A Brief History of Life Extension® Breakthroughs

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Many of you know us as a source of nutritional supplements and health information. It recently dawned on us, however, that you may not be aware of our history. For this reason, we’re going to use this post to highlight some of the accomplishments that have defined us over the years. We hope this helps to connect our presence with our purpose, and that it ultimately helps us to better connect with you.

Since the 1980s, Life Extension has been dedicated to discovering new approaches for preventing and treating the diseases of aging. As a result, we’ve brought a number of medical advances into public awareness well before they were given the time of day by conventional doctors and mainstream media.

As a company, our mission has always remained the same: to extend the healthy human life span. For this reason, we’re constantly monitoring the world’s leading medical centers and researchers to report on their latest discoveries. At the same time, we’re also pioneering our own anti-aging research to fuel our mission of helping people across the globe achieve optimal health and wellness.

The 1980s — Antioxidants, DHEA & CoQ10

In 1980, Life Extension began recommending that healthy people take high doses of antioxidants to maintain their health. Since then, hundreds of studies have been published in many prestigious journals documenting the role of antioxidants in protecting against disease.

Back then, we also broke the story on potent plant extracts rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. Interestingly, several human clinical studies now confirm what we’ve always believed: Supplementation with a wide variety of antioxidants from a wide variety of sources is one of the first steps you can take towards optimal health.

Soon after we introduced the world to the health benefits of antioxidants, Life Extension uncovered the amazing anti-aging benefits associated with DHEA supplementation. In case you’re not aware of it, DHEA is a critical hormone involved in hundreds of body processes.

Men and women supplementing with DHEA experience a stronger immune system, better mood and improved body composition. Researchers believe that restoring DHEA to youthful levels may improve overall well-being and sexual function. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 10 months of DHEA replacement resulted in an increase in muscle mass and strength.1

Life Extension was one of the first organizations to promote the concept of DHEA supplementation. Today, DHEA has become one of the most popular anti-aging supplements on the market.

In 1983, we were the first organization in the world to recommend the Japanese heart drug coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an anti-aging nutrient. Since then, CoQ10 supplementation has skyrocketed. Recognizing its potential in treating age-related disease, researchers throughout the world have conducted CoQ10 studies in heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.

The 1990s — Exponential Growth of Life Extension

The ’90s were a big decade for us. From publications and magazine subscriptions to members and employees, we grew in every respect. As a matter of fact, our accomplishments in this era surpassed even our own expectations.

Here are just a few highlights of our progress in the ’90s:

  • In 1992, we introduced melatonin to the American public based on overwhelming evidence for the natural hormone as an effective anti-aging therapy. After several books were published highlighting melatonin’s benefits, every health food store in the U.S. began to sell it.
  • In 1996, we published the first book that integrated hormone replacement, high-dose nutrient supplementation, and conventional medicine prescription for the purpose of preventing and treating 110 diseases. The book, Disease Prevention & Treatment, is in its fourth edition with continual updates made online.
  • In 1997, we published a new theory on why cells malfunction as they age — decline in DNA methylation. The publication provided integrated strategies for reversing this process. Since then, these strategies have been documented by many studies and are currently prescribed for the treatment of depression, liver disease, and atherosclerosis.
  • In 1998, we introduced Americans to methylcobalamin, a form of vitamin B12. It’s particularly effective in protecting brain cells against the damaging effects of neurotoxins and excitotoxicity — brain overstimulation that destroys nerve cell structures.

The 2000s — Omega-3 Fish Oils, Diabetes & Vitamin D

By now, just about everyone has heard of omega-3 fish oils. But did you know that Life Extension was one of the first companies to publish reports on its heart-protective effects? In 2007, we showed that low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are independent risk factors for heart attacks and angina.

And how about the rise in diabetes to near-epidemic levels? Just recently, it was reported that there are 366 million worldwide cases of diabetes. We’ve actually been warning about this for years and have published several articles and protocols outlining nutritional strategies targeted at helping people gain control over blood sugar.

One particular pathogenic effect of high blood sugar is called glycation. This is when blood glucose reacts with critical body proteins, rendering the proteins to dysfunction. Glycation has significant health consequences and is one of the latest theories of aging that’s being explored in great detail.

In 2009, we reiterated our longstanding position that low vitamin D levels were directly responsible for millions of needless deaths. After we released that report, we decided to analyze 13,892 blood tests, measuring vitamin D levels in a group of dedicated supplement users.

What we discovered even surprised us: 85.7% of people tested had insufficient levels of vitamin D. Based on these results, we began suggesting supplementation with high doses of vitamin D. Today, more and more doctors are following suit and are recommending higher doses of vitamin D to their patients. If you’d like to see it, the full report was published in our January 2010 magazine.

What Can You Expect from Life Extension?

Above everything else, you can expect us to be a health advocate, offering strategies that extend beyond what traditional medicine offers. We’re unwavering in our commitment to extending the healthy human life span and helping people live healthier longer. Moving forward, we’ll keep working to help you achieve your health goals through additional research, publications, and innovative products.

These are a few of the topics that are currently at the center of our attention:

In case you didn’t know, Life Extension publishes the latest health information each month to our members via Life Extension Magazine®. Members also enjoy many benefits including blood testing services, compounded prescription drugs, access to our health advisors, and discounts on our science-based nutritional supplements. If you’d like more information on becoming a member, feel free to visit the membership page on our website.



We hope that you have a better idea of who we are and where we’re headed after reading this post. Of course, if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

References

  1. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov;291(5):E1003-8.

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5 comments:

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Thank you so much, Tereza! We're really glad that our products are helping. ;-)

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