Life Extension Foundation
Life Extension Foundation is a membership-based non-profit organization started in 1980. You can view it as an organization a bit like Consumers Union and Consumer Reports but with a focus primarily on health issues. Unlike Consumers Union, Life Extension shows an extreme willingness to share most of its information with the public at no cost and has developed the means to fund much of its operations through means not primarily dependent upon memberships and donations.
The organization offers a wide range of information and services to both members and the general public on maintaining excellent health and overcoming illnesses to live a long and healthy life. Members get access to health advisors and discount prices on services and products. Non-members can buy these same products and services, but the savings from the $75 per year membership would quickly pay for itself via member discounts.
Life Extension has Good Goals
While not all of our web site authors are health enthusiasts, many use one or more Life Extension products in addition to supplements from other vendors. Some of them are particularly interested in certain health topics for personal reasons, and this encourages them to learn more about these areas and share their learning with our readers.
Life Extension has been a very good source for information on many important health topics. They are often among the first to bring significant new nutritional supplement products to market and to have research data that backs up how these products work.
We view Life Extension as a premium brand and an honorable organization that is not out to victimize the populace for its own gain, unlike many big pharmaceutical companies and their government allies in the US Food and Drug Administration and similar agencies are doing. The people behind Life Extension are not afraid to put their organization into battle with these government giants, even if it means they end up being charged with sham criminal offenses, harassed, and sued to shut them up. You can get the idea of how willing they are to call out government hoaxes and incompetence as the disgraces they are from some of their stories in the last year or so:
Public Benefits from Life Extension
The public needs organizations like Life Extension to look out for its interests as it is entirely clear that the US FDA will not do so. There is no shortage of evidence for that statement. Our previous story (see High Fructose Corn Syrup is Dangerous for Many Reasons) about how FDA researchers have had to quit their jobs to expose widespread mercury contamination in the US food supply show that even with well-intentioned employees, US FDA will protect the interests of big companies and government before it will protect the public. Another of our stories, FDA Incompetence and Bias Lead to Poor Ratings & Results, reveals that many in the public are aware of how corrupt and ineffective the FDA is.
Life Extension has to make some income to pay its bills, just like any organization. While “free” is the buzzword of the millennium in this Internet era, even hosting web sites and publishing papers, books, and magazines takes money. That’s even more so when it requires months of study and at times funding controlled trials of supplements and foods to show quantitatively how health can be influenced by the food, supplements, and drugs that we consume. Even a simple study lasting a few months with a few dozen volunteers can cost many thousands of dollars for supplements and medical tests. Membership fees and gross profits from sales of products and services can help fund the organization’s work.
Drug companies simply will not fund these kinds of studies because they often involve substances on which there are no patents and/or cannot be any patents. Therefore in their view there are no significant profits to be made. They would rather “invent” some new drug that costs $1 billion and a decade to develop to make big profits during a patent period than to show how relatively inexpensive off-patent or unpatentable substances can achieve similar health-improving effects sooner and with lower cost and quite possibly lower risk of deleterious side effects.
It falls to organizations such as Life Extension, universities, and other well-intentioned non-profit research groups to build the knowledge and proof of how “unprofitable” supplements can often be a much better choice than “profitable” drugs. Many of the research studies, papers, and publications that Life Extensions funds are made available to the public for no cost and do not even involve products that Life Extension sells. Sometimes the organization finds sources for or develops its own supplements or contracts for medical testing services that they then sell to its members and the public. The income from these activities helps to keep the organization running and allows it to pursue even public awareness campaigns that have no significant financial incentive.
Example of Life Extension’s Public Awareness Building for No Profit
For instance, Life Extension in 1985 started publishing information on the use of Cimetidine (the generic form of Tagamet which is commonly used for heartburn relief) for temporarily boosting the immune system and interfering with cancer tumor growth. They have alerted the public to how it assists the body in fighting various cancers and viral infections including colds and flus as well as currently incurable illnesses such as herpes simplex virus.
Cimetidine. Cimetidine is usually used to treat heartburn. A little-known side effect of cimetidine is that it inhibits the production of T-suppressor cells (Mitsuishi T et al 2003). In doing so, it boosts immune function by preventing the immune system from turning itself down.
Cimetidine has shown other immune-modulating effects such as increasing natural killer cell activity and boosting levels of the natural immune stimulants interleukin-2 (IL-2) and gamma interferon (Bourinbaiar AS et al 1996; Kabuta H et al 1989; Kapinska-Mrowiecka M et al 1996). Human studies demonstrate cimetidine’s efficacy against herpes and viral warts (Glass AT et al 1996; Gooptu C et al 2000; Mitsuishi T et al 2003; Ronna T et al 1995; Shields CL et al 1999).
