Can We Reverse Aging?

Biological Age Reversed with Diet, Lifestyle

An 8 – week diet and lifestyle treatment that measures DNA methylation age (DNAmAge test) was given to 18  men, aged 50 to  72. The diet was a plant-based, low carbohydrate diet with limited animal proteins. The diet was supplemented with a vegetable and fruit powder and a probiotic.

The lifestyle group was advised to do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise daily and to perform breathing exercises twice daily to reduce stress.

Note: DNA methylation is a chemical reaction that takes place when a methyl group attaches to DNA, changing the expression of a gene to which it is attached. The DNAmage test is considered the most accurate method to assess whether an intervention (s) is slowing or reversing biological aging.

The healthy diet/lifestyle group had scores averaging 1.96 years younger at the end of the program than at the beginning, while control participants averaged 1.27 years older at the end. It was not reported what treatment if any was given to the control group. The difference between the healthy diet/lifestyle group and the controls was 3.23 biological years. The results showed us that diet and other lifestyle factors (exercise, stress reduction) can affect human health and lifespan. This supports the science of epigenetics and that nature and nurture interact to affect many aspects of our lives. For more on DNA methylation, SEARCH THIS BLOG FOR DNA, METHYLATION, EPIGENETICS, GENE EXPRESSION.

Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Apr 12;13(7):9419-9432

You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: What You Need to Know About Nutrition, Experience, Epigenetics & the Origins of Chronic Disease.

More About Garlic?

I am not a promoter of supplements except in situations when you don’t want to smell like a raw garlic bulb every day.

More Good News for Garlic Lovers

Editors Note: Metabolic syndrome is becoming a marker for good health especially in the older population; however its presence can occur even in younger people. It is diagnosed as having three of the following disorders: high triglycerides, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and low levels of HDL cholesterol. These disorders collectively are thought to contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease

A randomized clinical trial included 90 men and women with metabolic syndrome were supplemented with tablets containing 1600 mg of garlic powder daily for three months, or a placebo.

Garlic supplementation Improves metabolic syndrome. Phytother Res. 2021, May 11.

In the garlic group, results were as follows:

All parameters were reduced along with appetite, fatty liver index,and waist circumference. Additionally,  beneficial HDL cholesterol was significantly higher than at the beginning of the study compared to the placebo group. 

The Power of Plant-Based Nutrients. Life Extension, October, 2021.

“Then, there is cancer. Compounds in garlic have been shown in many laboratory studies to be chemoprotecive. Epidemiological studies shows a decreased risk in stomach and colon cancer in areas where consumption of garlic is high. An article In the Journal of Nutrition stated that “evidence continues to point to the anticancer properties of fresh garlic extracts, aged garlic, garlic oil.”

Source: Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. 2007.

What Does Organic actually Mean?

Organic Foods

  • What does any label that says “organic” mean? What are the criteria for organic certification?

USDA rules for qualifying as organic. 

Plants:

  • Must be grown in soils not treated with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for at least three years
  • Cannot be fertilized with sewer sludge
  • Cannot be treated with radiation
  • Cannot be grown from genetically modified seeds or contain genetic modified ingredients

Animals:

  • Cannot be raised in “factory-like” confinement conditions
  • Cannot be given antibiotics or hormones to prevent disease or promote growth.
  • Must be given feed products that are 100% organic.

Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The Good and the Bad

FOOD, FACTS and FADS

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Fat is a key nutrient in our diet and is often the first thing you may note on a food label. Most foods contain a mixture of many different types of fat: the commonest are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two major families: omega-6 and omega-3’s. Are some good and some bad.? This conundrum is often debated among nutritionists and still a definitive answer remains elusive.

What exactly are the omega-6 and omega 3 fats?

We have to begin with the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, linoleic (omega-6) (LA) and alpha linolenic acids (omega-three) (ALA). They are called essential because they cannot be made in the body and must be acquired from the diet.

Linoleic acid (LA) is required for growth, healthy skin and normal functioning of the reproductive system and is a structural part of cell membranes. Foods high…

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A Lesson from the “Limeys”

A Brief History of Vitamin C

The vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy,  was the scourge of armies, navies, and explorers throughout history. It particularly affected those sailors on long voyages who had little access to fresh fruits and vegetables (high in Vitamin C). Despite some recommendations of transporting these foods on their voyages, 10,000 British sailors died of scurvy in 1594. A Scottish physician, James Lind serving in the British Navy had an idea and developed a “crude”experiment on an upcoming long voyage.

