Life Extension Update: 2001.04.06

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2001 - 20:53:06 MDT


    IN THIS ISSUE, APRIL 6 2001:

LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: World Health Day recognizes mental health;

PROTOCOLS: Depression, Alcohol Induced Hangover Prevention;

FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: SAMe, Anti-alcohol antioxidants;


April 6, World Health Day recognizes mental health

'Open Minds . . . Open Doors. Prevent and Treat Mental Illness and
Substance Abuse" is this year's US World Health Day Theme. The World
Health Organization has for the first time in history devoted this year's
World Health Day to the theme of mental health. World Health Day
traditionally falls on April 7, but because it falls on a Saturday this
year a decision was made to hold it on April 6 for the year 2001. Four
hundred million people are estimated to be afflicted with psychological,
neurological or addictive disorders. Despite advances being made, victims
of these conditions are still often stigmatized, blamed and undertreated.
These disorders often begin in one's teens and can cause immense suffering
throughout one's life. Out of the ten leading causes of disability
worldwide, five are due to psychological illnesses.

In honor of this year's theme, Life Extension Update would like to stress
the fact that depression is a frequent problem associated with aging, and
that nutritional and herbal therapies as well as exercise can be effective
against both. A study published in March's American Journal of
Epidemiology showed that older men and women who were the most physically
active had the lowest depression scores. The study followed 404 men and
540 women aged 50 to 89 at the study's baseline for eleven years. After
statistical adjustments, regular, brisk exercise was found to be
associated with improved mood. It was observed that the participants who
took up exercise during the course of the follow up experienced the same
mood-elevating benefits as those who were exercising at the study's onset.
However, the study showed that exercise must be maintained to exert its
antidepressant effect.


Depression is a serious problem with a biochemical basis. It results from
an upset in the delicate balance of brain chemicals that regulate mood.
Depression is a "whole body" disease that skews the way we think and
behave, often damaging our physical health as well as our emotional state.
It's a powerful disease that can leave us debilitated, unable to work,
maintain relationships, or deal with other responsibilities.

Each year more than 10 million Americans are hit by depression.

One in five women will suffer from major depression at some time in her
life, as will 1 in 15 men.

If you have just one episode of major depression, there's a 50/50 chance
you'll have more, perhaps as many as one or two a year.

Millions of depression cases are never diagnosed or treated.

Untreated, major depression may last for 6 months to a year, becoming more
frequent and severe.

Depression costs our society an estimated $44 billion a year, including
$24.2 billion for lowered productivity and absenteeism at work and $12.3
billion for medical and psychiatric care.

More than 18,000 people commit suicide each year, partly or completely as
a result of depression, costing us $7.5 billion.

Depression is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed problems. Many doctors
treat the obvious symptoms of depression, such as poor appetite, insomnia,
and headaches, but overlook the real problem. Untreated, depression can
become more frequent and severe, leading to physical and emotional
suffering, loss of job and relationships, even to suicide.

It is possible to treat the underlying causes of depression without taking
synthetic drugs. Several natural remedies have brought relief to many
people who suffer from depression. Unless otherwise noted, follow dosing
information on labels. Helpful supplements include:

SAMe. The safest and most effective antidepressant in the world is the
European drug S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is a simple natural
metabolite produced from the essential amino acid methionine and adenosine
triphosphate (ATP) by an enzyme known as MAT (methionine adenosyl
transferase). It is found in every cell within the body and plays an
important role in critical biochemical processes. For one thing, it serves
as a precursor for glutathione, Coenzyme A, cysteine, taurine, and other
essential compounds.

Hypericum (St. John's wort). In Germany, where it is covered by health
insurance as a prescription drug, some 20 million people take hypericum
for depression.

Hypericum's side effects are very mild, and may include slight
gastrointestinal irritation and fatigue. In one study involving more than
1000 patients, hypericum produced fewer side effects than a placebo.
However, there are certain light skinned sheep in Australia that become
more sensitive to the sun and may suffer from serious sunburns after
grazing on large amounts of the hypericum leaf. This is not a problem with
people taking the recommended doses of hypericum for depression, but you
should be aware of the potential problem. Those rare individuals who are
hypersensitive to the sun, and/or those taking medications such as
Terramycin, which can increase sun sensitivity, should be cautious about
taking hypericum, and discuss its use with their physicians.

Alcohol Induced Hangover Prevention

Because alcohol consumption produces toxic compounds, in the best of all
possible worlds it would be better not to drink alcohol at all. For those
who still want to drink, it is possible to do so more safely. The first
piece of advice would be to drink only moderately and follow this protocol.

The consumption of alcohol results in the formation of two very toxic
compounds: acetaldehyde and malondialdehyde. These compounds generate
massive free radical damage to cells throughout the body. The free radical
damage generated by these alcohol metabolites creates an effect in the
body similar to radiation poisoning. That is why people feel so sick the
day after consuming too much alcohol. If the proper combination of
antioxidants is taken at the time the alcohol is consumed or before the
inebriated individual goes to bed, the hangover and much of the cellular
damage caused by alcohol may be prevented.

Nutrients that neutralize alcohol by-products and protect cells against
the damaging effects of alcohol include vitamin C, vitamin B1, the amino
acids cysteine and glutathione, vitamin E, and selenium. There are several
commercial preparations that can be taken at the time the alcohol is
consumed or before bedtime to help prevent a hangover. One of these is
called Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants. Six capsules of this formula contain the
proper amounts of antioxidant nutrients to help prevent a hangover.



SAMe is a natural form of bioactive methionine, sold as an antidepressant
drug in Europe. SAMe results from the conversion of methionine by ATP and
SAMe synthetase. SAMe is a "methyl donor" -it contributes a methyl group
to help other molecules become active. SAMe is utilized by the body in
three important pathways: methylation (contributing methyl groups); the
synthesis of polyamines (for cell growth, gene expression, neuron
regeneration, etc.); and transsulphuration (synthesis of cysteine,
glutathione and other sulfate groups).

Anti-alcohol Antioxidants

A remarkable study was reported in which a group of rats were given a dose
of acetaldehyde large enough to kill 90% of them. Rats given a combination
of vitamin C, cysteine and vitamin B1 had no deaths. These antioxidants
provided 100% protection against acetaldehyde induced death. For many
years, medical interns would give themselves injections of thiamine
(vitamin B1) to cure a hangover. We now know how vitamin B1 inhibits the
free radical pathologies. There is now more evidence than ever that
drinking can be made safer by saturating your body with antioxidants while
you drink alcoholic beverages.

Although you can avoid a hangover by taking antioxidants before going to
bed, a lot of cancer-causing damage can occur before then, so it makes
sense to bring at least six Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants capsules with you
when you know you are going to be drinking. Try to get into the habit of
taking one Anti-Alcohol Antioxidant capsule with each drink.


As We See It: Can we control aging, death and disease in our lifetime? By
Saul Kent

Life Extension for Your Pet by Richard E Palmquist, DVM and Terri Mitchell

Dietary Reference Intakes: Behind the Scare Stories by Charles Platt

Lactoferrin Update by Will Brink

Ancient Remedies in Use Today by Jeffrey Laign

In The News: Lovostatin shows potent anticancer Effects, Soy and DHEA
make women happy, I3C and breast cancer

Briefs: The latest on methylation by Craig Cooney

Profile: It's all about being healthy

Questions and Answers

Healthwatch: The rationale for annual blood testing

Medical Updates

Abstracts: April 2001 abstracts

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of
Life Extension Update, please send them to me at

For longer life and a healthier world,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation

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