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The Triage Theory by Bruce Ames

The Triage Theory by Bruce Ames

References:  AJCN 2009 AmesPNAS,

This topic is very important. It is how “wellness” and aging intersect.  Bruce Ames, a Professor of Biology and Molecular Biochemistry at Berkeley has been the chief proponent of it and has been articulating its implications since 2006. In essence, the theory maintains that populations of mammals, or creatures, on earth allocate micronutrients on a first-come-first-served basis. This serves the animal in the short term, but creates long term consequences and problems. The body “prioritizes” short term survival over long term health.

There are about 40 critical minerals, fats, vitamins and “micronutrients” that we depend upon for optimal health. Each of them can be “optimal” or play a role in being deficient. It is not until that nutrient is critically deficient that we get a short term “deficiency” disease. But because different organ systems may require different levels of the nutrient, short term disease may not reflect the risk of long term damage that ends up causing premature aging.

One of his examples is Vitamin K. When we take coumadin to make out blood thin, we knock out a bunch of other functions that Vitamin K does. In the short term, our blood being thinner and less clot-prone might be medically life saving because we have had a blood clot in our lungs, but in the long term, we end up with arteries that have calcified and “hardened”. You will see it on X-ray. Folks who have been on Coumadin for years have all their arteries visible in calcified outline.
Another example is Iodine. In severe deficiency, you get mental retardation. Iodine insufficiency is considered the number one cause of mental retardation in the worth by the WHO. It’s terribly important to protect the brain, and heaven knows, our thyroids need iodine. What gives? Breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease are both strongly linked to lower iodine intake. Optimal iodine intake is probably more on the order of 1-1.2 mg a day, whereas most Americans only get .250-.300 mg a day.
Alkalinity and acid give another example. Very high animal protein diets with excess protein result is “acid” biological ash, needing neutralization. The human body, evolving from plant eating backgrounds, is used to being vegetarian and only recently adopted a habit of eating meat (5 million years) so that we could get a bigger brain. Eat too much animal protein, and you have to sacrifice bone mass to neutralize the acid. American’s get an extremely high level of animal protein between meat, fish, bird and dairy and result in a uniformly acidic environment. One in eight American women breaks a hip, the disease of aging that then does 30% of them in. This raises the spector of the safety of the “Adkins Diet” to which I would suggest that one focus on the fat and not the meat.
The conundrum for wellness comes in the concept of “long term health”. It is easy to precipitate short term illness, and discover the minimal requirement to prevent a particular organ system from failing. In just weeks, you can show that a level of Vitamin D below 32 ngm in the blood results in decreased cathlicidin and lowered immune function as shown by the inability to kill tuberculosis. It takes over 10 years to show that a level of Vitamin D of 50 versus 30 results in 70% less cancer.
The web on nutrient interactions is marvelously complex and nuanced. That’s the fun of it all. We have so much more to learn. Thank you Dr Ames for opening this line of enquire. I want to live long enough to fully appreciate it.

WWW.What will work for me. I’ve referred to the triage theory several times in the past. Our column on zinc was the last one. This theoretical construct should guide our thinking on all 40 micronutrients. What is too much? Too Little? Just right? I take Vitamin D, K2, fish oil, zinc, magnesium all because of this concept. You likely should too.

Pop Quiz

1. The RDA of vitamins and minerals are well known? T or F                                                                       Unfair, trick question. They are well known only for short term disease states, not long term wellness.


2. Premature aging is precipitated by missing micronutrients? T or F                                                              True:  And that’s the Triage Theory stated backwards.


3. Vitamin B12 deficiency is key for the prevention of pernicious anemia. What else is it also critically important for?                                                                                              Not mentioned in this column, but if you have read anything in this news letter, you would have seen repeated references to its even more important role in………….brain health.


4. Taking coumadin to prevent short term blood clots results in………?                                                                       Long term arterial calcification.


5. Eating a pure cheese and meat diet (the all American fast food diet) results in what long term stressor effect on the body? Too much acid that has to be neutralized by borrowing calcium from? ……..         Bones.


Heart Disease is a Sulfate Deficiency Problem

Heart Disease is a Sulfate Deficiency Problem

References:  Theor Biol Med Mod,

Half of us, men and women, die of this scourge. I have spent a career battling heart disease in Emergency Medicine and now Functional Medicine. And I’m still puzzled why it happens. We explain, as best we can, that we think it’s caused by the agglomeration of small, dense LDLs into our arteries. White cells then come along and try to digest those packets of fat, and can’t do it. They die. Cholesterol accumulates. All this is the theoretical foundation of the cause of heart disease. And it falls short.

