Deadly nightshade! Dramatic name and well served. It is a very poisonous plant growing in your backyard (at least in mine in Milwaukee). You should know what the berries look like and rid your yard of them before your pets or children chomp on them. Even Shakespeare was well versed about deadly nightshade, as it made Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene 5. The root and vines are equally poisonous, if not more so. Hence, it shouldn’t be a big surprise if other members of the nightshade family are problematic for humans. Well, they are. If you put potato, tomato or eggplant leaves in your salad, you can then arrange for a timely visit to an ER where you will be treated for all sorts of hallucinations if not more ominous symptoms. No kidding. The alkaloids of nightshades kicked off the field of chemistry and anesthesiology, coming out of the traditional healers otherwise known as witches. That’s why your mother told you never to eat any potato that was green. Don’t eat the shoot either. In fact, cut out the eyes of the potato. Whew, pretty dramatic stuff, this nightshade family!
Is the whole nightshade family so awful? Can we not eat tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, chilis? Please, please make an exception for chilis.
Is there any credible science about the dangers of nightshades? It’s not just the alkaloids that are problematic. They contain unique lectins that set off the immune system and your response to it. What are lectins? They are the proteins the mimic your own proteins in a fashion to poison you and keep you away from eating plants. All animals have evolved in ecosystems in which they became tolerant to the local lectins and indeed consumed with impunity. Humans evolved in Africa and came out of Africa just 90,000 years ago. The nightshades are all New World plants. We’ve hardly had evolutionary time to adapt to their toxins.
How important is it for you to be careful about eating them? That’s the rub. Here we enter into the world of functional medicine and away from the world of evidence-based research. We have many, many practitioners who will tell you they have seen amazing things happen when their clients avoid nightshades. Particularly in the field of autoimmune disease, there is lots of anecdotal evidence that the field of nightshade chemistry is one filled with danger. Then why haven’t we seen objective science?
Answer. We haven’t gotten there yet. There are thousands of different lectins and the day has not yet come that modern medicine would endorse research into that field. It’s still too arcane and appears to work only in small subsets of folks. For example, autoimmune diseases. There appears to be some credible evidence from anecdotal reports that anyone with any sort of autoimmune illness should make their best effort to be off nightshades.
We see that same effect with a more prominent lectin source, wheat. By adding 14 plus 14 new chromosomes from two distinct separate grasses to wheat, we tripled the chromosomes and lectins in wheat resulting in many folks being wheat intolerant. Modern medicine looks at the specific immune disease called celiac disease, present in only 1 of 138 people, and dismisses it outright. You don’t have to look far to find someone who feels much better when they avoid wheat.
What’s a conscientious health seeking person to do about nightshades? Oh heck, have a tomato. Enjoy some eggplant. As long as you don’t have any autoimmune disease. But if you come to me with osteoporosis, or arthritis or coronary artery disease…..don’t say you weren’t warned. Those disease get better when you avoid them. And who doesn’t have them?
www.What will work for me. I’m off potatoes, soy and wheat. But I sure like tomatoes, eggplant and chilis. I weed my fence line of deadly nightshade. I don’t think I have any autoimmune illness. Yet. I’m waiting for more research. It’s pretty thin right now. But I’ve been frankly stunned in my functional medicine practice by the people with autoimmune diseases who have gotten better by avoiding them. Some in just a month. I’ve got a few dedicated folks trying out a lectin free diet with severe coronary artery disease. I’m hopeful.
References: Time Magazine, Nature, Ozone Therapy, Wikipedia, Science, Science Daily, Elysium Health,
If you make the cover of Time Magazine, you must have caught someone’s eye. To see Time Magazine grapple with the intricacies of NAD and NADH surprised me, so I had to follow up. Let’s see if I can get you to understand this.
NAD is a critical cofactor in many functions in your body, most particularly the production of energy. You can get it from the Vitamin called NIACIN, that you have heard about, or you can make it internally by combining tryptophan and aspartic acid (for you chemistry geeks), but you gotta have it. And as with everything else, as we get older, we make much, much less of it.
In one experiment in aging mice published last year in showed that after treatment two-year-old mice looked as healthy as 2 months old mice. In mouse terms, that’s an 80-year-old human looking as good as a 10-year-old. Pretty dramatic.
