Category Archives: 14. Stress

Leptin Resistance and Inflammation

Leptin Resistance and Inflammation

References: Am Jr Coll CardVitamin HormonesCurr Immunol ReviewCell,

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.


Pop Quiz.

  1. Leptin helps you make MSH which suppresses your appetite. T or F                Answer: Almost right but backward. LACK of leptin results in hight MSH, and then weight loss and lack of appetite.
  2. Inflammation turns on leptin. T or F                                                                      Answer: I’m into backward today. It makes for leptin resistance, which then elevates leptin.
  3. Name a few means by which you can lower your leptin with lifestyle changes. Answer: Regular schedule, exercise, sleep, 12 hours of fasting, weight loss, less sugar….
  4. Leptin allows the release of MSH. What does MSH do?                                     Answer: It’s a potent appetite down-regulator.
  5. The cause of fibromyalgia is likely?                                                                    Answer…….. /biotoxin illness leading to damaged leptin receptors.



N-Acetyl Cysteine Increases Free T3 in NTIS

N-Acetyl Cysteine Increases Free T3 in NTIS

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?

Pop Quiz
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.


LifeSpan versus HealthSpan

LifeSpan Versus Healthspan

References:  WEForum 2017Compreh Physiology 2012,  Med Sci-Fi Sport Exercise,

We are living longer. But are we living better? In the 20th century, we doubled our life expectancy with the miracle of antibiotics, clean surgical technique, X-rays, immunizations and clean water.  Babies being born today in advanced societies have a 50:50 chance of living to be 100. But living longer isn’t necessarily better. There have been some disturbing trends lately. Obesity has managed to reverse the climb to longer lifespan in some societies, namely the USA.

As we live longer, we have more choices about lifestyle, making research into factors affecting confoundingly complex. It becomes impossible to do “randomized, placebo controlled” studies over decades without limiting free choice and spending more money than could be allocated. This article, from the World Economic Forum this year, offers insight into the laboratory of fitness, namely masters athletes. I have a dozen or so men and women older than 60 in my practice who would qualify as exceptionally fit. And I see their lab results and their vitality. They are aging differently than those of us who are less active.

Sedentary behavior is being increasingly recognized as the driver of many of our modern conditions. Part of this discernment comes from the recognition that athletes, (high end performers) have a disproportionately share of good health. They don’t get in trouble. They still die, but their time of end-of-life disability is markedly compressed, compared to the majority of the sedentary population. They become a unique research cohort, one that we couldn’t duplicate with “randomized research”. In effect, what happens with athletes is that they reach their peak in their 30s, like all of us, but then don’t show much decline until close to the very end. The rest of us show inexorable, linear decline. “Patch, patch patch, after 40!,” we say.

At every age in life, starting exercise of any kind has benefit. And the risk of complications from exercise is far lower than the risk of remaining sedentary. The real risk is sitting. Considering computer games at home, TV, computers at work and cell phones in-between, we are mesmerized by electronic distractions that leave us sedentary. In fact, research in 2009 of 17,000 Canadians of all ages showed a dose relationship of sedentary behavior to all cause mortality, regardless of levels of exercise. That means 30 minutes in the gym does you no good if you are sitting the rest of the day. Bother.

The Author cites four strategies with references on each: 1) Move More (Just get started and move more), 2) Move Slow, (Aim for 10,000 steps a day) 3) Move Fast (Add some high intensity something, even for just 10 minutes) and 4) Move Heavy (Add some weights). Read those hyperlinks. It’s the best of our knowledge.

WWW.What will work for me. Sedentary behavior is the new smoking. If you want to live better, longer, you have to do it. Build it in every day. A day without exercise is as bad as a day of smoking.

Pop Quiz

1. Our grand-kids are likely to live to be 90+. T or F Answer: False if they are sedentary, but true if they get the exercise bug and take care of their diet.
2. Our society is becoming more active. T or F Answer: Mixed picture. But as a general rule, false. Bless those who make the answer slightly true.
3. 30 minutes at the gym has beneficial effects? T or F Answer: Sure, it helps. Its benefit may be completely erased by an 8 hour day of sitting.
4. There is a dose relationship between exercise and good health. T or F Bingo
5. Getting sweaty isn’t necessary. T or F Answer: False, if you want optimal results. Getting sweaty 3-4 times a week is much better for you.


