Category Archives: 7. Brain Health

Resveretrol and Your Brain

 

Resveratrol and your Brain

Reference: Science Daily July 2016, Neurology,

Published August 8, 2016

You’ve heard of leaky gut, right? That’s where the integrity of the gut membrane is compromised and larger molecules can leak in, setting your immune system off to make inflammation and set you up for auto-immune disease. Did you know there is another barrier between the outside world and your delicate cells? That’s the lining of your blood vessels, called the vascular endothelium. It can also help hold bad stuff back. The final barrier between the outside world and the most delicate cells of all, your brain cells, is the blood brain barrier. It too can be damaged. Leaky brain is a new concept that we are beginning to understand. That we can now measure markers to indicate “leaky brain” through Cyrex Labs helps. And then we can prove that we are repairing it. That is all part of Bredesen’s brain health protocol. Folks with Alzheimer’s disease have leaky brain. Leaky gut and leaky brain appear to go together.

That is what this weeks study did. The researchers took a subset of 19 Alzheimer’s patients with 19 controls and did spinal taps to prove the level of leaky brain. That you can do by measuring the matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in their spinal fluid. MMP-9 rises with leaky brain. You want it lower. When there are high levels of MMP-9, other substances can leak into the brain, causing damage. The experimental group was given 500 mg a day of resveratrol. That’s where the 1000 bottles of wine comes in. Those folks who got the resveratrol got a 50% improvement in their MMP-9 levels. Their brains also shrank a little. Yes, got a bit smaller. Alarming as that sounds, that may reflect reduction in inflammation, which is exactly what we want. An inflamed, injured, sprained ankle is big. You want small. We do want a big brain, but not made large from inflammation.

WWW.What will work for me. Well, drinking 1,000 bottles of wine will do anyone in. Alcohol is a metabolic poison over a glass a day. Reserveratol has been hotly debated and despite much ebb and flow, hasn’t been a huge hit yet. Some of the folks in the study got some side effects. The question is all about risk/benefit. If I’m worried about my brain, I may consider taking it. But not without having some marker to show that I get better when I do. Getting a contrast enhanced MRIscan of my brain is an expensive test. If it shows I’m saving my brain, hmmm. May be worth it. When your insurance policy sends you a $ 3500 bill for the MRI, you may think differently. This all has to be ironed out. I’m curious.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Resveratrol has been shown to reduce signs of inflammation in Alzheimer’s brains? T or F

T, if you call a 50% reduction in MMP-9 a good thing

‪2. Resveratol has generally been shown to help human health. T or F

Well, not yet. Despite it being on the shelf at Costco and every other health food outlet in America.

‪3. It is dangerous to take resveratol. T or F

F Probably not.

‪4. Alzheimer’s has been shown to have leaky brain. T or F

True. By MRI and by spinal tap. This is all still research stuff.

‪5. Should I call the office to get a spinal tap if I’m worried.

Whoa Nellie. Nice idea, not ready for prime time yet.

Too Much Thyroid is Not a Good Thing for Your Brain

Too Much Thyroid is Not a Good Thing for Your Brain

Reference: JR CLIN ENDO METAB,

What is too much thyroid? Our bodies have a unique method of telling us if we think we are getting enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is made in our thyroid gland, in the front of our necks. T4 is the substrate molecule that circulates in your body for 36 hours and is gradually changed to T3 by the enzyme de-iodinase. Your hypothalamus in your brain reads how much T4 and T3 it is receiving and decides if that is enough for it to be happy. It then communicates with your pituitary gland to make TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to nudge the thyroid to make more. TSH has become the established norm for deciding about sufficient thyroid. This study looked at TSH levels and the subsequent development of dementia.

Keeping a healthy brain is one of our highest priorities. As we get older, dementia robs us of our relationships, our memories, and just about everything that is meaningful and important. What this study found was that a LOWER TSH (meaning that your brain thinks you can back off a little on thyroid production) is associated with greater increase of dementia. 313 non demented Koreans were evaluated and followed for 5 years with thyroid testing and mental status testing. Now, the average TSH in the healthy brain group was 2.24 and in the group that showed MCI (mild cognitive impairment) it was 1.78. Those are both, technically, normal. Stated differently, for every 1 mIU/L decrease in TSH, there was a 1.7 fold increased risk for MCI progression. If you already had MCI, a 1 mIU/L decrease in TSH resulted in a 6.8 times risk of progression to frank dementia. Ouch!

