Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at the age-slowing effects of fruits and vegetables, Pokémon Go’s new fitness features, and some discouraging news about vitamin D and bone health.
This substance slows aging
A byproduct that naturally occurs in fruits and veggies might help you live a longer, healthier life.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic recently studied a coloring agent in produce called fisetin, and they found that it might extend lives by roughly 10 percent by killing damaged senescent cells that are toxic and accumulate in our bodies as we get older, according to Newsweek.
When a person is young, the immune system is able to clear these damaged cells that can cause inflammation and release enzymes that degrade tissue. That process gets more difficult as we get older.
Researchers tested fisetin, a substance thought to kill off these damaged cells, by giving it to aging mice. These mice showed an extension of life span and health span (or the period of someone’s life when they are healthy and living) by 10 percent.
They also found it effective for killing these damaged cells in human fat tissue in the laboratory, a sign that it will likely work in humans. However, they noted that the amount of fisetin used was higher than is found in normal servings of fruits and vegetables and that scientists are still working out the correct treatment dosage. Still, the substance is now in clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic, so it could be available to humans in the next couple of years.
Pokémon Go, Go, Go?
If someone at your house can’t put down Pokémon Go, at least there could be a bigger fitness upside in the near future than just wandering around and catching creatures. According to ComicBook.com, Pokémon Go appears to be close to adding more ambitious fitness goals to the app.
Data miners going through the most recent update to the app’s code found a yet-to-be-released fitness goals program designed to get players walking extra miles for more prizes—the first time the game, which has gotten some people walking, has tried to give players a bigger fitness challenge.
This fitness feature hasn’t gone live yet, but the new update is expected to hit the Android and Apple stores soon.
Hold the vitamin D supplement?
Researchers are advising health professionals to stop recommending vitamin D supplements to patients, after a large study in this CNN article found that it does not improve bone mineral density or prevent fractures or falls in adults.
The vitamin has long been associated with a decreased risk of a number of conditions such as osteoporosis and hypertension, and it has been shown to help the body absorb calcium.
However, the new meta-analysis of 81 randomized controlled trials published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that there is not a benefit to “maintain or improve musculoskeletal health” from taking D supplements, even at a high dose. Doctors currently recommending the supplement to older adults to prevent osteoporosis or brittle bones should stop, said the study’s lead author Mark J. Bolland, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Some critics of The Lancet study argue that it’s too soon to advise against supplementation because only 6 percent of the trials were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency—the group that stands to benefit the most. And some of the trials studied were too small and treatment durations were too short.
However, many doctors agree that the best way to get vitamin D is from sun exposure and food, such as fatty fish, tuna, salmon, cod and mackerel, as well as fortified milk and orange juice.
Photo credit: Ella Olsson, Unsplash