Since cimetidine is safe for most people, taking 800 to 1000 mg at night (or 200 mg three times a day and then 400 mg at night) seems like an effective therapy to temporarily turn up the immune system. Cimetidine in 200-mg tablets can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies. The directions in the over-the-counter package insert say that up to 800 mg/day is safe, but some published studies in which cimetidine was used as an antiviral agent have used up to 1000 mg/day (Choi YS et al 1993).
An Unexpected Anti-Cancer Agent
The first studies to hint at cimetidine’s effectiveness against cancer were published in the late 1970s. Although scientists initially thought that cimetidine worked by enhancing immune function, later studies showed that cimetidine functions via several different pathways to inhibit tumor cell proliferation and metastasis
In a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study in 1988, 181 patients with gastric cancer received cimetidine (400 mg, twice daily) or placebo for two years or until death. Those given cimetidine had a significantly prolonged survival rate compared to the placebo group, particularly patients with more serious disease.1
In a 1994 study, just seven days of cimetidine treatment (400 mg twice daily for five days preoperative and intravenously for two days post-operative) in colorectal cancer patients decreased their three-year mortality rate from 41% to 7%. In addition, tumors in the cimetidine-treated patients had a notably higher rate of infiltration by lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.2 These tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, part of the body’s immune response to the tumor, serve as a good prognostic indicator. When more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are present, the body is more capable of attack-ing and eliminating the tumor.
A report in the British Journal of Cancer examined findings of a collaborative colon cancer study conducted by 15 institutions in Japan. First, all participants had surgery to remove the primary colorectal tumor, followed by intravenous chemotherapy treatment. They were then divided into two groups: one group received 800 mg of oral cimetidine and 200 mg of fluorouracil (a cancer-fighting medication) daily for one year, while a control group received fluorouracil only. The patients were followed for 10 years. Cimetidine greatly improved the 10-year survival rate: 85% of the cimetidine-treated patients survived 10 years, while only 50% of the control group survived.3 Cimetidine produced the greatest survival-enhancing benefits in those whose cancer cells showed markers associated with the tendency to metastasize.
In just the last two years, several other studies have corroborated cimetidine’s benefits for surviving colorectal cancer. For instance, in a Japanese study in 2006, colorectal cancer patients who received cimetidine following surgical removal of recurrent cancer had an improved prognosis compared to those treated with surgery only.4
A groundbreaking study reported in the International Journal of Oncology in 2006 confirms decades of research highlighting cimetidine’s role as an important adjuvant cancer therapy. This study demonstrated that cimetidine may enhance survival in those undergoing conventional treatment for brain tumors.5 The most common primary brain tumors in adults and children, known as malignant gliomas (tumors that begin in the supportive cells of the brain or spinal cord), often fail to respond to chemotherapy, and are frequently fatal. Mice with tissue grafts of human glioblastoma cells that received both cimetidine and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (Temodar®) demonstrated improved survival rates compared to those that received chemotherapy only. Cimetidine may thus prolong survival in people undergoing chemotherapy for the most prevalent type of brain tumor.
More Information on Life Extension’s Work
Here’s an article listing some of Life Extension’s work in the last 29 years:
Some of the supplements our authors and their family members use require periodic medical tests to verify that the dosage are correct and the desired effects are happening. For instance, any supplements you take to correct high cholesterol levels should periodically be checked with a CBC test with lipid panel to verify that your liver function is good and that the cholesterol levels are where you want them to be. DHEA hormone supplementation and vitamin D supplementation also require periodic tests to verify your dosages are correct. Life Extension offers once per year or more on blood tests you’ll need to make the best use of supplements like these, whether you buy them from Life Extension or another supplier. We highly recommend this company as part of your health support system in conjunction with your doctor, dentist, and a willingness to do some reading and research on your own health issues.
The Life Extension Pharmacy is an affiliated company that donates to the Life Extension Foundation. If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, you will be pleased to know that the pharmacy offers free blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol monitoring services.
Free Life Extension Magazine
If you’re not sure about joining as a Life Extension member, click on the banner below to sign up for a free one year subscription to their monthly magazine. Each month features a few major articles on varied health topics, important news highlights on new research, and of course information on many of their new products.
We think Life Extension has something to offer just about everybody who has an interest in the health of their family and friends.