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LMU 266 – Regulating Your Body’s mTOR Signaling Pathway in Cancer Prevention

Regulating Your Body’s mTOR Signaling Pathway in Cancer Prevention

Source: J Anti-Cancer Agents Med Chem (2013) and Int J Mol Sci (2019)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 22, 2022)

You probably have never heard of the mTOR signaling pathway, but in many types of cancer, this signaling pathway is shown to be overactive, causing cancer to develop in the first place and/or promoting its relentless progression.  In this overactive state, the mTOR pathway stimulates cancer cells to divide and helps them form new blood vessels so that tumors can keep growing and spreading to distal parts of the body creating metastatic cancer. Most cancer researchers agree that regulating the mTOR signaling pathway in our body cells from day to day is one more important way we can help to reduce cancer risk and decrease the risk of cancer relapse. It can also slow the rate at which we age.

But to be clear, a short-term spike in mTOR signaling is a good thing, as means to preserve or gain muscle mass and bone density, which helps prevent us from becoming weak, frail, and osteoporotic as we age. Consuming ideal amounts of protein and doing resistance exercise training turns on the mTOR pathway in our muscle and bone cells for a short period of time to help us stay strong, enabling us to remain functional as we age. So, a short-term spike or burst in mTOR activity is not a problem. In fact, it is helpful. However, if the mTOR signaling pathway in our cells is constantly turned-on, then we set the stage for cancer, premature aging, and a variety of other health problems.

Regularly consuming excess calories (overeating), especially if it raises your blood sugar (glucose) level into a prediabetic or diabetic range and/or the ingestion of too much animal protein day after day, and/or the accumulation of excess body fat, all result in the mTOR pathway being constantly switched – on in our cells (constitutively up-regulated). This situation is associated with increased cancer risk for many types of cancer and increased risk of cancer recurrence in cancer survivors. As such, regulating the mTOR signaling pathway in your body is something you should keep on your radar from day to day, as part of your cancer prevention strategy. Balancing the short-term turning-on of your mTOR pathway to gain and preserve muscle and bone mass, while counterbalancing this with general inhibition of the mTOR pathway for most of your 24-hour wake-sleep cycle, is a desirable strategy to help to prevent cancer over your lifetime and extend your years of functional life (health span).

So how do you keep the mTOR signaling pathways in your cells from being overactive?

  1. Don’t overconsume animal protein. Plant-based protein foods do not stimulate the mTOR pathway as much as animal proteins, which are higher in branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine). In most cases, you can get away with consuming some low-fat animal protein foods, like skinless chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, fish, whey protein, and non-fat yogurt, but balance it out with plant protein foods as much as possible.
  2. Stay at your ideal body weight. Being overweight creates insulin resistance. In turn, your insulin, and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptors (IGF-1) on your cells continuously stimulate the mTOR signaling pathway, thereby increasing risk for many types of cancer. Diabetics are known to have a higher cancer risk than non-diabetics, and this is largely due to overactivity of the mTOR signaling pathway.
  3. Intermittent fasting and systemic undereating (caloric restriction) can help to silence the mTOR pathway – but its not easy to do, of course. But even if you can regularly restrict food intake for 14-16 hours during your 24-hour wake-sleep cycle it is shown to silence the mTOR pathway and activate longevity genes (Sirtuin genes). As an example, not eating anything between 8 PM and 10 AM the next morning is one way to apply this strategy.
  4. Keep your fasting blood glucose level below 90 mg/dl (5 mmol/L), by watching your carbohydrate intake and your waistline.
  5. Exercise regularly, both aerobic exercise and strength training – this also activates longevity genes like Sirtuin genes.
  6. Consume plant-based foods that contain natural mTOR pathway inhibitors:
  • Apigenin – a flavonoid found in abundance in oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, onions, parsley, broccoli, sweet green pepper, celery, barley, tomatoes, and tea.
  • Curcumin – a polyphenol found in the spice turmeric
  • Fisetin – a flavonoid found in strawberries, apples, persimmons, and onions
  • Idole-3-Carbinol – found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, and turnips.
  • Isoflavones – a class of flavonoid phenolic compounds found in soybeans, such as genistein and daidzein. Consumption of most soy foods provides a generous amount of soy isoflavones
  • Quercetin – a polyphenolic compound found in tea, onions, red grapes, and apples.
  • Resveratrol – a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes
  • Caffeine is also an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway and regular coffee drinking is associated with a reduction of various cancers (liver, colon, etc.)
  • EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) – found in green tea and green tea extract supplements, is also an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway. EGCG is well known as a natural agent possessing various anti-cancer properties.

