N-Acetyl Cysteine Increases Free T3 in NTIS

N-Acetyl Cysteine Increases Free T3 in NTIS

References: Critical Care,

A reference to this article caught my eye when I saw the reference to NTIS which is jargon for Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome (NTIS). NTIS is what happens to you when you get critically ill, like with a heart attack. Your free T3 plummets and your reverse T3 rises dramatically. Just when you need it, your body goes into a perverse “antagonistic pleiotropy” cycle. Antagonistic pleiotropy is the concept that what is good for you in one environment, isn’t good for you in another. I suspect you can make the reasoned argument that Neolithic humans, when injured or ill, were well served by “hunkering down” and getting through an illness or crisis in medical care by downregulating their metabolism. That allows calories to be shifted to immune function instead of metabolic function. That remains conjecture because we weren’t there to test it. We just see the effect in modern humans.
That’s what NTIS is. Your body “Hunkers Down” in response to a crisis. In this study, the crisis was 67 patients with heart attacks. In the ICU their Free T3 and Reverse T3 were measured, and predictably they changed dramatically, shifting from regular T3 to reverse T3. NAC reversed that and improved T3.

Reverse T3 reverses T3. It blocks the action of the free T3 on your body. (Remember, T3 is the active thyroid hormone your body actually runs on. You convert it from T4, made by your thyroid. T4 is not biologically active. It’s simple the precursor template.) You feel the effect of low T3 when you get sick. You feel exhausted and can’t get out of bed. A heart attack patient can hardly lift their head off the pillow. Folks in an ICU are sick. Really sick. Can hardly move. That is the nugget of Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome. You get a physiological stress and your body goes into “hunker down”, or NTIS.

In this study, N-acetyl cysteine was given to the study folks in a randomized, placebo-controlled fashion. The folks who got the NAC got better and had higher free T3. What is NAC? Very simple. It is the key building block to make glutathione. Glutathione is your body’s key anti-oxidant. At age 20 you make tons of it, naturally. At age 50, dramatically less. Older, less, older, less.

Now, let’s switch to the modern era of day-to-day 24-hour stress, media, artificial light, sugar, deadlines, jerks at work – have I named enough of your stressors? Ok, add in-laws and teenagers. You feel tired all the time. Your free T3 is just too low. Could you be low in glutathione, your natural anti-oxidant? Well, NAC is the natural building block for making more of it. It is simply two amino acids plugged together, waiting for a third to be attached and presto, you have glutathione. Your stress may not be as dramatic as a heart attack, but it’s nevertheless real. Could NAC help you? I bet it could.
WWW.What will work for me. Simple. I take NAC myself. Every day. It’s on Bredesen’s lists of suggested supplements for brain health. That’s good enough for me to pull the trigger and add it to my list. I remember back when NAC was a precious, rare ICU drug to reverse Tylenol overdoses. Worked like a charm. Then it became an ER drug. Then it became a take-home drug. Then it became an OTC supplement. You can buy it yourself. This incredibly powerful building block for you to make your own glutathione is available for you over the counter. Gives you back the vital T3 for your own energy system. Isn’t that a unique cross synergy of metabolic systems?

Pop Quiz
1. Free T3 is the hormone your body naturally runs on. T or F Answer: True
2. You make less free T3 when you are under stress. T or F Answer: True. Probably a result of “antagonistic pleiotropy” which means it was good for us in one environment, but not the one we are in now.
3. NAC boosts our ability to make free T3 when we are under stress. T or F Answer. Bingo. Either you guessed right or you actually read and understood the article above.
4. We make less glutathione as we age. T or F Answer: Double bingo.
5. The right way to fix our low Free T3? (Bonus question) Answer: Get rid of the stress, add selenium and zinc, make sure you have enough iodine, avoid PCBs and dioxins, and take a break from the teenager.


Neural Exosomes: Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Early

Neural Exosomes

References: Alzheimer’s DementScience Direct,

Neural Exosomes? Sound like Greek to you? Ever heard of them? You should have. Here’s the scoop. First, they aren’t rare. You have about some 1.2 billion of them per ml of blood. They are tiny little spheres of membrane that have budded off of neural cells. Much like the tiny vesicles that bud off a nerve cell to transmit nerve impulses between cells, exosomes are 2-3 times the size of those packages, and designed to travel further to other cells. Instead of neurotransmitters, they carry RNA instructions. Many come from the brain, but many come from other organs.