How To Live to be 100 – Make a Blue Zone

Blue Zone Solution – How to Live to 100

Reference:   Blue Zone Solutions by Dan Buettner

August 31, 2015

What’s a Blue Zone?   It’s the places in the world where people live up to 100. This is a research-based book that looks at those little “hot spots” where there are the most centarians and tries to ferret out just what got them to 100.

The places listed are Ikaria, Greece, Okinawa, the Ogliastra Region of Sardina, Loma Linda, California (7th day Adventists), and Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Dan Buettner has done more than list the common findings that appeared to contribute to their long lives. His core thesis is that it’s not just one thing that makes for healthy life style, it’s the totality, the ecosystem.   He has started a project of creating Blue Zone communities in America.   He has found four towns in Iowa that have agreed to participate in the key feature of being a Blue Zone: changing the overall environment to make “healthy” choices something that enough people do that your ecosystem supports it naturally.   Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Spencer and Mason City have all signed up. In each of those communities up to 40% of the residents thave agreed to participate in moving more, eating differently and focusing on community and relationships.

The list of what Buettner says makes for longevity include his “Power Nine”.   First, Move More Naturally. Add walking, gardening, less driving. Two, have a purpose when you wake up. Three, find a way to let go of stress. Downshift.   Four: Hara Hichi Bu – eat till you are 80% full, with your smallest meal late in the day. Five: Plant Slant – more vegetables, beans, soy, lentils with meat here and there. Six: Have Wine at Five.   Seven: Moais – social groups of support that connect regularly and have your back. Eight: Community – 258 of 263 centarians belonged to some faith community. Attend some sort of faith community and add 4-14 years to your life. Nine: Loved Ones First. Commit to a life partner and add 3 years. Take care of frail elderly in your home.

Eating is a big part of it.   In all the varied cuisines, he found some commonalities.   The Mediterranean diet was 50% fat, but that was from almost all olive oil. It also included daily doses of greens right from the garden. The Seventh Day Adventists were almost vegans with only tiny amounts of meat.   None of the diets had sugar, or modern vegetable oils, or trans fats, or high glycemic grains. The Sardinians had dense durum wheat but ate much more barley. The Okinawans had tons of sweet potatoes. A sprinkling of meat here and there, or fish.

What the book doesn’t address is that all these societies had women spending all day making food, not in careers or jobs.   They were all of “modest means” in “traditional societies” with clearly defined gender roles, on the margin of modern society.  Even the Seventh Day Adventists  fit the description of being pretty “traditional”.  What to make of that?

This book might be your pathway on what to do once you have lost weight and reversed the toxicity of our modern American diet, rich in sugar, processed fats and grains and abundant in fake chemicals and mass produced vegetables picked for shipping and handling, not directly from a local garden.  Certainly, the strong emphasis on friends, stress and environment is something we should all pay attention to.

WWW. What will work for me.   I’m eager to see what lab testing shows on folks who do this. I’m completely on board with the community data. We all need and yearn for love and connection in our lives.   Our American suburbs isolate us into lonely cells walled off by green lawns.   Now I understand the wonderful role played by my church community, my hiking club, my bridge club, my fishing buddies. They have my back. They check in on me. They are my Moais.   Can you create your own Blue Zone? Can we encourage one another by our group participation? Check out your next potluck dinner, see what you can create. Find someone else’s back to cover.

Pop Quiz

  1.   A Blue Zone is an place of unusual “excellence” in biological survival – where more of us humans live longer, better and well.   T or F


2.   All the Blue Zones in this book showed that aging folks woke up with something to do and look forward to, a purpose.  T or F


3.    All long lived societies have food emphasizing vegetables, locally grown foods, less sugar, less meat and no modern trans fats – fats being animal origin or olive.   T or F

That seems to be the general trend.