7. In addition to the regular consumption of foods that contain mTOR pathway inhibitors, many health-conscious people take supplements each day that contain some of these mTOR signaling inhibitors, as an additional prevention measure. For instance, many supplements in the marketplace contain:

  • Curcumin – often used to reduce inflammation
  • Indole-3-carbinol – often used to enhance detoxification and for other cancer-prevention properties
  • Soy Extract (containing isoflavones) – for prostate health and to reduce hot flashes during menopause
  • EGCG – to help burn excess body fat

All these compounds provide the secondary benefit of toning down the mTOR pathway and thus, they are all associated with decreased cancer risk in many studies. The bottom line on this topic is that one additional way to help reduce cancer development and cancer recurrence is by not overstimulating the mTOR signaling pathways in your body cells on an ongoing basis. This can be done through the targeted nutrition, lifestyle, and exercise information I have provided in this update, and further supported by use of certain dietary supplements, as I have outlined.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

 

References:
1. Huang S. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling by natural products. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2013; 13 (7): 967-970 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775843/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6387042/#:~:text=Aberrant%20mTOR%20signaling%20resulting%20from,to%20tumor%20initiation%20and%20progression.

3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41523-020-00187-4

4. https://www.oncotarget.com/article/25253/text/


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Recommended Supplements

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 265 – Green Tea, Resveratrol, Curcumin and CDP-Choline Reduce Amyloid Plaque in Alzheimer’s disease Prevention Model

LMU-265

Green Tea, Resveratrol, Curcumin and CDP-Choline Reduce Amyloid Plaque in Alzheimer’s disease Prevention Model

Source: Tufts University Research, June 2022 (Free Radical Biology and Medicine Journal)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 15, 2022)

A 2022 report from Tufts University provided more encouraging news about preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 6 million Americans, and its incidence is expected to rise exponentially in the coming decades. As the Tufts University Researchers indicated, the cause of the disease in its most common form, which is not genetically based, is not well understood. This makes treatment difficult, but progress is being made.

Some of the progress relates to the study they published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine in June 2022. In an experimental study, they tested 21 different compounds in Alzheimer’s-afflicted brain cells in the lab. They found that four natural compounds could reduce the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, which is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Most experts agree that preventing the build-up of amyloid plaque is a key strategy to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and to date, there are no drugs that can do that effectively.

However, these researchers showed that the polyphenols or catechins (such as EGCG) found in green tea, as well as the flavonoid resveratrol (found in grapes, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, pistachios, and cocoa), blocked the formation of beta-amyloid plaque in Alzheimer’s-affected brain cells. They also found that curcumin, found in turmeric, as well as the supplement CDP-choline which is known to enhance memory performance, also inhibited the synthesis of beta-amyloid plaque in these brain cells. The type 2 diabetic drug known as Metformin also showed a similar effect. As the researchers mentioned, some of these compounds are more bioavailable than others and some cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively than others.

As such, my recommendation is to drink 3-5 cups of green tea daily (and/or take a supplement containing at least 300 mg of green tea catechins daily).  A study in the journal Molecules in 2020 showed that a dosage in this range improved working memory in 50-69 subjects in a human 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. I would also encourage you to eat foods that contain resveratrol, which I outlined previously, and after the age of 50-55 take a supplement that contains CDP-choline, along with other memory support agents (Phosphatidylserine, Huperzine A, and Bacopa monnieri). Adding the spice turmeric to your food preparation is also advisable, but the bioavailability of curcumin is quite poor. As such, I take a combination supplement each day that contains curcumin, Boswellia, white willow extract, and ginger. Together these natural agents help to prevent inflammation and block some key steps in cancer development, and curcumin and Boswellia cross the blood-brain barrier exerting a multitude of neuroprotective effects. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, research continues to point to lifestyle medicine as a key way to help reduce the risk. The regular ingestion of green tea catechins, resveratrol, curcumin, and CDP-choline are nutrients you should strongly consider, as part of your Alzheimer’s disease prevention program in my view.

I have included the references for the Tufts University study and the green tea catechin study in the text below.

References:

1. Silveira I.A. et al. Screening neuroprotective compounds in herpes-induced Alzheimer’s disease cell and 3D tissue models. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2022; 186:76-92 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584922001770?via%3Dihub

2. Baba Y et al. Effect of daily intake of green tea catechins on cognitive function in middle-aged and older subjects: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. Molecules. 2020; 25(18): 4265. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7570631/

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Recommended Supplements

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 264 – Supplements Reducing Lou Gehrig’s disease Risk: Promising evidence from neurology research

LMU-264

Supplements Reducing Lou Gehrig’s disease Risk: Promising evidence from neurology research

Source: J Biomedicines (2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 8, 2022)

Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive and devastating neurodegenerative disease that leads to weakness and paralysis caused by the death of the motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord that enable our muscle function. After Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, it is the third most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, affecting 450,000 people worldwide. It typically strikes after the age of 50, although a minority of cases occur in younger people. A review of the latest breakthroughs in ALS was published in the journal Biomedicines in August of 2021, which provided insights as to how we may be able to prevent many cases of Lou Gehrig’s disease through the use of diet, lifestyle, and especially, supplementation practices.

