Monthly Archives: October 2019

Insulin Levels Predict Heart Disease Better than Cholesterol

References: Cardiovascular Diabetology 2018J Eval Clin PractHarvard Health BlogCell Metabolism, Fung’s Obesity Code,

Obsessed with your cholesterol level? Your doctor tell you that you need to be on statins? Are you a slim, trim 62 year old with a cholesterol of 2018 thinking you will die soon if you aren’t on a statin? Then you fit right in to the 2019 medical model of heart disease care, that is deeply flawed. The flaws started to show 5 years ago from the HUNT II studyof 10,000 Norwegian women that showed that women with cholesterols over 200 live longer than those under 200. (Oops!). And by the way, you most likely don’t need to be on statins. How do you know? How can you make sure? 
As elegantly explained in this week’s review article, the core defect in coronary artery disease is insulin signalling. The net effect is incredibly nuanced through many intricate, cross-matching mechanisms and you can get lost in the details. But, an elegant model that explains it all is as follows. You have about 186,000 insulin receptors on a healthy fat cell. Two have to be next to each other to trigger the uptake of insulin. When you are slender, fat cells are smaller and insulin receptors are closer to each other. You only need a very low insulin level to get effective control of glucose. Skinny people have low blood sugar and low insulin levels. As you get larger, you don’t make more fat cells, they just get larger. But in that size increase, they don’t make more insulin receptors. The insulin receptors get further apart. You need higher insulin receptors to trigger proper blood sugar control. You get bigger and bigger, your blood sugar rises more and more. 
Here is the catch. You can only make so much insulin in a lifetime. It’s as though you were only given a million units of insulin to use up in a lifetime. If you are skinny, you only use up 10 units of insulin a day. That means you have enough insulin to last 273 years. If you use 45 units a day, you will run out by age 60. Oddly enough, that’s just when many folks become diabetic and need to be put on various insulin treatment drugs. But if you examine those folks who are becoming “diabetic”, you will find that their insulin is 23, allegedly in the normal range. The problem is that they are overweight (by a lot) and what their body “needs” is an insulin level of 50, and they just can’t make it. Well, their doctor puts them on insulin, cranks up their level to 100 and sure enough, controls their diabetes, and they get even fatter.

What would happen if they were to lose weight? Smaller fat cells, closer insulin receptors, demand for insulin drops. In fact, on a vegan, green vegetable diet, their demand for insulin drops in hours. Hours. Their blood sugar normalizes in hours as they switch over their bodies from glucose metabolism to the necessary ketone metabolism involved in weight loss. It feels rough for a day or two as the cellular mechanisms of ketone metabolism haven’t been aroused or activated for decades and need to be woken up. But wake up they do. Weight loss ensues. Receptors get closer to each other. Lower and lower levels of insulin is needed and all the nuanced, intertwined mechanisms of high insulin caused damage go away. And heart disease risk plummets. 
Don’t measure your cholesterol. It is an indirect, tangential look at your insulin level. You have high cholesterol because you are eating too many triggers for insulin release like too many carbs, grains, sugar, and animal. Stop eating that. Switch to vegetables and healthy oils (olive, macadamia, avocado, coconut) and delicious spices. Measure your insulin level and do everything you can to get it down to below 5. Don’t settle for the “normal” range your lab says for insulin (3-29). Healthy is below 5. Period. Excellent is below 3.5. Included in the “normal” range are all those millions of folks who are overweight and headed for the cath lab and open-heart surgery.

It sounds complex but it’s actually elegantly simple. It is complex. It is incredibly nuanced, but it has this simple driving mechanism: your insulin level is defined by the size of your fat cells, your diet (as driven by consumption of glycemic carbs, sugar, and animal), and your activity. And that drives your heart disease risk.

WWW: What will work for me. I’ve been measuring insulin levels for 10 years now. It works. It is an accurate, responsive, predictive model of those folks in trouble, and those folks getting out of trouble. It responds rapidly to dietary changes. On the fast mimicking diet, it drops to 5 and under in 3 days, exactly in sync with ketones showing up. Try it. You can get your own lab. If it isn’t below 5, I would hazard the guess your waist size isn’t ideal. Get it there. I just ordered new pants. I’m finally below 38 inches.