This isn’t completely new. TheRotterdam Study in 2000 showed that a TSH below 0.4 (frankly too low – meaning way too much thyroid hormone) had a 3 fold increased risk of developing dementia. That study followed 1843 non demented people for just 2 years. The Framingham study published in 2008 followed 1864 folks and showed that a TSH between 0-1 had a doubling of Alzheimer’s risk. There are more, and all say the same thing. Lower TSH means higher risk for dementia.

Traditional Internal Medicine focuses purely on the TSH. Functional medicine askes us to look at the free T3, reverse T3 and TSH combined. You get a richer picture when you look at all three, but I find there are frequent conflicts where the free T3 is “technically low”, but the TSH is still

Now,low thyroid (shown by HIGH TSH) isn’t good for your brain either. But that’s for another day.

Bredesen, my guru for Alzheimer’s prevention, asks for TSH between 1-2. He doesn’t reference free T3. The big question then comes, which reference point is the most important.

WWW.What Will Work for Me. I’m very interested in this. We aren’t as clear as we would like to be on this topic. For now, I’m putting my chips on Bredesen. For myself, I take a bit thyroid hormone to keep my own TSH between 1-2. Should I let it drift up to 2.4? Stay tuned.

Pop Quiz

‪1. A high TSH means your are getting too much thyroid? T or F

False. This is the mistake of a first time reader. TSH is STIMULATING hormone. A high TSH says your brain thinks you aren’t getting enough, and is trying to get your tired old thyroid to make more.

2. This article is the first to show that lower TSH’s, in the normal range predict cognitive decline in Koreans. T or F

Exactly the point. What’s new is that these folks were in the normal range and they were followed for longer than prior studies.

‪3. Korean’s brains are different than ours, so I don’t need to worry about it. T or F

Sorry, despite the behavior of certain N. Korean leaders who might bring this into question, all of our brains are the same. It’s nice to see the robust Korean medical community starting to contribute to the world body of knowledge.

4. There is a clear connection between free T3 and TSH? T or F

As things currently stand, it’s partially right but mostly helpful when your thyroid function is low, resulting in a higher TSH, now lower.

5. Some of our best Alzheimer’s treatment leaders use thyroid as part of their decision making for Alzheimer’s treatment. Goal: TSH 2-4.5 T or F

Trick question. True, they use it. False. Modern internal medicine says up to 4.5 TSH is ok. Bredesen aims for a TSH between 1-2. Details matter. Low thyroid isn’t any good either.

Obesity, Autism and Gut Bacteria

Obesity, Autism and Gut Bacteria

References: Cell June 2016,

Did you know that women who are obese when pregnant give birth to autistic children at a 50% higher rate? Did you also know that the intestinal flora of obese folks differs from that of normal folks? Ok, take those as givens and follow this research thread.

Take mice and make them obese by feeding them a very high fat diet. You can show that their stool content dramatically changes to being much less diverse. Then, you observe the amount of time their pups spend in social behaviors and find that they interact for only 22 seconds out of 10 minutes, whereas normal pups average two minutes. And the pups of the obese mothers much prefer playing with a plastic cup, whereas normal mothers’ pups play with other pups. Sounds like autistic children, in mouse form.

Now, in mice, you can examine their gut flora in great detail, and then look at brain cells too. The obese mothers’ gut flora was markedly limited, as duplicated in their pups. When the pups were given access to normal mouse feces, (which all mice nibble on – getting probiotic infusions), their gut flora returned to normal, as did their social interaction.

What was most interesting is that the differences in behavior were narrowed down to one bacteria species in the gut; Lactobacillus reuteri. It was 9 times more abundant in normal mothers feces, compared to the obese mothers. This is where their research got really interesting. Taking the “autistic” mice pups, they were given either live L. reuteri or dead L. reuteri in their drinking water. The pups that got the live bacteria were found to have normal brain development of the cells that produce oxytocin, and normal social behavior. The autistic mice pups that got the dead bacteria, didn’t develop and remained socially isolated. The autistic mice pups that got the live bacteria still had 13% less oxytocin producing cells, but that was enough for them to develop into normal social behaving mice.

This evidence is so powerful, there are now multiple studies of oxytocin being given to children with autism. The field of social modulation of behavior is just getting started, with oxytocin front and center in that research. And now, what is opening up is that behavior may be driven by the bacteria in your gut.