As a quick summary of how we might achieve this, the authors of the study highlight the critical role of the B vitamin, niacin (B3), which the body converts into NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). NAD is required by brain cells for energy production, for protection against toxic substances (excitotoxicity) and states of reduced blood flow, (cerebral ischemia), to preserve the integrity and function of brain cell axons (that relay electrical messages from one nerve cell to the next), to preserve mitochondrial function (where nerve cell energy is generated), support the synthesis of glutathione – an important brain cell antioxidant that prevents damage and death of brain cells from free radicals (oxidative stress – reactive oxygen species), and NAD activates longevity and survival genes in brain cells such as the Sirtuin-6 gene. Research clearly shows that a consistent finding in ALS is a depletion of NAD levels in the brain. In fact, we know that NAD levels tend to decline with age. It appears likely that in persons who are genetically prone to ALS (SOD1 mutation) development, once a critical level of NAD is depleted in the brain, the disease is triggered.  In fact, the best documented genetic mutation for ALS risk is the presence of the SOD1 mutation. SOD1 is an antioxidant that normally protects brain cells from free radical damage that otherwise leads to their brain cell and nerve cell death. In individuals who are born with the SOD1 mutation their SOD1 enzyme doesn’t work and thus, free radicals build up more easily, triggering nerve cell death and the onset and progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease. But animal studies and preliminary human studies are showing that supplementation with NAD or its precursors (niacin, vitamin B3) can replenish brain levels of NAD, which in turn, acts to protect nerve cells from dying and increases the synthesis of glutathione – a critically important antioxidant that can, to some degree, compensate for the lack of free radical protection from the faulty SOD1 antioxidant enzyme. Interestingly, like NAD, glutathione is also shown to be lower in the brains of ALS patients than in healthy individuals.

In fact, halting free radical damage to the brain has been a focus of medical intervention in recent years and has led to the approval of an antioxidant drug (edaravone) that is approved for ALS therapy. But the antioxidant drug edaravone is not the only thing that has shown promise and improvement in ALS studies.  For example, administration of high-dose melatonin (300 mg/daily via rectal suppository), as well as high-dose oral supplementation of melatonin, combined with a cocktail of other supplements, resulted in the recovery of lost muscle function and/or slowed ALS disease progression, and these patients lived longer compared to those not taking melatonin. Other studies show that the antioxidant supplement NAC (N-acetylcysteine) can replenish brain levels of glutathione and has shown tremendous promise in ALS prevention in animal models of this disease.

So, to summarize what I have outlined in this update and to make it practical, the following considerations that may help reduce the risk of developing Lou Gehrig’s disease during your lifetime include:

1.  Consider taking a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement each day that contains 50 mg of vitamin B3 (niacin). This helps to prevent the age-related depletion in brain NAD levels that is shown to contribute to not only the onset of ALS, but also Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement would also have increased amounts of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C (1,000 mg) vitamin E (400 IU), beta-carotene (15,000 IU), and selenium (200 mcg), as an example, compared to typical drug-store type multiple vitamins.

2. After age 40 (at a time when melatonin synthesis in the brain becomes very low), consider taking 1-3 mg of melatonin an hour before bedtime each day. Melatonin is not only a brain antioxidant (quenching free radicals), but it has also been shown to prevent the death of the motor nerves, which is a critical factor in preventing and treating ALS. Of course, melatonin also helps you reach deeper levels of sleep, which is in itself very renewing, it supports immune function and helps to protect breast and prostate cells from changes linked to cancer.

3. After age 45 -50 consider taking a supplement each day that helps your body synthesize glutathione. Typically, a supplement of this nature includes the following ingredients, NAC (N-acetylcysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, L-glutamine, and Milk thistle, which provides the flavonoid, silymarin).

4. Some evidence suggests that taking 30-100 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 after the age of 45, may also be a prudent step in the prevention of various neurodegenerative diseases. This is especially true for Parkinson’s disease but may have applications for Alzheimer’s disease and ALS.

5. For highly motivated individuals, I might suggest that after age 45- 50 you consider seeing an integrative or anti-aging medical doctor or naturopath, who can administer glutathione (1,000 mg) and/or NAC (500 -1,000 mg) intravenously, once every month or two, to help ensure optimal brain levels of glutathione. The same holds true for NAD, which can also be administered via IV, usually at a dosage of 250, 500 or 750 mg IV dose.  There are also NAD sublingual products in the marketplace that can also efficiently deliver NAD to the brain by preventing its degradation via the digestive process.

If this subject is of interest to you, then I would encourage you to read the entire 2019 review article on this subject. I have provided a link to it in the text below.