Stephanie Senneff from MIT, suggests a different consideration that fits all the present criteria better than the cholesterol hypothesis. We may have been barking up the wrong tree. Here is her construct.

It starts with the “structure” of water. In a glass, water flows freely. At the microscopic level, it has a tiny electrical magnetic orientation that adds up, making for slight stickiness at interfaces. This gets to be an issue on the surface of biological entities, like cell walls and the surfaces of arteries. Friction builds up and necessary movement is slowed down. We can’t have that in blood vessels. This is where cholesterol-SULFATE and SULFATED-glycosaminoglycans line the surface of blood vessels, creating a tiny electrical and magnetic charge that leads to what is being called “structured water”.

This is where it gets really interesting. Red blood cells, covered with electrically charged particles, moving through blood vessels lined with “structured water” create a tiny micro voltage. When you have moving voltage, you create a tiny magnetic field that becomes a signaling device – just like a radio, or an electric motor. (EVSP: electrokinetic vascular streaming potential) The lining cells of the capillary repel the red cells, and get the signal to release NO, nitric oxide. The capillary relaxes and the red cells gets pushed through to the other end of the capillary. Blood flows. Oxygen gets delivered. The organism thrives. (A topic for another day is that this magnetic field is then subject to outside low levels of electromagnetic radiation. Hmmm!)

Where does heart disease come in? With insufficient sulfate on the surface of arteries and red cells, a lower you have an alteration of the voltage potential, fixed with elevation of blood pressure. The natural result is a desperate search for sulfate to make the blood vessel and its environment slippery. Sulfated cholesterol, made by sun exposure, provides the sulfate. Cholesterol accumulates. Plaque develops. Eventually, heart attacks occur. The detail is much more elegant but the paper is fascinating. This sounds real, plausible and explains heart disease down to the molecule.

What is the takeaway? Heart disease isn’t caused by LDLs or cholesterol. If all this is true, heart disease is caused by sticky red cells being unable to pass through capillaries with a drop in nitric oxide and a scavenging of sulfated cholesterol as a means to garnish enough sulfate to keep blood flowing. Certainly cholesterol plays a role, but the problem lies in lack of sulfate, not excess of cholesterol. The accumulation of cholesterol is a secondary phenomenon.

To test this hypothesis, one would presume you could fix heart disease if you eased the lack of sulfated compounds. Here we circle back to Lester Morrison and his work in the 50’s and 60’s, reversing vascular disease with SULFATED-chondroitin. Did you get that? It’s been proven clinically already. This hypothesis has legs.

WWW:What will work for me. This is enormously satisfying to me. It feels right. We have the physics of fluid flow match the observation of biological compounds relationship to sulfated compounds, to external electromagnetic forces. It also fits that our diet, which has shifted to more manufactured, carbohydrate laden food, has lost the key food items that supplied us with sulfate: eggs, crucifers, alliums, garlic, animals. Eat the WHOLE animal. It’s cartilage that has sulfate in it.  Bone broth is rich in sulfate. Back to gnawing on chicken bones. I’m in.

Pop Quiz

  1. When you push two magnets against each other, and they push back against each other, you create the same effect as red cells lined with cholesterol sulfate have in capillaries.   T or F                                                    Answer: Bingo. You got it. That’s the key.
  2. Lack of sulfate leads to accumulation of cholesterol as a secondary, dysfunctional way of harvesting sulfate, needed to make an artery lining slippery. T or F                                                                                            Answer. If you answer true, you now have become an A student
  3. Cholesterol plays a role in heart disease. T or F                                            Answer. True. It plays a role but only as a garbage dump after it’s relinquished its sulfate, indicating that it’s the lack of sulfate that really drives the bus.
  4. It makes sense for me to take a statin to reverse my heart disease.   T or F

If you said true, read [the paper]( three more times and then write on the blackboard 100 times: cholesterol is a secondary player. Then report back to the class.

  1. Bone broth has magical properties. T or F                                                       Answer.   No, not magical. Just good old fashioned Grandma’s food chemistry. We need the protein of meat, but also the sulfate of cartilage leached out be gentle simmering of bones all night, ……. or eggs, broccoli, garlic, onion, kale, cabbage.

ADHD: Zinc and Copper

ADHD: Zinc and Copper

References:  ZRT BlogProgress in NeuropsychopharmacologyActa Paediatrica,

We have been reporting on the roll of Zinc and Copper in cognitive decline in adults. It should come as little surprise that children have cognitive issues when their zinc and copper aren’t properly tuned. With all the recent reporting about lead in Flint, Michigan, increased awareness about the dangers of lead are now common knowledge. But imbedded in the Flint story has also been data showing excess copper in many water systems, including Flint’s.

