prevents calcification of arteries and other soft tissue
Prevents elevations of IL-6
Regulates the body's calcium and promotes bone calcification
May play a role in the regulation of blood sugar
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE
Carnosine and stroke neuroprotection
Two Russian studies show that carnosine protects the brain in simulated
strokes (Stvolinsky SL et al., 1999; Boldyrev AA et al., 1997). In the
first experiment, rats were exposed to low pressure hypoxia. Rats given
carnosine beforehand were able to keep standing and breathing almost twice
as long as the others. After the hypoxia, carnosine treated rats were able
to stand after 4.3 minutes, as compared to 6.3 minutes for the untreated
The second study simulated stroke through arterial occlusion. Rats treated
with carnosine displayed a more normal EEG, less lactate accumulation (a
common measure of injury severity), and better cerebral blood flow
restoration. The study also demonstrated that carnosine preserves activity
of a key enzyme, Na/K-ATPase, which extracts energy stored in ATP to drive
the cellular sodium pump. Na/K-ATPase inhibition has been found to
correlate with edema in the ischemic (blood-deprived) region.
SUPER SALE ON FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY
Don't miss the opportunity to take 10% off the price of all product
purchases during Life Extension's Super Sale. This offer is valid for
members and nonmembers. (Offer not available to some overseas customers.)
For a complete list of products offered by Life Extension, go to
If you have any questions or comments concerning this issue or back issues
of Life Extension Update, or on any other life extension topics, email me
For longer life,
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation
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