Reference:

Obrador E et al. NADprecursors and antioxidants for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Biomedicine. 2021, 9(8): 1000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8394119/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 263 – Nutrition and Lifestyle Counseling Reverses Pre-Diabetes and Prevents Type 2 Diabetes Development

LMU-263

Nutrition and Lifestyle Counseling Reverses Pre-Diabetes and Prevents Type 2 Diabetes Development

Source: The Lancet Regional Health (Europe 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 2, 2022)

Let’s talk about type 2 diabetes for a moment and the importance of nutrition and lifestyle counseling. Globally, there were 438 million cases of type 2 diabetes in 2019, with an age-standardized point prevalence of 5,283 per 100,000 people in the world.  This means that for every 100,000 people on the planet, over 5,000 people have type 2 diabetes as of the year 2019.  This represents a 49% increase since the year 1990.

The reason for the increase is largely due to more people being overweight and less physically active, as we embrace the digital age. People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious life-threatening health problems, which results in higher medical care costs, reduced quality of life, and increased mortality. Drugs alone have not solved the problem, thus far.

So, in Finland, they did something that is very logical and straightforward. They involved primary health care practitioners to deliver standardized nutrition and lifestyle counseling to over 2,900 prediabetic patients across the country. In the most successful arm of the study, patients were provided with a health app that prompted them to check off healthy dietary and lifestyle habits they accomplished throughout the day, as well as receiving group counseling sessions aimed at helping them make healthier food and activity choices. The stated aim was not to lose weight but to improve diet quality, increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, improve sleep, reduce alcohol consumption, and stop smoking, thereby reducing the risk of their prediabetic condition from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes. The results showed that the group using the health app and receiving group counseling ate more vegetables and better-quality fats, and their waist circumference reduced slightly. As one of the lead researchers (Kirsikka Aittola) stated, “better diet quality reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes regardless of changes in the person’s weight”. Commitment to using the health app also increased physical activity and reduced sedentary time.

The findings of this study are important, as this is the first large, randomized, controlled study involving primary health care practitioners and studying interactions between the combined use of the digital app and group-based lifestyle counseling. I think this is an important message, as much of diabetes and pre-diabetes management focuses on prescription drug management. This large study shows the power of patient education, combined with motivation and adherence tracking using a digital device. Of course, digital health apps and devices are becoming increasingly popular. But the secret to enhanced success with health outcomes for many people appears to be to combine the use of health apps and devices with personalized wellness and nutritional medicine counseling. The human touch is still required to help many people make lifestyle changes that are in their best health interests. So, if you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you may want to seek the help of a healthcare provider who can work with you to help facilitate nutrition and lifestyle changes and suggest the use of a health app to help track your daily success and increase your level of compliance. Reversing the global trend in type diabetes can be greatly aided by combining some existing health app technology with personalized nutrition and lifestyle coaching. These have been important missing ingredients in my view.

I have provided the references for this information in the text below.
 

References:

Primary Reference:  Timo A. Lakka, Kirsikka Aittola, Elina Järvelä-Reijonen, Tanja Tilles-Tirkkonen, Reija Männikkö, Niina Lintu, Leila Karhunen, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Marja Harjumaa, Elina Mattila, Riia Järvenpää, Miikka Ermes, Santtu Mikkonen, Janne Martikainen, Kaisa Poutanen, Ursula Schwab, Pilvikki Absetz, Jaana Lindström, Jussi Pihlajamäki. Real-world effectiveness of digital and group-based lifestyle interventions as compared with usual care to reduce type 2 diabetes risk – A stop diabetes pragmatic randomised trialThe Lancet Regional Health – Europe, 2022; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266677622200223X?via%3Dihub

Science Direct: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/10/221027124041.htm

Type 2 Diabetes Worldwide Stats and Trends:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2022.838027/full#:~:text=Type%202%20diabetes%20accounted%20for,since%201990%20(Table%201)

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 262 – Reducing High Blood Pressure Lowers Alzheimer’s disease Risk

LMU-262

Reducing High Blood Pressure Lowers Alzheimer’s disease Risk

Source: Neuroscience News (October 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (October 26, 2022)

We all know that lowering high blood pressure is an important way to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but a large study completed in 2022 has shown that lowering high blood pressure in adults 69 years and older can also significantly lower the risk of developing dementia. The researchers examined the relationship between blood pressure and dementia by analyzing results from five double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trials and followed patients until the development of dementia.

The study involved over 28,000 individuals from 20 countries, with an average age of 69 and a history of high blood pressure.  Across these studies, the mid-range of follow-up was just over four years. As one of the researchers stated, “we found there was a significant effect of treatment in lowering the odds of dementia associated with a sustained reduction in blood pressure in this older population.”  They went on to state, “our results imply a broadly linear relationship between blood pressure reduction and lower risk of dementia, regardless of which type of treatment was used. ”This means that the greater the reduction in high blood pressure the lower the risk of developing dementia as the years went by, and that regardless of what method was used to lower blood pressure (various drugs, exercise, weight loss, supplements, etc.) the same reduction in dementia risk was shown.