Can you take L. reuteri orally as a supplement? You sure can! Each species appears to have it’s own strain.

www.What Will Work for me. Well, I just learned about L. reuteri and it’s effect on the gut, and subsequent effect on social behavior. I’ve seen oxytocin help a bunch of folks needing better sleep, less stress, more calm. Maybe what they need, and we all need is some way to measure L.reuteri in our gut, and some way to replace it if it’s missing. I think the next stage needs to be what diet encourages it’s growth. We know that including it in your diet can prevent weight gain, to some degree. I want to watch this story evolve. Way too interesting.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Obese mice’s pups have less social interaction and fewer oxytocin producing cells in their brains, in alignment with fewer of bacterial species L. reuteri in their guts? T or F

That’s it in a nutshell.

2. The same applies to humans. T or F

Not so fast. The oxytocin connection appears to be true but we can’t biopsy human brains to complete the research circle.

‪3. This research suggests that our mental frame of mind with socialization may be greatly affected by the bacteria in our gut. T or F

Exactly.

4. It is possible to take oxytocin as a supplement to see if it helps you with sleep, intimacy, headaches, social isolation, calmness. T or F

Well, true but it takes a physicians script to get access to it.

5. The diet that supplies the most L. reuteri to your gut is well defined. T or F

False. We don’t know it yet. Fermented foods have it in abundance but often from strains not our own. Each species appears to have its own strain.

Whole Coffee Fruit Extract, Memory and BDNF

Whole Coffee Extract and Brain Growth

Reference:  British Journal of NutritionFuturceuticals Study,

Ever heard of BDNF? Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF. It’s the Holy Grail of brain health. It’s the hormone that makes brain cells grow. You want BDNF. Folks with Alzheimer’s don’t have any. It plays a role in helping memory get cemented down. Making memory requires brain cells growing and connecting. Most of our brain cells live just about our entire lives, but memory requires new growth. Exercise boosts it. Niacin helps a bit. But increasing it is the goal of just about every who wants to prevent Alzheimer’s.

It’s known that caffeine increases BDNF too. That’s what led to this study being conducted. The researchers took 25 healthy human subjects and gave them oral doses of whole coffee fruit extract, green coffee caffeine powder, grape seed extract powder and green coffee bean extract powder to get sources of caffeine as well as polyphenols to see which worked best. A single 100 mg dose was given and then blood drawn every 30 minutes for two hours. Interestingly enough, the whole coffee fruit extract was the home run hitter with a 143% increase in BDNF increase, compared to only 31% increase for the green coffee caffeine powder and the grape seed extract.

The results suggests that the stimulatory effect of whole coffee fruit on the BDNF blood level is not from the amount of polyphenols or caffeine per dose. Instead, the effect may be better explained by either the amount of procyanidins or to the unique coffee polyphenol profile of the whole coffee fruit material. That makes coffee fruit a rather unique product. Not the green coffee bean. Not the coffee per say, but the whole fruit. This is interesting.
www. What Will Work for me. I heard that Dr Bredesen from UCLA is intensely interested in it. If he is, I am too. I’ve Googled Whole Coffee Fruit Extract and have not found how to purchase it. I bet it show up pretty soon. This is something we need to follow!

Pop Quiz

1. BDNF is a protein hormone design to make brain cells grow, T or F

In a nutshell, true.

2. The best way to stimulate BNDF is with sleep. T or F

False. Exercise is the best. Sleep isn’t so bad, but exercise is it

3. This study shows that WHOLE coffee fruit extract is now the supplement that increases BDNF the most. T or F

Yes! Coffee helps a little, but 143% for the Whole Coffee Fruit is amazing

4. To cement memory down, you have to grow new brain connections and cells, particularly in the hippocampus part of your brain. T or F

That’s the Cliff Notes version.

5. I need a prescription to get BDNF. T or F.

False. You just need to walk around the block and find the Whole Coffee Fruit Extract, which is not widely available, yet!

SIRT-1 and Saving Your Brain

Sirt-1 and Saving Your Brain
References:  PNAS 2013,
Published May 9th, 2016  Archives at www.newsinnutrition.com

We need three things to make it to healthy aging: our eyes, our knees and our brains. At the current rate, 50% of us are getting Alzheimer’s if we get to age 85. Bummer. The means by which Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) causes its havoc is gradually being understood. This reference might be one of the most seminal articles to show the way forward. Let me explain the details.

We know that AD is characterized by several processes. One is the brain shrinking, with loss of executive neurons in the front of the brain leading the way. Premature cell death of neurons is part of that. Another is a loss of connections between neurons. And finally, there is accumulation of abnormally formed amyloid proteins.