What makes them unique is the surface markers on them and the RNA in them, including messenger RNA, mircoRNAs, DNA and signaling proteins. They are not fully functional cells, they are tiny little spheres of membrane, lined/filled with all these unique markers. The range of function that is being proposed for them is that of signaling between cells, moving cellular components, like amyloid precursor protein or messenger RNA. What is known is that you can measure them in quantity and specificity way before you come down with disease. In particular, they show up as much as 10 years before your develop Alzheimer’s. Did you get that? They give you the markers of advance warning.
Now, it’s not just that advance warning they give you. Each exosome has within it a unique pattern of micro RNA and messenger RNA. What are those doing? Did you know that your own chromosomes are actually only 2% coded for your unique genes? That’s it. But did you know that the other 98% isn’t junk? It’s your instruction manual. Messenger RNA is how you send out genetic code about what to do when. This is how your body responds to development as you move from a single egg into a fantastically complicated human. Some of that code is good for you and builds you up. Some of it is like napalm, and attacks the enemy, tearing you down. And,…..here is the critical point. The messenger RNA is also how you send out instructions on how to respond to disease/threat/illness. All disease. Each condition merits different sets of instructions. That means Alzheimer’s will have different proteins in its exosomes than Lyme disease, or pancreatitis, or rheumatoid arthritis, or pneumonia. Another example function, we believe that exosomes are how we clear Amyloid Precursor Protein, APP. Lousy clearance results in accumulation of amyloid in your brain. We call that Alzheimer’s If we can learn how to interpret our Alzheimer’s exosome and how they are different, we can learn how to anticipate and react proactively. Learning how to read exosomes gives us the code to our “instruction manual”.
Now, what is coming is the next miracle. There are companies developing the software to interpret these tests who are just months away from commercial release. With that, we will be able to tell you just what you need to do next. Remember Star Trek’ Dr McCoy and the Magic Wand that would diagnose everything? Yup. That’s it. We are almost there. Maybe not a wand, but an exosome reader. It’s complicated. It is the epitome of “Big Data”.

A point of trivia: do you know how much DNA is in you? Here goes. One cell’s human DNA would stretch out about 2 meters. And considering that we have some 20 trillion cells, one human’s DNA would stretch from the sun, way beyond Jupiter. That’s a lot of DNA. Now, consider that over 99% of the DNA we carry around is actually in our gut in the bacteria of our colonic biome, now we are talking a lot of code that could be in exosomes.
WWW.What will work for me. I’ve finished Bredesen’s Certification Course this week and am just blown away by the possibilities of what we can do to reverse this wicked evil disease. It’s thrilling. And its sad. My 92 year mother with Alzheimer’s is too late to be helped. It makes this Mother’s Day bittersweet. I hope you are able to celebrate with your Mother. In a few months, we will be able to keep her safe from Alzheimer’s. In the meantime, I’m focusing on getting a good night’s sleep. You clear Amyloid much more effectively with good sleep. Maybe that’s why you feel so refreshed when you wake up.

Pop Quiz


  1. What is an neural exosome? It’s a little bud off a nerve cell, a bit bigger than the bud that sends neurotransmitters between nerve cells, that travels further between cells, sending messages.
  2. How many neural exosomes do you have? Answer: LOTS. 1.2 billion per milliliter of blood.
  3. What do they carry inside them? Answer: Signaling instructions in the form of RNA, microRNA, proteins.
  4. Is there a different set of exosomes for Parkinson’s versus Alzheimer’s? Answer: YES! A different set for every disease
  5. How much sooner a warning will I get if my exosomes say “Alzheimer’s Condition: Red Alert”? Answer: About 10 years, as best we know now. Much more to come, of course.


Simple Bicarb May Help Autoimmune Diseases

Simple Bicarb May Help Autoimmune Diseases

References: J. Immunology,

Fascinating! When you drink simple bicarb (Yes, Arm and Hammer cheap stuff) you send several messages in your body we didn’t know about. The first is to make more acid the next time around to help digest the next meal. And the second is for mesothelial cells on the spleen to signal to all the immune cells inside the spleen to chill out. “Don’t make an immune response.”
What are mesothelial cells? They are the lining of your guts, your abdominal cavity. Every organ is lined with them on the outside. We thought they were there primarily so that the organs can slide over each other with no friction. That feature allows you to move without things being caught up inside. But the surface of mesothelial cells have an interesting feature. They have tiny little fingers called microvilli that signal messages internally to the organ beneath about invasion or intrusion. Mount an immune response, or not!

Here is what this study found. Drinking bicarb for a couple of weeks changed the internal splenic macrophages from a population of mostly M1 macrophages (turn on inflammation) to M2 macrophages (Turn off inflammation). Considering that the spleen is the main repository for immune cells waiting for dispatch, that effect is pretty meaningful. What is unique is that the message is transmitted through the wall of the stomach, via these mesothelial cells, into the wall of the spleen via its mesothelial cells with a result of lowered inflammatory response. Macrophages are typically known for gobbling up garbage from old, dead, dysfunctional tissue and they are some of the first to arrive on the scene in inflammation to clean up the “battlefield” of dead and dying tissue. Autoimmune diseases are thought to be a whole scene of dysfunctional, overreactive inflammation and activation of macrophages. Turning them off is a key thing.

It’s not just macrophages but also Treg cells that get altered with bicarb. Treg cells are supposed to be regulators of immune response and help dial it down. This dialing down is helpful at controlling weird autoimmune reactivity too. And this also occurs because of the messages from those mesothelial cells putting out acetylcholine, acting almost like nerve cells even though they are lining cells of organs. Strange cross over reactivity.