The human body needs a very fine balance of copper and zinc. Copper is needed to make dopamine. Dopamine is a happy hormone when properly balanced leads to alertness and good motivation. But too much copper makes for too much dopamine, which then turns into norepinephrine, leading to irritability, hyperactivity, impulsivity, agitation and aggressiveness. Hmm. Sounds like ADHD to me. Most ADHD meds work by increasing dopamine. But with excess copper, that won’t happen. In fact, you get the opposite. And excess copper blocks the production of serotonin, another happy hormone resulting in depression and anxiety. A randomized trial of adults with ADHD showed the same thing; those with higher copper levels had worse response to treatment than those with lower copper levels. Conclusion: too much copper isn’t good for you.
What about zinc? Well, zinc and copper behave a bit like a teeter-totter. One goes up when the other goes down. Living in a world of copper pipes that leach copper, just like lead pipes leach lead, we are all getting too much copper. And as a consequence, most of us have too like zinc. What impact does that have on ADHD? Many studies have proven that zinc deficiency plays a strong role in ADHD. A recent study from Egypt showed a direct inverse relationship with zinc levels and hyperactivity. Those with the lowest levels of zinc had the worst problems with conduct, anxiety, hyperactivity. Hence, it’s not hard to show that kids with the lowest levels of zinc have the worst symptoms.
Guess what happens when you resupply zinc back? Your teeter totter balances back. Rising zinc lowers copper. And research in ADHD has shown exactly that. When 400 kids with ADHD were given zinc at 150 mg a day for 12 weeks, those given the zinc had markedly less (statistically significant) hyperactivity, oppositional behavior and improved attention. 150 mg is a whopping big dose of zinc and is safe only in the short term, like 10 weeks. But even 15 mg a day for 10 weeks results in significantly better behavior and attention.
Did you get all that? We know zinc plays a big role in adults but this was news to me, it’s effect on kids with ADHD. Considering that zinc is so critical to a healthy brain, it’s not surprising. Particularly considering the diet of most American kids, not a lot of: oysters, beans, nuts, clams, and whole grains and dairy. Maybe the dairy. But then, there is the issue of A1 milk with dairy, so nix that.
WWW.What will work for me. I’m taking zinc myself to keep my Zinc level above my copper as a function of brain health. Most of the folks I’ve measured it in require 25-50 mg extra a day to increase their zinc above their copper, and even then it takes a year to get there. I have seen so many people with zinc levels in the 50s, when it should be in the 90-100s, I’m not surprised that it has an effect. That low has to be problematic, when hundreds of enzymes use zinc as their focus. Our immune system requires it for proper functioning. I’ve heard of one serious zinc toxicity case, so I do know you can take too much. Get it measured.

Pop Quiz

  1. Zinc supplementation is helpful in ADHD. T or F

Bingo. In a nutshell.

Zinc is common in fruits and vegetables. T or F

Well, more so in sea food like oysters and clams, nuts, whole grains and dairy.

There are studies showing that 150 mg of zinc is safe? T or F

It’s true, if you only take it for 12 weeks, the length of the study here. Otherwise, it can lower copper too far.

4.  Zinc and copper are both in some odd relationship to each other, with copper driving zinc down, and vice versa. Like a teeter totter.

Yup, yup, yup

Too much copper is bad for ADHD. T or F

Again, yes. And that is why you need zinc supplementation to lower your copper level. I suspect we are going to find that too much copper is bad for lots of mental health problems. To follow

Asparagus, Cure for Cancer

Asparagus, Cure for Cancer?

References:  Hope for CancerAICRSnopes,

Does asparagus cure cancer? Any cancer? No. And it might make leukemia worse. I’ve been asked twice this week about it, so it must be a hot topic out there in email-land. Repeat, it doesn’t cure cancer. By itself.

Is there a nugget of truth in it? Now that’s a whole other story. Yes! There is a nugget. There are several and this is important for you to know.

Nugget number one. Asparagus is a strongly alkaline vegetable. That means it has lots of magnesium and potassium in it, making for an alkaline effect. In simplest summary, if you ate only asparagus, your urine pH would be alkaline. Cancer cells don’t like alkali. They depend on lower acidic pH to facilitate blood vessel growth. More on this later.

Nugget number two. Asparagus has a very low glycemic index. That means it has virtually no effect on insulin. Considering that insulin is one of cancer’s most potent growth factors, the lower your insulin, the less intrinsic stimulation you will get. You are much better off eating all your calories in the form of asparagus rather than cookies and ice cream.