A few years ago, it was suggested that blood pressure-lowering drugs called ARBs (angiotensin receptor-blockers) might be superior in reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in patients with high blood pressure. But this large, 2022 multiple-study review shows us that simply lowering high blood pressure by any means is effective in reducing dementia risk as the years go by. I’ll point out to you that in addition to drug therapy, some dietary, exercise, supplementation, and lifestyle strategies have also been shown to reduce high blood pressure. The most important natural methods to reduce high blood pressure include losing excess body fat, doing regular aerobic exercise, reducing salt intake, increasing calcium intake to about 1200 mg per day, supplementing with a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and Hawthorn, taking a supplement containing omega-3 fats, as well as meditation and progressive relaxation techniques.

As the researchers pointed out, dementia is fast becoming a global epidemic, currently affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. This is projected to triple by 2050 – mainly driven by aging populations. Currently, the health care cost for each person with dementia is estimated to be US$20-$40,000 per year in the United States. So, it’s important to know your current blood pressure reading and to track it over time. If it’s high, thankfully there are drugs that can help to lower it.  But remember that lifestyle medicine is good medicine, which can complement drug therapy for this condition, as I have outlined, and should also be included in the overall management of high blood pressure in my view.  In many cases the diet, exercise, weight loss, supplementation, and mind-body approaches, I mentioned above can eliminate the need for high blood pressure medications or lower the dosage of drugs required, which helps to reduce their potential adverse side effects.

I have included a link to the research article in the text below.

Reference:

Best evidence yet that lowering blood pressure can prevent dementia. Neuroscience News. October 25, 2022. https://neurosciencenews.com/blood-pressure-dementia-21721/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 261 – Soy Isoflavones Linked to Reduced Risk of Cancer Incidence by 10%

LMU-261

Soy Isoflavones Linked to Reduced Risk of Cancer Incidence by 10%

Source: Frontiers of Nutrition Journal (2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (October 19, 2022)

An important paper was published in the journal, Frontiers of Nutrition in March 2022, which compiled the data from eighty-one prospective studies looking at the impact of soy intake on overall cancer risk. As the researchers concluded, “a higher intake of soy was significantly associated with a 10% reduced risk of cancer incidence”. More specifically the ingestion of soy isoflavones, not soy protein, was associated with reduced cancer risk, such that every 10 mg per day intake of soy isoflavones translated into a 4% reduction in cancer risk.

This means that an intake of 25 mg of soy isoflavones daily, on average, which is easy to achieve, may reduce your risk of cancer by approximately 10%. Similar protective effects were seen for specific cancers, with the evidence being especially strong for the prevention of lung and prostate cancers. A number of studies over the years have shown that soy intake helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the evidence for cancer prevention appears to be strong enough that the researchers stated in their conclusion that these findings support recommendations to include soy as part of a healthy dietary pattern for the prevention of cancer.

The research paper highlighted details of some of the eighty-one studies reviewed in this meta-analysis whereby some of the studies have shown a significant reduction in the incidence of certain cancers in the presence of higher intakes of soy including, reduced risk of:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women
  • Stomach, prostate, and lung cancer

Keep in mind that all the studies following breast cancer survivors, to date, have shown that women consuming at least 23 mg of soy isoflavones per day, on average, show a significant reduction in breast cancer recurrence and relapse, and mortality, compared to women who avoid consuming soy products or consume very small amounts. In the paper the researchers explained some of the ways that soy isoflavones are shown to help prevent cancer, citing increased antioxidant protection, anti-inflammatory properties, modulating genes that control cell division and programmed cell death (apoptosis), and inhibiting tumor cells from forming new blood vessels to nourish themselves (anti-angiogenesis). But they make that point these studies also suggest that some undesirable lifestyle practices can counter the cancer-protective effects of soy, making soy isoflavone intake less protective against cancer, as appears to be the case in patients who are obese, physically inactive, in those who smoke, and individuals consuming high amounts of alcohol.  However, as part of a healthy lifestyle program the addition of 25-75 mg of soy isoflavones per day, on average, appears to be one additional strategy that can help to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and overall cancer risk.

 Of course, if you are allergic to soy foods, then soy products of all types are off your list. But for everyone else, I think this is important information to consider.  I have included a list of soy foods and the number of soy isoflavones they contain in the text below, along with a link to the March 2022 research paper I am citing here.  I hope this is helpful.