Enter the APOE-4 gene. It is now pretty well known that having two copies of the APOE-4 gene has risk of developing AD (on the order of 70-80%). Having even one copy confers a doubling of risk. The amyloid precursor protein (APP) can but chopped up into different end results, and that’s what the APOE-4 gene does. It chops at a place that makes a different protein.
This is where we introduce the SIRT-1 effect. SIRT-1 exists in balance with SIRT-2. SIRT-1 is the good stuff. SIRT-2 is not so good. SIRT-1 reduces the production of beta amyloid. And it’s APOE-4 that lowers SIRT-1. Ha, that’s how APOE-4 wreaks its havoc. With enough SIRT-1, you don’t make beta-amyloid.

I don’t mean to make this any more complicated than it has to be. And I’m not sure it’s any better known than this right now, except for by the best of brain scientists. But the nitty – gritty is, we want to have more SIRT-1. If we can up regulate SIRT-1, we can counteract the nasty tendency of APOE-4 genes to make beta-amyloid accumulate in our brains.

How do we do that? What can we do to stimulate SIRT-1? That’s the Holy Grail of medicine. Now, enter Resveretrol. The red stuff in red wine. Turns out it stimulates SIRT-1, and many other cellular functions. In fact, there is so much conflicting evidence about resveretrol’s effects that we are only at the beginning of understanding the SIRT system and how it works.

Guest what else stimulates SIRT-1? If increasing life span of brain cells is what resveratrol does, what do you think would be the most potent method of increasing mammal life span – and how does it work? The answer: calorie restriction, which markedly increases SIRT-1 activity.

WWW. What will work for me. I’ve taken resveratrol off and on for several years as a supplement. Hearing that Dale Bredesen uses it at UCLA in all of his Alzheimer’s patients, with the specific target of increasing SIRT-1 activity suggests we may all be interested in it. So, I added it to my supplement list a couple of months back. I don’t know how to measure it, except to take it on faith. We don’t have a SIRT-1 test yet. It might be one of our most useful if we did.

Pop Quiz

1. SIRT-1 is a protein that prolongs life? T or F

A. True

2. The Alzheimer’s associated gene, APOE-3 lowers SIRT levels. T or F

A. False. The Alzheimer’s associated gene is the APOE-4, and that does lower SIRT-1 levels.

3. Resveretrol raises SIRT-1 levels, thereby balancing out the tendency of the APOE-4 gene to cause trouble. T or F

A. Now we are true.

4. Resveretrol reliably increases human life span. T or F

A. Not so fast. It affects many cellular functions and its research conclusions are still far from certain. But it’s brain effects seems pretty sure.

5. I should be on resveretrol if I want to preserve my brain.

A. That is the current best wisdom we have in a not-certain complex picture still being elucidated.

Lead’s Effect May Last LIFETIMES (plural)

Lead’s Effect May Last Lifetimes

Published:  March 21, 2016

Reference: Science News 2016, Translational Psychiatry

The recent controversy about lead in Flint, Michigan has raised the topic of lead poisoning again. Lead removal from America has been one of the public health victories of the last century.   We have gotten it out of our lead pipes, our house paint, our gasoline. It was only 1996 that lead was finally banned from gasoline. But did you know that it persists still in chocolate? In Nigeria, gasoline still has lead in it, and chocolate from Nigeria has up to 460 times the lead in it compared to the cocoa bean. Hence, eating many chocolate products gives children more lead than California says is safe.

Now, we are beginning to understand just how lead does its dirty work. It’s half life in blood is only about 30 days, but in your bone and teeth, where most goes, it hangs around for 25 years. Guilarte, in a study published last year in Translational Psychiatry, showed that baby rats fed tiny amounts of lead lost critical neurons in their brains that are essential for attention and memory, and gained dopamine receptors, in a pattern that fits with schizophrenia. They hypothesize that lead does its damage by replacing zinc. Zinc’s role in the cell is to help switch-proteins fold properly to turn on and turn off DNA.   Lead replaces zinc but doesn’t let the switches happen. Jacqueline Ordemann of Bates College proposed in the Journal Metallomics this year, that lead affects the switches in our brains that affect our sensitivity to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, three brain diseases that have increased dramatically in the last century. Another author, Ruden, published a report in Scientific Reports in January this year showing that lead affects methyl groups on DNA in an atypical fashion. Methyl groups on DNA are how we turn off and on DNA replications. That is the means by which lead poisoning can be passed on to subsequent generations, through abnormal methylation of DNA, and subsequent altered copying of the DNA code.   Ruden compares our DNA to being the hardware of life, but methylation is the software that teaches the cell how to utilize the messages on the DNA. If lead messes that up, it is possible that the effect will last generations. To prove that, one would have to get a population exposed, and not exposed and follow it for generations. That is isn’t going to happen.

