In This Issue….                                                                     

-           Researchers discover how to extend telomeres in vitro without increasing cancer risk
-           Can selenium reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s?
-           Mechanism behind selenium’s anti-cancer properties elucidated
-           Zinc and selenium improve thyroid function in trial
-           Review suggests nutrient deficiencies linked to Alzheimer's

CLINICAL UPDATE – Researchers discover how to extend telomeres in vitro without increasing cancer risk

Telomere extension has gained much attention as a means to potentially reduce degenerative diseases or slow the clock on aging. While there is a big difference between slowing telomere attrition rate and actually lengthening telomeres, this new method actually lengthens telomeres by as much as 1000 nucleotides, which allows a cell to divide up to 40 more times than an untreated cell. Furthermore, with any proliferative therapy, including that with telomere extension, the risk of cells becoming “immortal” (cancerous) is ever-present, but in this new method, this does not happen. The cell gains the ability to proliferate for a short period of time, but then regains the ability to senesce. This means the cells actually regained the ability to divide for the purpose of cellular repair, but do not turn into rogue cancer cells, which might occur if cells were immortalized.

This technology can potentially hold applications for drug testing, regenerative tissue modelling and even therapies that affect diseases caused by shortened telomeres which encompasses many disease of aging.
(Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology, January 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Transient delivery of modified mRNA encoding TERT rapidly extends telomeres in human cells.

CLINICAL UPDATE – Can selenium reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s?

When an herbicide (paraquat) that is linked to Parkinson’s disease was administered in this animal study, DNA damage and locomotor activity were seriously impaired, as expected. However, when this herbicide was also co-administered with selenium, it “effectively prevented the harmful effects of the toxin in locomotor activity and at the molecular level.” The authors concluded that “selenium could contribute to the maintenance of locomotor activity and the integrity of leukocytes DNA.”
(Nutrition, February 2015)

 Selenium reduces bradykinesia and DNA damage in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Mechanism behind selenium’s anti-cancer properties elucidated

A group of selenium containing compounds (selenoglycoproteins) were isolated and introduced to human lung and breast tumor cells in vitro. The selenoproteins inhibited the adhesion of the tumor cells to human endothelial cells, thus thwarting the progression of tumors. The authors suggest that this anti-tumor effect of the selenoproteins were due to the down-regulation of the very inflammatory protein NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa beta).

In an unrelated study, similar activity of selenium was seen. The ability of selenoproteins to affect metabolism of inflammatory proteins “suggest a new role for selenoproteins in the epigenetic modulation of proinflammatory genes.”
(Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, February 2015)

Selenoglycoproteins attenuate adhesion of tumor cells to the brain microvascular endothelium via a process involving NF-κB activation.
LINK to ABSTRACT Epigenetic regulation of inflammatory gene expression in macrophages by selenium. 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Zinc and selenium improve thyroid function in trial

In this randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial, 68 hypothyroid women were assigned to one of the following groups: (1) zinc + selenium, (2) zinc + placebo, (3) selenium + placebo or (4) placebo + placebo. Levels of thyroid hormone (free and total T3 and T4 plus TSH) were measured. Free T3 increased only in the groups receiving zinc. In addition, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) decreased and free T4 increased in the zinc and selenium supplemented group.
(Journal of the American College of Nutrition, March 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effects of Zinc and Selenium Supplementation on Thyroid Function in Overweight and Obese Hypothyroid Female Patients: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial.

CLINICAL UPDATE – Review suggests nutrient deficiencies linked to Alzheimer's

In this review paper, the role of several nutrients – B vitamins, and vitamins E, C and D as well as omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA (docohexaenoic acid) – are analyzed for their positive effects on dementia. The authors suggest that a better strategy for the elderly is to maintain a healthy neuronal environment, versus retarding neuronal loss once it has already occurred, which is particularly challenging. They conclude that the “use of vitamins and DHA is a viable alternative approach to delaying brain aging and for protecting the onset of [Alzheimer's dementia] pathology.” 
(Nutrition, February 2015)

Inadequate supply of vitamins and DHA in the elderly: Implications for brain aging and Alzheimer-type dementia.