Nugget number three. Fiber. Asparagus has tons of fiber. Fiber pushes the calories down to your colon and nourishes all the biome in your colon. That’s good. Healthy gut biome means robust immune system. We like robust immune system.

Nugget number four. Glutathione. Asparagus is one of our best food sources of glutathione. Glutathione helps you rid yourself of all the negative ions that cancer seems to spew out, which help cancer growth. We like glutathione.

So, what’s the full story about alkalinity? Would asparagus apply and work if you only ate vegetables? The integrative cancer fellowship I took has alkalinity as one of its foundational principles, along with eating low insulin inducing foods. A first step in many cancer programs is to eat more vegetables with high “alkaline” qualities – mostly above ground green leafy type vegetables. Or, take two teaspoons of potassium bicarb a day. Measure your urine pH. You have enough vegetables when your pH gets to 7.0 on first morning void.

Mark Rosenberg, head of the University of South Florida Integrative Cancer Fellowship program, uses alkaline therapy strategies with dramatic effect. By combining the vulnerabilities of cancer cells to insulin, alkali, glucose and oxygen, he has demonstrated quite remarkable cancer burden reduction, and in some cases complete remission of Hospice care patients. His strategies will soon become standards of care. In his hospital in Columbia, South America, he combines heat therapy with high dose glucose and oxygen to ramp up cancer metabolism, then blocks acid excretion from cancer cells, forcing the cancer cell to become internally acidotic, and die. No side effects. No human toxicity. Cancer shrinks.

Alkaline therapy works, in the case of making it extreme, like Dr Rosenberg. It should be slightly effective in the single serving of asparagus. Will you be able to demonstrate a cure. No.

WWW.What will work for me. Many of these alleged cancer cures have a tiny nugget of truth. The devil is in the details. I eat asparagus with enthusiasm. But I also eat the widest variety of vegetables I can get, as long as they aren’t root veggies. The roots have too many carbs.

Pop Quiz

  1. You can cure cancer with asparagus? T or F                If you can find a real case, please call me. Until then, it’s false.
  2. Asparagus has some cancer fighting qualities? T or F                  True: here you can say true. To get to a cure, you might need to eat more than humanly possible.
  3. Alkaline therapy, which includes asparagus and other green vegetables, may have a dramatic impact on cancer.            T or F                          Now you are cooking. True. Maybe not yet fully appreciated.
  4. You will get less cancer if you weigh less. T or F                        This is generally true. Your insulin level is lower when your fat cells are smaller. Insulin is a growth factor for cancer cells.
  5. You can fight cancer by eating fat and less carbs. T or F                      This is also true, but it’s a whole other topic. Cancers can’t digest or metabolize fat. Simply that









VIP: Very Important Peptide

VIP: Very Important Peptide

References:  WikipediaBiotoxin Journey,

Actually it’s VASOACTIVE INTESTINAL PEPTIDE. That’s where it was discovered, in the gut. Though it was found in the gut and pancreas, it is also made, in abundance, in the hypothalamus. It has a huge library of effects from extra heart contractility to relaxation of capillaries to gut motility, gallbladder and trachea muscle relaxation, increasing water and electrolyte secretion into the gut. All of its effects on the gut are to increase its activity and movement. It also helps prolactin secretion, leading to breast feeding. It’s critical to the daily clock function in your brain. It helps women’s vaginas lubricate. It has a very potent effect on heart pumping and peripheral vascular relaxation. This is a huge portfolio of activity.

Did you know that it does one final good deed? Folks who have mold illness CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) who hurt all over, can’t sleep, can’t lose weight, have no energy and just plain feel miserable, will often have very low VIP levels, which, when replaced, can lead to almost immediate relief. Can you imagine that? Imagine a chronic fatigue patient who has been given pain pills for years, can’t hardly get out of bed, is way overweight and eats like a bird who rises out of their stuporous state to normalcy when they get VIP given to them.
Too good to be true? Well, possibly. For that sort of effect to happen, Shoemaker from has given it to several thousand patients and found it to be the last step of his 11 step program, where it works with great results, if all the prior 10 steps have been followed. He contends that treating with VIP before you have taken the first 10 steps is somewhat akin to painting a burning house. You have to put out the fire first.
Just how is all that happening? CIRS happens in only 25% of the population. 75% of us can get away with being exposed chronically and not get sick to mold toxin. But of that 25%, 2% are wickedly prone to devastating illness. Ironically, their illness is all at the level of cytokines and brain peptides, with typical lab all looking normal. CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) only shows a few clues around the edges, like high CRP, of normally done lab tests. Routine doctors visits end up with, “You look great” and no answer to devastating fatigue, systemic aches, horrible sleep, lousy brain fog, no good memory and inability to exercise.
How do you put out the fire? Shoemaker’s 11 step list is pretty detailed.
1) You must remove ongoing sources of exposure. That’s absolute or everything else is a waste of time 2) Then reduce the body burden of toxin by binding it in the gut and getting it out by the use of cholestyramine 3) Clean up the nose where you likely have MRCoNS (methicillin coag-negative staph), 4) fix MSH, 5) fix MMP-9, 6) fix ADH/osmolality, 7) fix VEGF, 8) fix C4a, 8) fix TGF beta-1, 9) fix CD4+CD25+, 10) Finally, if VIP is low and symptoms still persist, replace it. That’s when the miracle occurs. Steps 4-9 all have clear methodologies to measure and repair their attendant problems. The treatment with VIP needs to be done with great care, following a careful protocol of treatment, monitoring and followup. It is possible to get pancreatitis from using it, so its use is not without risks.
Does this relate to you? It may not. But there folks who are just crippled with symptoms and nowhere else to turn. If you know one, forward this to them!