Call all this be extended to humans? Well, yes. That’s what this article was about. A human experiment taking NAD and another cofactor called pterostilbene (commonly known as blueberries) resulted in sustained elevation of the NAD/NADH ratio. It’s that ratio that falls apart as we age, leading to fatigue, lack of initiative, brain fog etc. Old age in a nutshell. Placebo folks didn’t get any better. Single dose showed improvement. Double dose showed better improvement.
Now, are there other sources of changing that improvement? You bet. This is where it gets really kinky. Almost all medical conditions can be simplified down to the inability to mount enough of an energetic response to fix the problem, so the disease-causing state continues. If more energy could be generated, our bodies had the tools to fix themselves. Hence, as we age we make less energy and get more nasty diseases. (This is the theory espoused by the ozone crowd.) So guess what happens when you give ozone given to you IV? (Can’t have it in your lungs as pulmonary ozone is a deadly toxin on your delicate lungs.) But you can have it in blood and then given back to you. Well, the same thing as above. You change the balance of NAD/NADH dramatically in the direction of making more energy, restoring yourself to a much more youthful state. Ozone and its effect on the NAD/NADH ratio has been talked about for decades now. It’s nice to see Time Magazine catching up. But ozone has a real, measurable, energy enhancing effect when given by IV.
www.What Will Work for me. Well, I can take Niacin and eat blueberries all by myself. Or I can take a pill that made Time Magazine from Elysium Health called Basis. (It has NAD+ and pterostilbene in it.) I suspect there will be a medical test coming soon that can measure your NAD/NADH ratio. In a research lab, you want it to be 700/1. If you are over 50, it’s likely 30-60% less. I suspect you may feel that you are 30-60% off your game. Look up Elysium Health and give it a try. As for me, I just finished a bowl of blueberries.
References: Am Jr Coll Card, Vitamin Hormones, Curr Immunol Review, Cell,
Leptin is the hormone that has several important functions. One is that it is secreted when your fat cells say they are full. It is a feedback loop that tells you that you have had enough to eat, so stop. Fine and dandy. But like everything else in your body, there are layers and layers of delicate complexity far exceeding the first layer of functionality. Another layer is that it essentially mediates the release of fat from fat cells, making it the guardian of your energy stores. When all is well and working properly, your leptin level falls when you don’t have food and your fat cells open up and share their calories. Women have more leptin than men. As a general rule, gaining weight results in a higher leptin level which should result in your feeling full and not eating. Something strange happens, however, when you get inflamed.
The fly in the ointment here is that there is an intersection between metabolism and inflammation. The leptin receptor in your hypothalamus appears to be a critical link. It turns the Proopiomelanocortin system and has you produce melanocortin. MSH. MSH is a potent down-regulator of appetite. With a nice high MSH, you don’t feel like eating. Low MSH, you don’t have a feedback loop. And just what happens with inflammation? Leptin plays a role in that it has a critical effect on innate and adaptive immune response. It promotes the secretion of cytokines like IL-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor, and there you have it. It sets up the link between metabolism and inflammation. What you see is a dramatic dysregulation of inflammation in folks who become overweight, and thereby establishing the first step in increasing risk for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and just about everything else that ails us. The “Common Soil Hypothesis” is the concept that metabolism and inflammation came from the same source in evolution, way, way back. Here again, we see that nexus and it makes for problems.
What you see happen is as follows. Folks with inflammation, like low-grade mold exposure, have low MSH and high cytokines that damage the leptin receptor in the hypothalamus. Leptin drifts higher in response, trying to bring about control of calorie balance. The person gains weight. Leptin goes higher, but the receptor is damaged and the higher leptin then mediates more inflammation. Around and around you go. If you feel overweight and have chronic pain or chronic fatigue, you likely fit this model. Forget trying to lose weight until you lower your leptin.
How can you lower your leptin most effectively? I suspect the fast mimicking diet will do so, but that is not yet proven. The one good study that shows regeneration of the pancreas beta cell used mice with a genetic defect in their leptin receptor, so they couldn’t be used to proven leptin repair. Right now we can use pioglitizone (ACTOS) which is an old fashioned diabetes drug that has lots of side effects when used for too long, but is dandy at lowering leptin and MMP-9, two mold effects.