Pop Quiz:

  1. A cholesterol level of 200 and above means you should be on a statin. T or F. Answer: that is the American Heart accepted threshold. It is driven by a 30 billion dollar industry, paying for a lot of cardiologists to do flawed research that is looking at the wrong picture. Read the HUNT study from Norway and ponder why women live longer with cholesterol over 200. (Hint: they have large, fluffy, harmless LDLs. It’s small dense ones, driven by high insulin that cause trouble.)
  2. Insulin level reflects what? Answer: The standard answer is the level of insulin resistance but the operative model proposed here is better explained by the spacing of insulin receptors over ever-enlarging fat cells. Lose weight, make your fat cells smaller and receptors closer, and your insulin level goes down.
  3. What is wrong with high insulin? Answer. Wow, read the review article. There must be at least 20 separate, destructive, overlapping, functions of insulin; everything from increasing smooth muscle proliferation in artery walls to more oxidized LDLs to more t
  4. What happens to insulin when you fast, or fast-mimick by eating only green vegetables (that make beta-hydroxybutyrate)? Answer. Plummets. I mean, fast.
  5. Does this mean you can cure diabetes by losing weight? Answer: Yup. If you can reduce your demand from insulin from 45 units a day to 2 units a day, the 50,000 units of insulin your pancrease still has in it will last you decades, with good control, instead of months with marginal control. But you have to lose the weight.

Why do I Need More Iodine?

References: Living NaturallyTher Adv Endo MetaboHuffington PostGuardianJr CancerNIH Fact Sheet on IodineWHO Iodine Prophyllaxis after Nuclear AccidentCanadain Jr Surg,

Svent-Gyorgi got the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937 for the discovery of Vitamin C. He lived much of his later life in Maine, working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He attributed much of his longevity to iodine, taking 1,000 mg a day. Did you get that? 1,000 mg. You are getting 0.250 mg a day if you are an average American eating iodized salt, and taking no extra.

What caught my eye this week was the amount of iodine you get in amiodarone, the number one anti-arrhythmic in the world. A standard 200 mg dose of amiodarone will give you 75 mg a day of iodine. Given its standard metabolism, you will get 6 mg of elemental iodine a day. Whew! But that correlates with my childhood in India, where I took iodine pills all the time for water purification. We didn’t when we lived at home, but with any travel, hiking, going into town or whatever, we had a bottle of iodine tablets that I used liberally to purify water. I would guess that I took at least 2-10 pills of iodine a month.

Now, in America we are all spastic about iodine toxicity because of one really bad research article that has never been refuted. Done in rats, it suggested you get a short-term reduction in thyroid function when you take a large dose of iodine. Projected onto humans, it has led us to believe that too much iodine will suppress our thyroid long term. However, there has been no evidence and no proof of that being the case.

Guy-Abraham at UCLA posited an alternative approach. He measured how much iodine one has to take to excrete 90 % of it in the urine in the following 24 hours: the standard measure of sufficient mineral intake. That comes out to 12.4 mg a day. That’s quite different than 0.25 mg we are getting in America. It is certainly much less than the 1,000 mg Svent-Gyorgy took.

Why do we need so much? This is another whole rabbit hole to go down but I believe we are all bromine overdosed. Bromine, a halide ion just one notch above iodine in the periodic table, acts chemically just like iodine but has never ever been in the human food chain until 50 years ago. But we flippantly add it to all our bread products because it helps make bread more elastic. Even China has banned bromine. But not us. And your carpet and furniture are soaked in it as a fire retardant.

Iodine is pushed off its receptor by bromine. That’s the rub. To reverse bromine toxicity, which our FDA denies, you have to take more iodine. The bread industry is tougher and pays more to politicians than you do, so it doesn’t get studied. (Listen to me! Don’t I sound a little paranoid? Doesn’t make me wrong, just wary.)

But do you need more iodine? Yup! How much? Guy Abraham may have it right. He estimated 12.4 mg a day. I’ve been telling folks at least 12.4 mg twice a month which increases your intake 5-6 fold over what you get now. Svent-Gyorgi lived to age 93 on 500 times that dose. I suspect the range of safety is larger than what we have thought in the past. But I have one client who has taken 12.4 mg a day for 10 years now and it cured her neurological condition. If you have fibrocystic breast disease, that is likely an iodine deficiency syndrome. Breast cancer? Please, please take iodine!

WWW: What will work for me. I believe we are all tip-toeing along the edge of severe iodine deficiency. I have been taking 3-4 pills a month and think I will up my game to at least double that. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years now, and had a childhood similar to that. I don’t eat much bread at all, except when I’m in Europe (where bromine is banned). I think we are also all bromine contaminated, if not poisoned. Ironically, it’s the use of an artificial medication, amiodarone, that woke me back up to the importance of iodine. Bless dear old Svent-Gyorgi.