Where does alkaline predilection come from? Through most of human history, we were vegans, starting to eat meat just a few million years ago when our brains started getting bigger and needed animal energy to power them. Animal protein has lots of sulfur in it making for a biological ash of acid when all is digested and done. Plant sourced food ends up making alkali with all the magnesium and potassium salts. Most of our biological processes evolved in an alkaline environment. The range and intricacy of our immune function is all founded on an alkaline milieux. Animal food, hence acid, is new. You can measure this in yourself. Eat a diet of pure green vegetables for a week and measure your urinary pH. It will be above 7. Have some cheese and steak and watch your urine pH plummet to 5.5. Every drug store carries pH sticks you can measure on your own.  Ten servings of vegetables is about 1 tsp of bicarb.  Simple

WWW.what will work for me. Considering how much of the Longevity Diet by Longo is based on vegetables, we may find that part of its power comes from shifting the immune response from inflammatory, to anti-inflammatory. Here is a clue that we are probably all better served with more vegetables. Their alkaline salts help you out. So, I ordered doubled vegetables for dinner last night instead of a potato. Then the blooming onion hors d’oeuvres did me in. I’m not sure it really counts as a vegetable.


Pop Quiz

  1. Your internal organs are lined by what type of cells?                         Answer: Mesothelial cells
  2. Mesothelial cells are lined by what cellular feature?                          Answer: Tiny fingers called “microvilli”.
  3. This article says these cells do what?                                                    Answer:  The communicate across organs and down regulate inflammatory immune response
  4. What class of diseases is this particularly useful?                               Answer:  Autoimmune in which there appears to be unregulated inflammation.
  5. You can get the same effect of a tsp of bicarb by eating what type of food?                 Answer:  LOTS of vegetables, green in particular.  Roots won’t do it as well, if at all.

Fast Mimicking Diet #7: Autoimmune Disease

Fast Mimicking Diet #7: Autoimmune Disease

References: Longo in Longevity DietCell RepStem Cell StemCell Reports,

How autoimmune (AI) diseases come about is gradually coming into focus. There is clearly some role to attribute to stimulation of our immune system by foods, lectin foods in particular (of which modern wheat is the champion), lack of sufficient Vitamin D, chemical irritants, leaky membranes in gut and elsewhere and probably some genetic risk factors to boot. Add aging and some 40% of American women have one autoimmune diagnosis, and where you have one, you find more. Longo quotes 9% of the world has one of the major 29 types,but rising at 19% a year.
In autoimmune diseases we find dysregulation of Th1 and Th17 cells, antigen presenting cells and all sorts of other subtle shifts in immune cell populations. And with that, our current intervention based medical system has developed specific strategies to develop methods to inhibit those populations of abnormal cells. These strategies have yielded some impressive gains for MS and RA patients, for which we are grateful.

Is there another way? Well, the Fast Mimicking Diet is catching a lot of folks imagination because it appears to have almost as powerful effect as anything else we have developed to date. Because there are so many AI diseases (130+) it is difficult to find studies using the FMD on any but just a few. Longo found that hisstructured fasting caused a significant dip in circulating white blood cells followed by a burst of new stem cells. In yeast, it can be shown that it’s the down regulation of the PKA glucose sensing system and the TOR protein sensing system. But he admitted they could not have predicted the surge of new hematopoietic stem cells that lead to a normal balance of TH1 and TH17 that he observed.

Longo specifically mentions a study of 20 patients with MS placed on a FMD program. With only twenty subjects, it’s hard to state unequivocal success, but the folks who were in the FMD branch reported feeling better, and in that group there were only 3 relapses in the next 6 months, versus 4 in the control group. Not enough to be statistically significant.

What was remarkable to Longo were the people who wrote to him from around the world who had read his mouse research and enacted their own FMD trials. This isn’t research because there are no controls, but his inbox had many stories of positive results. Larger studies are in progress and starting. His advice: wait, but the diet has been shown to be harmless. (Wink, wink….)

www.What Will Work for me. I’m in. This flood of autoimmune disease I think comes about from the confluence of many factors that are hard to avoid: notably the infiltration of high lectin foods like wheat into every aspect of our diet, the wide spread use of NSAIDS, antibiotics and PPIs making leaky gut, and a sea of chemicals affecting us at every turn. We are all vulnerable to these diseases. Avoiding them is a high priority for me. I’m doing if for my diabetes risk, but this adds to my certainty. If I had MS, I would be all over this. I called as many as remembered in my practice to alert them when I read this. If I neglected anyone, please call!