Soy Foods and Amount of Isoflavones: Source: J Nutrients 2018 Soy foods and soy bioactive substances. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322292620_Soy_Soy_Foods_and_Their_Role_in_Vegetarian_Diets   

Soy Food

Amount of Isoflavones per 100 gm (3.5 oz or 1/5 lb)

Miso

41.45

Edamame

17.92

Natto

82.29

Soy Cheese

6-26

Soy Beans Roasted

148.5

Soy Beans Raw

154.5

Soy Milk

0.7 – 11

Tempeh

3.82

Tofu

13 – 35

Okara

9.39

Soy Lecithin

15.7

Soy Flour, textured

172.55

Soy Flour, defatted

151

Soy Protein Isolate

91

Soy Protein Concentrate

11.49

Soy Sauce

1.18

 

 Reference:

Fan Y et al. Intake of Soy, Soy Isoflavones and Soy Protein and Risk of Cancer Incidence and Mortality Front. Nutr., 04 March 2022
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.847421/full

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 260 – Two Studies Show That Green Tea Extract Lowers Bad Cholesterol and Improves Other Cardiovascular and Diabetic Risk Factors

LMU-260

Two Studies Show That Green Tea Extract Lowers Bad Cholesterol and Improves Other Cardiovascular and Diabetic Risk Factors

Source: Arq Bras Cardio (2009); Nutr Res (2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (October 3, 2022)

You’ve probably heard that green tea is good for you. This is because it contains unique polyphenol compounds such as EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate). EGCG has been shown to have impressive anticancer properties, which usually is its main claim to fame. But two well-designed human clinical trials have shown that green tea extract supplements (rich in EGCG) can also help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and in one study also elevated good cholesterol (HDL).

(Hard to elevate HDL). Moreover, green tea extract also reduced elevated triglycerides (fats in the blood) to a modest degree, as well as reducing markers of inflammation.  In one of the studies, it also reduced high blood pressure to a modest degree and improved insulin function and glucose (blood sugar) levels in overweight individuals who were teetering on type 2 diabetes.

In the first study the daily dosage provided to overweight patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and borderline type 2 diabetes was 379 mg of green tea extract supplementation. The positive results on blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammatory markers, triglyceride, and glucose control were realized within 3-months, compared to the placebo group, which showed zero improvements. The other study involved 33 patients (21-71 years of age) who had high cholesterol and high triglyceride blood levels, and who were following a low-fat diet. The addition of 250 mg per day of green tea extract supplementation significantly reduced their bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol over the 8-week study period.

I think that green tea is truly one of the remarkable health foods we have available to us. One cup of green tea contains 50-100 mg of polyphenols, mostly as catechin compounds, such as EGCG. For general health-promotion purposes, drinking 2-5 cups per day is really worth considering in my view. I try to do this myself, but I also take a supplement each day that contains green tea extract (rich in EGCC), along with chromium and HCA (hydroxy-citric acid). Together, these ingredients help to burn excess body fat (by turning on the fat-burning action of brown fat within our bodies) and it helps to block the conversion of carbohydrates into fat and improves insulin function, according to available studies. The studies I’m citing today also show that green tea extract can help to keep your bad cholesterol down and may elevate your good cholesterol (HDL) and improve other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. So, keep green tea and green tea extract on your radar as you plot your wellness journey through life.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1;. Batista D et al. Prospective double-blind crossover study of Camellia sinesis (green tea) in dyslipidemia. Arq Bras Cardio. 2009, 93(2): 128-134. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19838489/

2. Bogdanski P et al. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. Nutr Res. 2012, 32(6): 421-427 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19838489/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 259 – Higher Blood Selenium Strongly Linked to Reduction in Melanoma Recurrence and Improved Survival Outcomes

LMU-259

Higher Blood Selenium Strongly Linked to Reduction in Melanoma Recurrence and Improved Survival Outcomes

Source: J Biomedicines 2021

Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 26, 2022)

An important study published in 2021 in the journal Biomedicines has shown that individuals with higher selenium blood levels, who were previously treated for melanoma, show better overall survival outcomes – meaning that they have a much lower risk of recurrence, metastases, or progression of their cancer than those with lower blood selenium levels. Melanoma is one of the most aggressive human malignancies. Over 320,000 new cases were diagnosed globally in 2020, with 57,000 deaths.

Data from the Global Cancer Observatory indicate that over the last decade, the incidence rates of melanoma have increased by nearly 50%, with deaths increasing by 32%. According to the WHO prediction, the number of deaths related to melanoma will increase by 20% in 2025, rising to 74% in 2040. In addition to avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds, one of the emerging ways to potentially help protect yourself against melanoma is to ensure that your blood level of selenium is in the ideal range. As the authors of the 2021 study explain, “many studies show that the mineral selenium takes part in several cellular processes and molecular pathways that may be involved in anti-cancer activity, i.e., reduction in DNA damage, oxidative stress – or free radical stress, and inflammation; detoxification of carcinogens; enhancement of immune response; alteration in DNA methylation; regulation of the cell cycle; induction of apoptosis – programmed cell death – of cancer cells; inhibition of angiogenesis required for the growth and metastasis of tumors.”

