Category Archives: 24.Basic Physiology

LifeSpan versus HealthSpan

LifeSpan Versus Healthspan

References:  WEForum 2017Compreh Physiology 2012,  Med Sci-Fi Sport Exercise,

We are living longer. But are we living better? In the 20th century, we doubled our life expectancy with the miracle of antibiotics, clean surgical technique, X-rays, immunizations and clean water.  Babies being born today in advanced societies have a 50:50 chance of living to be 100. But living longer isn’t necessarily better. There have been some disturbing trends lately. Obesity has managed to reverse the climb to longer lifespan in some societies, namely the USA.

As we live longer, we have more choices about lifestyle, making research into factors affecting confoundingly complex. It becomes impossible to do “randomized, placebo controlled” studies over decades without limiting free choice and spending more money than could be allocated. This article, from the World Economic Forum this year, offers insight into the laboratory of fitness, namely masters athletes. I have a dozen or so men and women older than 60 in my practice who would qualify as exceptionally fit. And I see their lab results and their vitality. They are aging differently than those of us who are less active.

Sedentary behavior is being increasingly recognized as the driver of many of our modern conditions. Part of this discernment comes from the recognition that athletes, (high end performers) have a disproportionately share of good health. They don’t get in trouble. They still die, but their time of end-of-life disability is markedly compressed, compared to the majority of the sedentary population. They become a unique research cohort, one that we couldn’t duplicate with “randomized research”. In effect, what happens with athletes is that they reach their peak in their 30s, like all of us, but then don’t show much decline until close to the very end. The rest of us show inexorable, linear decline. “Patch, patch patch, after 40!,” we say.

At every age in life, starting exercise of any kind has benefit. And the risk of complications from exercise is far lower than the risk of remaining sedentary. The real risk is sitting. Considering computer games at home, TV, computers at work and cell phones in-between, we are mesmerized by electronic distractions that leave us sedentary. In fact, research in 2009 of 17,000 Canadians of all ages showed a dose relationship of sedentary behavior to all cause mortality, regardless of levels of exercise. That means 30 minutes in the gym does you no good if you are sitting the rest of the day. Bother.

The Author cites four strategies with references on each: 1) Move More (Just get started and move more), 2) Move Slow, (Aim for 10,000 steps a day) 3) Move Fast (Add some high intensity something, even for just 10 minutes) and 4) Move Heavy (Add some weights). Read those hyperlinks. It’s the best of our knowledge.

WWW.What will work for me. Sedentary behavior is the new smoking. If you want to live better, longer, you have to do it. Build it in every day. A day without exercise is as bad as a day of smoking.

Pop Quiz

1. Our grand-kids are likely to live to be 90+. T or F Answer: False if they are sedentary, but true if they get the exercise bug and take care of their diet.
2. Our society is becoming more active. T or F Answer: Mixed picture. But as a general rule, false. Bless those who make the answer slightly true.
3. 30 minutes at the gym has beneficial effects? T or F Answer: Sure, it helps. Its benefit may be completely erased by an 8 hour day of sitting.
4. There is a dose relationship between exercise and good health. T or F Bingo
5. Getting sweaty isn’t necessary. T or F Answer: False, if you want optimal results. Getting sweaty 3-4 times a week is much better for you.

 

Sulfate: Maybe it All begins with Sulfate

Sulfate: Maybe it All begins with Sulfate

References:  Holistic Primary Care,  Theor Biol Med Model,

You’ve probably heard the term -sulfate added on to many medical terms. For example: chondroitin sulfate. You might have shrugged it off like it was just an add on salt, and no big deal. In that, you may be very, very wrong. At least, you are if Stephanie Senneff from MIT is right. At last March’s Clinical and Scientific Insights Conference in San Francisco Dr. Senneff had a breakout session on sulfate and it’s importance. In sum, she argues this is one of the foundational causes of most diseases. Whoa! That’s big. How can she claim that?