Pop Quiz

  1. Autoimmune diseases have been increasing lately at what rate?                           Answer: 19% a year.
  2. Reasons for autoimmune increase could be?                                                     Answer: lectin containing foods like modern wheat, nightshades, antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDS, and any given chemical you have stored in your basement to spray on whatever.
  3. Folks with autoimmune diseases have dysfunctional balances of their T cells. T or F     Answer: That’s a simple but accurate answer. (Lots of nuance)
  4. The FMD diet seems to result in a burst of stem cells that are normal. T or F                 Answer: True, though that is so simply stated, most researchers would grind their teeth but the beauty of it is that it is that simple.
  5. The FMD diet is safe to conduct in folks with AI?                                              Answer: As best we know, true, though Longo repeatedly begs you do it under a doctor’s supervision. I’m happy to oblige if you want help.




Eat Spinach, It’s High Fat Food

Eat Spinach, it’s High Fat Food

References: WikipediaBMJHarvard HealthJ Clin GastroScience Based Medicine,

I’ve learned that sugar and white flour is bad for my brain, my weight and just about everything else. Everyone around me is on a Keto Kick trying to lose weight with the Ketogenic diet. And it doesn’t work for me. How can I eat a high fat diet? And what I’m most worried about is my brain. How can I prevent Alzheimer’s?
Well, step one and two of Bredesen’s RECODE program are to eat a low carb high fat diet, and to not eat each night for 12 hours. This is how you teach your brain to run on ketones.

The conundrum comes when I try to eat low carb by having steak, bacon, eggs and cheese. And then my weight doesn’t budge. What gives? Turns out that animal protein and fat are not so good for us. Animal protein turns on the mTOR gene, that makes me age faster. I don’t want to do that. In the last few years, two studies about eating more animal and heart disease have bothered me. A BMJ article from Sweden shows that men who eat animal protein have a 5% increase for heart disease for every 5 gram increase in animal protein. And the Harvard Professional Men’s Study showed that men in the top quartile of meat consumption had 70% more heart disease.

What’s a person to do? Well, eat more vegetables. Guess what happens to vegetables and resistant starches? Where are they digested? Turns out not in your stomach, and not in your small bowel but in your colon by the biome of bacteria in your colon. Resistant starches are carb rich foods prepared in a certain way or eaten before fully ripe. Green bananas, for example are quite resistant and get digested in your colon into short chain fatty acids. Ditto for Peruvian potatoes, cooked and then cooled. The amylose molecule changes its shape with heating, and then again with cooling, making it indigestible in your upper gut which delivers it to your colon, where the bacteria break it down to short chain fatty acids. Propionate and butyrate are amazing super foods. They are the short chain fatty acids that nourish you and your whole body. They are fats. Eating spinach makes for fat. Green beans, ditto. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage– if it’s above ground, its probably going to go the same route.

Enter the Kitavans. A small island off New Guinea where 80% of folks smoke, but they eat no sugar or western food, and have 70% of their diet from resistant starch and coconut. They are all slender, have no vascular disease or AD. One could properly conclude that their diet is high fat: a combination of coconut and resistant starches from yams and taro.
Hence, a vegetable based diet can be ketogenic. Get it? Eating salads with lots of olive oil, is more fat based than you thought. Do you see the path forward?
www.What will work for me. I went to a Mexican restaurant last night. We had guacamole for hors-d’oerves and I had a shrimp and avacodo/lettuce salad. I felt quite smug navigating a typically high carb, high animal fat environment and escaping feeling good about my meal. This morning, a spinach omelet. I’ve finished 3 cycles of the Fast Mimicking Diet and I’m done another 4 pounds.


Pop Quiz

  1. Eating leafy green vegetables turns your fibrous foods into?                      Answer: Fat in so many words, short chain fatty acids
  2. What other foods turn into beneficial fats?                                                     Answer: Resistant starches like cold potatoes and cold rice (emphatically NOT fresh not rice or potatoes), green banana, kasava,
  3. What small group of people smoke like chimneys but have no heart disease and live into their nineties?                                                                                             Answer: The Kitavans
  4. Bredesen calls for a diet composed of?                                                        Answer: Healthy green vegetables, olive oils and very low carbs, low animal fats and low animal protein
  5. What are we trying to teach your brain to do with this strategy?                 Answer: stop running on glucose and learn to use ketones as fuel (small fatty acid molecules) obtained from eating coconut oil, olive oil, and ironically, green vegetables.


Fast Mimicking Diet 8: Alzheimer’s and Neurological Disease

Fast Mimicking Diet 8: Neurological Disease

References: The End of Alzheimer’sAgingJAMA Internal MedicineScience DailyCell Metabolism,

What we most fear in aging is Alzheimer’s disease, in particular because it we live to be 85 years old in America, 50% of us develop dementia. In England, Alzheimer’s beats heart disease as the number one cause of death. It is the penultimate marker of aging, and its prevention is a high priority. Bredesen has developed a unique program in which he believes “No One” should get Alzheimer’s. It should be noted that the very first step in his program is a low carbohydrate diet, and the second is 12 hours of nightly fasting. These are both cardinal features of the Fast Mimicking Diet.
Longo has taken his own unique approach to the problem be starting with mice having the same genetic defects that lead to dementia in humans. Mice can be genetically manipulated to have clean experimental models for Alzheimer’s, and they develop it in much shorter time periods. He conducted an experiment in which every other week, the study mice received very low essential amino acids, mimicking a protein deficient fasting diet. He found a 75% reduction in IGF-1, the growth factor that strongly correlates with cancer, that persisted months after the fast mimicking period. And those mice performed better on cognitive testing.

