No announcement yet.

Ask a biochemist.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • thank you so much - this is a rear succsess story - we were just eating salmon and lamb and lots of butter and cheeses, tomorrow will buy 5000iud D3 capsules for him and statins went down the toilet just a second ago- a 80yo grok to be born. better late than never. this is a wonderful community and your advice is greatly appreciated.
    challenge yourself
    i blog here


    • MG:

      I have a question that I haven't seen yet.

      When fasting, people will say "Uh oh, your body is going to go into starvation mode." How long does it really take for your body to enter into actual 'starvation mode'. I need some ammo here!

      Great's like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
      I grok, therefore I am.


      • MG, I am not sure if you are familiar with Dr. Ayer's Blog (here's the link in case you're not). I know it is possible to suffer from chronic inflammation as a result of prior infections, for example, regardless if the infection is still there or not. In other words, some tissues "remember" the infection or damage and persist in a heightened state of inflammation even past the healing stage.

        This might overlap too much with the medical field, but could you elaborate about this "memory" and the resulting inflammatory processes?

        “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
        "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


        • Hi MG. . .I noticed in one of the earlier posts that the emphasis of your studies is in aging, so I'd like to get your perspective. I'm "aging" (58), and certainly have friends my age or older, the majority of whom are firmly entrenched in CW/pharma land. When people talk about the effects of aging, my response is generally, "It's not aging so much as what we have been doing to our bodies for X number of years." Any thoughts on that? Anything besides the Primal Blueprint that contributes? Are wrinkles, gray hair, weight gain, muscle loss, memory loss inevitable but slowed down by a paleo lifestyle?

          Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! P.S. Any plans once you finish the PhD? Will you be a primal crusader?


          • @ LovestoClimb

            "Your body is going into starvation mode"? That's the idea. You're getting your body to adapt to the stress and allocate more resources to repair and maintenance. The thing is, "starvation mode" doesn't happen all at once. The positive effects kick in starting at about 8 hours, with most of the benefits by 15 hours. The detrimental effects, like muscle wasting or metabolic slowdown, however, require diminished calorie intake for nearly 72 hours. You're getting the benefits of your body hunkering down and preparing for survival, but without the bad aspects.

            @ Serialsinner

            I've heard of the phenomenon, but I'm not aware of its cause. I couldn't seem to find an explanation (or a reference to it) on Dr. Ayers' blog. I hesitate to admit defeat, but I'm uncertain whether anybody actually understands why yet. If you can point me toward even a partial explanation (or an explanation which might not be in layman's terms), I'll be happy to follow up, but I'm coming up empty here.

            My guess would be that bacterial infections lastingly alter gene expression of inflammation-associated proteins, but it could be something more exotic than that.

            @ Catalina

            I'm in the camp that believes that the evidence supports the contention that aging is the accumulation of damage over time as the result of a variety of metabolic processes. Some of this damage is avoidable by simply not blowing out your insulin system (for example), some of it is minimizable by keeping blood sugar and amino acids low, restricting calories or fasting periodically. Some of it is inevitable without radical intervention.

            Very little of it is, at present, reversible. I'm doing my best to change that. I've seen a convincing case made that all the breakthroughs necessary to reverse the bulk of aging damage as we currently understand it have already been made, and the only real issue is application and ironing out the kinks (not that that's trivial by any means).

            You'll do well as far as slowing down the aging process if you:
            A) Eat a paleo diet and make an effort to get plenty of the nutrients we need
            B) Restrict calories or fast (I believe fasting is a superior approach for a number of reasons)
            C) Keep blood sugar low (occasional spikes are ok, possibly good) and don't eat overcooked meat
            D) Consume foods like wine, cacao, blueberries, pomegranate, green tea, and turmeric which keep bodily repair processes heavily upregulated
            E) Continue intense weightlifting sessions to the extent that you are able and walk frequently
            F) Keep your mind engaged and maintain social ties
            G) Reduce stress and pursue what makes you happy

            If you have some money to throw at the problem of keeping yourself around, there are also a lot of nutrients and other compounds which are increasingly poorly absorbed or assembled as you age which can benefit you if you supplement them.

