Monthly Archives: September 2019

Senescent Cells can by Knocked off with Supplements Too!

References: Forever HealthyAntioxid Redox Signal., WikipediaScientific AmericanMDPI,

The last third of our lives isn’t as fun as the first two. We are in decline. Our bodies are shutting down and falling apart. At the level of the cell, responsive, duplicating, life-sustaining stem cells that are in the “Quiescent” state degrade into a “Senescent” state. They won’t respond to calls to duplicate. They start making mistakes in managing energy supply through the mitochondria and spin-off all sorts of “oxidants”. They develop a unique secretome of chemokines, cytokines and extracellular matrix-degrading proteins, termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), that can actively damage the tissues in which senescent cells reside. They are a mess. We die when too many of our cells become “senescent” and make SASP. 
Last week we reported on the Mayo Clinic’s publication of clinical improvement in patients given chemotherapy drugs and quercetin (plant-based anti-oxidant) that could be shown to clean out, knock off, get rid of senescent cells.

The question arises, can you do it on your own? Are some of the foods eaten by populations that live longer rich in anti senescent qualities? Are there some foods we should add to our diet? 
With that idea in mind, let’s look at the evidence. The answer might be yes! For example, fisetin is a hot topic compound right now. It’s found naturally in strawberries, grapes, apples and onions. Of the six pathways that senescent cells activate to prevent their death (making them hang around like zombies, present but not really alive) fisetin activates 4 of them leading to the cells clearing out and then dying. All the research to date has been done in mice where there is a lot of interesting evidence that it helps.

Beyond eating more strawberries and grapes, can you take a supplement of fisetin? Dr Mercolacertainly thinks so. The protocols that have been used have a doseof around 20 mg per kilogram body weight for two days in a row, here and there. 
Are there other supplements that might work together with fisetin? Well, yes. Quercetin also has some beneficial effects.

Curcumin might also be helpful. It’s the yellow in curry powder from the spice turmeric. It directly binds and blocks the inflammatory pathway with NK-kappa-B and COX enzymes. Like fisetin and quercetin, it is a common food that has many points of activity, but also very low toxicity.

This deep dive can spiral down further and further. Until we have specific tests about how to measure the effectiveness and safety, the level of senolytic cells, the reduction of those cells by your intervention…on an on, it might be a bit premature. But if it doesn’t harm you, is it so bad to experiment? This is food after all! Sounds to me like eating whole, organic, fresh foods might not be such a bad strategy. Doing some strategy twice a year might not be so bad, to cut down on the building burden of senolytic cells.

Or, if you want, can you buy Fisetin take a gram of it three days in a row with a gram of Quercetin and have a nice spicy curry for three days in a row, loaded with fried curry powder so that you get all three? Do that twice a year. Four times a year? 
The other strategy of reducing senolytics should not be forgotten. You can pull back senolytic cells into quiescence by exercise (2 miles of walking daily) and fasting episodically. Growth hormone will also do it.

WWW: What will work for me? Goodness. I love this idea. I’m doing my exercise pretty faithfully. I’ve been doing my 5 day fast mimicking once a month. I bought by spinach to make my soup and curry for my next session. But should I take Fisetin and Quercetin a couple of times a year? I want to find the tests that show improvement. I need one more piece of the puzzle to fall into place.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is senolytics? Answer: The emerging science of getting rid of old, senescent cells.
  2. What are the problems with old, senescent cells? Answer: They give off all sorts of damaging compounds and chemicals that infect the cells around them with aging and poorer function. They can’t multiply. Enough of them and you die.
  3. What are the plant-based three supplements that might be useful to naturally rid yourself of your own senescent cells? Answer: Fisetin, quercetin, curcumin found in strawberries, onions, apples and curry.
  4. Do you need to take these all the time? Answer: No, probably just a couple of times a year.
  5. Do we have human studies to prove the concept? Answer: Very few. Mostly tangential. But sure interesting.

Live Longer by Knocking off your Senile Cells

References: eBiomedicineNatureNature MedicineNatureCellsMediumNIH ResearchCurr Opin LipidologyCell Stem CellAmer Jr of Physiol.,

We want you to have responsive, alert, available stem cells throughout your body. When in this state, we call them “quiescent“. They may be “quiet” but they are geared up and ready to go when called upon. They aren’t dividing or multiplying, but are ready to do so if asked. You just might live forever if your cells were always “quiescent”. The problem is, they become old, damaged and “senescent” or senile.

