Inflammation and Aging - continued Issue#1
June 7, 2022
From the earliest prehistoric times, infection was the predominant cause of death. For example, infection is the cause of death in 60% of wild chimpanzees. Professor Finch also explains and documents every point he makes. Of his textbook’s 600 pages, at the back of his book is a 200 page bibliography of reference books and peer-reviewed scientific studies.
As Dr. Finch points out, genetics are only one factor in human longevity and health span. An even more important factor is lifestyle: epigenetics. Epigenetics (lifestyle factors) do not change our genes. Epigenetics (lifestyle factors) change the expression of our genes.
So just because you may have heart disease in your family (like me) does not mean you are automatically doomed to get heart disease. If you do not do the behaviors that turn on your “heart disease” genes. Meaning, if you do not smoke (my Dad smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day) or drink alcohol or get fat and out of shape (like my Dad) and eat massive amounts of sugar (cakes, pies, ice cream and cookies like my Dad), you won’t crank up your inflammation and turn on your “heart disease” genes.
Genetics show up in ways you may not be aware of. For example, genetics starts with your maternal grandmother. You want a lean, healthy, active maternal grandmother because the egg that became you was already in your mother when your mother was still in her mother’s (your maternal grandmother) womb before your mother was born.
Then, as both Caleb Finch and Dr. David Barker, M.D., Ph.D., point out you want a lean, active, healthy, well-nourished mother because poor nutrition in the womb and low birth weight leads to significantly higher levels of heart disease, cancer, and dementia in mid and later life.
Pregnant and lactating mothers need nutritionally rich diets of animal protein and animal fat as well as high levels of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats from animal sources like deep water fatty fish are high in EPA and especially DHA which is critical for both the fetus’s and the new growing baby’s brain.
So a big plus and a solid start genetically is your healthy, well-nourished maternal grandmother. And your healthy, well-nourished Mom.
Then it shifts over dramatically to lifestyle. Whole eggs fried in butter or bacon grease or coconut oil instead of sugar frosted flakes. Whole milk instead of coca-cola. High quality, nutrient dense fish or meat instead of a big plate of sugar euphemistically called pasta with sugar sauce on it called tomato sauce. These are the kind of lifestyle choices that quiet inflammation instead of firing it up. That quiet negative genes instead of activating toxic genes.
Then by about 18 years of age, the ball is in your court. If you were one of the fortunate few American kids whose parents did not smoke or drink alcohol or who were not fat, you hopefully learned from your parents’ healthy example.
Your parents and your maternal grandmother are the genetic part – the lottery part. For example, I.Q. is genetic. Height is genetic. For an athlete, fast twitch or slow twitch is genetic depending on whether you want to be sprinter or have a good vertical leap or you want to be a distance runner. Epigenetics, according to Dr. Finch, counts for the majority of health span.
Epigenetics (lifestyle habits) does not change your DNA, your genes. Epigenetics (your day to day lifestyle habits) changes the expression of your genes.
Example: Heart disease. Say you have a family background (like me) of heart disease. You are aware of it so your deliberately keep your 4 inflammation blood biomarkers as low as possible; keep you triglycerides under 100 (under 50 would be even healthier) and your HDL (good cholesterol) at 80 or 90 (over 100 would be even healthier), odds are you would have a long and healthy life.
But if that same person with a genetic tendency toward heart disease, smoked, drank alcohol, and ate a high carb diet (lots of pasta and rice, bread, and sugar desserts), and got fat like over 80% of Americans today, then epigenetically they are turning on lots of unhealthy genes. They are playing Russian roulette and run the risk of dying young like my Dad who dropped dead of a massive heart attack at age 46.
That’s what education is supposed to be about. We can learn from others and avoid some mistakes. If we care, we can work at having healthier lifestyle habits.
Each of us has virtually 100% control over our inflammation levels. We can monitor our 4 inflammation blood biomarkers objectively and see how we are doing. We can eat a more ketogenic diet and control our carb intake and keep our triglycerides under 100.
As you know, about 85% of all Americans are carbohydrate intolerant. All you have to do is go the mall or Disneyland and look around. All those over- weight people are people who can not tolerate carbohydrates.
We can eat more saturated fat (fatty red meat like a rib-eye steak or whole eggs fried in butter). We can eat more olive oil on our salads instead of commercial bottled salad dressings loaded with sugar and pro-inflammatory omega-6 fat like soybean oil. And we can do some full-body aerobic exercise like walking with Heavy Hands for 30-45 minutes 3-5 times a week, and really crank up our heart protective HDL cholesterol.
In addition to inflammation, we can also address the other 2 major causes of unhealthy aging: free radical damage and sugar in all its forms including alcohol.
What are free radicals? Oxygen molecules normally have 16 electrons. As part of metabolism, some of these oxygen molecules lose an electron. This is now called a singlet oxygen or a free radical. Why is this unhealthy? Singlet oxygen molecules are both voracious and indiscriminate about getting their missing electron.
Example: if a singlet oxygen combines with iron to get its missing electron, we now have iron oxide – better know as rust. The singlet oxygen ruined the iron. So you might think metaphorically of free radical damage as a kind of rust. You might thinking of one aspect of the aging process as “rusting”.
We can prevent this “rust” by taking antioxidants. Antioxidants are supplements that donate an electron to neutralize a free radical. Antioxidant supplements like vitamin C or vitamin E are like good Samaritans who neutralize bad guys.
If you go to my Online Store and scroll down, you will see the top 10 most important supplements. Several of them are antioxidants.
To be continued . . .
Next installment I will talk more in depth about sugar (the third major cause of aging) and the nasty byproducts that come from the metabolism of sugar. FYI: when sugar was originally imported from the Caribbean it was original sold as a drug.
To maximize our health span, we want to maximize nutrient density and minimize damage. A JDD shake for you and your kids is about as clean, healthy and nutrient-rich as any meal you can put into your body and your children’s bodies. So feel good about drinking one of my shakes any time.
Thank you again for your support.
I appreciate you.