Additionally, many other in vivo and in vitro reports have found that selenium compounds and selenoproteins (selenium-dependent proteins) may affect other aspects of cancer development and progression. Although it is not definitely understood how selenium affects cancer prognosis, the literature data support the association between higher selenium levels and improved cancer outcomes, overall. For instance, “Harris et al. suggested that selenium may improve breast cancer-specific survival and overall survival.” Other publications have recently presented the association between low levels of circulating selenium and survival in women with breast cancer. Higher serum selenium levels at the time of diagnosis have also been reported to be associated with improved outcomes in patients with cancers of the lung and larynx.”

 Regarding melanoma, the study published in the journal Biomedicines (2022) involved 375 melanoma patients from Poland, which found that a low serum selenium level (i.e., below 76.44 µg/L) was associated with an increased mortality rate in the 10 years following diagnosis. All study participants fasted (12-14 hours) before blood sample collection for selenium level evaluation. The measurement was conducted prior to treatment other than surgical removal of the primary skin lesion. The researchers concluded that their findings are consistent with the literature data, since in all published studies, either low serum selenium levels correlated with a worse prognosis or higher selenium levels correlated with a better outcome. “We showed, herein, that a low selenium level might contribute to worse survival for patients with melanoma.”

I think this study suggests that we should all strive to have a selenium blood level that is above 77 ug/L. I personally take a multivitamin and mineral each day that contains 200 mcg of selenium. This ensures an optimal blood level of selenium and is consistent with other studies showing the positive effects of this selenium dosage on more optimal immune function, and when combined with CoQ10 supplementation, a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


References:

1. Melanoma: Rogoza-Janiszewska E et al. Serum selenium level and 10-year survival after melanoma. Biomedicines 2021, 9: 991 https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9059/9/8/991

2. Selenium and Immunity: Hiffler L et al. Selenium and RNA virus interactions: Potential implications for SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19). Frontiers in Nutrition. September 2020: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.00164/full

3. Selenium and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality:  Alehagen U et al. Still reduced cardiovascular mortality 12 years after supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 for four years.: A validation of previous 10-year follow-up results of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in elderly. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894963/

Eat Smart Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 258 – Endurance Exercise May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s disease via Irisin Release from Muscles

LMU-258

Endurance Exercise May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s disease via Irisin Release from Muscles

Source: Neuroscience News (September 12, 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 15, 2022)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and has an annual incidence rate of approximately 1 in 600 people aged 65 years or older. The cause of PD is currently unknown but is thought to be a consequence of genetic and environmental influences. Certain environmental factors (pesticides, dairy products, and traumatic brain injury) have been linked to increased risk of developing PD, whereas others have been linked to decreased risk (smoking, caffeine, urate, and physical activity).

Regarding exercise, a number of studies have shown that people who engage in regular exercise appear to have decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as they age. But a study reviewed in Neuroscience News in September 2022 has shed light on a key mechanism through which endurance exercise (aerobic exercise) appears to be an important way to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

In short, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have shown that a hormone secreted into the blood during endurance, or aerobic, exercise reduces levels of a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease and halts movement problems in mice. The protein released from muscles during aerobic exercise is called irisin. Irisin can cross the blood-brain barrier and block important steps linked to Parkinson’s disease. The researchers showed that mice that are genetically engineered to be at high risk for Parkinson’s disease development are spared the development of Parkinson’s disease when irisin protein is injected into the area of the mouse brain where Parkinson’s disease develops. This research helps to explain why people who perform aerobic exercise are less prone to Parkinson’s disease development. It also helps to explain one of the ways that exercise helps to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in people who are afflicted.

Biotechnology research companies are busy trying to make an irisin drug that can enter the body and make its way to the brain, or find a way to deliver irisin directly to the human brain. This intervention may reduce the risk of developing PD or become another aspect of PD treatment. But the science and technology to do this are still quite a way down the road. In the meantime, one way to help to prevent Parkinson’s disease (as well as to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn fat) is to perform aerobic exercise regularly (4-7 times per week). This releases irisin into the bloodstream, which can cross into the brain and prevent the clumping together of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The clumping of alpha-synuclein kills dopamine-producing nerve cells, which causes many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Irisin is also shown to speed up the breakdown of synuclein so that it doesn’t accumulate in the brain and clump together. Anyway you look at it, including aerobic exercise in your wellness, longevity, and healthy life expectancy game plan is good preventive medicine, and this appears to also include reducing your risk of Parkinson’s disease as you get older.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Main Reference: Exercise hormone halts Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Neuroscience News. September 12, 2022.https://neurosciencenews.com/irisin-parkinsons-21395/

2. Crotty G.F. Chasing protection in Parkinson’s disease: Does exercise reduce risk and progression. Front Aging Neurosci. 2020; 12: 186https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318912/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 257 – Diabetic Drug Metformin Shows Evidence of Cancer Prevention, Therapy, and Anti-Aging

LMU-257

Diabetic Drug Metformin Shows Evidence of Cancer Prevention, Therapy, and Anti-Aging

Source: J Cancer Management Research (2019)

Lifestyle Medicine Update(September 7, 2022)

It may interest you to know that natural products, such as plants and herbs, and their derivatives are the source of about 50% of all pharmaceutical drugs used in modern medicine today. (1) One of those drugs is the popular, highly effective, and inexpensive drug known as Metformin, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin was originally discovered and extracted from the herb known as the Galega officinalis or goat’s rue (French lilac, Italian fitch). Dating back to 1918 goat’s rue extract (containing Metformin) was used to treat type 2 diabetes.

