Dr Dingle's Blog / metabolism
There is little doubt about the dangers of overeating but growing research on more than half a dozen animals groups including mice, flies and worms have shown eating fewer calories can extend an animals life by up to 50%.
The latest tests have been carried out on two grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus, lemurid primate). One group had a normal diet for nine years and the other was fed a similar balanced diet that had 30 per cent fewer calories. The lifespan of the calorie-restricted lemur increased by nearly 50 per cent (from 6.4 to 9.6 years, median survival), and its motor capacities remained healthy its whole life, while its brains resembled that of a younger animal.
They reported that the calorie restricted animals had reduced aging-associated diseases and preserved loss of brain white matter in several brain regions. However, caloric restriction accelerated loss of grey matter throughout much of the cerebrum without affecting cognitive performances. What this means they are not sure.
The health benefits of chronic caloric restriction resulting in lifespan extension are well established in many short-lived species. However, the effects in humans and other primates remain unknown and controversial. Beneficial effects of caloric restriction on age-related diseases have also been reported for long-lived species, including rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). However, increased survival was only reported in one study.
At the very least this suggests that you should not over eat and as I always say make sure you eat nutrient dense foods. 50% of the diseases we now suffer are a result of what we eat.
Caloric restriction increases lifespan but affects brain integrity in grey mouse lemur primates. April 2018
In the latest study of 104 980 participants every 10% increase in processed food lead to a 12% increase in the risk of overall cancer and an 11% increase for the risk of breast cancer. 18 per cent of the group was regularly eating highly processed foods.
I see people, particularly young people who eat processed food 3 or more times a day. Junk breakfast cereals like nutrigrain, and take-aways or packet food for dinner and lunch. This is not food. These same people have a myriad of adverse health conditions and wonder why they are sick. Then later they develop cancer and wonder why. No person wants to die of cancer however with the exception of smoking, what we eat has a huge impact on our risk of cancer and of course every other form of chronic illness. This is a choice.
Processed foods often have a higher content of processed and saturated fat, added sugar and salt, along with a lower fibre and low nutrient density, with low vitamin, minerals and plant based nutrients. They contribute to inflammation, oxidation and acidosis which what feeds cancers and other chronic illness (see my book “Overcoming illness”).
In addition it has newly created carcinogenic contaminants such as acrylamide, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as a result of heat treating the food. Packaged processed foods might also contain contaminants from the wrapping including phthalates and bisphenol A or food additives sodium nitrite in processed meat, titanium dioxide (TiO2, white food pigment) or emulsifiers now linked with gut illness and thought to cause cancer.
I have written extensively on all of this in my latest book “Overcoming illness”
One of the strongest risk factors for dementia is the ε4 variant of the APOE gene. One quarter of the population carries the ε4 variant of the APOE gene, which is one of the strongest risk factors for dementia. Yet, many who carry it never develop dementia. This study examined perceptions about various aspects of old age, reduces the risk of dementia for APOE ε4 carriers as well as older individuals in general.
In this study of 4,765 Health and Retirement Study participants who were aged 60 or older and dementia-free at the beginning. Among those with APOE ε4, those with positive age beliefs were 49.8% less likely to develop dementia than those with negative age beliefs. The results of this study suggest that positive age beliefs, which are modifiable and have been found to reduce stress, can act as a protective factor, even for older individuals at high risk of dementia.
Considerable research has found that positive age beliefs predict better cognitive performance; whereas, negative age beliefs predict worse cognitive performance. The pattern of age beliefs predicting cognition has been supported many studies, together with three meta-analyses. Further, a recent study found that negative age beliefs predicted the development of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers.
Short- and long-term randomized controlled interventions conducted with older participants have shown that positive age beliefs can be bolstered and negative age beliefs can be mitigated with corresponding changes in cognitive and physical performance.
Recent studies found that negative age beliefs can exacerbate stress; in contrast, positive age beliefs can help buffer against the deleterious effects of stress. While another set of studies suggests that stress can contribute to the development of dementia.
However, underlying all this is inflammation and oxidation. The increased negative attitude leads to increased stress which leads to increased inflammation and oxidation which leads to increased dementia. Stop the downward cycle by lowering the inflammation and bolstering the positive thoughts.
