Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 4 • April 2013

Hypermethylation Isn’t Just a Mechanism Affecting
the Regulation of Tumor Suppressor Genes: Age-
Related Nuclear Cataracts

A new paper6 reports that the gene (CRYAA) critical for the maintenance of eye lens transparency can be repressed by hypermethylation in age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness among older adults. The paper mentions DNA methylation inhibitor drugs, zebularine and 5-Aza-C as possible treatments, but refers to complications related to their toxicity, though mentioning that zebularine has much lower toxicity than 5-Aza-C. However, we refer to the above description of nutritional hypomethylating agents that are almost certainly to be far lower in toxicity. Apparently, these natural substances have not yet been tried as treatments for age-related cataract or we would have expected to see this mentioned in the paper. We hope to see such research soon, though we note that these natural substances cannot be patented and, hence, are unlikely to receive research funding by pharmaceutical companies. In fact, Big Pharma has heretofore been likely to use its huge political lobbying machine to prevent competition by natural products, in part by engaging the FDA on their behalf.

If dietary supplement companies could make truthful claims concerning their effects on cataracts (let alone in the treatment of cancer), we would see substantial money invested by dietary supplement companies to establish data to support truthful health claims for diseases. If you can’t tell people about the results of your research, what's the point of doing it? The FDA’s censorship of truthful information results in the suffering and, in the case of cancer, premature deaths of large numbers of Americans. Incredibly, most Americans believe the Big Lie that the FDA protects people from the lies of dietary supplement companies who will supposedly say anything to sell you their pills when, as we see it, the FDA’s suppression of truthful health claims are causing far more harm. No system can entirely eliminate false claims, but the current one is throwing out most truthful claims (and freedom of speech along with it) in order to eliminate false claims. Unfortunately, most of what is published in major media as “news” on health claims largely parrot back what is contained in FDA press releases.


1. Du et al. Reactivation of RASSF1A in breast cancer cells by curcumin. Nutr Cancer. 64(8):1228-35 (2012).
2. van der Weyden and Adams. The Ras-association domain family (RASSF) members and their role in human tumourigenesis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1776(1):58-85 (2007).
3. Liu et al. Curcumin is a potent DNA hypomethylation agent. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 19:706-9 (2009).
3B. Anand et al. Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Mol Pharm. 4(6):807-18 (2007).
4. Liu et al. Modulation of DNA methylation by a sesquiterpene lactone parthenolide. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 329(2):505-14 (2009).
5. Fang et al. Tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits DNA methyltransferase and reactivates methylation-silenced genes in cancer cell lines. Cancer Res. 63:7563-70 (2003).

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