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The concept of taking actions now to maintain youthful health is based on published scientific studies showing that the diseases of aging may be prevented, or can at least be postponed.
People who want to reduce their risk of disease are often overwhelmed by the volume of technical data on the subject. The Life Extension Founda-tion has reviewed more than 64 years' worth of published medical literature, and Foundation per-sonnel have spent more than 35 years working with physicians and scientists in the anti-aging field.
Each year, the Foundation spends millions of dollars on research projects aimed at extending the healthy human lifespan. Since 1983, the Foundation has reviewed thousands of blood test results of members who have been following anti- aging supplement, drug, and hormone-replace-ment programs. Based on this vast accumulation of data, the Foundation has designed a practical disease prevention protocol that is based solely on scientific principles.
Before you embark on a program to reduce your risk of degenerative disease, it is important for you to know about scientific studies conducted on humans that show these therapies really work. If you are not aware of these published studies, you may be unlikely to methodically follow a long- term disease prevention program.
The Media Ignore Important Clinical Studies
Don't count on the new media or popular health publications to keep you fully informed about new medical findings. An article published in the December 25, 1996, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that 200 mcg of supplemental selenium a day reduced overall cancer mortality by 50% in humans compared to a placebo group not receiving supplemental selenium. This 9-year study, pub-lished in the American Medical Association's sci-entific journal (JAMA), demonstrated that a low- cost mineral supplement could cut the risk of dying from cancer in half.
In the prior week's issue of JAMA (December 18, 1996), an article was published indicating that folic acid could substantially reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The selenium-cancer study received some media attention, but the folic acid-cardiovas-cular study did not. The fact is that the news media have not been consistent in reporting on studies that substantiate the disease-preventing role of dietary supplements, even when these stud-ies appear in the most prestigious medical journals in the world.
One of the most compelling reports that high- potency supplements extend lifespan in humans was published in the August 1996 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study involved 11,178 elderly people, who participated in a trial to establish the effects of vitamin supple-ments on mortality. This study showed that the use of vitamin E reduced the risk of death from all causes by 34%. Effects were strongest for coronary artery disease, where vitamin E resulted in a 63% reduction in death from heart attack. In addition, the use of vitamin E resulted in a 59% reduction in cancer mortality. When the effects of vitamin C and E were combined, overall mortality was reduced by 42% (compared to 34% for vitamin E alone). These results are the most significant evi-dence yet presented about the value of vitamin supplementation, yet the media failed to report on it. What made this study so credible was that:
- It compared people who took low-potency "one- a-day" multiple vitamins to those who took higher-potency vitamin C and E supplements. Previous studies measuring the life expectancy of the "one-a-day" crowd did not show signifi-cant benefits, thereby causing most doctors to conclude there is no value in vitamin supple-mentation. In this new report, those taking "one-a-day" multivitamins did not do any bet-ter than people taking nothing at all, which supports the Life Extension Foundation's posi-tion that higher doses of antioxidants are required to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer than those found in conventional supplements.
- It lasted 9 years! Most studies that attempt to evaluate the benefits of vitamin supplementa-tion are for shorter time periods. It should be noted, however, that the famous Harvard Nurses' Health Study found that vitamin E reduced coronary artery disease mortality by over 40% after only 2 years!
- It included 11,178 people, a larger group than most previous studies.