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April, 2013

Squalamine Eye Drops Clinical Trial for Wet Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

Researchers are looking into squalamine eye drops as a treatment for wet (neovascular) Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). Their goal is evaluate the safety and effectiveness of squalamine lactate eye drops in improving wet AMD.

Squalamine is a strong, broad-spectrum antibiotic that was originally made from the liver of certain types of sharks. In 1995, active ingredient was synthesized. Today, it is usually artificially sourced. It may also inhibit the growth of blood vessels, which means it acts on the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and on another growth factor, PDGF. Learn more about the clinical trial.

Editor's Note: Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc. makes Squalamax as a dietary supplement but the FDA has issued a warning letter that they cannot make therapeutic claims. Consult your doctor before trying any treatment for eye disease.

Diabetes Drug Metformin Anti-inflammatory Mechanism Discovered

Researchers have found that the anti-diabetic drug metformin reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines. When inflammatory cytokines are produced in excess, they cause inflammation that increases cancer risk and the incidence of other diseases.

This research has implications for our understanding of how a healthy individual defends itself from cancer. It may indicate that metaformin, a common and relatively safe drug, could be applied to treat certain cancers in the future. Additionally, the drug might possibly be used in the future to slow the aging process, according to the researchers. They plan on researching these possibilities.

Editor's Note: Before using a medication for any purpose, consult your doctor. The role of inflammation in the onset of type 2 diabetes has also been researched. See our list of research into diabetes. Our page about diabetes includes symptoms, causes, dietary and lifestyle recommendations, reviews and a discussion of nutrients.

Source: "Metformin inhibits the senescence-associated secretory phenotype by interfering with IKK/NF-?B activation" by O. Moiseeva et. al. Aging Cell, March 23, 2013. DOI: 10.1111/acel.12075

CoQ10 Deficiency and Supplementation

A primary cause of CoQ10 deficiency is as a side effect to statin drugs, which are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels. Statin drugs can reduce a precursor in the pathway of CoQ10 synthesis, possibly reducing the amount of CoQ10 up to 40%. Secondary deficiency could have other causes.

CoQ10 is an antioxidant, plays an important role in energy production and cell function, and is an essential nutrient for proper heart function. When your body has too little CoQ10 and you aren't taking supplements, you may experience inflammation that causes high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, with an increasing risk of heart disease and even heart failure.

This enzyme has a good safety profile. It has shown few adverse effects, regardless of reasonable dose size. CoQ10 is produced by the body and is available in food. However, the diet only supplies a small amount of this coenzyme.

Symptoms of a deficiency in CoQ10 can include: fatigue, lapses in memory, depression, migraines, fybromyalgia, and a lowered immune system resulting in increases in incidences of colds, flus and other sickness.

A blood test can detect deficiency; a doctor can also conduct a genetic test for statin drug users to see if they are susceptible. For people deficient in CoQ10, supplementation is crucial. An optimal dose of appropriate supplementation should be prescribed. The supplement should have proven superior bio availability in order to get the CoQ10 plasma levels to normal. Learn more about CoQ10's effect on heart functional, renal function, and age-related macular degeneration.

Source: "Primary and secondary coenzyme Q10 deficiency: the role of therapeutic supplementation." by M.S. Pepper et. al. Nutr Rev. 2013 Mar;71(3):180-8. DOI: 10.1111/nure.12011

Aspirin Associated with Wet ARMD

A study involving more than 2000 participants has shown an association between regular aspirin use and wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). The prospective analysis study involved four examinations over 15 years.

10.8% of the subjects used aspirin regularly. The study results showed that they were more likely to develop wet ARMD (9.3% in aspirin users versus 3.7% in non-aspirin users). Even after adjusting for age, gender, smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, systolic blood pressure and BMI (body mass index), the regular aspirin users had a higher risk of developing neovascular AMD. Aspirin use was not associated with the incidence of dry macular degeneration.

Low doses of aspirin have been used long-term to help prevent heart attacks, blood clots and strokes. Low doses given immediately after a heart attack or stroke can mitigate damage. Before starting or stopping a drug regimen, consult your physician.

A significant amount of peer-reviewed research shows ARMD can respond to nutrition and lifestyle choices, and may even be preventable in some cases. Learn more about age-related macular degeneration.

Learn more about support for macular degeneration.

Smoking Upon Awakening Increases Cancer Risk

If you just woke up in the morning, don't reach for a cigarette right away! A study looked at rodents and found when the animal was given tobacco smoke within a half-hour of waking up, they had higher levels of NNAL than rodents who waited. NNAL is a metabolite of the tobacco-specific cancer-causing NKL. NNAL levels can predict lung cancer risk in animals and humans. This finding was independent of the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

Your best bet for good health is to never reach for tobacco at all. There is no such thing as "safe smoking." Cigarette smoking causes around 20% of all cataracts, is risk factor for glaucoma for women, and increases the risk of macular degeneration.