WWW.What will work for me. I’m deep into my mold certification. I’ve got the lab lined up and the first folks getting tested. There are more than just a few folks for whom this story rings true. Let’s see if we can bring them relief!


Pop Quiz

  1. CIRS stands for…?

A: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

Standard Lab tests show what in CIRS? A: Nothing. Maybe a high CRP

  1. VIP is a hormone with fantastic ability to improve fatigue, sleep, pain, brain fog, chronic pain, joint aches…. T or F

A: True, if the person has CIRS and has taken all prior 10 steps of the Shoemaker Protocol

  1. VIP is a widely active hormone: Name two of its actions.

A: Makes heart beat stronger, blood vessels relax, gut make more juice, gallbladder relax, vagina lubricate, brain calculate time….(probably more to come)

  1. VIP is very safe to use and has no side effects. T or F

Not true at all. It can cause pancreatic and requires careful lab and physician monitoring.

IV Vitamin C Stops Sepsis Cold

IV Vitamin C Stops Sepsis in Its Tracks

Reference: NPR, Chest, Managed Care, Barry Fowler, Biofactors,

The number three cause of death in America today is the overwhelming infection that causes blood pressure collapse, kidney shut down and death called sepsis. Three hundred thousand people in America die from it each year. As far is deaths in hospitals, it’s number one. Sepsis is dangerous.

The cause of sepsis is still not exactly known, but it acts like a runaway train. “Cytokine storm” is the term used to describe the same process in severe influenza, where all your hormones of inflammation fire off in a cycle of uncontrolled and dysfunctional activation. One thing in known, there is a leaking of capillaries all over the body while alarmins (danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs)) are released. These DAMPs are nuclear, cytoplasmic, or mitochondria structures that acquire new functions outside the cell. Examples of DAMPs have great names like high mobility group box-1 protein HMGB1, S100 proteins, and mitochondrial DNA. And as a result of all that, you get organs shutting down one by one. Kidneys you can dialyze, lungs you can breathe for but once you hit three organ systems, you are done.

So, imagine the surprise when Intensivist Paul Marik from Norfolk, Virginia reported on 47 cases of sepsis in which only four died, but not one not from their sepsis. He compared that to 47 prior patients he had treated, 19 had died from the sepsis. What was the difference? IV Vitamin C. Dr Marik reports on his first case and decided to try the idea of IV vitamin C because he had heard promising case reports from Barry Fowler, and figured nothing else worked. His first patient already had her kidneys and lungs failing when he got to her and he fully expected her to die the first night in the ICU. Instead, after the IV Vitamin C, he came back in the morning to find her smiling, looking well and ready to get out of the ICU. He is now treating all his sepsis patients with IV vitamin C and some extra steroid and thiamine. He has now reached 150 patients with only one death from sepsis, far short of 30%.

Just what does IV Vitamin C do? We now know that something about sepsis depletes Vitamin C, and that depletion may be the tipping point in the accelerating vortex. When you take Vitamin C by mouth, you get a normal level of 3 all the way up to 6. That’s not much. When you take it by IV, you can get to a level of 3-500, depending how much you take. And that in 5 minutes after you stop the infusion. Complications from IV Vitamin C. Zero.