Can we reduce leptin with our own lifestyle? Well, quite a lot. If you focus on several key items, you can guide your leptin lower. Keep your daily sleep cycle to a regular pattern. That plays into your POMC system being played every day at the same time. Avoid sugar. Increase fat in your diet. Cut down on your evening meal and increase your daytime eating, making for at least 12 hours of fasting each night. Exercise. Sleep at least 8 hours, starting with at least 3 hours of no food before bed. Consider training yourself to enjoy a cold shower, particularly if you get a nice hot sauna just before. (The Finns had it right.)
WWW.What will work for me. I’m fascinated with leptin and mold illness. I keep seeing women in particular with not only high leptins but super high leptins levels. Just about every one of them has had low MSH levels, meaning some sort of mold or biotoxin exposure. Throw in stress, sugar, lack of exercise, lousy sleep and we make for a perfect storm to elevate leptin, and keep everyone overweight and inflamed.
Reference: Research Gate, NEJM,
Exercise is wonderful for us. You. Me. All of us. At any age, its magic tonic is more than burning calories. You can measure the wonder of it with examples like the Honolulu Retired Men’s Study that shows men walking 2 miles a day have half for mortality of men walking less than a mile. What on earth is that all about? Something “magical” must be going on.
Stem cells. That’s what is going on. Here is the logic, though I have to admit, not the proof. You can read about the “Stem Cell Theory of Aging” on Wikipedia. Every tissue in your body has a certain lifespan. Different cells have different spans. There has been lots of excitement about cardiac stem cells as a possible means of rejuvenating the heart. Indeed, as best we can tell, each muscle cell in your heartlasts just a month and has to be replaced with a new stem cell that can turn into a heart cell. As we get older, we make fewer stem cells. And as we get older, all of our organs gradually decline, both in volume and function. The liver gets smaller, your muscles get smaller, your brain gets smaller. Yikes. Why don’t they keep their size? Because as we age, the number and amount of stem cells that help them rejuvenate declines. The stem cell theory of aging is just that, that our stem cells poop out over time and we make less and less of them. By age 60 you have about 10% of the circulating stem cells you had at age 18.
Just 6-8 weeks ago we created a whole series on the Fast Mimicking Diet and why it is so powerful in its effects. That’s because it turns on the stem cell engine. In the lab model of diabetes, the FMD has been shown to rejuvenate the pancreas gland with new stem cells. Three cycles of FMD with diabetes and you will have such a boost to your stem cells that your Islets in your pancreas are rejuvenated. The effect of the fast mimicking diet on stem cells appears to be several months.
That’s what appears to be the case with exercise too. Exercise flushes out stem cells from your bone marrow. Or perhaps, exercise flushes out stem cells from other sources, such as fat tissue. I’m not sure we can say more than that as the research isn’t in yet, at least in published form. It is obviously of intense interest to many and surely will be coming out soon.
What’s a person to do? Note that Longo’s formula for the Fast Mimicking Diet allows you to do it less often if you are constantly exercising. The Secret Sauce may be in the togetherness. Do both.
www.What will work for me? I just finished cycle 4 of the FMD. If cycle number one was was a 6 out of 10 in difficulty, cycle 2 was a 5, cycle 3 was a 4, and cycle 5 was the easiest yet. I walked two miles on three of the days of the cycle. I’m down 15 pounds. This coming week, I’m going to draw my blood work and see where I stand. Oh for a simple test of circulating stem cells. I want to live long enough to understand all this interesting stuff.
References: Critical Care,
A reference to this article caught my eye when I saw the reference to NTIS which is jargon for Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome (NTIS). NTIS is what happens to you when you get critically ill, like with a heart attack. Your free T3 plummets and your reverse T3 rises dramatically. Just when you need it, your body goes into a perverse “antagonistic pleiotropy” cycle. Antagonistic pleiotropy is the concept that what is good for you in one environment, isn’t good for you in another. I suspect you can make the reasoned argument that Neolithic humans, when injured or ill, were well served by “hunkering down” and getting through an illness or crisis in medical care by downregulating their metabolism. That allows calories to be shifted to immune function instead of metabolic function. That remains conjecture because we weren’t there to test it. We just see the effect in modern humans.
That’s what NTIS is. Your body “Hunkers Down” in response to a crisis. In this study, the crisis was 67 patients with heart attacks. In the ICU their Free T3 and Reverse T3 were measured, and predictably they changed dramatically, shifting from regular T3 to reverse T3. NAC reversed that and improved T3.
