Monthly Archives: April 2018

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.