4.    The Blue Zone experiment in America involves 4 towns where up to 40% of people are participating in making a “healthier” environment that includes exercise, friendships, social belonging and reinforced food choices.   T or F

That is the premise.  That we need to change our whole environment.

5.   Participating in a faith community once a month appears to add time to your life.  T or F

Well, it may, but the data seems to be four times, and that adds from 4 to 14 years.



Reference:, Pall in APS, Thieme, Wikipedia, Science Direct

August 3, 2015

Ever heard of Nrf? (Nuclear factor erythroid derived) I bet you thought Nerfs were some blue cartoon character, or better yet, a foam ball with which you could play office basketball. Not so. Nrf 2 is a protein that is in every tissue in your body, waiting in your cells to be activated. It has a controlling protein that limits its activity until something bad comes along to activate it.   It then travels into your cell nucleus and turns on all the processes that protect your cell from damage by binding to the hARE (human Antioxidant Response Element) region of DNA.   hARE is the uber regulator of all antioxidant response systems in your cell.

With such activation, your cells turn on a very wide array of cell protection pathways. This places NRF smack dab in the middle of your fundamental cell protection mechanisms. Its breakdown logically follows as being central to many illnesses.   Free radicals floating around in your blood appear to be some of the strongest activators of the NRF system suggesting that oxidative stress plays a huge role in many illnesses: Metabolic syndrome, Autoimmune, inflammatory bowel, HIV, MS, epilepsy, chronic kidney disease, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, sepsis, atherosclerosis.   With that, it logically follows that raising NRF will help treat many of those illnesses.

This is not to claim that NRF is your sole cell protective mechanism. Glutathione is also critical.   What is interesting is the link between the two.   Each of the three genes that encode for the production of the glutathione producing enzymes are individually activated by NRF. As is the gene that turns on glutathione reductase, the enzyme that converts used glutathione back into activated glutathione. As is the gene that turns on the 8 steps to make NADH, the energy source for glutathione. This makes NRF2 and glutathione closely integrated into a system that handles “oxidative stress”.

What causes that stress?   There is increasing evidence that our lifestyle of highly refined carbohydrates, made into products like flour (from any source) which is quickly digested and stimulates the production of insulin, leads to oxidative stress. Once we are overweight, our fat cells then produce showers of activating chemicals that keep it going.   It’s not just being overweight that does it. We live in a sea of chemicals in our modern world, many of which contribute a small part and which, cumulatively add up to a lot of harm.   Heavy metals are particularly bad players.

The $ 64 question then remains, “How do we activate Nrf2 and turn all that bad stuff off?”.   Here is a partial list:   the phenolic antioxidants (code for spices and herbs like turmeric, rosemary, thyme,), the gamma-delta tocotrienols, the isothionates (code word for broccoli and other kale family plants), allyl sulfides (code word for garlic and onions) , carotenoids (lycopene in particular – aka carrots and tomatoes), fish oil, fasting and exercise.   Hmm.   Sounds like a healthy diet.     This sounds like how coffee, chocolate, turmeric, olive oil, broccoli, red hot peppers, green tea, resveratrol, garlic, blueberries, rosemary, oregano, sage all work to prevent diseases like cancer. And at last, I’ve figured out where peroxide (H202) works – it turns on Nrf2).

WWW. What will work for me?   I don’t know how to measure the effects of Nrf2 activation but I believe it is real. There are pills out there touting their ability to activate Nrf2. I’ve given peroxide IV for inflammation and seen great results.   I just want a test to show that it’s working. That doesn’t exist yet. Back to eating a meal packed with tomatoes, garlic, broccoli, hot peppers, turmeric and resveratrol. Sounds like curry with red wine.


Pop Quiz

  1. Nrf2 is the common pathway to turn on inflammation. T or F

False. That would be NFκB – another common pathway in every cell but it turns on the fire. Nrf turns it off.

  1. Nrf2 activation is turned off by our modern lifestyle. T or F

True – particularly our consumption of refined carbohydrates.

  1. Fasting turns on Nrf2. T or F


  1. Tomatoes and broccoli, blueberries, olive oil all turn it on? T or F


  1. We don’t have a good measure to see turned on Nrf2 is? T or F

True, except for how you feel when you have a chronic disease.