Here is her logic based on proven experimental literature and known chemical principles. The sulfate anion, a combination of sulfur and oxygen, is the fourth most common anion in out bodies. It plays many critical roles detoxing drugs, digesting food, building our intracellular matrix, preventing blood from coagulating when passing through tiny capillaries. Lots and lots of roles. And where does it start? Ironically, in your skin with exposure to sunlight. A combination of red cells, cholesterol, sunlight and vitamin D are all necessary ingredients to make the sulfate anion. Senneff describes our skin as our solar powered battery because it extracts the energy of sunlight through the enzyme Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthetase that turns the energy of sunlight into the sulfate anion in your skin.
At this point, sunlight and sulfate make two new and unrecognized molecules, vitamin D sulfate and cholesterol sulfate. The Vitamin D sulfate is water soluble and can travel everywhere. The Vitamin D you take in a pill doesn’t have the sulfate attached, so can’t dissolve in water (blood) so doesn’t have near the effectiveness of the sulfated form. But ditto for the cholesterol. It’s hard to get sufficient Vitamin D from oral supplementation alone, making sunlight a critical link for good health. Hmmm….don’t you just plain feel better when you get sunlight. The principle remains, many hormones, vitamins, fats have to be sulfated to be transported in the blood.

The foundational necessity of sulfate comes down to the physics of fluid flow in your blood and blood vessels. Cholesterol sulfate lines the outside of red blood cells creating a negatively charged field so that red cells repel each other, allowing them not to stick together as they travel through all your tiny capillaries and not rupture. That same negative charge carried by sulfate creates a behavior of water atoms on the surface of blood vessels that make them super slippery, almost like a teflon surface. In fact, that effect of sulfate may be central to the actual biology of how heart disease gets started. That’s for next week.

WWW.What will work for me. If sulfate is important, where can I get it in my diet? Well, ever wondered why garlic is such a potent herb? Loaded with sulfate! And the whole broccoli, kale, cabbage family. Loads of it. Eggs. Ditto. And sunshine? Yeah, I know the dermatologists goes nuts over too much of it. But without it, you don’t make the sulfate ion in your skin. This may be another clue why Vitamin D studies haven’t always panned out. You can’t just take the pure D3. It’s sulfated D3 that’s the portable form. Like cholesterol sulfate, the portable form. That role of sulfate making our blood vessels slippery makes sulfate central to our bodies being able to be multicellular. It allows us to distribute energy and get rid of gunk. After all, glutathione is based on sulfur. On and on and on. Eat more garlic.

Pop Quiz

1. Sulfate ions are key to making water insoluble compounds soluble and that has its impact felt on what crucial vitamin/hormone?                                Answer: Vitamin D

 

2. Humans can live without sunlight? T or F                                    False. We get sick, not just from lack of Vitamin D,but also lack of sulfate creation by sun in our skin.

 

3. Human red cells don’t stick to each other because they have a halo of?                      Answer: Negatively charged sulfate atoms.

 

4. Blood vessels are slippery because they have a surface layer of water atoms set up by…?                    Answer: Negatively charged sulfate atoms

 

5. I can get more sulfate in my diet by eating what foods?                                   Answer: Kale, garlic, eggs, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts.

 

ProOpioMelanocortin

POMC: The God Protein

References: Wikipedia, Uniprot,

Proopiomelanocortin. Repeat after me. Proopiomelanocortin. Bet you never heard of that before. What is it? It’s the protein that runs you. It’s a large protein that is in your pituitary gland that is made from pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin, a 285 amino acid long peptide that is activated once the 44 amino acid activating fragment is removed. Then it is ready for activation. It’s all in its name, at least part of it. Opio – it has opioid activity in part of it. Melano – it has melatonin activity. Cortin – it has cortisol activity. The devil is in the details. It is the prototype-hormone that can be split in many directions, depending on what enzymes attack it and chop it up into other pieces. It is those other pieces that become the hormones that run your body. ACTH heads off to the adrenal glands, giving you cortisol for energy and stress response. MSH has all sorts of appetite and sexual activity implications. The appetite part works through leptin. Generally it suppresses appetite as does leptin, when you aren’t leptin resistant. Beta-endorphin manages pain perception and immune function.

The devil is in the details. POMC can be chopped up into at least 10 different hormones, depending on where it is chopped. All the regions are overlapping with each other so any one hormone that is created might nix the making of another. It all depends on which chopping enzyme gets activated, and the activation is managed by adding or subtracting marking sugars or acids attached on certain sites.

An example of how it works goes as follows. You go to the gym and exercise like crazy. Imagine a good Cross Fit workout, or a great tennis match, or a hard 5mile run. Your body is demanding more fuel so you put out the call for more cortisol to mobilize more fuel. To make more cortisol, you need ACTH. First you chop the pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin into proopiomelanocortin. From that you then chop it into ACTH. When you make ACTH, you also, by chance make beta-endorphin. That’s your natural opioid. Presto: you feel a warm glow of happy feelings. The runner’s high.