It is possible to pull lead out of the body, but not easily from the brain. Lead is not water soluble, so it gets soaked up into fat tissue. That’s what the brain is. And each cell in the brain is shrink wrapped with other cells, called glia, that make an added barrier to removing lead.   So little lead equalizes across that extra barrier that once lead is in you, it’s there to stay, at least in your brain. We may be able to remove it from your body fat, your bone marrow, or other body tissues, but your brain seems to be quite resistant.

Now that we understand some of the mechanisms of lead toxicity, it is incumbent on us to avoid the stuff rather than wait for more convincing research.

WWW.What will work for me? I’m helpless with chocolate. I love the stuff. Knowing what I know about lead, now, gives me resolve to avoid it until I see better evidence that the lead has been cleaned up.   Consumerlabs rates different chocolate sources for lead levels. I have chelated about 100 people in my practice for lead exposure and find that removing it improves thyroid function, white counts, concentration. And looking around my house, I found lead pellets for my air rifle, sitting on a shelf. I haven’t used them for years, but there they were, sitting on my shelf.

 

Pop Quiz

  1. Lead is a normal micronutrient needed for human metabolism. T or F

False. Go back to square one and read the article. It’s a toxin, through and through.

  1. We have banned most sources of lead in America over a hundred years ago. T or F

False. We got it out of gasoline only as of 1996, and many houses still have an undercoat of lead paint and our nations’ water supply comes through many pipes with lead, even though lead pipes were banned years ago.

  1. Lead alters the DNA in our cells, making for abnormal interpretation of the message on the DNA. T or F

Yup

  1. Lead lingers a long time in bones and teeth. T or F

True. Maybe as long as 25 years, or longer in brains.

  1. Chocolate has lead in it. T or F

True. I weep, I mourn, I deny, but it’s true. I’ve heard rumor that Lindt chocolate doesn’t. Nigeria has leaded gasoline, and that may be the source.

Testosterone and the Risk of Alzheimer’s in Men

Testosterone and Risk of Alzheimer’s in Men

Reference: Moffat Neurology 2004,

Testosterone, all about men’s sexual health, right?   Well, that is true, and it certainly is what most men think is most important, but it’s certainly not all. And here we have today a reference study of the importance of testosterone to men’s brain health.

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of men’s health started in 1958 and followed men for a mean of 19.1 years, and as long as 37 years. They had physical exams with neurological testing and blood work every other year.   Five hundred and seventy four men were included in the Alzheimer’s and testosterone study group.   That is a pretty strong sample group, for a pretty long time, so this study should have something valid to say.   After accounting for all possible confounding variables, like diabetes, cancer, smoking, age, education, hormone supplements and the like, they were left with the connection between testosterone levels and risk for Alzheimer’s.   Total testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin didn’t seem to have any connection with Alzheimer’s, but free testosterone did.   In fact, for every 10 nmoles increase in free testosterone, there was a 26% reduction in risk for the development of Alzheimer’s.

What is free testosterone? It is the proportion of testosterone in your blood that is available for your tissue to actually use.   Here is the explanation.   Testosterone is built from the cholesterol molecule.   Cholesterol is in the fat family, meaning it is not water soluble. If it isn’t water soluble, it can’t be moved around the body in the transport system we call blood. Blood is made of water and fat doesn’t dissolve in water. The human body has come up an ingenious method of moving it. Sex hormone binding globulin is that method. It is a protein, made in the liver, that has an internal pocket that welcomes fat; it is “hydrophilic”.   High levels of insulin and growth hormone lower it, whereas estrogen and thyroxine raise it. It needs zinc to hold itself together in the form that binds it.

These other hormones don’t need to change it much to have a big impact.   Considering that you only have about 0.1-0.3% of your total T as the “free” stuff, it only takes a small shift to alter your natural free T. There is some debate as to what a proper free T should be, but this is where the rubber meets the road. Many physicians consider a free T3 of 8 pg to be enough.   Well, I have come to recognize that it takes at least 35 pg to feel really good.   Many good things happen then? Remember the male brain?

Now, if we apply that metric to the above study, we will find that the house of medicine will give you a clean bill of health with a free T of 8 pg. But it we raise you to 38pg, that is 3 notches of 10 pg each, and that will lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by 78%.

