LE: Life Extension Update 2001.04.20

From: Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 20:37:15 MDT

LEF Email List1 - http://www.lef.org


LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: C-reactive protein reduced to low levels
by statin drugs;

WHAT'S HOT: Vitamin C low in head trauma and intracerebral hemorrhage,
Ginkgo and
alpha-lipoic acid reduce stroke damage;


FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: Super Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Super Ginkgo

LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE MAY 2001 PREVIEW: The silent stroke epidemic;


C-Reactive protein reduced to low levels by three statin drugs

A study reported in the April 17, 2001 issue of Circulation: Journal of
the American Heart Association showed that three major statin drugs:
pravastain, simvastatin and atorvastain can all reduce blood levels of
C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein. or CRP, is a protein whose
elevation is linked with inflammatory states associated with stroke and
myocardial infarction. The cholesterol-lowering drug pravastatin had
previously been shown to reduce CRP.

In a randomized double-blind study of individuals with high triglycerides
and high LDL cholesterol levels, participants were given the three drugs
alternately for six week periods. Blood samples were taken at the
beginning of the study and after each six week period. While taking
pravastain, C-reactive protein levels were reduced in nearly
three-quarters of the subjects and simvastain reduced CRP levels in 82%.
The average reduction in CRP was 28% for the atorvastatin period, 23% for
simvastatin and 20% while taking pravastain.

Study author Ishwarlal Jialal, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Division of
Clinical Biochemistry and Human Metabolism at the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas stated, "This is the first study
where all three statin drugs were used in the same patients and their
results compared. We found that 70 percent to 80 percent of patients who
took any of these statins lowered their CRP to below 2.0 milligrams per
liter, the critical level at which the risk of heart attack or stroke
increases dramatically."

Dr Jialal observed that present medical standards consider C-reactive
protein levels of less than 10 milligrams per liter as normal, but that "
. . . several studies have shown that, in order to achieve a very low
risk of cardiovascular disease, the CRP level must be below 0.7 mg/L. At
levels of just 2.0 mg/L or above, the risk doubles or triples using the
high sensitive assay which is now available in most academic medical
centers. The good thing about all three statin drugs is that they lower
CRP at the same time that they lower LDL and triglycerides. This is
probably why they are associated with lower mortality from heart attacks
and strokes."

Dr Jialal also noted that the study showed for the first time a
significant correlation between the reduction of C-reactive protein and
levels of triglycerides.


Vitamin C low in head trauma and intracerebral hemorrhage

Animal studies have shown that the damage that occurs with stroke or head
injury is in large part caused by the production of reactive oxygen
species and excess free radicals, unstable molecules that react with other
molecules and damage tissue. Hemorrhage causes the release of heme-iron,
which participates in free radical reactions that product reactive oxygen
species. These peroxidize lipids, such as those found in the brain. This
peroxidation may change the permeability and fluidity of brain cell
membranes, which can damage cellular function.

In the present study, which sought to examine the formation of reactive
oxygen species in humans by measuring antioxidant depletion, six female
and seven male head trauma patients, and one woman and fourteen men with
intracerebral hemorrhage were enrolled in the study within twenty-four
hours of the onset of their injury. The patients as well as forty controls
were examined via CT scan of the brain to determine the extent of injury
and had blood samples drawn. Plasma concentrations of vitamin C, vitamin
E, coenzyme Q10 and uric acid were determined by lab analysis. All of the
patients with brain injuries had significantly lower vitamin C levels
compared to the controls. Vitamin C levels in the head trauma and
intracerebral hemorrhage patients were inversely correlated with the
diameter of the injury. No correlations were observed between antioxidant
levels and smoking status, hypertension, calorie intake, diabetes, serum
cholesterol and other factors.

The authors write that, consistent with animal findings, the study
provides evidence of oxidative stress induced antioxidant (specifically
vitamin C) depletion in head trauma and intracerebral hemorrhage. They
note that vitamin C forms the first line of antioxidant defense and
protects lipids from peroxidation, and that the effect of vitamin C
supplementation on these types of patients remains to be studied.

Ginkgo and alpha-lipoic acid reduce stroke damage

A study published in the April 2001 issue of the American Heart
Association journal Stroke reported the effects of two antioxidants,
ginkgo biloba and alpha-lipoic acid, given to mice in whom ischemic
strokes were experimentally induced. Ginkgo and lipoic acid are known to
be reduce the formation of free radicals, as well as inhibiting platelet
and white blood cell activation and adhesion, and improving cerebral blood
flow, all of which could be beneficial to someone suffering from a stroke.
Ginkgo and lipoic acid have also been shown to protect the brain in models
of ischemia, the condition of lack of blood flow to an area that occurs
during stroke or heart attack.

In a randomized trial of ginkgo, sixty mice received either a low oral
dose of 50 mg per kilogram body weight, a high dose of 100 mg per kilogram
body weight, or a placebo for a period of seven days. On the seventh day
of the study, strokes were induced in the mice, followed by return of
blood flow forty-five minutes later. After twenty-four hours the mice were
evaluated and the volume of the infarct, or damaged area, was determined.
In the study utilizing lipoic acid, twenty-four mice were injected with
100 mg per kilogram lipoic acid, or a placebo one and a half hours before
stroke was induced.

Mice receiving lipoic acid and the low dose of ginkgo had signifcantly
smaller infarcted areas than the mice that received the placebo. However,
10% of the mice receiving the high dose of ginkgo experienced areas of
intracerebral hemorrhage within the infarct and this group had on average
had infarct volumes comparable to the controls. The mice receiving lipoic
acid had higher neurologic scores in addition to smaller infarct volumes
compared to the placebo group.