That is effectively what aging is. Your cells that are able to divide reach a limit (The Hayflick limit of 50 divisions) and stop dividing. They then undergo a whole raft of changes including changes in chemicals they excrete, signals they send out, structure of their internal architecture, etc. They are still metabolically active and doing their “thing” in the organ they belong to, but they can’t divide and they are basically zombies. Like the zombies on horror movies, they can invade you and infect you with their senescence. Transplant senescent cells from old rats to young rats, and the young rats act old. This process is all about the conversation between healthy mitochondria and your nucleus. When that process is humming and healthy, your cells remain responsive and “quiescent”. When it degrades, they become “senescent”. 
Getting rid of senescent cells would appear to be a crafty little idea of helping you live longer. We do know that ailing organs pile up more and more senescent cells as they become more dysfunctional with whatever their disease state is. So what would happen if we found drugs that could selectively kill off senescent cells? 
That’s what this week’s news is about. From the Mayo Clinic, researchers report that they can kill off senescent cells selectively with so-called senolytic drugs. Using an herbal supplement called quercetin and a leukemia drug called dasatinib the study authors found remarkable reduction in the senolytic population that persisted for 11 days after stopping the study. In mice that combination has led to mice living longer. Now we know it appears to be safe in humans in short term studies. We don’t have long term studies, yet. 
But before you rush out and start yourself on quercetin, remember there are other ways to pull your cranky mitochondria back from middle age senescence to more youthful quiescence. Exercise does it! High-Intensity Training, HIT, is the current hot topic where you go nuts for 4 minutes of hard-driving, sweat-inducing and heart rate raising exercise. It works because…..? It wakes up your senescing mitochondria and cells and pulls them back into quiescence. Got that? Anything else? 
Why yes. Fasting. When you fast, you force your body to switch from glucose burning to ketone or fat burning. That’s good for your stem cells and quiesence. In fact, there is increasing evidence that stem cells love your being on ketones. Plain and simple. When you fast, you switch your body into ketone or fat burning (You chop up your fat molecules into ketones once you have burned off all your carbs – usually after about 2 days). That wakes up your middle-aged, sloppy cells on the verge of becoming senescent, and hauls that back into quiescence. What’s the proof? Too much to enter here except to reference all the feeding studies like in Madison, WI where rhesus monkies fed 30% fewer calories lived much, much longer than those fed to satiety. We eat to satiety, and then some.

Any way to speed up senescence? Yes, again. A high-fat diet will do that just fine. Radiation, sedentary life, pesticides, or any other oxidative stress you can think up will all do it.

WWW: What will work for me. Wow. Fascinating. We can use drugs to push old, cruddy quiescent cells out and kill them off. Ok, leukemia drugs make me a bit nervous but quercetin is tried and true safe. It’s the concept that is reinforcing the over-arching concept. We want to keep our cells quiescent. This is the secret sauce of exercise. And then there is fasting. I’m doing my 5-day thing monthly. Did I mention that boosting your growth hormone will do it too?

Pop Quiz

  1. Can you really live longer by knocking off your senile old cells? Answer: Not really proven yet but all the pieces are in place. The longest-lived persons all over the world fit the pattern: they exercise. they fast, they eat less fat
  2. What did the researchers do at Mayo that worked on senescent cells? Answer: They showed they could selectively kill them off with two drugs
  3. Why are senescent cells such a big deal? Answer: They are front and center of just about every disease. You die when your burden of senescent cells piles up too high.
  4. Can you recall how much longer men lived in the Retired Men’s Study from Honolulu when they walked 2 miles a day? Answer: (Bonus points). Double.Nice number.
  5. What are ketones and what do they have to do with senescence? Answer: Ketones are the chopped up fat molecules we make when we have burned off all our carbs. You can get a few ketones in your system every day if you don’t eat for 13 hours. Longer fasting is better. First, you burn off your 1500 calories of carbs. Then you get to theeasy fat hanging out in your fatty liver. Then you plunge ahead and just plain lose weight and wake up all your lazy quiescent cells.