The synthetic derivative used today is highly effective in not only reducing high blood sugar (glucose) but also lowers other cardiovascular risk factors (such as lowering HbA1c and insulin levels). Based on animal studies metformin has also shown beneficial therapeutic effects on metabolic syndrome, NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), and hyperlipidemia (high triglyceride levels). The drug is inexpensive and has minimal side effects, and there is evidence of increased survival among patients taking this medication.

In recent years Metformin has also shown evidence as an anti-cancer agent. In fact, it is proven to block key pathways that lead to cancer development (i.e., mTOR pathway) and has been shown to kill cancer stem cells and decrease the synthesis of important cell receptors linked to increased cancer risk (i.e., Her-2 receptor, IGF-1 receptor). It also helps block the formation of new blood vessels that feed tumor cells with oxygen and nutrients. This effect is known as anti-angiogenesis and is a key aspect of preventing cancers from metastasizing. As reported in the 2019 review paper, “based on recent analyses and studies, Metformin reduces proliferation of cancer cells and possibly malignancies in different types of cancer, including stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, uterine cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, as well as prostate, colon, and breast cancer.” Studies show that since 2005, Metformin has been reported to reduce the risk of cancer by up to 23% worldwide. For example, the results of the Taiwan National Health Insurance Data Survey, which included 12,005 patients taking metformin from 2000 to 2007 and a population of 4,597 patients taking other oral medications for diabetes, indicated that using metformin reduced the chance of developing any type of cancer up to 88%. And, according to the results of Decensi et al (2010), the likelihood of developing cancer in type 2 diabetic patients using metformin is 30% lower than that of patients taking other drugs. Other studies have shown similar findings. Moreover, Metformin has also been used to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for many types of cancer, including, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal and colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoblastic leukemia, non-small lung cancer, and a few other cancers. Details of these results can be found in the 2019 review paper as well. In their concluding comments the researchers state that in addition to being an excellent drug to reduce blood sugar (glucose), insulin and HbA1c, Metformin can be considered an ideal candidate for cancer prevention and improvement in the treatment of cancers. (2) And as reported in the August 2021 review in the journal Frontiers of Endocrinology, they stated, “Based on a systematic review of 53 studies, Campbell et al. concluded that independent of its therapeutic efficacy as an anti-diabetic drug, the use of Metformin results in a reduction of all-cause mortality associated with diseases that accelerate aging, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.” (3)

Given the fact that most people in our society see a rise in their blood sugar (glucose) level as they age, as well as developing other risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, plus the fact that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, some doctors as well as other health and anti-aging experts suggest that beginning around age 45 to 50 years of age, individuals might consider taking 500 mg of Metformin daily, as a preventative and anti-aging agent. More research is required to test the true anti-cancer potential of Metformin in non-diabetic individuals, but many doctors and health experts have begun using it themselves and recommending it to patients as a preventive and anti-aging intervention.

In my view, it should be kept in mind that the natural agents such as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), an important compound found in green tea extract, as well as curcumin, soy isoflavone, and indole-3 carbinol-containing supplements, as an example, have also shown similar anti-cancer properties as Metformin, and EGCG can also help reduce high blood sugar (glucose). These are also important preventive agents, in my view, that deserve to be in any conversation about prevention and longevity.

I have included the Metformin research references in the text below.
References:

1. Pan S, et al. New perspectives on how to discover drugs from herbal medicines: CAM’s outstanding contribution to modern therapeutics. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619623/#B20

2. MAIN REFERENCE: Saraei P et al. The beneficial effects of metformin on cancer prevention and therapy: A comprehensive review of recent advances. Cancer Manag Res. 2019; 11: 3295-3313. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6497052/#:~:text=Based%20on%20recent%20analyses%20and,prostate%2C%20colon%2C%20pancreas%2C%20and

3. Mohammed I et al. A critical review of the evidence that metformin is a putative anti-aging drug that enhances healthspan and extends lifespan. Front. Endocrinol,. August 2021https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.718942/full%20

4. SUPPORTING REFERENCE (METFORMIN AND CANCER) Lei Y et al. Metformin targets multiple signaling pathways in cancer. BMC Cancer Communication. January 2017. https://cancercommun.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40880-017-0184-9

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.