Well, wait a minute.   The above study shows that men who have higher free T on their own have less risk of Alzheimer’s.   That is not to say that we can prove that raising it by outside means will lower your risk. It isn’t the same thing. There may be other reasons you have high free T3 and those other reasons then account for your lower risk. And giving you T may not provide those other reasons.   So, it’s not yet proven, and likely will never be because there is no money in it. But you will either feel better, or not care because your brain is happy.

www.What Will Work for Me?   I’m interested in this. I have a mother with Alzheimer’s.   I want my free Testosterone to be optimal. It’s something every man should be paying attention to.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. For every 10 pgram increase in Testosterone, men have a 26 percent increase in risk for Alzheimer’s Disease? T or F

False. You didn’t read the article. That’s backwards. DECREASE

  1. Optimal Levels of Free T3 in a man are around 8 picograms. T or F

False. We want you at least 32 picrograms

  1. Sex Hormone Binding Globulin can muck things up by making your free T3 be all bound up? T or F

True

  1. You can raise SHBG by having too much estrogen. T or F

True

  1. You have have too much estrogen by being overweight? T or F

True

Pregnanolone: Memory Cure

Pregnanolone and Memory: The Importance of “Neurosteroids”

Reference: Elsevier Science Direct 2014, Life Extension

Published Jan 4, 2016

Ever heard of pregnanolone?   Probably not, and shouldn’t be expected to. But if you are over 50, you likely should know about it. Your body is making much less now than you used to, and that may be part of why you can’t remember why you walked into that room, or where you put your keys. Your memory isn’t as supple as it used to be, and you feel stressed out about it.

Pregnanolone is the first steroid hormone made from cholesterol. It is the first of 6 steps towards making estradiol, another important Neurosteroid, or Progesterone, or Testosterone, all important sex hormones, but also brain hormones. Turns out that our brains make them too, and use them locally.

For memory to occur, you need to stimulate cells. The principal stimulating chemical is called glutamate, and it turns on the NMDA receptor. That’s the beginning of the cascade that puts down new synapses and creates memory. Now, glutamate functions in a very narrow range. Too much glutamate and you get “neuroexictotoxicity” and cell death. That’s the means by which MSG causes brain damage and may be part of the cause of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. And that’s where pregnonolone comes it. Not only does it get the memory switch turned on, but it softens the raw damage of too much glutatamate, protecting cells from overstimulation.

The research supporting all this has been done mostly in animals. For example, researchers have shown that pregnanolone reverses impaired learning in older rats. And it happens quickly. It gets even more interesting when you look at anxiety and memory. The side effects of many anti-anxiety medications, like Valium, is that they impair memory. Well, not if you take pregnanolone along with them. And if you want to withdraw from them, pregnanolone may be your best friend, making it easier to do with less rebound anxiety.

The mechanisms of neurosteroids is beginning to be understood. They appear to have a dramatic impact on two areas of brain health. First, they seem to make mitochondria more effective. Mitochondria are the little organs inside the brain cell that make energy molecules. Your brain uses 20% of your bodies energy, so each cell is producing a lot of it. Like our own power plants, producing energy has negative consequences that need amelioration. Reactive oxygen species escape the electron cascade in mitochondria, and need to be soaked up. The neurosteroids appear to help with that.

Pregnanolone also helps with the memory enhancing component of sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It increases the time you spend in REM sleep, and upregulates the amount of acetylcholine you make when you do so.

Finally, pregnanolone appears to play a role in building nanotubules inside the brain cell. These tubules appear to be part of the scaffolding that allows new synapses to be constructed and maintained. And that’s the core structure of memory being made. Cool, huh!

WWW. What will work for me. I’m interested in understanding how memory works. I’ve never measured my own levels, but I’m on it. It’s a pretty cheap supplement, and 15 mg a day appears to be the starting dose. Because it’s the parent hormone to many other steroids, there is some concern that it might spark some of the hormone sensitive cancers, but that has not been proven in any fashion. My New Years Resolution is to build a portfolio of memory enhancing ideas for myself, and for you.   Hang on.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Pregnanolone is a steroid hormone made in your brain? T or F

True. In your sex organs as well, but also in your brain

  1. It’s levels gradually rise with aging. T or F

False. They drop dramatically

  1. Pregnanolone, and all the neurosteroids, protect the brain from the damaging effects of too much glutamate. T or F

True, and don’t use that to justify eating more MSG

  1. Taking pregnanolone may help withdraw from Valium and other addicting drugs. T or F

True

  1. Pregnanolone may help your memory by increasing your REM sleep? T or F

True

 

What Carbs Should I Eat?

What Carbs Should I Eat?