The next sep was to examine the features of healthy human diets that resist Alzheimer’s. Mediterranean diets that are rich in olive oil show resistance to Alzheimer’s. 447 study participants were randomized to getting extra olive oil and 1 oz of nuts a day or a regular diet. The extra nuts and fat made a difference with less cognitive decline, albeit modest on the order of 13%. Bredesen takes this further and advises that people eat coconut oil every day and add extra olive oil to their diets.

We don’t have huge human studies yet on the FMD but Bredesen has now added intermittent fasting, along Longo’s admonitions to his protocol as foundational to the life style changes we need to make in his Alzheimer’s ReCode program. It is all part of tipping the balance in the human brain towards building new cells and stop making beta-amyloid.

To summarize, the Fast Mimicking Diet requires a 5 day stretch each month of 1,100 to 800 calories. The calories are 7% protein and at least 50% fat – mostly from nuts and coconut.  In between the 5 day cycles, you should have at least 12 hours a night of fasting, 14 hours if you have 2 APOE4 genes and keep shifting your calories towards vegetables and away from animal (cheese, yogurt, milk, meat). Consider fish a twice a week treat. Two key things happen with this: a) you turn on your vacuum cleaner (called apoptosis) that cleans up unhealthy, dead cells and b) your stem cells surge and stay up for months every time you do it. Your brain needs stem cells.

www.What will Work for me. Well, I start month three on my own experiment today, Monday. I’ve been assembling snacks and kits of alternative foods so that I can figure out how to do this without buying the kits, as I intend to do this the rest of my life, at least every 3 months. And the walking season is upon us. The snow is gone (almost) so time to get my 10 k day.

Pop Quiz


  1. What happens in mice’s memory who do the FMD?                         Answer: they get better memory and their IGF-1 dropped 75%
  2. Do mice give us a good model for humans?                                      Answer: Unfortunately, no.
  3. Longo has published a great article on Fasting and its Mechanisms?               Answer: Yes: Homework!
  4. What two core beneficial effects occur with 5 days of Fast Mimicking?            Answer: a) Your vacuum cleaner and b) New Stem Cells to replace the gunk
  5. How many hours a day should you NOT eat?                                     Answer: 12 is a minimum, 14 is better, and mandatory if you have two APOE4 genes.


Fast Mimicking Diet 6: Implications for Coronary Artery Disease

Fast Mimicking Diet 6: Implications for Coronary Artery Disease

References: Whitehall StudyScienceBMJPublic Health NutrAnnals of Int MedBMJ,

Heart attacks are what we die from in America. Fifty percent of us will meet our maker via heart attack, both men and women. It is the penultimate sign of aging, and the last sign for 30% of those who present with sudden death as their first indication of heart disease. We have made huge strides in reducing morbidity and mortality from heart disease in the last 50 years. Longo’s estimate is that we would have roughly 3-4 times the effectiveness on reducing mortality if we focused on enhancing resilience and longevity with the Fast Mimicking genetic program.
Ok, I’m in. Give me the details as they exist now. Let’s start with historical perspective. We know from the Whitehall Study in England that heart disease declines in frequency until your blood glucose is 86. We define diabetes as 124. Hmm. That’s obviously an arbitrary definition made by a committee. The implication is that the lower your glucose is, the less heart disease you will have.

All right. Second concept. The Madison, Wisconsin Rhesus monkey study in which two groups of monkeys were compared with normal diet versus 30% reduction showed that 42% of the normal control diet developed diabetes versus none of the calorie restricted. And cardiovascular disease was reduced 50% in the calorie restricted diet.

What we don’t have is large studies looking specifically at the “Longevity Diet” for coronary artery disease. Instead, we have studies that are close, and probably close enough to be legitimate comparisons. For example, Sofi and Cesari show that adherence to a “Mediterranean Diet” has dramatic reductions in heart disease, Parkinsons, cancer, diabetes. And the closer you adhere to a “Mediterranean Diet” the less heart disease you have. The overlap of “Mediterranean” and Longevity diets is significant. Both are founded on high olive oil, legumes and unrefined cereals, low meat, eggs and cheese, What the Longevity adds is evidence based additions like Time Restricted Feeding with an 11-12 hour feeding window and a 12-13 hour fasting daily, lower animal protein intentionally and lower fruit use.

And the opposite argument is valuable too. If you eat more animal protein and less carbs, as in one arm of the Harvard Professional Health study, you show that mortality doubled from all causes and increased 40% with cardiovascular disease. If low carb but vegetable based, increased CV disease disappeared. Another study from Swedenof 43,396 women showed a 5% increase in cardiovascular disease for each 5 gram increase in protein intake concomitant with a 20 gram decrease of carbs.