Pop Quiz

  1. Who was Svent-Gyorgi? Answer: Nobel Prize for Vitamin C who took 1 gram a day of iodine: 6,000 times the RDA of our current American guidelines (150 mcg a day).
  2. How much Iodine are the Japanese taking around Fukushima? Answer: 100 mg a day. (And we haven’t heard of a huge epidemic of thyroid disorders from them.). That is 600 times our current RDA in America.
  3. Do we need more iodine today than 100 years ago? Answer: Emphatically yes. We have been inundated with bromine in many forms. In America, we have been curiously inattentive to it. Europe and even China have banned bromine from bread. We pour it in. But fire retardants made from bromine are all around you.
  4. If you have breast cancer, should you be on more iodine? Answer. Probably but if you have fibrocystic breast disease, (the number one risk for breast cancer) – you MUST be on it.
  5. What can you do to eat more iodine in food? Answer: seaweed. Cod. Shellfish. And that will get you to 200-250 mcg a day. Maybe one 40th of what you need. Eat up. Maybe you just need a pill because of all the bromine in your ecosystem.

Senolytic Therapy for Alzheimer’s? “STOP IT IN ITS TRACKS

References: Aging Cell, Forbes MagazineDiabetes,

It’s getting close to Halloween. Zombies are in everyone’s yards. And zombie cells are in you. You have heard about senescence in this column. It happens to good healthy cells that are “quiescent” (waiting and responsive, able to duplicate) when they tip into “senescence”. A senescent cell is a zombie. It is hanging around but unable to be constructive and helpful. Actually, it is harmful because they ooze inflammatory substances and infect their neighbors. But they don’t go away. Aging is all about accumulating more and more senescent cells in all your organs. And we see that in the blood tests with an inexorable decline in circulating stem cells. We have talked about getting rid of senescent cells with various combinations of supplements on your own, or with Mayo Clinic’s protocol of Dasatinib (a leukemia drug) and quercetin, a well-known supplement derived from onions and apples. 
It’s the accumulation of tau proteins in the brain that appears to be the tipping point in Alzheimer’s, and possibly up to 20 other brain disease. Tau proteins are the stabilizing scaffolding of axons, the wires that connect brain cells. If they get misfolded and disorganized, it’s as though your scaffolding on your new building suddenly collapsed. This paper from the University of Texas shows that a link exists between senescent cells and the accumulation of tau proteins. This means you have senescent cells, zombies, in your brain with broken scaffolding that you can’t clear out. It’s not just that the tau proteins are in the way but the zombie cells won’t go away. No matter how many “Trick or Treats” you give them, they just keep infecting the cells around them. No wonder you can’t think straight! What if……what if you could clear out those zombies? Well, you can. 
You can clear senescent cells from mouse brains that are genetically altered to look like human Alzheimer’s. The “senolytic” treatment given the mice was the same used at Mayo, Dasatinib and Quercetin, once every two weeks over 12 weeks. They then did MRI’s on the mouse’s brains and looked at them under a microscope. 
One of the authors was so enthusiastic about their outcome that he was quoted as saying in Forbes, “It stopped Alzheimer’s in its tracks!” That’s pretty intense. Did it cause the mice any harm? Nope. Not that they could detect. Will this work in humans? Who knows! If you had early-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s…..would you try it?

WWW: What will work for me. This is another classic example of the “ethics” of modern medicine. Is it ethical to take a scientific advance found in mice to you when you are descending into an irreversible disease? If it doesn’t cause harm, that you know of, does that make it easier? Or, do you care if it causes harm? Should this be a therapy used by everyone over 40, as 50% of us are going to get Alzheimer’s someday if we live long enough?

Pop Quiz

  1. It’s Halloween in your brain, what is happening to the zombie cells in your brain? Answer: They are becoming “senescent”
  2. What does senescent mean? Answer: Those cells can’t duplicate anymore but more importantly, they put out inflammatory cytokines that inflame and damage cells around them into becoming senescent.
  3. What appears to be the cardinal marker of ongoing senescence in brain cells? 
    Answer: The accumulation of tau proteins.
  4. n mice, what can you do to clear out those senescent cells? Answer: Dasatinib (chemotherapy drug) and Quercetin, dosed 6 times over 12 weeks.
  5. What else can you do to reverse that senescence? Answer: Walk two miles every day of the world. A bit of sweat is better. Fast mimicking diet if not outright fasting on a routine basis. Growth hormone might also be a secret path.

Prolonged Fasting (10 days) Cures Fatty Liver

References: EMBO Molecular MedicineScience DailyWebMDJ Clin MedEur J GastroJCEM,

If you have gained meaningful weight since you were a teen, and have a waist size 4-6 inches greater than you had before, you likely have fatty liver. If you drink much alcohol, you likely have fatty-liver. That means you join just about 50% of Americans. We all have it. Fatty liver, insulin resistance, diabetes, and big waist size all go hand in hand. In fact, fatty-liver goes hand in hand with SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth), also goes hand in hand, a curious correlation. 
The result of all this is that your liver doesn’t work as efficiently as you would want it to. You have insulin resistance and many other metabolic markers of dysfunction. If you just look at pictures of the endoplasmic reticulum, your body’s metabolic factory where you make critical proteins, you can see that fatty liver just mucks thinks up by making big pools of fat on the factory floor. It’s like parking empty semi-trailers on an assembly line floor – horribly out of context and in the way.