To set the stage for this experiment, a historic account is given us from a 16th century surgeon who describes the scourges of scurvy:

It rotted all my gums, which gave out a black and putrid blood. My thighs and lower legs were black and gangrenous, and I was forced to use my knife each day to cut into the flesh in order to release this black and foul blood. I also used my knife on my gums, which were livid and growing over my teeth…

William Faloon. Misconeptions about Vitamin C, Life Extension: The Science of a Healthier Life, November 2021

James Lind did his clinical trial aboard HMS Salisbury in 1847.  He took 6 groups of two sailors with scurvy and gave the following treatments:

Group 1: A quart of hard cider a day

Group 2: 25 drops of vitriol (sulphuric acid)

Group 3: Six spoonful’s of vinegar

Group 4: Half a pint of seawater

Group 5: Two oranges and a lemon (ran out of fruit in a week) but recovered from scurvy in six days. There were no signs of scurvy prevention in any of the other groups (to my knowledge).

Group 6: Spice blend

(The cure of scurvy should have been obvious but Lind wanted to fit his observation into the prevailing ideas of the model of humors as the basic model of disease (described above).   This idea of humors had been around since the Ancient Greeks and taught that the body contains four fluids (the humors – phlegm, blood, yellow bile, black bile) associated with certain personalities (phlegmatics, sanguine, choleric and melancholy). Lind thought that scurvy was associated with the build up of black bile due to blocked sweat ducts and downplayed the power of his discovery to a paragraph buried in the middle of a long book. Despite this the British Navy progressively eliminated  scurvy over the remainder of the century using lime juice and were called “limeys”. The rest  of the world did not heed the lesson of  the limeys. In the mid—19th century, during the U.S. Civil War, scurvy was rampant.  Science moves very slowly. (SJF)

“In the original timeline (OTL, our world), germ theory wasn’t even on the radar until 1847, when Ignaz Semmelweis made the connection between puerperal fever and doctor hygiene (or lack thereof). This was the first strong proof for germs being the cause of disease, but his theory was ridiculed by the scientific community. It took over ( at least) 30 years before the germ theory was accepted as fact.” Wikipedia.

Go for the Garlic

First cultivated over 5000 years ago, this Central Asia native has a reputation as a culinary and medicinal star in traditional medicine for centuries.  Ancient cultures used garlic to aid the heart and digestion, as well as improved physical strength. And don’t forget its famous ability to ward off vampires and even Dracula himself. (Just kidding). This potent powerhouse enlivens the flavor and nutrition of any dish, leaving a lasting impact on the palate as well as the breath.

It’s a good source of vitamins minerals and anti-antioxidants-  one small bulb packs 7% DV based on 2000 calories per day of heart healthy vitamin B6 and 23% DV and 15% DV respectively of manganese and vitamin C, known to protect against damaging free radicals. That comes with 1 bulb with 42 calories.

“Wild garlic has been widely touted for its heart protection, the research on proven benefits is conflicting. However a recent meta analysis of more than 100 studies provided consistent evidence that garlic powder reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and blood pressure. Garlic also has been linked to the fight against some cancers. A study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that high intake of allium (the active ingredient) vegetables is likely to reduce the risk of cancer, though more research is needed to confirm this effect.”

“When using fresh garlic bulbs choose tight, firm bulbs with dry, unbroken skin. Keep it uncovered in a dark dry place and it will stay fresh for about a month. Chopping, mincing, and smashing activate garlic’s healthful properties. Enjoy fresh raw garlic pureed into creamy hummus or other healthy dips; roasted releases its creamy sweetness;  spread on crackers or mix with steamed vegetables or add minced to salad dressings.”

Source:

Lori Zanteson. Environmental Nutrition, Volume: EN20-DGGENSC

Garlic Bulbs in Bangkok

Where’s the Pork?

” I am not a vegan, but I tend to be aware of the importance of how and what we eat in terms of sustainability, a respect for animal welfare and the impact of food on our environment.” FROM ABOUT THIS BLOG : FOOD, FACTS AND FADS.

Now is the time to “practice what we preach”. It will be interesting to see what happens in California. I am on the side of the animals (pigs, chickens, and veal calves).

CLICK HERE.

What Exactly is Herd Immunity?

This morning after reading the latest from our local paper on Covid stats (Citizen Times, Thursday, July 29, 2021) CitzenTimes.com., an opinion article authored by Eugene Robinson, Columnist was titled “The unvaccinated are testing our luck.” With a background of teaching college level courses in Infectious disease, I was drawn to the article that featured herd immunity, which in my opinion, is not well defined on our media.

Quote from the first paragraph:

“It is hard to know how deadly and disruptive the COVID-19 surge brought on by the delta variant will ultimately prove to be. But one thing is clear: It is completely unnecessary. The vast majority of those who now get sick have only themselves to blame.”

Quote from the last paragraph:

“Any effective investment in getting the nation and the world to herd immunity will ultimately be worthwhile. And it is in everyone’s interest to save anti-vaxxers from their own wrongheaded stubborness.”

Please read for more, Click HERE.

When the Prescription is a Recipe?

“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”  This famous quote is often attributed to Hippocrates. But, as research by Diana Cardenas in 2013 shows, this quote can not be found anywhere in Hippocrates’ writings. Diana Cardenas discovered that the quote started to emerge from 1926 on and really started to get popular in the 1970s.