Reverse T3 reverses T3. It blocks the action of the free T3 on your body. (Remember, T3 is the active thyroid hormone your body actually runs on. You convert it from T4, made by your thyroid. T4 is not biologically active. It’s simple the precursor template.) You feel the effect of low T3 when you get sick. You feel exhausted and can’t get out of bed. A heart attack patient can hardly lift their head off the pillow. Folks in an ICU are sick. Really sick. Can hardly move. That is the nugget of Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome. You get a physiological stress and your body goes into “hunker down”, or NTIS.
In this study, N-acetyl cysteine was given to the study folks in a randomized, placebo-controlled fashion. The folks who got the NAC got better and had higher free T3. What is NAC? Very simple. It is the key building block to make glutathione. Glutathione is your body’s key anti-oxidant. At age 20 you make tons of it, naturally. At age 50, dramatically less. Older, less, older, less.
Now, let’s switch to the modern era of day-to-day 24-hour stress, media, artificial light, sugar, deadlines, jerks at work – have I named enough of your stressors? Ok, add in-laws and teenagers. You feel tired all the time. Your free T3 is just too low. Could you be low in glutathione, your natural anti-oxidant? Well, NAC is the natural building block for making more of it. It is simply two amino acids plugged together, waiting for a third to be attached and presto, you have glutathione. Your stress may not be as dramatic as a heart attack, but it’s nevertheless real. Could NAC help you? I bet it could.
WWW.What will work for me. Simple. I take NAC myself. Every day. It’s on Bredesen’s lists of suggested supplements for brain health. That’s good enough for me to pull the trigger and add it to my list. I remember back when NAC was a precious, rare ICU drug to reverse Tylenol overdoses. Worked like a charm. Then it became an ER drug. Then it became a take-home drug. Then it became an OTC supplement. You can buy it yourself. This incredibly powerful building block for you to make your own glutathione is available for you over the counter. Gives you back the vital T3 for your own energy system. Isn’t that a unique cross synergy of metabolic systems?
1. Free T3 is the hormone your body naturally runs on. T or F Answer: True
2. You make less free T3 when you are under stress. T or F Answer: True. Probably a result of “antagonistic pleiotropy” which means it was good for us in one environment, but not the one we are in now.
3. NAC boosts our ability to make free T3 when we are under stress. T or F Answer. Bingo. Either you guessed right or you actually read and understood the article above.
4. We make less glutathione as we age. T or F Answer: Double bingo.
5. The right way to fix our low Free T3? (Bonus question) Answer: Get rid of the stress, add selenium and zinc, make sure you have enough iodine, avoid PCBs and dioxins, and take a break from the teenager.
References: Alzheimer’s Dement, Science Direct,
Neural Exosomes? Sound like Greek to you? Ever heard of them? You should have. Here’s the scoop. First, they aren’t rare. You have about some 1.2 billion of them per ml of blood. They are tiny little spheres of membrane that have budded off of neural cells. Much like the tiny vesicles that bud off a nerve cell to transmit nerve impulses between cells, exosomes are 2-3 times the size of those packages, and designed to travel further to other cells. Instead of neurotransmitters, they carry RNA instructions. Many come from the brain, but many come from other organs.
What makes them unique is the surface markers on them and the RNA in them, including messenger RNA, mircoRNAs, DNA and signaling proteins. They are not fully functional cells, they are tiny little spheres of membrane, lined/filled with all these unique markers. The range of function that is being proposed for them is that of signaling between cells, moving cellular components, like amyloid precursor protein or messenger RNA. What is known is that you can measure them in quantity and specificity way before you come down with disease. In particular, they show up as much as 10 years before your develop Alzheimer’s. Did you get that? They give you the markers of advance warning.
Now, it’s not just that advance warning they give you. Each exosome has within it a unique pattern of micro RNA and messenger RNA. What are those doing? Did you know that your own chromosomes are actually only 2% coded for your unique genes? That’s it. But did you know that the other 98% isn’t junk? It’s your instruction manual. Messenger RNA is how you send out genetic code about what to do when. This is how your body responds to development as you move from a single egg into a fantastically complicated human. Some of that code is good for you and builds you up. Some of it is like napalm, and attacks the enemy, tearing you down. And,…..here is the critical point. The messenger RNA is also how you send out instructions on how to respond to disease/threat/illness. All disease. Each condition merits different sets of instructions. That means Alzheimer’s will have different proteins in its exosomes than Lyme disease, or pancreatitis, or rheumatoid arthritis, or pneumonia. Another example function, we believe that exosomes are how we clear Amyloid Precursor Protein, APP. Lousy clearance results in accumulation of amyloid in your brain. We call that Alzheimer’s If we can learn how to interpret our Alzheimer’s exosome and how they are different, we can learn how to anticipate and react proactively. Learning how to read exosomes gives us the code to our “instruction manual”.