WWW.what will work for me. I’ve seen it myself. I’ve seen IV vitamin C heal severe pain from shingles. I’ve seen it fix cold and flu. And I’ve had dear close friends die from sepsis. This idea needs to get into our local hospitals so that you are protected if you get this wicked, spiraling, lethal vortex of cellular collapse. If you know an ICU doctor who would be amenable to training, have them call my office. I’ll teach them how to do it. One of my faculty had ecamplsia with twins. She was in shock and nothing was working. She chattered through shaking teeth: “Get me some IV C”. They did, and her eclampsia cooled off in under an hour. That’s just an anecdote, but that’s where progress starts.

Pop Quiz

‪1. The number one cause of death in hospitals is? Heart Attach, Cancer, Stroke, Sepsis.

Answer: Sepsis. Remember, I said, “In hospital”. Lots of heart attacks happen at home, on the way, in the nursing home, at sleep…..

‪2. We have about 70% chance of dying when we get sepsis? T or F

A: False. It’s about 30% but of a million cases in the USA every year, that’s a lot.

‪3. A cocktail of IV Vitamin C, steroid, thiamine reduced mortality to 1-2%. T or F

‪A.  One doctor study can’t really be quoted as evidence, but it sure catches your attention.

‪4. You are protected at hospitals in Milwaukee from death by sepsis. T or F


‪5. Infusion of IV Vitamin C is dangerous and must be supervised by a doctor. T or F.

Emphatically false unless you are really sloppy and let the IV infiltrate or don’t wash your hands or some other really stupid thing. I’ve done several thousand and have yet to see anything dangerous.

Eat to Optimize Your Connexins

Eat to Optimize Your Connexins

Reference: Holistic Primary Care, Remer and Mainz Jr Aced Nutr Diet, PRAL, Gap Junctions; Cold Spring Harbor,

We defined connexins two weeks ago as the links between cells that allow them to communicate rapidly and fluidly back and forth, leading to organs acting in similar coordinated fashion. Connexins allow multicellular organisms to exist, because individual organs can carry our separate functions. Liver cells act like liver cells, and blood vessel cells act like blood vessel cells, in part because they are connected to the cells next to them by connexins. Last week, we identified that many if not most diseases show reduction in connexin behavior and number. In particular, adult diabetes shows reduction in the ability to secrete insulin. There is evidence for many diseases that connexin disfunction is at the heart of the disease.

Now, can we change our connexins by lifestyle changes? To which the answer is an emphatic YES! What you eat, how you exercise and how you handle stress all have implications for connexins. That means the nature of the food we eat can get to the heart of healthy actions.

What is that nature? What makes the difference? Acid and alkali. What you eat has net acid or alkaline implications. Darrell Tanelian, MD’s book, Molecular Fitness details the implications. When you eat any food, your body digests it and the biological ash left over after you have used the food for what you use it for, is either acid or base. As a general rule, vegetables and fruits have magnesium and potassium salts which make for alkali. Meat and cheese makes for acid. You can see the sum of what you ate in the pH of your urine. As a general rule, Americans eat a lot of meat and cheese, and our urine is pH 5.5, slightly acid. Vegans tend to have less acid in their diet, and have more alkaline urine. Chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys are mostly vegetarian, and have quite alkaline urine.

As the acid passes through your body, your don’t change your pH in your blood. At least, not very much. Instead, you breathe differently and change the balance of pH buffers in your blood. Your serum pH doesn’t change but for a tiny bit, but your buffers change a lot as you balance out the acid passing through. And that has a huge impact on connexins. At a healthy pH of 7.4, the connexons, (the name for the link made by six connexin proteins assembled into a coating tube) are wide open. At a pH of 6.9, they are shut and cells aren’t talking to each other. Your body is shutting down. An example of that would be when you run and leg shin splints. Your muscles won’t work because you built up too much lactic acid in your leg muscles. At the molecular level, you have connexons failing. Now, in normal living your pH never ever goes below 7.3 from 7.365, but the trend line is there.

The implications of this are significant. In the long run, optimal health is going to come from a diet of abundant vegetables and fruits that makes you alkaline. Raisins, for example, are premier alkalizing foods. All vegetables have magnesium and potassium salts that participate in “alkalizing” you. That keeps your connexin proteins making open, functioning connexons.

What to do with a ketogenic diet that is higher acid? Losing weight and reducing blood glucose is so critically important that the cost benefit is clearly on the side of losing weight. Once your weight is lost, the more vegetables you eat, the better. Fat is pH neutral, so butter, coconut oil and olive oil are dandy.

www.What Will Work for me. I have diabetic genes, as do most of us. I’m finding lots of recipes that are rich in fat and vegetables. We went to an Indian restaurant this weekend and I had okra curry. Delicious. Hold the rice. I managed to make it through dinner and not mention connexins once to my table mates.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Connexins are the proteins that assemble together to make connexons, the communicating links between cells of similar types. T or F

True. Whew, you get it right, after three weeks.