Prolonged Fasting for Heart Disease

References: Fuhrman, Fasting ..., American Heart JournalThoraxNEJMJACMHelio,

Alright. You have terrible chest pressure and feel nauseated and sweaty. You call 911 and the paramedics rush you to the hospital. The ER does and EKG and calls the cardiologist, who whips in and does a catheterization and calls the surgeons because you are just too blocked. In rushes the team and you have bypass surgery of 4 blood vessels. Heros all around. Saved your life! Or did me. Remember, I did this for 25 years. I’ve got the routine down pat. You had your chest sawed open, were in the ICU for 4 days then in rehab for 6 months. 
Did we help you? Maybe, or maybe not. Between 3-4% of people die during open heart surgery. And between 15-44% of folks come out of bypass surgeryintellectually “impaired” or altered. Just a wee bit slower than when they went in. And finally, we know that blockages accelerate in the arteries that are bypassed if you don’t change anything after the surgery. And remember, you didn’t eat for those 5-7 days while you were being chopped up and put in the ICU. Did the surgery help you? Or was it the fasting? 
Let’s talk about the fasting. First of all, it’s cheaper by about a quarter million. Second of all, your brain comes out the same as it went in. Third, it really doesn’t hurt near as much. In fact, it’s pretty boring. So what is going on? 
Well, for starters, we have already reviewed how your high blood pressure goes awayand stays gone for up to 9 months. That’s pretty impressive. High blood pressure is just about the number one risk for coronary artery disease, as it represents your arteries getting stiffer and tighter, mostly from inflammation of the lining of your arteries.

Dean Ornish has also shown that compared to the American Heart Association 30% fat diet, his 15% fat vegan diet reverses heart disease while the AHA diet doesn’t. But that isn’t fasting. It’s just going vegan and very low fat. I’m fond of this idea as I’ve seen it in my own family. My Uncle Paul completely reversed his coronary artery disease after 5 vessel bypass surgery in 1975 (one of the first) by following a Pritikin/Ornish diet. So, we know that being a strict vegan, with low fat will reverse heart disease whereas the American Heart Association diet wont. 
But what about fasting? Well, we don’t have straight up studies. What we have are “tangents”. Close. For example, look at folks who don’t eat for months because they have cancer, or any other wasting disease. They have markedly reduced artery disease. Where did it go? A clue might be with anorexia patients. They have very high cholesterolwhen they are avoiding food (we call that fasting). It is my belief, waiting for clinical studies, that 10 fasting results in your body first emptying your carb tank and turning on ketosis. That takes about 48 hours. Then you clean up the fat in your easy to get places like your liver. That takes another 72-96 hours. Now, you have to get serious and scavenge. The cholesterol pools in your liver are right there on the surface. So, sure enough, day 8-10 your cholesterol spikes. You are cleaning out your arteries. 
What we do have are many clinical anecdotes by doctors who have been treating people with symptoms. Joel Fuhrman is only the most recent prominent doctor to report his success with this. But I’m in there with him. I’ve already had three reports in just the last week of anecdotal improvement with 10 days fasts and vascular disease.

WWW: What will work for me. I think it’s unethical to not teach someone a possible therapeutic alternative that has no side effects and is better than something that has risk and toxicity to it. I’ve now engaged about 20 people with the consideration of doing a 10 day fast to whom I have given lab tests including cholesterols to measure on day 8-10 of the fast. This is way too interesting to let go unreported. And just consider, you can spend $ 250,000 and lose 10% of your brainpower, or you can spend nothing and get completely better. Either way, you don’t eat for about 10 days.

Pop Quiz

  1. Fasting for 10 days is worse for you than open-heart surgery? T or F. Answer: Aw, come on. You just read this. You have open heart surgery and you don’t eat for at least 4-5 days. Have you considered that maybe it was the not eating if you still have enough brainpower to remember? Fasting is easier, cheaper, more effective. But don’t do it and waste it by going back to eating a high animal fat and protein diet
  2. What happens with anorectics when they are not eating – to their cholesterol? Answer: It shoots up to super-high levels.
  3. What does that suggest? Answer: After about 7 days of poor eating, your body scavenges available cholesterol from wherever it can find it to use for fuel, and most of us have quite a bit stored up in our arteries.
  4. What happens to high blood pressure with a 10 day fast? Answer: Cured. No meds.
  5. How hungry are you on a 10 day fast. Answer: Not very. Hunger gone by day 2. You may feel some fatigue but may not. Remember, you have a fat tank with 150,000 calories in it if you are an average shaped woman. More in some. Once you are fasting, your fat cells open up and share their calories so you have fuel to work with. You might feel better if you drank a lot of water with some salt in it.