Now, what is coming is the next miracle. There are companies developing the software to interpret these tests who are just months away from commercial release. With that, we will be able to tell you just what you need to do next. Remember Star Trek’ Dr McCoy and the Magic Wand that would diagnose everything? Yup. That’s it. We are almost there. Maybe not a wand, but an exosome reader. It’s complicated. It is the epitome of “Big Data”.
A point of trivia: do you know how much DNA is in you? Here goes. One cell’s human DNA would stretch out about 2 meters. And considering that we have some 20 trillion cells, one human’s DNA would stretch from the sun, way beyond Jupiter. That’s a lot of DNA. Now, consider that over 99% of the DNA we carry around is actually in our gut in the bacteria of our colonic biome, now we are talking a lot of code that could be in exosomes.
WWW.What will work for me. I’ve finished Bredesen’s Certification Course this week and am just blown away by the possibilities of what we can do to reverse this wicked evil disease. It’s thrilling. And its sad. My 92 year mother with Alzheimer’s is too late to be helped. It makes this Mother’s Day bittersweet. I hope you are able to celebrate with your Mother. In a few months, we will be able to keep her safe from Alzheimer’s. In the meantime, I’m focusing on getting a good night’s sleep. You clear Amyloid much more effectively with good sleep. Maybe that’s why you feel so refreshed when you wake up.
References: J. Immunology,
Fascinating! When you drink simple bicarb (Yes, Arm and Hammer cheap stuff) you send several messages in your body we didn’t know about. The first is to make more acid the next time around to help digest the next meal. And the second is for mesothelial cells on the spleen to signal to all the immune cells inside the spleen to chill out. “Don’t make an immune response.”
What are mesothelial cells? They are the lining of your guts, your abdominal cavity. Every organ is lined with them on the outside. We thought they were there primarily so that the organs can slide over each other with no friction. That feature allows you to move without things being caught up inside. But the surface of mesothelial cells have an interesting feature. They have tiny little fingers called microvilli that signal messages internally to the organ beneath about invasion or intrusion. Mount an immune response, or not!
Here is what this study found. Drinking bicarb for a couple of weeks changed the internal splenic macrophages from a population of mostly M1 macrophages (turn on inflammation) to M2 macrophages (Turn off inflammation). Considering that the spleen is the main repository for immune cells waiting for dispatch, that effect is pretty meaningful. What is unique is that the message is transmitted through the wall of the stomach, via these mesothelial cells, into the wall of the spleen via its mesothelial cells with a result of lowered inflammatory response. Macrophages are typically known for gobbling up garbage from old, dead, dysfunctional tissue and they are some of the first to arrive on the scene in inflammation to clean up the “battlefield” of dead and dying tissue. Autoimmune diseases are thought to be a whole scene of dysfunctional, overreactive inflammation and activation of macrophages. Turning them off is a key thing.
It’s not just macrophages but also Treg cells that get altered with bicarb. Treg cells are supposed to be regulators of immune response and help dial it down. This dialing down is helpful at controlling weird autoimmune reactivity too. And this also occurs because of the messages from those mesothelial cells putting out acetylcholine, acting almost like nerve cells even though they are lining cells of organs. Strange cross over reactivity.
Where does alkaline predilection come from? Through most of human history, we were vegans, starting to eat meat just a few million years ago when our brains started getting bigger and needed animal energy to power them. Animal protein has lots of sulfur in it making for a biological ash of acid when all is digested and done. Plant sourced food ends up making alkali with all the magnesium and potassium salts. Most of our biological processes evolved in an alkaline environment. The range and intricacy of our immune function is all founded on an alkaline milieux. Animal food, hence acid, is new. You can measure this in yourself. Eat a diet of pure green vegetables for a week and measure your urinary pH. It will be above 7. Have some cheese and steak and watch your urine pH plummet to 5.5. Every drug store carries pH sticks you can measure on your own. Ten servings of vegetables is about 1 tsp of bicarb. Simple
WWW.what will work for me. Considering how much of the Longevity Diet by Longo is based on vegetables, we may find that part of its power comes from shifting the immune response from inflammatory, to anti-inflammatory. Here is a clue that we are probably all better served with more vegetables. Their alkaline salts help you out. So, I ordered doubled vegetables for dinner last night instead of a potato. Then the blooming onion hors d’oeuvres did me in. I’m not sure it really counts as a vegetable.