‪2. Connexin proteins are necessary for animals to have multicellular structure that works in a coordinated fashion. T or F


‪3. We haven’t been able to identify changes in connexons with diseases making them an interesting oddity, but not clinically useful. T or F

Pants on fire, false. We don’t don’t know how to test them, but their are dramatically altered in just about every illness of any organ system.

‪4. We don’t know how to alter connexin function? T or F

Pants on fire again. Many supposedly “healthy” behaviors also have beneficial impacts on connexins. Exercise, stress reduction, good sleep, healthy eating all have beneficial impacts on connexins.

‪5. The most significant thing we can do improve connexin function is to eat what?

Answer: More alkalizing foods; rich in potassium and magnesium – fruits and vegetables.

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.


How to Make a sdLDL (Small Dense LDL)

How to Make an sdLDL (Small Dense LDL)

References: Lecture by Ron Rosendale, Researchgate, PLOS, JCI,

This is the most common question I get asked: what do I do when my doctor wants to put me on a statin? It gets asked by healthy folks who have all data they need to prove that they don’t need a statin. They are eating optimally and their lipids are, in fact, beautiful. But their doctor thinks they should be on a statin because the rules for cholesterol treatment have been dumbed down to the barest essentials: is your cholesterol over 200? Statin!

Repeatedly, I go through the exercise of explaining that it’s not the total cholesterol that matters, it’s the number and size of particles that matter. If you have big, fluffy LDLs, you are in great shape. If you have small, dense LDLs, you are in big doo-doo. The proper analogy has come down to asking which has more volume, a pick up truck bed or a 5 gallon bucket. (Hint, it’s the truck.) And how many basketballs can you put in a pickup truck? I usually hear “About 50.” And how many golf balls can you put in a five gallon bucket? I hear 400-500. This is as close to your cholesterol as I can get. You don’t need a statin to treat basketballs, they are harmless. They are the equivalent to big, fluffy LDLs. And you don’t need a statin to treat sdLDLs either, unless you can’t change your lifestyle. But your doctor is unlikely to know how you make sdLDLs (golf balls) so they can’t advise you how to do it differently by lifestyle. Besides, a pill is easier and faster and you get to bare the side effects and consequences, but not much benefit from taking a statin.

Ok. The nugget comes down to, “How can I change my small, dense LDLs to big fluffies?” That’s the nugget. And the answer is ….. get rid of insulin. This will save your life. Get rid of insulin. How do I know that? And vice versa: How do I make small dense LDLs? Turn on insulin.

SdLDLs are made in response to insulin. Insulin is made in response to carbohydrates overwhelming your ability to burn glucose. You are signaling your body that you are in the season of carbohydrate excess. That’s fall when plants ripen. You are gorging on carbs. Winter is coming. You need to get fat. You want insulin to make a lot of different actions. You need to increase the production of fat in your liver. Those are called triglycerides. You need to make more transport modules to move the fat from your liver to your fat cells. Those transport modules are called LDLs. But because you have to make oodles of them very quickly, you make small ones just to get them off the production line. And as your fat cells get bigger, they become insulin resistant as the insulin receptors get further apart on the expanding fat cell. Your insulin level rises. You have insulin around all the time, and presto, you have small dense LDLs.

Want to make your LDLs bigger, safer, kinder and gentler? Sure. Then get rid of insulin. Stop eating carbs, and stop eating too much protein. That leaves fat and very low glycemic carbs. (Above ground vegetables) Your LDLs deliver their product, turn into HDLs and you can watch your LDLs drop like a rock and your HDLs climb steadily – about 5-8 points a month. Get your carbs below 20 grams a day and your HDLs will reach 100 in about a year.

WWW. What will work for me. It’s that simple. You can prove it in weeks if you have a lab that will order your HDLs, your sdLDLs and your insulin. Get your insulin below 7, and you will be good. My HDLs were 28 all my life until I lowered my carb intake. I’m now in the 60s, and not quite disciplined enough to get higher. I’ve seen this question so many times, I wanted to put it all in a handout I can show my clients. Here it is. Cut the carbs, eat more butter, make your LDLs get big and harmless. Eat cookies, brownies and ice cream and presto, all the sdLDLs you want. And that’s how to make a sdLDL.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Total cholesterol should be below 200. T or F

True if you are the American Heart Association. It doesn’t matter is you are a scientist and want to know truth. The HUNT study from Norway says women live longer if their cholesterol is over 200.

‪2. If total cholesterol isn’t the measure of trouble, what is?