Weight gain is not just a fluke; it is a symptom of Western diet and lifestyle—our thoughts and actions being out of balance with our genetics and evolution. As incredible as this may sound, the ability to modify behaviour of your genes to influence weight loss is a key concept in this book. Epigenetics is the scientific field that looks at how genes interact with our diet, environment, lifestyle and even emotions, to change the expression of our genes for better or worse—and in the case of weight gain, for worse.
In a very real sense, everything that happens in our bodies ultimately takes place on a genetic level. Nothing happens without the genes being involved, either directly or indirectly. And the way our genes are programmed is largely a product of our environment and our evolution. A large body of research clearly shows that good health, abundant energy and weight management all rely on the normal functioning of genes which, in turn, depends on a healthy environment, diet and lifestyle. The research also shows that you can improve your weight and health, regardless of the genes with which you are born. You are not stuck with genes that make you gain weight.
Many of today’s health problems result from what amounts to a collision between ancient genetics and modern, highly processed foods. Our genes are routinely exposed to genetically unfamiliar foods and chemicals, and they respond abnormally, such as by triggering inflammation, chronic illness, low energy and weight gain. We evolved in a rich environment full of nutrient-dense foods and only the stress of the hunt—a very different scenario than our lives today. In times past, every calorie consumed came with large amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats, relatively little starch and almost no grain. Many ancient diets were extraordinarily diverse, including up to a hundred different types of plant foods, as well as scores of land animals, many species of fish and wild bird eggs.
Today, we are living out of balance, and paying the price. It doesn’t take much to put on extra weight. Even small disturbances in energy balance may lead to the onset of obesity.
Diabetes type 2 is just a symptom of a diseased lifestyle. It is probably our body’s mechanism to store food in times of food shortages (which we needed as hunter-gatherers when food shortage was a frequent occurrence). Now we have too much of the wrong food all of the time. The signs and symptoms of diabetes, including thirst and fatigue, are just messages to tell us to change. If we don’t change then we develop insulin resistance, which tells us that we already have too much food (energy) stored in the cell and to stop sending in the sugar. By this time we may have spent 10 or 20 years not listening to the body’s messages. Under normal conditions, our cells take the sugar out of the blood to provide us with the energy our cells need to function. If the sugar remains in the bloodstream, it causes damage to the blood and to cells in the blood. But when there is too much energy stored in the cells, the cells stop taking the sugar in, because we just can’t use any more. Blood sugar levels are also one of the best predictors of dementia later in life.
Although inflammation, oxidation and acidosis (IOA) are natural and essential for a healthy body, they can be seriously problematic if they become chronic and reoccurring as a result of our body being out of balance. Recent studies have established that the three conditions combined are a leading pathogenic force in the development of chronic diseases—including diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases (including asthma and arthritis), osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, dementia and even depression, obesity and premature ageing.
In modern medicine, we treat the condition that occurs down the line, such as diabetes, by giving the person blood-sugar-lowering drugs. This lowers the blood sugar but does not treat the condition that is causing the diabetic problem. The problem is not high levels of sugar in the blood; it is the damage that has been done, often over decades, by poor diet and lifestyle that have led to chronic inflammation, oxidation and acidosis, the combination of which eventually results in high blood sugar. High blood sugar is just the symptom; the damage is in the cells—in our powerhouse called the mitochondria—and is the result of inflammation, oxidation and acidosis.
Here is another nail in the coffin of the cholesterol theory. For the last 40 years the cholesterol theory (yes theory) has continued to change to suit the growing evidence against it. In science if a theory is disproved it is tossed out. Not this one. It keeps being reborn and of course you are now told it is the oxidized LDL cholesterol. And it is. But the problem is not the cholesterol it is the oxidation which leads to inflammation. Stop the oxidation and stop the inflammation.
The study—which monitored more than 10,000 heart patients—was inspired by the observation that around half of the people who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels and that lowering cholesterol has no significant reduction in mortality. The study showed that reducing inflammation without affecting lipid (cholesterol) levels reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the study they used a drug, canakinumab, involving 10,061 patients with previous heart attack (myocardial infarction) and a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein- inflammation. At a follow-up of 3.7 years, the incidence rate for heart attacks was 4.50 percent in the placebo group, 4.11 and about 3.90 percent for the higher dose groups. In medicine this is seen as breakthrough and a 16% reduction. The need for by-pass surgery and angioplasty was also reduced by 30 per cent. Cholesterol-lowering statins have a far lower success rate.