The Trouble with Root Canals

The Trouble with Root Canals

Reference: Root Canal Coverup, Meinig

Ever had a toothache and ended up with a root canal?   Did it come back? Were you cured? Do you have a chronic, unexplained condition from which you can’t recover? An autoimmune disease? Are you losing weight, and don’t know why?

Westin Price was just fascinated with this problem. He was a dentist back in the 1920-30s in Cleveland who should be rated as one of America’s genius scientists.   Aside from that interest, he also traveled all over the world, taking pictures of peoples’ teeth and studying their diets, and concluding many of the findings of modern day nutrition 70 years before the rest of us caught up (He discovered Vitamin K2 15 years before the Nobel Prize folks gave it to someone else.). But he also did a huge body of research connecting inflamed, infected teeth with other medical conditions.

Many of his experiments involved removing infected teeth from folks with chronic medical conditions, and then observing their chronic medical condition improve dramatically. He then implanted those teeth into health rabbits and observed them to become ill also, with the equivalent illness the human had. And not just once or twice, but several thousand times. He produced a huge body of research that has laid undiscovered for some 50 years, and is only now being studied and found by credible dentists (Meinig was the president of the American Endodontal Association – and made his living for years doing root canals.)

Here are a few of the pertinent facts he worked with or “proved” that you should know.   Your teeth are not solid. Even the hard dentin is filled with miles of tiny channels that bacteria can hide in. When you have a root canal and have the tooth put back in, it’s still infected. You can’t fix it with antibiotics, as the antibiotics just don’t penetrate into the tooth. You may not be sick, after a root canal, but years later when you have extra stress in your life, like a car accident, a divorce, a death in the family, you are more likely to come down with a chronic disease. Modern dentists will tell you that the tooth is safe, and nothing can get out. It may be that the bacteria can’t get out, but Westin Price did elegant experiments that showed that the toxins get out.   Those toxins play havoc with your immune system, triggering exaggerated responses and thereby starting many other illnesses.

He also had pictures of bacteria in the dentin tubules of infected teeth in his textbook.   Price would take inflamed teeth out of folks, then cut open the dentin, culture the bacteria he found inside, filter the bacteria out but just leave the toxins in the fluid, and inject that fluid into rabbits. He did it over 1,600 times, and always found the same results. The rabbits got sick and died, or developed the same or equivalent illnesses the humans had.

One of the unique findings that I find fascinating is what sugar does to the flow of fluid in dentin. Usually the flow is outward from the inner body of the tooth. With sugar ingestion, your tooth reverses flow and dentin flow goes inward. That allows bacteria to penetrate and take up shop in your teeth. This was not discovered by Price but corroborates his findings and gives a credible explanation for how our modern diet causes so much tooth decay. He did show they then change from oxygen consuming to being able to live without oxygen, and start secreting toxins. And then, with enough of the right stress at the right time, you get sick.

WWW. What will work for me. If you have an unexplained illness, look at your teeth. Do you have gum disease? Are you losing weight and just can’t keep it on? Do you brush AND floss daily?   Are you going crazy with symptoms you can’t figure out?   If you are desperate and are grasping at straws, read this book. It may be a lifeline for you. This knowledge was discovered back in the 20s by one of our genius scientists, and got lost for 70 years. I’m certainly going to floss a lot more. And eat much less sugar.


Pop Quiz

  1. A diet heavy in sugar changes the flow of fluid in your teeth? T or F

True. It reverses it.

  1. If you have cavities, you have bacteria in your dentin (the foundation of your teeth) channels. T or F

True also.

  1. These bacteria are the same that are in your mouth at all times, but changed to being able to live without oxygen. T or F

Not fair, that’s in the book and not mentioned in this email

  1. Taking an infected tooth out of a human and culturing the dentin will results in positive bacterial growth, which, when implanted in rabbits, may duplicate the disease the human had. T or F


  1. Everyone with a root canal gets better, what’s the big deal? T or F

Maybe true in the short term, but there appears to be a strong correlation with systemic illness occurring when their immune system isn’t as robust as it is right now: after a big life stressor.