That’s what happens when it works well. Guess what happens when it gets screwed up? The CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) as typified by black mold attacks you right at POMC. By downregulating the natural ebb and flow of POMC, you block beta-endorphin, ACTH and leptin which results in your being utterly unable to lose weight, not sleeping well, hurting all over and having no energy. Sound like anyone you know? We shy away from all those folks because it is to awfully overwhelming. We call people with that “Chronic Fatigue” or “Fibromyalgia” and give them pain pills and usher them out as fast as possible.

It might be kinder to investigate why they are feeling so awful. Ritchie Shoemaker, the author of the web site www.survivingmold.com claims that 80% of folks with chronic fatigue actually have CIRS, and positive markers for mold. They represent as many as 25% of the population when you do genetic testing for those who are susceptible to mold toxins. All they need is repeated exposure. 2% of folks are exquisitely sensitive, and 5 minutes in a sick water damaged building will set them off. If you can fix their POMC and get it back to normal function, their suffering will be over and they will claim you were the dispenser of a real miracle: the God Protein.

WWW.what will work for me. I’m totally fascinated with POMC and have started working on being certified as a Black Mold specialist. It’s a couple hundred articles and pages of reading, but if I come out being able to fix those folks who have been blown off by 8 other physicians and given nothing but symptom relief, I’ll be pleased. I am getting awfully hyper about any water leaks in my house. There are roofers up on our roof right now making sure our house stays dry. Mold will happen anytime you let water leak in your house, and don’t fix it promptly.

Pop Quiz

‪1. POMC is the prohormone that modulates your sex drive. T or F

Well, part of it does. There are implications for sexual function in MSH but more of it’s components go to energy and pain control

‪2. POMC can be chopped up to make how many hormones?

A: At least 10 and maybe more

‪3. Can they all be made at the same time?

No, any given combination will only make 2 or 3 depending on where you cleave the protein. This means there is lots of overlap.

‪4. The toxins of mold do their dirty deed by disrupting POMC. T or F

A: Bingo

‪5. Mold illness is rare. T or F

Are you kidding? Probably as many as 25% of our population has the genetic tendency to be affected. Likely only 2% are exquisitely sensitized, but that is still a huge number. (6-7 million exquisitely sensitive, 90 million partially sensitive.)

Connexins and Diabetes

Connexins and Diabetes

References: J. Cell Biology, J Biol Chemistry, FEBS Letter,

Connexins. What we learned last week was basic. Connexins are the proteins that make for connections between cells. They exist in every creature with more than a few cells. For multicellular organisms to exist, connexins have to become part of the picture. And the management of fuel for cells in central to an organism that has specialized digestive processes. To have a gut, blood, central nervous system, bones, muscles and everything else means you have to have a centralized control system for fuel allocation. That central traffic cop is the pancreas gland with its beta cells. They produce insulin, and insulin is the key hormone used to signal storage of calories for future use. Traditional medicine calls insulin your blood sugar controlling hormone. A more inclusive vision would be to say that insulin rises in response to rising blood sugars which occurs during the time of year of calorie excess, just before the time of year of calorie deficit. It’s a good time to store calories.

The storing of calories as insurance against future starvation is a key feature of human survival (and all creatures). That’s insulin’s job. How do connexins play a part in all that? These articles this month go right to the heart of that role. When you knock out the ability of pancreas beta cells to make connexins, their ability to make insulin drops proportionately. This means for us to have a sensible, balanced and nuanced control of glucose, we have to have proper connexin function.

What happens in humans when we get overweight, and become diabetic? Our fat cells get bigger and we demand more and more insulin to keep glucose in a tight range. We can produce that extra insulin for a while, but eventually exhaust our ability to produce sufficient insulin to control blood glucose adequately enough. Glucose is a very reactive chemical. Granted, it is fuel to burn, which is why being reactive helps, but high levels of it stick to all sorts of places where it’s not meant to be. And that leads to disease too. Our body doesn’t like high glucose, and we frantically put out more insulin to regulate that. And what happens when we can’t make enough insulin any more? You got it, the first step is connexons between cells dropping off as we produce fewer and fewer connexins. This makes connexin dysfunction the first step in diabetes development. The ability of our beta cells in our pancreas to talk to each other via their connecting connexins is the first step to developing diabetes.