Finally, we have Dean Ornish’s and Caldwell Esselstyn’s diets in which folks are kept on extremely low fat, vegan diets. Their patients also showed regression of coronary artery disease. Their limitation is that compliance requires intense discipline, and most folks can’t maintain it.

My conclusion: we have something real here. The challenge is to make it palatable and sustainable. Well, nuts and olive oils are tasty. Fish is pretty good too. Including these fits in the Mediterranean construct, but also matches the behavior of long lived populations like the Okinawans, Greeks of Ikaria, Italians of Calabria, Seventh Day Adventists of California.

WWW.What will work for me. Heart disease is the elephant in the room. It’s what we Americans get. And we get it in proportion to our obesity, and our blood sugar level. I’ve eaten low carb, high protein for two years and ended up with an A1c of 5.9. Low carb is a fine way to lose weight, in the short term. The longer term is now revealed with this new idea: episodic 5 day fasts combined with a low animal protein, high olive oil, high vegetable diet. I’ve switched my breakfast from two eggs to one egg with spinach made in coconut oil.


Pop Quiz


  1. Increasing animal protein by 5% will increase your risk of heart disease by?             Answer: 5%
  2. Animal protein turns on what “aging” pathway?                                               Answer: The mTOR pathway
  3. At what level of glucose does heart disease no longer occur?                        Answer: 86 (And we define diabetes as 124)
  4. Name key components of the Fast Mimicking Diet.                                        Answer: Daily 12 hour fasting, monthly-quarterly 5 day fasting, low animal protein, high vegetable, low sugar, low refined grains, no trans fat,
  5. The best research studies we have that show the benefit of the Longevity diet looks at what current eating pattern?                                                                                        Answer: The Mediterranean Diet, but we will give you credit for saying Ornish’s or Esselstyn’s too



Fast Mimicking Diet 5: Cancer and the Magic Shield

Fast Mimicking Diet 5: Cancer and the Magic Shield

References: CellBMC CancerCancer CellPLOS Biology,

Last week we learned about reversing diabetes. This might be the Holy Grail of modern medicine. The prevention and treatment of cancer might be just as important. Cancer frequency increases with age, essentially equating aging with more disease. How to prevent it?
The first key concept is to understand how cancer comes about. It takes a key mutation, or probably several mutations or changes in the DNA sequence of a cell, for the cancer cell to develop “oncogenes”, cancer favoring genes. Cancer cells stop obeying orders, which in fact makes them weaker and more vulnerable to damage from external toxins. This is why Vitamin C, ozone, and many chemotherapy drugs have a deterring effect. It’s as though cancer cells are race cars with the accelerator stuck to the floor: they can’t slow down.

Longo recognized that key characteristic of cancer cells, and the essential response of healthy yeast/worms/mice to the fast mimicking diet. When you deprive healthy cells of key nutrients for a fixed period of time, they recognize that they are in trouble. The “get the memo” and respond by hunkering down. Longo called it the “magic shield”. Cancer cells can’t do that. The cancer cell tries to keep growing, even with no nutrients around.

In an experiment with mice, one of Longo’s graduate students gave mice chemotherapy and compared a group with normal daily diet versus some fed no food for two days prior to the chemo. The differences were striking. The fasting mice were dandy, the normally fed mice all got sick. In a week or two, 65% of the regular diet mice were dead. The same dramatic effects were found when micewith lung cancer were given chemo with or without fast mimicking: the fasting mice had 60-70% remission rates compared to much lower in the normally fed mice.
It appears there are two key dynamics going on with this cancer effect: the first is that the fasting weakens the cancer cells, making them more vulnerable. The second is that it renews and “revs” up the immune system, making it more aggressive against the cancer cells..

And the effects go beyond just making the immune system stronger. The use of potent steroids is a part of many chemo regimens with mixed blessings as the resulting elevation of glucose adds to toxicity. The FMD reduces glucosedramatically, suggesting that the use of steroids should be reconsidered.

Where are we with randomized clinical trials in cancer? Considering that there are several hundred types of cancer scattered all over, it takes a while to conduct studies on any one cancer with this strategy, so there are very few studies completed. The three or four that Longo refers to in his book make the strong argument for safety of the strategy, reduction of side effects, increased ability to complete chemo regimens. With that in hand, Longo suggest the following guidelines in his book. 1. If the oncologist agrees, the patient may fast or do the FMD for three days before chemo and 1-2 days after standard chemo drugs. 2. If fasting, make sure you don’t resume regular eating immediately following the chemo as the rebounding growth of liver cells at a time of lingering blood levels of chemo lead to liver toxicity. Weather it out with fasting at least 24 if not 48 hours after the chemo. And start slowly on vegan food, with lots of olive oil: rice, bread, pasta, vegetables and soups. Finally, try to return to normal body weight between cycles. If on any diabetes drug, please, please consult a knowledgeable physician first.