Ginkgo and alpha-lipoic acid may be helpful for humans at risk of
thrombotic stroke. Caution might be exercised when considering taking high
doses of ginkgo by someone at risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

Stroke (Ischemic, thrombotic, embolic)

A revolutionary improvement has occurred in the treatment of ischemic
strokes, yet health care providers still do not treat stroke as
aggressively as they do heart attack. Many therapies that are proven to
work are not made available to the acute stroke patient presenting in the
emergency room. Development of computerized tomography (CT) and Doppler
ultrasonography has made radical changes in early diagnosis of ischemic
and hemorrhagic strokes. These advances have resulted in declines in
stroke mortality. In the 1980s, the development of MRI imaging further
improved evaluation of persons with cerebrovascular disease. Then in the
1990s came conclusive evidence that specialized stroke centers for more
immediate and intensive treatment, combined with educating the public that
time to treatment decreases mortality and improves outcome for stroke,
further decreased the incidence of death associated with all types of
strokes. Oral anticoagulants and aspirin, as well as natural supplements,
are demonstrated to be very effective in diminishing the risk of a stroke.

The FDA approved the use of a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) in June
1996 to treat strokes. t-PA had already been approved to dissolve clots
that occurred in the coronary arteries (acute heart attack), but the FDA
delayed approving t-PA to treat ischemic stroke for many years. Millions
of cases of death and permanent paralysis occurred because of the FDA's
delay in approving t-PA in treating stroke caused by abnormal blood
clotting in the brain's arteries. Physicians affiliated with the Life
Extension Foundation were using t-PA in emergency rooms to treat ischemic
stroke years before the FDA gave its official seal of approval.


Super Alpha-Lipoic Acid

In recent years, scientists have found that a method of nerve cell death
in stroke and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and
Huntington's disease is excitotoxicity (excessive activation) of NMDA
receptors, and the subsequent generation of nitric oxide, free radical
induced lipid peroxidation, aberrantly increased calcium concentrations,
and mitochondrial dysfunction leading to depleted energy supplies.

There is evidence that depletion of reduced glutathione makes neurons more
susceptible to excitotoxicity, and that intact mitochondrial function is
essential for neuronal resistance to excitotoxic attack. It is believed,
for example, that reduced levels of the energy currency of the cell (ATP)
that accompanies loss of mitochondrial function causes depolarization of
neuronal membrane, which exposes NMDA receptors to excessive levels of
glutamate. The resulting neurohormonal cascade leads, in many cases, to
the death of neurons in the brain, and central and peripheral nervous
Scientists have been trying to develop anti-excitotoxic therapies that are
NMDA receptor antagonists to counter this kind of neuronal cell death. A
recent study at the Dept. Of Neurology at the University of Rochester
Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. demonstrated that alpha lipoic acid
protected against glutamate and malonic acid-induced lesions in the brains
of male Sprague-Dawley rats. They found a significant reduction of lesions
in animals receiving 10 mg/kg injections of either alpha lipoic acid or

Super Ginkgo Capsules

Studies have consistently shown ginkgo to be beneficial in treating a
variety of conditions. Ginkgo has a positive effect on circulation, both
cerebral and peripheral, including an ability to reduce abnormalities of
muscle tone, of blood vessels, capillary permeability, abnormal
aggregation of blood platelets, arterial damage caused by atherosclerosis
and tissue damage caused by low blood flow.

The Silent Stroke Epidemic by William Faloon

Of all the diseases that affect aging humans, stroke is the most feared.
Most people believe a stroke can either kill suddenly or induce a state of
paralysis requiring institutional care.

A surprising new study reveals that most strokes cause no obvious
symptoms, although over time these "silent" strokes lead to memory loss,
neurologic disorders and more strokes. According to this new study, eleven
million Americans have these "silent" strokes annually and by the time
people reach their 70's, one in three suffers a silent stroke every year.
This dismal report describing the "silent" stroke epidemic was presented
at a meeting of the American Stroke Association held February 14-16, 2001.
The good news is that other presentations made at this same meeting show
that the program Life Extension members follow to stay healthy may
dramatically reduce their risk of ever having a stroke.

For the last 50 years, doctors have concentrated on controlling blood
pressure as the primary method of preventing stroke. While guarding
against even borderline hypertension is critical in reducing stroke risk,
there are factors that can be tested in the blood to further determine
stroke risk. Everyone over age 40 should have their blood tested to make
sure their homocysteine, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, LDL-cholesterol,
etc. are in the safe range. High levels of C-reactive protein indicate a
potentially destructive inflammatory autoimmune condition that could
predispose a person to a host of degenerative diseases. C-reactive protein
can be suppressed by ibuprofen, aspirin or vitamin E.(12-15) Some of the
pro-inflammatory immune cytokines that cause elevated C-reactive protein
include interleukin-6, interleukin 1(b) and tumor necrosis factor alpha.
Supplements such as DHEA, vitamin K and nettle leaf extract can help
suppress these dangerous inflammatory cytokines that can cause C-reactive
protein elevation.


For those who thought it was too late to take advantage of Life
Extension's Blood Testing Sale, the sale has been extended until May 5
2001. Check out the discounted prices available at

Visit our website at www.lef.org

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of
Life Extension Update, send them to ddye@lifeextension.com

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation

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