A few years ago, I was invited to give the keynote speech at a charity event in Indian Wells, California. Just minutes before going on stage, a woman walked up to me, put her hand out to shake my hand, and said, “I’m Edith, 106 years old.”
Of course, I was taken aback. Remarkably, this 106-year old woman walked up to me without the assistance of a cane or walker. Her gait was brisk and assured. She related to me that, around 90 years earlier, she had attended a talk given by naturopath and chiropractor Gayelord Hauser, who later became health adviser to Hollywood stars such as Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson. In that talk, Hauser advocated a lifestyle free of grains (or, at least, that was how Edith interpreted his message). So Edith adopted this lifestyle and stuck to it over the ensuing 90 or so years. After telling me her story, she sat down and I observed during my presentation that she was conversing with 20- and 30-somethings, drinking wine, and laughing—no social isolation or slowed mentation for this centenarian.
While one woman’s experience, no matter how extraordinary, is proof of nothing, it is tempting to speculate that some of the strategies that I advocate, including avoidance of all wheat and grains, may provide advantage in maintaining youthfulness, perhaps even into our 80s, 90s, and beyond. It’s a tough premise to prove. Real proof, for instance, would require that we randomize study participants to a grain-containing or grain-avoiding diet, then observe them for, say, 40 or 50 years while chronicling various measures such as muscle mass, flexibility, gait, cognitive measures, and, of course, lifespan. As you can imagine, such a study has never been conducted and may never be conducted, given the huge logistical challenges.
There are several factors that drive aging: insulin resistance, inflammation, glycation (glucose-modification of proteins, an irreversible process), hormonal senescence, etc. Some factors are amenable to health efforts, others are not. For example, we have huge control over insulin resistance that contributes to risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, osteoarthritis, cancer, and dementia. We also have considerable control over glycation. We don’t have control over genetically-determined factors such as susceptibility to breast or kidney cancer. So we focus on the factors that are addressable with lifestyle efforts. I believe that, like Edith, we do indeed have considerable control over the phenomena of aging.
Consider the following:
- Elimination of all wheat and grains from the diet yields a marked reduction in inflammation and insulin resistance. These phenomena are measurable. You can track inflammation with blood levels of C-reactive protein, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and others. You can gauge insulin responses with fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c (aiming for a fasting glucose of 70-90 mg/dl, HbA1c of 5.0% or less). By the way, look back at all the success stories I’ve shared over the years that included before/after selfies—you can see dramatic resolution of facial skin inflammation, a reflection of body-wide inflammation, in addition to a reduction in facial dimensions (especially visible in the cheeks). We amplify these effects by addressing nutrients that are lacking in modern life, namely vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine, all of which synergize to further reduce inflammation and insulin resistance.
- Elimination of wheat and grains, supplementation with vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium all minimize glycation. Recall that glycation refers to glucose-modification of proteins, a process that is irreversible. Every time your blood glucose exceeds 100 mg/dl, as it would after, say, a bowl of oatmeal or raisin bran (typically reaching levels >150 mg/dl in a non-diabetic, 250 mg/dl or more in a diabetic), glucose reacts with the proteins of the body. In the lenses of the eyes, it leads to opacities or cataracts. In collagen of skin and joints, it makes collagen brittle and accelerates skin and joint deterioration. Glycation occurs in every organ of the body and is a major driver of aging phenomena.
- Loss of visceral fat decreases inflammation and insulin resistance further.
- Increasing your vitamin D levels not only improves insulin responses and reduces inflammation, it also reduces endotoxemia, increases telomerase activity (that maintains telomere length, an index of aging) and may positively impact something called epigenetic aging, i.e., aging determined by epigenetic phenomena that control DNA activity.
- Omega-3 fatty acids provide DHA to the brain essential for brain health and reduces endotoxemia by increasing the activity of intestinal alkaline phosphatase that helps deactivate lipopolysaccharide endotoxin. Reducing endotoxemia adds to further benefits in minimizing inflammation and insulin resistance.
- The oxytocin boost we obtain by restoring the microbe lost by most modern people, Lactobacillus reuteri, exerts positive effects on muscle, bone, testicles, vagina, brain, skin and other organs. We are witnessing increased strength, increased libido, smoother skin and other benefits with this microbe.
- The reduction in inflammation leads to greater muscle mass and helps you avoid sarcopenia, age-related loss of muscle. Greater muscle mass is a sign of youthfulness, vigor, and flexibility.
In short, the lifestyle we follow has potential to exert youth-maintaining, age-resisting effects. Also, the earlier you begin this process, the greater the benefits.
Cutting edge science. Two MD researchers discuss systemic aspects of Azheimer’s. how Dr. Dale Bredesen is curing patients, the microbiome impact on the disease and how sugar plays a major role.
Thought provoking. I am Age 67 male, natural foods oriented lifestyle since I was 16 years old. I’ve read a ton of health oriented material with a background in Biochemistry and you taught me new things. I have completed 8 weeks of eating L-Reuteri coconut yogurt every day. My sleep is deeper and longer, I am much more upbeat and positive. Morning ‘wood’ is again common. People generally have viewed me as a positive upbeat person, but it was harder since Covid to maintain that for various reasons, and now I am more generous and open with friends and business relationships. I feel happy most of the day. Its been great despite other challenges like a sewer line discharge in my basement. Previously, I’ve had lab work done from a nutritional biochemist and take among other things 1 cap of Thorne D-10,000 as that is what I need to get my D levels up to around 67 or so, I take 1 tsp of Alaskan Cod Liver Oil, 1 drop of Biotics Research Bio-Ae-Mulsion which is 12,500 IU’s of A every other day, an iodine supplement, and 1/2 teaspoon of Magnesium L-Threonate powder from Tree of Life, the only pure version of this on the market.