References: Longo in Longevity Diet, Cell Rep, Stem Cell Stem, Cell Reports,
How autoimmune (AI) diseases come about is gradually coming into focus. There is clearly some role to attribute to stimulation of our immune system by foods, lectin foods in particular (of which modern wheat is the champion), lack of sufficient Vitamin D, chemical irritants, leaky membranes in gut and elsewhere and probably some genetic risk factors to boot. Add aging and some 40% of American women have one autoimmune diagnosis, and where you have one, you find more. Longo quotes 9% of the world has one of the major 29 types,but rising at 19% a year.
In autoimmune diseases we find dysregulation of Th1 and Th17 cells, antigen presenting cells and all sorts of other subtle shifts in immune cell populations. And with that, our current intervention based medical system has developed specific strategies to develop methods to inhibit those populations of abnormal cells. These strategies have yielded some impressive gains for MS and RA patients, for which we are grateful.
Is there another way? Well, the Fast Mimicking Diet is catching a lot of folks imagination because it appears to have almost as powerful effect as anything else we have developed to date. Because there are so many AI diseases (130+) it is difficult to find studies using the FMD on any but just a few. Longo found that hisstructured fasting caused a significant dip in circulating white blood cells followed by a burst of new stem cells. In yeast, it can be shown that it’s the down regulation of the PKA glucose sensing system and the TOR protein sensing system. But he admitted they could not have predicted the surge of new hematopoietic stem cells that lead to a normal balance of TH1 and TH17 that he observed.
Longo specifically mentions a study of 20 patients with MS placed on a FMD program. With only twenty subjects, it’s hard to state unequivocal success, but the folks who were in the FMD branch reported feeling better, and in that group there were only 3 relapses in the next 6 months, versus 4 in the control group. Not enough to be statistically significant.
What was remarkable to Longo were the people who wrote to him from around the world who had read his mouse research and enacted their own FMD trials. This isn’t research because there are no controls, but his inbox had many stories of positive results. Larger studies are in progress and starting. His advice: wait, but the diet has been shown to be harmless. (Wink, wink….)
www.What Will Work for me. I’m in. This flood of autoimmune disease I think comes about from the confluence of many factors that are hard to avoid: notably the infiltration of high lectin foods like wheat into every aspect of our diet, the wide spread use of NSAIDS, antibiotics and PPIs making leaky gut, and a sea of chemicals affecting us at every turn. We are all vulnerable to these diseases. Avoiding them is a high priority for me. I’m doing if for my diabetes risk, but this adds to my certainty. If I had MS, I would be all over this. I called as many as remembered in my practice to alert them when I read this. If I neglected anyone, please call!
References: Wikipedia, BMJ, Harvard Health, J Clin Gastro, Science Based Medicine,
I’ve learned that sugar and white flour is bad for my brain, my weight and just about everything else. Everyone around me is on a Keto Kick trying to lose weight with the Ketogenic diet. And it doesn’t work for me. How can I eat a high fat diet? And what I’m most worried about is my brain. How can I prevent Alzheimer’s?
Well, step one and two of Bredesen’s RECODE program are to eat a low carb high fat diet, and to not eat each night for 12 hours. This is how you teach your brain to run on ketones.
The conundrum comes when I try to eat low carb by having steak, bacon, eggs and cheese. And then my weight doesn’t budge. What gives? Turns out that animal protein and fat are not so good for us. Animal protein turns on the mTOR gene, that makes me age faster. I don’t want to do that. In the last few years, two studies about eating more animal and heart disease have bothered me. A BMJ article from Sweden shows that men who eat animal protein have a 5% increase for heart disease for every 5 gram increase in animal protein. And the Harvard Professional Men’s Study showed that men in the top quartile of meat consumption had 70% more heart disease.