WWW. What will work for me. And just what do you want to do if you have high risk for cancer? Start by reading Longo’s book. If I had the BRCA gene, I would be doing this diet for the rest of my life. I do have diabetes genes in my genetic code, so I probably will be doing this the rest of my life, just like all of us should be. Your blood tests will tell you how often you should be doing it. In the meantime, I’ve now seen three people with dramatic success in just a few months with their diabetes getting better. Want to join that list?

Pop Quiz


  1. The Fast Mimicking Diet is called what by Longo?                                                Answer: The Magic Shield
  2. Cancer cells disobey orders and can’t do what?                                                   Answer: Take their foot off the accelerator and stop growing when there are no nutrients around.
  3. What happens to your immune system against cancer after you FMD?            Answer: Rev Rev.
  4. What’s the likelihood of your doing better if you do FMD while getting chemo? Answer: Fewer side effects and likelihood to get more chemo in you.
  5. Do we want you to lose weight via the FMD when you have cancer?                 Answer: NO! In between cycles we want you to gain it back.


Fast Mimicking Diet 4: Reversing Diabetes

Fast Mimicking Diet 4, Reversing Diabetes

References: Whitehall StudyCirculationAgingDiabetes CareCell,

This is a big deal. If you read no email this year but this one, you will be well served. The reversal of diabetes is so important, it is a game changer for all of medicine. Why? Two reasons.

The first is that it is so destructive, effecitively being the cornerstone for all our diseases of modern society. We have defined diabetes by committee and decided that it really wasn’t a disease until you got to a blood level of 124 or so, measured twice, or a Hemoglobin A1c of 6.2 or 6.4 (Remember: the A1c is the percent of hemoglobin molecules with a glucose stuck on them. Red cells live 100 days, about, which makes the A1c a nice surrogate marker for your average glucose over the last 100 days.. But that is looking at a disease you might think about treating. What would happen if you decided to consider what blood sugar results in optimal function? I would refer you to the Whitehall Study from England, It showed that for every point of glucose above 86, you have a 5% increased risk of heart disease. And there is wide acknowledgement now that we need to lower blood sugar, which modern medicine does by treating with drugs. That means an optimal blood sugar should be 86. Bredesen shows abundant evidence that a HgbA1c of 5.5 is what you want if you are anxious about Alzheimer’s.

The second is that everyone has it. There are all sorts of papers saying how many millions of people have it, but that is the DISEASE. If you want optimal function, the picture is much gloomier. The simplest explanation of how your body progresses to diabetes is as follows: your fat cells become insulin resistant in relationship to their size. As you get fatter, your fat cells get bigger. You don’t make ore. And your insulin receptors get further apart, So you become insulin resistant. You raise your insulin to keep that blood sugar in control, which you can only so for so long. After a while, you run out of the ability to keep raising your insulin level. It’s as though you were only given so much insulin in a lifetime. As long as you were only burning a tiny amount a day, you can live a very long time. But it has become pretty apparant that once we get overweight, we are burning up our insulin supply faster than we can maintain for a lifetime of 100 years. And that is what we see today in modern medicine. As we age, being a bit plump gradually turns into our blood sugar slowing rising, and your being put on one pill after another until you get to age 55 or so, and then you flunk out and get put on insulin. Your islets in your pancreas look shaggy with fewer healthier insulin producing cells. And then your kidneys fail and you get on dialysis, and then you flunk and get Alzheimer’s. Till now, the key to reversing diabetes has all been about losing weight, making fat cells smaller and getting the residual ability you have to make insulin in line with your reserve of insulin producing capacity. Imagine having an insulin level of 35 when you weight 190, but a level of 2 when you weight 132. That’s what we see clinically happening.

Here is where the Fast Mimicking Diet (FMD) comes in. What would you think if I told you that the FMD turns on the genes that literally wipe out old, dead, decaying tissue and starts rejuvenation of new insulin producing cells? Yes, produces new insulin cells. We have never seen anything quite like this before. This is like the holy grail of medicine, and it’s right there in front of our faces. The FMD turns on genes that support resiliency, getting rid of old garbage that’s in the way and turning on the growth of new stem cells. This is dieting for your genes sake. And all we are asking of you is 5 days a month until you have got yourself fixed.

WWW.What will work for me. I’ve been getting older and I have a family history of diabetes. To my alarm, this year my A1c ticked up from it’s usual 5.2-5.4. I’ve already done one cycle. I’m starting cycle number two. I just came back from a trip to see old friends I grew up with in India. I’m going to send them copies of Longo’s book. My advice to you is to not trust me, or your own doctor on this topic. Trust your own lab results. Watch your own response. The data is there. This diet will eventually become the “human diet”. We will all be on a variation of it. The good news, if you don’t have any risk factors, is that you only need to do it twice to three times a year, provided you exercise properly.