There are good reasons for the quote to go round, though. Hippocrates considered nutrition one of the main tools that a doctor can use. More than that, dietary measures play a lead part in the original oath of Hippocrates. I

But the original Greek oath, literally translated, says: “I will apply dietetic and lifestyle measures to help the sick to my best ability and judgment; I will protect them from harm and injustice.”

The dietetic and lifestyle measures are just one word in Greek, διαιτήμασί (pronounce as “deaytimasy”). You may recognize the word “diet” in there. It means as much as a lifestyle regime, with a focus on diet. Exercise is also part of it. Sometimes it is just translated as: dietetic measures.

“Recently, some medical doctors and communities have taken this idea literally and have brought the nutrition to the patient. Sprawling across 2,658 square feet, three stories up Boston Medical Center’s rooftop farm produces more than 25 varieties of crops and houses three beehives to aid in pollination. From collards and chard to radishes, carrots, bok choy and more, the farm supplies the hospital with 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of fresh produce during the brief Massachusetts growing season. More than half goes to the Boston Preventive Food Pantry, which now serves more than 22,000 families annually. The rest is used in hospital meals and the on-site teaching kitchen that offers free culinary classes for staff, patients and their families.” Source: Farming at New Heights, by Pooja Makhijani. Eating Well, June, 2021.

The goal of these innovative programs is to get nutritious food to people who maybe cannot afford or have access to them to ultimately help to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

For more CLICK HERE.

The Med Diet and Inflammation

Believe it or not inflammation starts as a good thing. It happens when your immune system sends white blood cells and compounds like eicosanoids to attack invading viruses, bacteria and toxins. This can result in a classic example of totally normal inflammation:  Pain, heat, redness and swelling around a wound or an injury.

According to Barry Sears, PhD,  creator of the Zone diet, “there’s a separate response called resolution that is the first phase of inflammation that causes cellular destruction and the second phase resolution that begins cellular repair.  As long as those phases are balanced, you stay well. But for more and more of us, balance never happens. That’s because sugar, refined grains and saturated fat can also trigger an inflammatory immune response and the typical US standard diet is packed with them, meaning every time we eat, we are inflaming our bodies over and over. Meanwhile, the average American gets way too little of fruits and non-starchy veggies which are packed with antioxidants that help cool things down as well as fatty fish with omega-3 fats that can reduce the intensity of the initial inflammatory response and can help move your body into the second phase of resolution (cellular repair).

But the plan with the most research behind it is the traditional Mediterranean diet. Several large studies have found that people who follow a Mediterranean pattern of eating have lower levels of the inflammatory markers, C reactive protein and interleukin 6, in their blood compared with those who don’t. “This may be one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is linked to so many health benefits, from keeping weight down to slashing heart and stroke risks, says Frank Hu, MD , professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

“Air pollution and environmental toxins also trigger your immune system this way but most of the chronic, extra inflammation in our bodies is diet related” says Sears  “in arteries chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, in the brain it’s linked to anxiety and depression, in your joints, it causes swelling and pain, in the gut inflammation throws off balance of helpful bacteria and causes direct damage to the lining of the intestines.”

“You don’t have to follow any specific anti-inflammatory (AI ) diet to make a big difference; a healthy body is built to handle the occasional onslaught of inflammation;  It’s the regular, consistent consumption and over-consumption of inflammatory foods like sugar and saturated fat that’s linked to serious disease” says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A 2012 study of nearly 2000 people, for example, found that those who ate the most sweets over two years had significantly higher levels of interleukin-6  (an inflammatory marker) than people who ate more veggies fruits and whole grains.

Follow these guidelines on most days

Limit added sugar and sweet drinks. A small study in 2005, people who were fed a high-sugar diet for 10 weeks compared to controls had significantly elevated blood levels of an inflammatory marker that in high concentrations is associated with diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and obesity.

 Aim for half to 2/3 of your plate to be non-starchy vegetables as they are packed with gut balancing fiber and powerful antioxidants.

  Eat fatty fish (salmon, tuna)  or take omega-3 supplements (at least 1000 milligrams daily).

“Cut out white flour and limit flour-based foods. Focus on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and bulgur wheat. Even 100% whole grain flour will cause a spike in blood sugar that exacerbates inflammation, especially for people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, or diabetes,”  Dr. Sears says.

Choose fats carefully. Limit saturated fats like butter and skip vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fats, such as safflower oil and corn oils. (Read ingredient labels). Go for olive oil, avocado oil, or walnut oil instead.

NOTE: Americans came to consume more than 18 billion pounds of soybean oil by 2001 – more than 80 percent of all oils eaten in the U.S – and most of that soybean oil was partially hydrogenated, containing a hefty load of trans fat (not heart healthy).  It is mainly used in processed foods. Source: Nina Teicholz. “The Big Fat Surprise,” 2014,  page 237-238.