Probably your Triglyceride/HDL ratio or your Apo-B/Apo A2 ratio – both connected to sdLDLs

‪3. I can raise my HDL be eating bacon and eggs? You’re kidding?

Yup and Nope

‪4. There is consensus in literature review that eating saturated fat is harmless for you. T or F

True. Read the review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

‪5. sdLDLs are the ones that cause heart disease? T or F


How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

References:  New York TimesInt Jr of Health SrvWashington PostGary Taubes in The Case Against Sugar  Huffington Post,

Just about every mammal loves sugar. Of course we do. Through most of human history, it meant ripe fruit becoming available, just before the long dry season of either African drought or Asian/European cold. But in the last 200 years, sugar has become even more bountiful. Sugar was such a hot item, Arabs made a killing transporting it over deserts to Europe by camals. Columbus was all about finding places to grow sugar in the New World, as were all the European colonizers. The Caribbean was hot property, because of sugar. Our biology naturally drives us to seek sugar. Plain and simple.

What we haven’t understood is the power of political money and “lobbying” to undermine our scientific process of enquiry. In America, our politicians carefully guard their re-election money sources, and don’t reveal it, but it is a pay for play game. And this game has been going on for almost 70 years before it has started to come unraveled. And you play a part in it, because you love sugar. You and I both eat more food with sugar in it, and that rewards food companies to add sugar to everything. In fact, Lustig, one of America’s premier sugar adversaries, has documented that 75% of all American foods have sugaradded. And with your consent, the sugar lobby has been focused, nefarious, diligent and successful. It has paid off politician after politician to intercede in just about every guideline every issued about food, to change the conversation with little phrases that shift the truth in a way that just isn’t so. When the World Health Organization, a group outside the USA, tried to issue guidelines limiting sugar to just 10% of calories, the sugar lobby went crazy and got Senators to threaten to pull all funding from the WHO if those guidelines went through.

But it’s worse than that. The shifting of blame to fat was the real win. We have spent decades fighting cholesterol, making a huge artificial industry about statins all because a few key American health leaders, paid off by the sugar industry, pushed us that way. Today, you can still see that effect when you go to the store and buy LOW FAT Yogurt, as though that was a good thing. Please, translate that LOW FAT label in your brain to be HIGH SUGAR, because that is the net effect. And you slurp it down happily. And you can see your waistline, gradually expanding. And all along, it was sugar to blame.

The proof is finally falling together. Metabolic syndrome, the underlying driver of heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension are each and collectively more tightly linked to sugar than anything else. Let me repeat that. Sugar, not fat is the core enemy. You obsess about cholesterol to your peril. It’s sugar.

And what does the sugar industry say to that? Same old play book. Deny, shift blame, “Calorie is a calorie”, “Obesity is all about poor food choices and eating too much”, and other stock phrases are all intended to deceive. And you go down.

The final deceit are all the alternative names for sugar. There are SIXTY ONEcurrent names out there on food labels for sugar. And we are not always as clever as we think when we go for agave, barley malt, cane juice, mannose, maltol, maltodextrin, Desmara sugar and some 50 other names for sugar. You will typically find 3-5 of them on any “healthy” snack bar, which in total makes sugar the number one ingredient in the bar.

Is there an amount of sugar you can safely eat? Well, not really. We are currently around 82 grams a day and close to 10-15 % of our calories from sugar. But many of us are getting more than that, and are sicker to show for it. The American Heart Association says to get down to One Ounce (100 calories) a day for women, for about a 75% reduction. (150 calories for men). If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are overweight, have elevated bad cholesterol, worried about Alzheimer’s, heart attacks or anything else, less would be better. Generally, any reduction, at any point, is better.

WWW. What will work for me. I’m having fun looking at all the goofy names for sugar on different packaged foods. They are out there. I’ve trained myself to see LOW FAT as HIGH SUGAR. And when I get off sugar and stay there, my HDLs start climbing. I’m back up to over 60 again. You could be there too.

Pop Quiz

1.  Panocha and Muscovado are safe sweeteners. T or F


2. Ok, how about Fruit Juice Concentrate? Safe ?
Double sucker

3. The Sugar Industry Lobby group will happily show you their lobbying dollars paid to your congressman. T or F
Wow, you really are trusting. No. But just about every congressman gets some.  Rubio and Sanders.
4. US Senators threatened the WHO with withdrawal of funding if they didn’t change their recommendations on sugar, lowering its use. T or F
You can simply always vote for the worst option. That would be true.
5. I can safely eat sugar and not damage myself. T or F
False. At 15% of calories, you will have metabolic syndrome within a month. Longer at lower levels. How long do you want to stay well?