Prolonged Fasting for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

References: Joel Fuhrman: FastingUpton Sinclair: The Fasting CureCellScience DailyHealthlineCDC StatisticsLancet,

Inflammatory bowel disease is way too common. It is the leading cause of admission to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (personal communications). It causes a ton of misery. Want to fix it? This may be the cure in sight! A prolonged fast, 10 days of water only, may be the cure! 
There are doctors in America who are already helping people through this. Joel Fuhrman has a whole chapter on the topic. And he is not the first. Ironically, it is one of America’s most prominent authors, Upton Sinclair, who first shown the light on prolonged fasting. He stumbled on 10 day water fasts as a cure for many illnesses and wrote one of his 100 books on the topic. He mentions many illnesses that reported to him how they had been cured when they followed his admonition to fast for 10 days. 
But this advance isn ‘t based on some guru’s opinion. We are now getting credible research to support the claim, including more calls for volunteers to join in research studies.

What is the credible research that is out there? In Cell Reports, Valter Longo shows that in mice with inflammatory bowel disease, fasting with both a fast mimicking reduced-calorie format and water only format, signs and symptoms dramatically improved. This occurred, in part, because of a dramatic shift in the type of bacteria in the colon: many more beneficial lactobacillus and bifidobactericea species.

We don’t have large, multicenter studies in humans yet. We have anecdotal cases and “tangent” type studies: close and similar but not quite. For example, in the journal Lancet from 1993 we have an elimination diet study with some 123 people with inflammatory bowel disease who embarked on an elimination diet versus standard steroids. The elimination folks who identified and then avoided their offending foods did MUCH better at maintaining a remission: 3.8 versus 7.5 months with the elimination diet. 
There is likely some overlap with the concept of lectins as detailed in Steven Gundry’s Plant Paradox box. He also gives anecdotes of folks cured of Crohn’s with a “lectin avoiding diet”. That is another form of elimination diet. It is what I would do if I had inflammatory bowel disease. 
What is going on with fasting that cures inflammatory bowel disease? Here is my conjecture that makes sense with what we know so far. Our fore-parents, just 300,000 years ago ate African plants. As humans spread across the globe out of Africa, we discovered more foods that had elements that spark inflammation and immune response. (Gundry’s lectin thesis.) This accelerated in the 20th century with industrial food production and jet planes/refrigeration. We are able to get exotic foods from all over the world to assault our intestines. I believe that Crohn’s is actually an autoimmune response to atypical tuberculosis in the gut caused by drinking contaminated milk from cow’s with Johne’s disease (atypical tuberculosis in cows that sheds the TB bacteria into their milk and isn’t removed with pasteurization). Crohn’s is the only disease besides TB in the lung that makes granulomas – rounded islands of inflammation. Our guts are so distracted with fighting all the foreign lectins, bacteria, sugars, noxious trans fats, fake sweeteners and trace pesticides that our immune system just can’t tamp down the occasional autoimmune cell. When we fast, we remove the damaging input and our immune system can refocus on the causative autoimmune cells. That’s it in a nutshell.

WWW: What Will Work for me. I’m intentional embarking on a program of eating more fiber by changing my breakfast to blueberries in almond milk with 3 heaping tablespoons of freshly ground flax. It’s a yummy breakfast. And then I have 2-3 heaping tablespoons of L. reuteri yogurt I make at home to have a massive hit of probiotics. L. reuteri is the lactobacillus you find in folks who have never had antibiotics. We Americans are weaned off artificial formula made from soy immediately onto Amoxicillin at age three months. No wonder our guts are distressed.

Pop Quiz

  1. Prolonged fasting is actually just stupidly starving yourself. T or F. Answer: Well, we naturally answer this as true. But it’s not. It’s resetting your immune system.
  2. Why is the gut to involved with our immune system? Answer: 70% of your immune system is around your gut because it is the first barrier between the outside world, what you eat, and your inside world. The cell lining of your gut is only one cell layer thick, so the immune system has to be sitting there, watching.
  3. Why is our gut so recently so dramatically inflamed? (Crohn’s disease has increased from 2 million to 3 million sufferers in America in just the last 18 years). Answer: Conjecture here but the cumulative effect of foods containing lectins, to pesticides, to all sorts of modern chemicals, to Johne‚Äôs disease, to drugs like ibuprofen and alcohol that make leaky gut, to stress, to lack of sleep, to…….
  4. What has Longo proven with a 5 day fast mimicking diet in humans in regard to your immune system? Answer: Your CRP drops some 30% and your immune system gets a reboot while your “vacuum cleaner” gobbles up and eats dysfunctional tissues, cells, debris, old organelles…a nice combination deal.
  5. Who is that famous author who did 10-day water fasting all the time? Answer: Upton Sinclair. Read his book, “The Fasting Cure”. 99c on Amazon.