However, Canakinumab was associated with a higher incidence of fatal infection than was placebo, that is one in every 1,000 participants suffered a fatal infection. In other words, 10 people died as a direct result of taking the drug. There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality (canakinumab vs. placebo). The cost of the drug treatment is estimated to be more than $65000 US a year.
Despite the results the take-home message is that it is not cholesterol it is inflammation, cholesterol, is associated with CVD but not the cause. The real take home message is that inflammation is best controlled through diet and lifestyle.
In today’s busy and hectic society many see sleep as a luxury rather than what it is – a necessity. More and more people are working overtime, and shift work trying to juggle a busy family life around their work. Along with this, it is not unusual for both parents to be working full time. The advent of our 24/7 society has pushed regular sleep to the side. Because of this, many men and women (and even children) wrongly consider sleep a waste of time.
Sleep is an essential element of the human body, without it we cannot survive. Getting enough sleep is associated with energy, joy, optimistic thinking and coping with negative emotions. Despite this almost 90 percent of Australians suffer from some type sleep disorder at some stage of their lives. Of these, 30 percent suffer from severe sleep disorders. Very few people regularly enjoy the amount or quality of sleep that they need. The estimated economic costs to the country from this are between $3 billion and $7 billion annually. There are also huge, unmeasured physical, psychological, emotional and social costs.
Sleep is complicated in the way that there are many different factors that influence the effectiveness of sleep. It’s not just duration that determines the effectiveness of said sleep, factors such as quality, frame of mind and deepness all contribute to the maximum desired outcome and even our perception of how we sleep. Many factors can play a part in the quality and quantity of our sleep and to maximise our sleep time an understanding of this is essential.
On average a healthy person will spend around one third of their life sleeping (Duman et al, 2009). Sleep is considered a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes will usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost resulting in a decrease in bodily movements and responsiveness to external stimuli (Blanch et al, 2009). Inadequate hours of good quality sleep leads to a disruption to vital biological processes resulting in a decrease in cognitive function mental and physical health (Anderson et al, 2009) including impaired work performance due to a decrease in attention, judgement and responsible decision making (Volkow, 2009).
Why we sleep
Mammals are naturally diurnal animals and sleep for humans are broken into two distinct phases. These phases, Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM), represent the depth of sleep and electrical activity in the central nervous system (CNS) (Cirelli & Tononi, 2008). However, sleep is a heightened anabolic state where rejuvenation of many organ systems occurs, especially the immune and nervous systems. NREM is further broken into phases one to three during which have different waves of sleep and cognitive perceptions, phase one for example is associated with hyper‑CNS responses. During this phase the body may quickly jerk out of steep and this will be felt as a falling sensation (Walsh, 2009). Various genetic mutations have been associated with sleep including DEC2 mutations that lower the sleep requirement from eight hours to six and the 600072 prion gene that predisposes to Fatal Familial Insomnia (Kniff in, 2009; McKusick and Kniffin, 2009). The natural circadian rhythms of the body are a result of variations in levels of circulating melatonin hormone, from the pineal gland, and also adenosine levels which increase over the course of the day (Imeri & Opp, 2009).
Among the theories on why humans sleep, scientists have proposed the following:
Sleep may be a way of recharging the brain. The brain has a chance to shut down and repair neurons and to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to lack of activity or over activity.
Sleep gives the brain an opportunity to reorganize data to help find a solution to problem, process newly learned information and organize and archive memories.
Sleep lowers a person’s metabolic rate and energy consumption.
The cardiovascular system also gets a break during sleep. People with normal or high blood pressure experience a 20 to 30% reduction in blood pressure and 10 to 20% reduction in heart rate.
During sleep, the body has a chance to replace chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and aging or dead cells.
In children and young adults, growth hormones are released during deep sleep (World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies
Immune function is highest when we sleep
Detoxing. There appear to be “hidden caves” inside the brain, which open up during sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The research discovered “hidden caves” inside the brain, which open up during sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The interstitial spaces in the mouse’s brain took up only 14% of the brain’s volume while it was awake. Yet, while it slept, this increased by almost two-thirds to take up fully 23% of the brain’s total volume. The effect is that potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid, are cleared twice as fast during sleep as during waking. While many neurological diseases, like strokes and dementia, are associated with problems sleeping. It could be that lack of sleep, and restriction of the brain’s cleaning system, may cause toxic metabolites to building up, leading to long-term damage.