What’s a person to do? Well, eat more vegetables. Guess what happens to vegetables and resistant starches? Where are they digested? Turns out not in your stomach, and not in your small bowel but in your colon by the biome of bacteria in your colon. Resistant starches are carb rich foods prepared in a certain way or eaten before fully ripe. Green bananas, for example are quite resistant and get digested in your colon into short chain fatty acids. Ditto for Peruvian potatoes, cooked and then cooled. The amylose molecule changes its shape with heating, and then again with cooling, making it indigestible in your upper gut which delivers it to your colon, where the bacteria break it down to short chain fatty acids. Propionate and butyrate are amazing super foods. They are the short chain fatty acids that nourish you and your whole body. They are fats. Eating spinach makes for fat. Green beans, ditto. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage– if it’s above ground, its probably going to go the same route.
Enter the Kitavans. A small island off New Guinea where 80% of folks smoke, but they eat no sugar or western food, and have 70% of their diet from resistant starch and coconut. They are all slender, have no vascular disease or AD. One could properly conclude that their diet is high fat: a combination of coconut and resistant starches from yams and taro.
Hence, a vegetable based diet can be ketogenic. Get it? Eating salads with lots of olive oil, is more fat based than you thought. Do you see the path forward?
www.What will work for me. I went to a Mexican restaurant last night. We had guacamole for hors-d’oerves and I had a shrimp and avacodo/lettuce salad. I felt quite smug navigating a typically high carb, high animal fat environment and escaping feeling good about my meal. This morning, a spinach omelet. I’ve finished 3 cycles of the Fast Mimicking Diet and I’m done another 4 pounds.
References: The End of Alzheimer’s, Aging, JAMA Internal Medicine, Science Daily, Cell Metabolism,
What we most fear in aging is Alzheimer’s disease, in particular because it we live to be 85 years old in America, 50% of us develop dementia. In England, Alzheimer’s beats heart disease as the number one cause of death. It is the penultimate marker of aging, and its prevention is a high priority. Bredesen has developed a unique program in which he believes “No One” should get Alzheimer’s. It should be noted that the very first step in his program is a low carbohydrate diet, and the second is 12 hours of nightly fasting. These are both cardinal features of the Fast Mimicking Diet.
Longo has taken his own unique approach to the problem be starting with mice having the same genetic defects that lead to dementia in humans. Mice can be genetically manipulated to have clean experimental models for Alzheimer’s, and they develop it in much shorter time periods. He conducted an experiment in which every other week, the study mice received very low essential amino acids, mimicking a protein deficient fasting diet. He found a 75% reduction in IGF-1, the growth factor that strongly correlates with cancer, that persisted months after the fast mimicking period. And those mice performed better on cognitive testing.
The next sep was to examine the features of healthy human diets that resist Alzheimer’s. Mediterranean diets that are rich in olive oil show resistance to Alzheimer’s. 447 study participants were randomized to getting extra olive oil and 1 oz of nuts a day or a regular diet. The extra nuts and fat made a difference with less cognitive decline, albeit modest on the order of 13%. Bredesen takes this further and advises that people eat coconut oil every day and add extra olive oil to their diets.
We don’t have huge human studies yet on the FMD but Bredesen has now added intermittent fasting, along Longo’s admonitions to his protocol as foundational to the life style changes we need to make in his Alzheimer’s ReCode program. It is all part of tipping the balance in the human brain towards building new cells and stop making beta-amyloid.
To summarize, the Fast Mimicking Diet requires a 5 day stretch each month of 1,100 to 800 calories. The calories are 7% protein and at least 50% fat – mostly from nuts and coconut. In between the 5 day cycles, you should have at least 12 hours a night of fasting, 14 hours if you have 2 APOE4 genes and keep shifting your calories towards vegetables and away from animal (cheese, yogurt, milk, meat). Consider fish a twice a week treat. Two key things happen with this: a) you turn on your vacuum cleaner (called apoptosis) that cleans up unhealthy, dead cells and b) your stem cells surge and stay up for months every time you do it. Your brain needs stem cells.
www.What will Work for me. Well, I start month three on my own experiment today, Monday. I’ve been assembling snacks and kits of alternative foods so that I can figure out how to do this without buying the kits, as I intend to do this the rest of my life, at least every 3 months. And the walking season is upon us. The snow is gone (almost) so time to get my 10 k day.