Fasting and Rheumatoid Arthritis

References: Joel Fuhrman’s Fasting…for HealthWikipediaScand Jr RheumatologyLANCETArthritis Rheum,

We need about 30 grams of protein a day and eat around 150. That extra animal protein needs to be digested and broken down to all its breakdown products. Many of the pieces along the way look like antigens and inspire an antibody reaction of some kind. Because there is quite an overlap between animal proteins and human proteins, some of the antibodies made begin to attack us because the proteins that trigger them look like us. The next step is for antigen-antibody complexes to end up in our joints where they set off the natural inflammation those complexes are designed to set off. We call that rheumatoid arthritis.

Next step, dozens of very toxic drugs for 1 % of the population
What would happen if we took the triggers away that are setting off all that inflammation? Trigger number one: Animal protein (eggs, meat, cheese, milk, yoghurt). Trigger number two: all food. Yes, all food. The reason that 70% of your immune system is around your gut is because cleaning up the toxins in the food you eat is 70% of the work your immune system has to do. Let’s take away that work.

Now, let’s give your immune system 10 days to clean up its foolishness it has gotten into with your rheumatoid arthritis. Remember, most of us are at least 25% fat. I am. I have 50 pounds of fat which gives me 175,000 calories of fuel to work with. At 1800 calories a day, that is 97 days worth of fuel. 10 days is not starving. It is simply giving your immune system and your gut a chance to reboot.

What happens? It has been studied.

In 2001, a report in the Scandanavian Journal of Rheumatology reported on their update of all studies of fasting followed by a vegetarian diet. They don’t give exact numbers in the abstract but they say the effect is statistically positive and very much worth studying on a larger scale. 
The British Journal, The Lancet, published an article showing that folks who followed a vegetarian diet benefited with statistically improved joints for up to a year after following a strict vegan, low-fat diet.

The Scandanavians have been doing much more of this. Back in 1988, they published a report of 14 patients undertaking a 7 day total fast and becoming strikingly much better.

What’s the takeaway? My goodness. For no cost at all, you can reduce your symptoms dramatically, and may even get a full remission! No toxicity! No side effects! And all you are frightened of is that you will be hungry!

WWW: What will work for me. This should be the first strategy offered to you if you have RA. Seeing as how it affects 5% of elderly, a lot of people have this awful disease. My mother in law was subjected to all the toxic side effects of gold and had to have all her tendons moved to keep her hands working. She suffered immeasurably. Curiously, she was a very odd eater, which I interpreted as being anorectic. Looking back, I think she did it because she felt better when she fasted. She was doing it for spiritual reasons. I bet the spirit led her because she felt a lot better. In any case, she lived way longer than that 10 years multiple joint RA folks live. Give her great credit for intuitively figuring out how to keep herself well.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? Answer: (No fair). Didn’t include this. Inflammation, mostly of the knuckles but also every joint everywhere in some folks, of swelling, pain, limited motion, increased risk of heart disease and general malaise.
  2. What is the cause or RA? Answer: Making antibodies to yourself, most notably your joints.
  3. What is the proposed mechanism? Answer: Your body making antibodies to animal proteins that cross-react with human ones, meaning you. Vegetable proteins are clearly different so don’t set up such confusion.
  4. Why does fasting help RA? Answer: It gives your immune system time to focus elsewhere – wherever the problem is.
  5. What percent of people with RA are cured by fasting followed by vegan diets? Answer: Hard to ferret out but the chance is there. There are many reports of complete remission. Most objective studies show statistically valid changes in large groups. Enough to be encouraging.
  6. Can I make it 10 days on a fast? Answer: Easy. You likely have 100 days of fuel in you in your fat stores. A properly conducted fast will get you ketogenic and not hungry in about 24-48 hours. Then, you aren’t hungry so it’s easy. (Boring, but easy)