Most likely we sleep for a combination of these reasons
Part 2 and more coming
Obvious symptoms of sleep deprivation constant yawning and the tendency to doze off when not active for a while; for example, when watching television, Grogginess when waking in the morning Sleepy grogginess experienced all day long (sleep inertia) Poor concentration and mood changes (more irritable).
Some of the physical effects found from long term fatigue are heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders and depression (Workplace health and safety QLD, 2008). A study conducted by Andersen involving rats also showed sleep deprivation affects the expression of genes related to metabolic processes, response to stimulus and signalling pathways (Andersen et al, 2009).
Numerous studies have shown that even a little bit of sleep deprivation decreases efficiency and increases risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Sleep deprivation has been shown to negatively affect endocrine (hormones) and metabolic functioning as well as nervous system balance (Nilsson, et al., 2004). Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased concentration of cortisol plus other indicators of increased stress such as elevations in pulse rate, body temperature and adrenaline secretion (Vgontzas, et al.,1999). Sleep deprivation also appears to increase blood concentrations of certain chemicals called cytokines and C-reactive proteins (Irwine, 2001 and Vgontzas, et al., 1998), indicating an inflammatory reaction. The effect of unremitting low-grade inflammation may be to damage the inner walls of the arteries, which sometimes leads to vessel narrowing, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease (Irwine, 2001). During truncated sleep, your heart might have to work harder, constricting blood vessels and increasing blood pressure even more, which could conceivably result in a heart attack or stroke (Martins, 2003).
Sleep is as important to the human body as food and water, but most of us don’t get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep or disruptions to the sleep contribute to adverse health effects. Numerous studies have also shown that even a little bit of sleep deprivation decreases efficiency and increases risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease.
Initial changes to cardiovascular system from insomnia include hypertension, which is a potent co‑morbidity for other cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension has been linked to reduced sleep duration, with the highest correlation shown under 6 hours sleep per night (Gottlieb et al. 2006). However, associations have also been made between sleep of over 9 hours per night and hypertension and obesity. Furthermore this has not been supported at all in some studies and PPI in one older North American population actually showed a reduced risk of hypertension (Phillips, BOková and Enrigh, 2009.).
A study of 71,617 female health professionals found that sleeping fewer than five hours per night was associated with a 39 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease; even six hours per night showed an increase of 18 percent compared to sleeping eight hours per night (Najib, et al., 2003). In an analysis of data on more than one million people, the levels of nearly all forms of death were two-and-a-half times higher for people who slept four hours or less compared to those who slept between seven and eight hours on average
A study of 71,617 female health professionals found that sleeping fewer than five hours per night was associated with a 39 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease; even six hours per night showed an increase of 18 percent compared to sleeping eight hours per night. In an analysis of data on more than one million people, the levels of nearly all forms of death were two-and-a-half times higher for people who slept four hours or less compared to those who slept between seven and eight hours on average
Experimentally, sleep deprivation has been shown to negatively affect glucose metabolism and to enhance factors associated with Type 2 diabetes (Nilsson, et al., 2004). Research has also shown that people who experience sleep disorders were as much as three times as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes (Kawakami, 2004). Subjects in one study demonstrated impaired glucose tolerance for ten days after four hours of sleep deprivation (Spiegel, et al.,1999). It is also found that sleep deprivation can play a role in obesity. Sleep deficits bring about physiologic changes in the hormonal signals that promote hunger and, perhaps thereby, obesity (Spiegel, et al., 2004). One study found that after two days of sleep curtailment the subjects had reduced levels of the fat-derived hormone leptin and increased levels of the stomach-derived hormone ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for regulating hunger and appetite (Spiegel, et al., 2004). These hormonal differences are likely to increase appetite, which could help explain the relative high BMI in short sleepers.
Part 5 and more coming
Coffee, one of the world's most consumed beverages, has potential antiaging effects.
A recent study in mice confirms a lot of the human studies that aged mice that consumed either caffeine-containing regular or decaffeinated coffee had decreased plasma-free fatty acids (blood fat levels) and increased metabolism which is closely associated with aging, in the liver. In addition, consumption of regular coffee increased the food and water intake, locomotor activity, volume of oxygen consumption, and respiration exchange ratio of aged mice.
Moreover, coffee consumption by the aged population had a positive effect on behavioral energy and lipid metabolism.