How do you get fatty-liver? Easy. Eating too much stuff that gets turned into fat at a rate so fast you can’t ship it out from your liver. So it backs up. That’s it. Alcohol is a premier example. You instantly make triglycerides and small LDLs in your blood when you drink alcohol and your liver backs up with it if you make more than you can ship to your fat cells. You get a “beer belly” as you keep shipping fat out. That means you are also getting a “beer-liver”. But lots of bread and chips, pretzels and Fritos, bagels and donuts will do it too. Did I mention ice-cream?

GADD45β, (Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible Peptide) appears to be a critical peptide you stop making when you eat or drink too much. It protects you from fatty-liver. Fasting increases its level. There you have it. You can cure your fatty-liver very quickly with a prolonged, 10-day fast. You make more GADD45β. Your liver starts to regenerate and heal itself from the self-induced damage.

Can I explain the sequence of events of what happens to you? Critical to the whole process is turning off insulin, as insulin is the key driver to forcing you to store calories. Part of the storage process is making fat molecules to ship to your fat cells as triglycerides from your liver. Turn off insulin and you turn off the engine driving that process. Sort of like turning off the electricity and your computer printer stops printing. The production of insulin is defined by what you eat. Refined carbs do it best. Any flour will do. But root vegetables, grains, and meat also turn on insulin. Stop eating those foods and your insulin level plummets. The first event in the fasting sequence is turning off insulin, sort of like turning off the electricity. Then, it takes two days to empty your carb reserves when you fast.

By hour 48, you have burned all 1500 calories of carbs that were packed into your muscles and liver as glycogen. You are now in ketosis, meaning you are running on ketones, the breakdown products of fat. You feel differently, sort of like hunger but not really. Your brain feels sharper. You are colder and need an extra sweater. 
Your body is now looking around for calories to burn. First comes the easy to get to tank of fat in your liver. Your fatty liver gets addressed. You start making GADD45β and shipping the fat out to burn. It takes 3-4 days to get rid of that fat, maybe it a bit longer if you have big-time fatty-liver. 
By day 6 or 7, your liver function tests are dramatically better and your blood cholesterol ironically starts to rise. That’s because you are cleaning out the fat from your liver and your arteries. No kidding! Your body needs fuel and that fat is the easy-to-get-to stuff because it’s right there where the blood flows and is access to mobilize. 
Ok, fasting sounds too hard. Traditional methods of treating fatty liver include such advice as “eat less and lose weight”. That hasn’t worked very well because that admonition doesn’t come with recipes of food that don’t turn off insulin. The only foods that don’t turn on insulin are green, above-ground vegetables. Make me a diet of spinach, Brussel’s sprouts, broccoli and kale, and I will get rid of your fatty liver. But you have to eat them only, with a drizzle of olive oil on them and only 800 calories a day. Do that for 4 weeks and your fatty liver will be gone too. Oh heck, just fast for 10 days and get it over with. Come see me and I’ll show you how.

WWW: What will work for me. I’m watching the liver functions of every one of my patients who do 10-day fasts. I’m personally just finished by most recent 5- day fast mimicking diet of 800 calories. I didn’t get hungry, one more time, as my body is now trained to flip into and out of ketosis. It took about 6 months to get there but I’m now quite comfortable getting in and out of it. My liver function tests are now normal and my waist size is back down with two inches of my high school graduation size. It was up over 6 inches from where I am now. Then, I had fatty liver.

Pop Quiz

  1. Who has fatty-liver? Answer: Anyone of us who have gained more than 4-6 inches on our waist sizes since highschool. Hmm: all of us, just about.
  2. What is the cause of fatty liver? Answer: Too much nutrition of fat inducing foods, with a dab of booze on the side.
  3. What’s the best way to get rid of fatty liver? Answer: Stop it. Fast. The fewer the calories, the faster it works. You won’t feel hungry after about day 4-5 but you will feel colder and be more easily fatigued if its the first time you have ever done it.
  4. Can you measure your fatty liver? Answer: Well, yes, with high tech expensive stuff live an MRI or an ultrasound. Better way is your waist size and simply asking if you have gained 6 inches since highschool. Or an SGOT/SGPT liver function tests commonly on the chem panel. GADD45β is really a research tool not on the market for normal folks.
  5. Ok, what’s a more traditional way to get rid of fatty liver? Answer: lose weight more slowly. Takes longer and fails because, because, because. So it doesn’t work very well. This is serious business. Take it seriously. Don’t eat for 10 days. Be a vegan for 7 days before and after. Get lots of help. Read Joel Fuhrman’s book: Fasting Fasting for wellness.