Pop Quiz


  1. Diabetes starts at a Hemoglobin A1c of 6.2. T or F                                         Answer: true, if you call it as the disease and use current medicine’s standards. Optimal is a whole different story. If you have worries about heart disease, Alzheimer’s. autoimmune disease.. or just want to age gracefully into your 90s, you want an optimal A1c: below 5.5
  2. You can lower your A1c by losing weight. How does that work?                    Answer: your fat cells get smaller and the residual insulin you have left become in line with the amount you need to control those fat cells.
  3. If I’m getting a little older and a little heftier, what is happening to my insulin producing cells in the islets in my pancreas?                                                                                 Answer: They are getting fewer and making less insulin.
  4. How many days do I have to do this diet thing?                                                Answer: 5. Four, as best we know, isn’t sufficient.
  5. What is an optimal blood sugar?                                                                         Answer: Your family doctor will tell you under 100 or so but won’t call you diabetic until you are 126, or if they are just checking your urine, you will be normal when you have a sugar below 180 because your kidneys can reabsorb anything below 180. (I kid you not, I talked to a person this week whose doctor was still checking urine for diabetes.)


Fast Mimicking Diet 3: The Fasting Part

Fast Mimicking Diet 3 The Fast Mimicking

References: Longo: The Longevity Diet, [Science], Science DirectCellCell Metabolism,

I like to eat. I get hungry. What is it about fasting that makes me do better? Let’s review. Valter Longo found that there were two processes in yeast (very primitive organism) and mice (sophisticated mammalian organism) that respond in the same way. RAS and TOR. Those are the two pathways that appear to accelerate aging. Sugar turns on RAS-PKA and extra protein turns on TOR-6SK Growth Hormone Pathway. If you can down regulate the RAS pathway, you increase the rate of clearing out old, dead, malfunctioning tissues and organelles. That’s called autophagy. TOR is an internal monitor of nutrient density and controller of cell growth. Can’t grow if you don’t have enough food. Dial TOR down and cells stop dividing and go into hunker down mode. Alter those two pathways and presto, chango, you have gotten to the root cause of aging in humans. That discovery, that these two pathways are fundamental to all life on this planet, starting with yeast and moving all the way up to humans, is Longo’s key contribution to modern understanding of aging.
Fasting turns both those pathways in the right direction. It takes about 24 hours to use up the glucose in your liver, stored as glycogen. The human body then switches to burning fat from stores in fat cells. The brain and body utilize ketone bodies in a process termed ketolysis, in which acetoacetic acid and 3-β-hydroxybutyrate are converted into acetoacetyl-CoA and then acetyl-CoA. In yeast, glucose, acetic acid and ethanol, but not glycerol which is also generated during fasting from the breakdown of fats, accelerate aging. Not glycerol. Did you get that? There is one carbon source that doesn’t turn on the nutrient recognition pathway. Glycerol is the 3 carbon fragment that holds fats together in tri-“glycerides”.

Fasting for 3 or more days in humans causes a 30% decrease in circulating insulin and glucose, as well as a reduced level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), the major growth factor in mammals, which together with insulin is associated with accelerated aging and cancer. Fasting for five days results in a 60% decrease in IGF-1and a 5-fold or higher increase in one of the main IGF-1-inhibiting proteins: IGFBP1. This effect on IGF-1is mostly due to protein restriction, and particularly to the restriction of essential amino acids, but is also supported by calorie restriction since the decrease in insulin levels during fasting promotes reduction in IGF-1. In humans, chronic fasting does not lead to a decrease in IGF-1 unless combined with protein restriction.
Did you get all that? It’s the protein restriction that matters. Five days appears to be the time period in which maximum reduction of cancer growth factors and insulin occurs. You can trick the system with some glycerol which doesn’t register as a sensed nutrient. And we have some markers of metabolism to show your success. 5 days. Reduced protein, animal in particular. Cut the calories down to low enough to turn on and maintain ketogenesis. Sounds like about 800 a day will work. The goal isn’t to lose weight but to turn on anti-aging genes.

WWW. What will work for me. Well, I’ve finished one cycle for myself and lost 6 pounds while doing it and another two pounds over the subsequent three weeks. Not bad. I’m going to do two more cycles and then repeat my own lab tests. Glycerol makes an interesting little sport drink. It’s slightly sweet and with a bit of flavor added from a tea, it’s not so bad. I’ve bought some hibiscus tea.

Pop Quiz


  1. What nutrient can you consume that is slightly sweet and doesn’t trigger calorie sensing? Answer: Glycerol
  2. What amino acid turns on aging, and absence turns off aging? Answer: leucine in particular.
  3. Five day fasting results in a 60% decrease in what? Answer: IGF-1 or our Growth Hormone surrogate marker.
  4. Along with that, you get up to a 5 fold INCREASE in what IGF-1 inhibitor? Answer: IGFBP1.
  5. What lab tests might you want to know if you were getting success in your fasting methods? Answer: Glucose, insulin, IGF-1 and IGFBP-1