There was a glitch two weeks ago in that I got bit by a tick and took doxy for 10 days (just completed recently) and still some herbal antibiotics. Currently I am making my first batch of L-Reuteri, Gasseri BNR17 and Bacillus Coagulans 6086 strain using the same approach you outlined in the Supergut book for working with Coconut as the starting medium. I figure I should broaden the species of bacillus I culture given the very recent antibiotic use. I ordered extra Glass Yogurt Jars from Cuisine on Amazon to work as extras with my MV Power Yogurt maker. That way I can follow up one culture with producing another culture/mix to get more variety of Bacillus. After reading Appendix A in the book, I ordered the Schiff digestive advantage source for Bacillus Coagulans 6086 and Dr. Mercola Gasseri BNR17 to make the SIBO yogurt as a preventative. The antibiotics disturbed my gut with some bloating that I didn’t have before.
I also ordered the Ther-Biotic Synbiotic product from Klaire Labs and Sugar Shift product from Biotiquest. You mentioned in appendix A that these could be cultured. Given that I was culturing the L-Reuteri at 98F and the combo SIBO product currently at 106F for 48 hours using coconut milk. Would I culture both the Synbiotic and Sugar Shift products at 98F like the Reuteri or are either optimized at another setting? The Synbiotic company write up suggests it is an ideal recovery formulation after antibiotic usage, so I wanted to do that one next. Looking forward to your thoughts.
By the way, Dr, Davis, are you familiar with Dr. Robert Lustig?
Dr. Lustig mirrors what you write in this post talking about the Six Cellular Pathways to Longevity which are also the six pathways to chronic metabolic disease:
2. Oxidative Stress
4. Mitochondrial dysfunction
5. Insulin Resistance
6. Membrane instability
And talks about high fructose corn syrup as a poison that causes a 1000% increase in Glycation, ie accelerated aging affecting the majority of the American Population eating the standard American diet. And fructose is 7 times more likely to cause AGE’s than Glucose! As you know AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products) where sugar and amino acids result in distorted structures are a big problem thanks to our distorted food system. That feeds into Oxidative stress where chemically volatile molecules create reactive oxygen species. And AGE’s lead to diminished immune function, diminished kidney function, weakened visual function, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart disease etc. I mention Lustig because it seems to me your work and his dovetail into each other. He’s trying to wake up the Medical system and impact the American diet and the Obesity epidemic and the folks at Archer Daniel Midland, Coke, Pepsi etc… do everything they can to marginalize and discredit him. And you’ve gone beyond Lustig’s focus to help those of us who have rejected the standard American diet and sought our own path to a healthy life. But it leaves so many millions of people behind who don’t have a clue that they are causing their own misery. And just go about their lives thinking there is nothing wrong with our diet and our food.
Two inconvenient truths:
1. There is no medicalized prevention for chronic metabolic disease. There’s just long-term treatment.
2. You can’t fix healthcare until you fix health. You can’t fix health until you fix diet. And, you can’t fix diet until you know what the hell is wrong.
Robert Lustig, MD, MSL
You don’t die of obesity; you die of the diseases that “travel” with it. It’s these metabolic decompensations that make obesity the scourge that it is. Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and dementia–the things that kill you under the concept of “metabolic syndrome.
Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease
The key to the chronic disease kingdom is that there are not four separate problems (nutrition, metabolism, inflammation, immunity); there’s only one and they are all related. Screw up one and you screw up the other three.
Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine
Steve Cabana wrote: «Two MD researchers discuss systemic aspects of Azheimer’s.
Look interesting. By the way, here are two related (open) book reviews on the Inner Circle site:
Book Review: Bredesen’s “The End of Alzheimer’s”
Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine
The Inner Circle site also has some (members-only) resources specifically on cognitive decline prevention.
re: «…1 cap of Thorne D-10,000 as that is what I need to get my D levels up to around 67 or so,…»
Any idea why?
re: «I take 1 tsp of Alaskan Cod Liver Oil, 1 drop of Biotics Research Bio-Ae-Mulsion which is 12,500 IU’s of A every other day…»
CLO is not encouraged in the program as a source of Omega 3s, evidently due to the risk of hypervitaminosis A.
re: «…an iodine supplement…»
How many mcg of iodine per day?
And are TPOab & TGab known to be low?
re: «…1/2 teaspoon of Magnesium L-Threonate powder from Tree of Life, the only pure version of this on the market.»
Is there any science update (human trial) that makes a compelling case for it (vs. the Mg-bicarb form in the program mag-water)?
re: «There was a glitch two weeks ago in that I got bit by a tick…»
I don’t suppose the tick got analyzed? It’s shame to take ABs just as a precautionary measure. I had a similar unplanned AB exposure lately, and happened to have some Biotiquest Antibiotic Antidote already on hand; no idea how effective it might be.
re: «Would I culture both the Synbiotic and Sugar Shift products at 98F like the Reuteri or are either optimized at another setting?…»
BQ recommends 100°F in their own recipe (on their blog).
I haven’t found any recipe advice on the Klaire Synbiotic. As it is all familiar species (if not strains) of gut bacteria, chances are that something around body temp would do.
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