Reference: Low Glycemic Food Table, Cox Diabetes Clin Research, J. Geriatrics Oct 2015, Paleo Diet Glycemic Index,

We humans are a unique bunch. We developed big, energy hungry brains in the last 2 million years. To keep that development moving along, we had to adapt to diets with more calories in it. Fat provides more calories.   Eating animals provides a great way to get more fat. Cooking allows plants to be easier to digest and get access to more calories.   Cooking started, by our best archeological guess, over a million years ago. But prior to that, we had a metabolism set by mammalian history over 65 million years since the dinosaurs crashed out of existence and the first mammal crawled out its den.

Those first mammals were vegetarians. And likely remained mostly so except for those branches that turned into top tier carnivores. Carnivores develop different teeth, different intestines, different metabolisms. Most hominids (monkeys and apes) remained vegetarian. To this day, they are still mostly vege munchers.   Orangutans eat some 20-25 pounds of green plants a day – leaves. With fruit season, they switch to pure fruit for two months and eat sweet sugar and gain weight. Chimps do the same. They eat some 150 different plants but prefer fruit when its around. Once in a while they chance upon a small mammal they kill and eat, but it’s rare. And you can’t count the few ants they lick off sticks as a major component of their caloric intake. Humans got big brains and smaller muscles.

That’s the world we came from, plant eaters. Hence, our basic, core metabolism started about being adapted to plants.   Plants make carbohydrates.   As a rule, there are two kinds of plant foods.   Leaves and stems (spinach and broccoli) are green, have carbohydrate bound up in the cell well, have a lot of fiber and often as much protein as carbohydrate.   Roots and fruits are the other class of plants that result from the plant storing carbohydrate, often with the seed for propagation. (Think potatoes, apples, corn, rice, pears, almonds, walnuts, cherries.)

In that world, we adapted our hormones that manage carbohydrates to absorb and use the fuel we got from them.   That fuel is glucose and a tiny bit of rare fats, usually in the form of omega fats but sometime saturated fat like coconuts.

What is the hormone most tasked with managing carbohydrates? Insulin!   (And about 30 others in a beautiful nuanced ballet of control.) But insulin is the big kahuna of carbohydrate control. Insulin pushes glucose into fat storage. We secrete insulin in proportion to the rate of rise of blood glucose.   Green plants release glucose so slowly, usually because the fiber is spinach, broccoli (etc) pushes the food down into the colon where our biome releases it for us to use, very, very slowly.   So slowly, in fact, that you almost don’t need any insulin at all.

But potatoes and mangos cause a jolt in blood glucose, and insulin surges with the result that we then store those calories as fat. Getting fat once a year before a long spell of reduced calories makes sense. But it doesn’t make sense year around.

Insulin lasts 6-8 hours.   Think about that. If insulin lasts that long, throughout most of our evolutionary history, the majority of our food must have been of they type that releases glucose over the time period that insulin lasts.   It would not make sense to have foods that make us secrete insulin dramatically and push calories into storage.   Hence, those are the foods we are best served eating the most of.

Did you get that?   Green plants that release glucose over 6-8 hours are our perfect match. They fit our basic hormone of glucose metabolism to a T.   We call them “low glycemic” or cucumbers, Brussel’s sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, – or any green plant that grows above ground.   Green peppers, eggplant probably fit too.

WWW.   What will work for me? We were designed, one way or another, to eat lots of green plants. Lots and lots. And some fat and protein whenever we could. But the green plants came first.   If you did that today, you would be skinnier, healthier, have less cancer, less heart disease, less diabetes. We could call it the alkaline diet, the Pritikin diet, the Esselstyn diet, the anti cancer diet.   Or just the human diet. Enjoy Thanksgiving!

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Insulin pushes sugar into storage to it should be called our blood glucose controlling hormone. T or F

False, false, false. Way too simplistic, thought that’s what modern health care calls it.   It is our storage hormone, waiting there for you to find caches of free carbs in that month just before winter, (aka, Thanksgiving)

  1. We are designed to eat potatoes year around. T or F

False, false, false. Potatoes dramatically push glucose into your blood, forcing your to make insulin, forcing you to manufacture fat, forcing your LDLs up, forcing your to get fat. You want potatoes only when you want to store fat so that you can make it through winter. (aka: Thanksgiving)

  1. Our brains need a lot of calories, easily supplied with a raw, vegan, green diet. T or F

False, false, false.   Our big, energy hungry brains want fat and B12 is critical for survival. No B12 in plants. Found only in animal.   (Think Turkey)

  1. Insulin lasts 6-8 hours. That suggests that most of our carbohydrate calories should come from foods that release their glucose over 6-8 hours. T or F

That’s the hypothesis of this treatise.