And guess what happens in heart disease, brain disease, muscle disease, kidney disease?…..Name an organ and I can show you references that demonstrate that connexins fall off and connexons (the name for the actual channel between cells) between cells decrease. The level to which all your organ types are connected to each other is the level to which you are healthy. This loss of intracellular connections via these proteins called connexins is the basis of much illness.

The $ 64 k question is, what can we do to alter our connexins? Is that something we have control over? And the answer is yes! Next week.

www.What will work for me. All right. I’ve learned that connexins are the protein channels between cells that allow communications between similar cell types, allowing different cells to act as coordinated organs. Muscles can contract together. Liver cells and digest together. Brains can think… etc. Sounds like this is at the heart of life of multicellular organs. I love getting down to the very basic facts. But I’m eager to know how I can alter it with my own behavior. I guess for that, I have to wait till next week.

 

Pop Quiz:

‪1. Connexins are the key mechanisms of different cell type to function as independent organs. T or F

Right on.

‪2. In diabetes, our pancreas beta cells have more connexins functioning with higher blood glucose. T or F

False.     That’s backwards.

‪3. Virtually every illness with organ dysfunction can demonstrate lousy connexins of the organ that’s not working. T or F

T.  Isn’t that fascinating?

‪4. Earth worms have connexins. T or F

True. They have muscles that work in a coordinated fashion. That wouldn’t happen without those links.

‪5. Our gut has connexins that get discombobulated with gluten. T or F

Bingo. You intuited that and you were right. Gluten disrupts connexins between gut cells.

 

Connexion Connection

Connexin Connection

References: Wikipedia, Molecular Fitness,Cell Science,

Ever heard of Connexins? I hadn’t. Until I read Darrell Tanelian’s book. Here is what they are. They are the proteins that make up the connecting channels between cells. Different organs in your body act together in concert because they know they are the same as their neighbor. A liver cell knows it is a liver cell because it has hundreds of connecting little passageways between itself and it’s neighbor. Those protein bridges are constructed of 6 identical proteins that fit together to make a cohesive channel that connects one cell to another. A brain cell knows it is a brain cell because it’s connections tell it that it is in a brain environment. Same with pancreas, gut, muscle, heart, kidney, bone…..you get the drift.

That channel can relax and open up, letting stuff through, or it can shut down and close off passage of any signaling messages. A healthy cell has a lot of connecting passages/links between itself and its neighbors. And an unhealthy cell has less and less connecting sites.

You will get the drift of the power of connexins with gut cells. Your intestine has a one cell layer between your food (the outside world) and your inner self, your immune system and blood supply. That cell layer is held together with three tiny bridges of connexins. Inflammatory bowel disease appears to be an illness of uncontrolled inflammation, in part because of dysfunctional connexin activity. This appears to be the cutting edge of gut research right now, as the functions of connexins, and their cousins, panexins, appears to be the mechanism behind most gut diseases. There are even some commercial companies selling the agents that pass back and forth between gut cells in their communications through their gap junctions as a means of fixing gluten and glyphosate injury to the gut.

The bottom line of connexins is that they allow multi-cellular organisms to exist. Without different tissues being able to differentiate themselves into organs with separate form and function, we wouldn’t benefit from being anything more than a big algae. The process of cellular evolution from single cell to human beings is founded on connexins. They had to come very early in the game of life on earth. Being that fundamental to human form, the well being of connexins and understanding their role in health for the greater organism might be a critical link to understanding. And that is about as state of the art as we can get.

WWW.What will work for me. I want to know more. I love getting down to the details, especially it it’s something I can change with lifestyle choices. I found the topic getting a sense that being overweight and insulin intolerant starts with dysfunctional connexins. I’m fascinated. More next week.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Connexins are proteins that allow cells to communicate with each other. T or F Bingo

Right on the money.

‪2. The ability of different tissues to act differently from other tissues depends on cells working together in a coordinated fashion, which requires connexins? T or F

Ok, now you are on a roll.

‪3. If I understand it, connexins might then be part of organ tissues repairing themselves, and keeping them selves happy? T or F

You are getting ahead but you got the drift. We are now researching how to repair damaged heart tissue with stem cells. Their ability to develop into new heart cells requires that they get their connexins right.

‪4. Single cell organisms have connexins. T or F Nope.

It’s connexins that define multi cell organisms, up to and including you.

‪5. Every organ in the human body has connexins. T or F True.

And their health depends on their having a good population of them.

 

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