Coffee includes a wide array of components that can have potential implication on health including caffeine, chlorogenic acids and diterpenes. The information gathered in recent years has generated a new concept of coffee, one which does not match the common belief that coffee is mostly harmful. While there are still some concerns about coffee consumption during pregnancy and the effects of caffeine on the young (kids), there is a significant positive impact of coffee on the cardiovascular system, and on the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is also important to note that science is not black or white on most topics related to health as there are too many confounding factors to consider. That is why there will never be a definitive study to prove coffee is good or bad.
The good news for those coffee drinkers is that contrary to previous beliefs, the various forms of arterial cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) or heart insufficiency seem unaffected by coffee intake. Coffee is associated with a reduction in the incidence of diabetes and liver disease. Protection seems to exist also for Parkinson's disease among the neurological disorders, while its potential as an osteoporosis risk factor is under debate. Its effect on cancer risk depends on the tissue concerned, although it appears to favour risk reduction and lowering the risk of cancer overall. Overall coffee consumption seems to reduce mortality and the biggest benefits appear to be as we age. Personally , while it might be beneficial s we age I love the smell but don’t like the taste so I will stick to my tea.
From a cardiovascular standpoint, coffee consumption reduces the risks of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension, as well as other conditions associated with cardiovascular risk such as obesity and depression; but it may adversely affect lipid (fat) profiles depending on how the beverage is prepared, especially if prepared with lots of sugar. Moreover, large epidemiological studies suggest that regular coffee drinkers have reduced risks for mortality—both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The potential benefits also include protection against neurodegenerative diseases, improved asthma control, and lower risk of some gastrointestinal diseases. A daily intake of about 2 to 3 cups of coffee appears to be safe and is associated with beneficial effects for most of the studied health outcomes.
In 2015 The EU banned the use of 4 phthalates (butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)) but companies could seek—and have obtained—continued-use authorizations if there are no safer alternatives. However, very recently on June 20 2017, the EU went further and voted to remove the chemicals from consumer products that contain the phthalates at levels greater than 0.1% by weight by getting rid of any exemptions.
Phthalates are industrial chemicals often used to soften plastics in toys, household items such as food containers, and medical devices as well as construction materials, floorings, paints, lubricating oils, wood finishes, detergents, industrial plastics, pharmaceuticals, and as a plasticizer for polyvinyl chloride products. Phthalates have been increasingly added to cosmetic products such as perfumes, lotions, hairsprays, moisturisers, nail polish, deodorants, and ingredients in makeup, shampoos and soaps. They are used primarily at concentrations of less than 10% as plasticizers in products such as nail polishes (to reduce cracking by making polished nails less brittle) and hairsprays (to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair) and as solvents and perfume fixatives in various other products. Phthalates produce oily textures in lotions and they contribute to making skin feel soft and helping lotions penetrate deeper into the skin.
Some phthalates are included in personal care products because of their ability to hold colour, denature alcohol, and fix fragrance. Phthalates are also used as a fragrance base and as components of fragrances to make scents last longer. If a product’s label lists “fragrance” or “parfum,” it’s possible, even probable, that it contains phthalates (and parabens), as companies are not required to disclose fragrance components. Fragrance has emerged as the strongest predictor among PCPs of urinary concentrations of certain phthalate metabolites. In a 2012 study, the highest concentration of one particular phthalate was found in fragrance/perfume and car air freshener. Other products with high concentrations include car interior cleaner, tub/tile cleaner, bar soap, shaving cream, and lipstick. Interestingly, three different phthalates were found in so-called “alternative” products. These compounds may have been introduced as substitutes for the better-known anti-androgenic (testosterone) phthalates, even though they are also endocrine-disrupting chemicals. An “alternative” shaving cream contained five different phthalates, illustrating the potential for simultaneous exposures to multiple phthalates, which act cumulatively and may act synergistically. What is worrying is that none of the products that were tested had “phthalate” on the label—including personal care products, which by law are required to list phthalates unless they are part of a secret fragrance ingredient. However, the conventional nail polish sample with measurable phthalate contained a product labelled “phthalic anhydride copolymer” which is just another phthalate. Phthalates are seldom listed on product labels in most countries because current regulations do not require listing individual fragrance components. It is obvious now that products marketed as “natural” may also contain phthalates, even though the consumer believes them to be “chemical-free.”