  1. Humans like to have a big feed when they can? T or F

True. It’s how we express love and affection for each other when we can find all those calories. (Think Thanksgiving)

  1. It’s ok to get fat once in while.

Another premise of this talk: we have put one weight and lost weitht throughut human history. So, enjoy putting it on once in a while. Make sure you do it with lots of love and company.   (Think Thanksgiving)

  1. So Happy Thanksgiving.

 

The Devil in Milk: The A1 Casein vs A2 Conundrum

The Devil In Milk: the A1 vs A2 Protein Story

Sept 21, 2015

Reference: The Devil in Milk by Keith Woodford Diabetologia Elliott

Did you know that there are several forms of milk? The protein casein is not the same in every cow. Most European cows have what is called A1 casein. Most Asian cows have A2 casein. Casein is about 30% of the protein in human milk, but 80% in cows’ milk. At position 67, A1 milk has a histidine amino acid, A2 has a proline amino acid.   Beta-casomorphine-7 (BCM-7) is a 7 amino acid peptide that is released when you eat A1 milk, but not when you eat A2 milk.   BCM-7 is a morphine type chemical that can be blocked by naloxone.

Now, there is all sorts of interesting epidemiology around milk. For example, you can show that populations that drink more A1 milk have more insulin dependent diabetes in them in children, and more heart disease in adults. You can also find that Samoan children, raised in Samoa don’t get insulin dependent diabetes, but raised in New Zealand, they do. If you take mice that are genetically sensitized to getting diabetes, and feed them either A1 or A2 milk, you can show that 47% of the mice fed A1 milk got insulin dependent diabetes, but non of the A2 fed mice did. And if you feed them A1 milk, but block BCM-7 with naloxone, they still don’t get the diabetes they otherwise would have developed.

Now, this is where this topic goes down a “rabbit hole” of controversy. Most of the big dairy money in the world that trades milk internationally, uses A1 milk. That means they are in deep trouble if this data is true. A1 milk might be dangerous for you. The dairy trade would collapse. That would mean it would be in “big milk’s” best interest to deny, degrade, denigrate, obfuscate and attack anything they can about this issue. And they have. It is possible to change over a dairy herd from A1 to A2, but it takes about 10 years of time to breed new cows and get the genes into them with proper breeding.   It can be done. It just takes 10 years.

And there continues to be data about the dangers of A1 milk. There was a patent application in New Zealand claiming that autism has a strong correlation to the consumption of A1 mild.   That application was made by the company denigrating the original research, and then withdrawn and never published in the medical literature. Oh, the intrigue!   So, more epidemiology: the Masai in Africa have A2 milk, and drink 7 liters a day. No heart disease. In Europe, the Finns drink only A1 milk and have lots of heart disease. The French have mostly A2 milk, and have half the heart disease. On and on…

What’s happening in Wisconsin?   There are some herds in Wisconsin that are being converted by using A2 bulls.   Some of the alternative media is beginning to run articles on it.   New Zealand seems to be leading the pack in developing an A2 herd. But there remains controversy. And some of that controversy appears to be research that proves the opposite, but was in fact, intentionally sabotaged with BCM7 protein, and should be actually takes as proof of the fact it was trying to unseat. Isn’t the intrigue a riot? Like a detective novel.

WWW.   What do I think of all this?   I believe there to be some truth to it all. Not certain how deep, but I trust passionate truth tellers more than corporate monied interests. Between Johne’s Disease in cows (paratuberculosis that I think may be the cause of Crohn’s Disease) and concerns about how proteins are altered with pasteurizing, I don’t drink much milk.   If I could find A2 milk from a single herd that was Johne’s free, I might reconsider.   I’m certainly going to think about it and pay attention to it. And likely to tell more clients to avoid milk, unless it’s A2.

 

Pop Quiz

  1. Our current milk supply in America is digested into a product that has morphine like qualities to it?   T or F

True

  1. American Milk is primarily A1 milk which is a genetic variation off the original aboriginal milk, now found in Asian and African cows, called A2 milk (even though it was the original).   T or F

True. You are now getting the gist of this article.

  1. There are epidemiological studies connecting A2 milk to heart disease and insulin dependent diabetes. T or F

False. That’s backwards, it’s A1 that is connected to those two.   And autism, and Crohns, and, and, and…

  1. You can convert a herd of cows to being A2 cows by using only an A2 bull for about 10 years.   T or F

True. And it’s happening right now in a bunch of Wisconsin herds.

  1. One little amino acid substitution at position 67 out of over 200 amino acids is all it takes to make this mystery mysterious?   T or F

True. Amazing, isn’t it. But the same can be said for Sickle Cell and many other conditions.