            After I finish my PhD, I think that I'm probably going to pursue the development of therapies and interventions which reverse aging damage, but that doesn't wholly preclude the possibility that I'll be able to spread the word about living closer to our natural state. There are lots of chances to mention something like that in the introductory literature review of scholarly papers...
            Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

            Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread


            • Thanks for the answer MG. You are right on that dr. Ayers does not seem to elaborate on the causes or mechanisms of this "memory". He has a lot of interesting stuff on gut biofilms though, you might find it interesting.

              I am also inclined to link it to an epigenetic disorder caused by some sort of permanent membrane receptor damage or change on the cell's immediate proximity. Or maybe the prolonged stimulus ends up in the cell overriding an existing and no longer functioning [stop] codon....

              I specialized in ecophysiology and haven't done research in a long time so I and am by no means qualified to elaborate on any of this. Interesting stuff though.
              “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
              "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


              • Thanks very much MG. That's what I was looking for, the point at which there are diminishing returns. Now I have some ammo when people get all freaky when they hear about fasting.

                You're a precious resource around here MG! Keep up the good work!
                I grok, therefore I am.


                • Thanks, MG--cool info! I think I'm doing pretty well on most of those (except maybe stress--gotta get that meditation practice going.)

                  Can you elaborate on the "low amino acids" idea? What makes them high? I hear of getting in "essential amino acids" and that alpha lipoic acid is cruicial, GLA good for menopausal women, etc.

                  Thanks! You're a gem!! You're definitely getting into a great field--especially with all of us baby boomers rapidly aging; we will be a large group of unruly seniors!!


                  • On the topic of aging. I'm 21 years old. I have heard that until about age 30, the body can produce its own ubiquinol. How much benefit would I reap from supplementing with non-reduced Coq10 at my age? And is this really my only small window of opportunity to use the non-reduced version or can supplementing while young slow the decline of the mechanism which does the converting?

                    I currently take Alpha-lipoic acid and do as much as I can to maximize glutathione, but I have to wonder about the merits of supplementing with CoQ10 outright.

                    edit: Also, how is the body's ability to store monolaurin converted from lauric acid long-term? Basically, does it act like fat-soluble or water-soluble vitamins? Do I have to keep eating coconut frequently or will I have stored up a monolaurin reserve to last a so-called coconut drought?

                    And what are your thoughts on the vitamin a blocking vitamin d thing? Would it be a good idea to take one weekly mega-dose of cod-liver oil to fill up the vitamin a reserves without interfering with vitamin d most days? Does it even work like that?
                    Last edited by Stabby; 04-10-2010, 07:15 PM.
                    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


                    • MG: Another question about fasting...are there any benefits of doing a 'dry' fast as opposed to sipping water all day?
                      I grok, therefore I am.


                      • Thankyou, MG, for the answer on dangers of statins. Yikes is right. If a person like my husband (genetically predisposed to create a lot of cholesterol in his liver) were to quit taking the statin, wouldn't his cholesterol go up and fairly quickly? He is not adhering to the PB lifestyle as he likes his beer too much, and some non-PB snacks. I'd say he's ~60% PB though. I don't know how I could convince him that it would be safe to forego the statins, with his heart disease history. Maybe I should just get him to take vit D3 and Co-Q10? (Advice appreciated from anyone with personal experience in this area.)

                        I see I am still thinking "cholesterol is bad," rather than the ratios, etc. He will think the same thing....
                        I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.


                        • Some questions for the good doctor Grokologist. I would like to know how stress impacts digestion. I have read that when stressed, digestion is minimized since blood goes towards the brain and limbs and away from the core, but to what extent? Also does more oxygen (ie deep breathing) impact the metabolic rate? Or to put it another way, if we breathe shallow all day would this mean less food is digested? If heart rate slows during sleep, does this mean less food is digested at night when asleep compared to the day? Lastly, to what extent does stress either increase nutrient requirements (protein, vitamins, minerals, whatever) or prevent absorption of these? Thanks.
                          Last edited by TigerJ; 04-12-2010, 09:06 PM.


                          • @ Catalina

                            There are some modulators of aging and cell maturation which are dependent on blood concentrations of amino acids. Lots of things affect blood concentrations of amino acids, but high protein intake and muscle catabolism are the main things that do it. That's not to say that there isn't a place for a high protein intake, but not having it high all the time is probably a good thing if you want to slow the rate at which you are aging.

                            Alpha lipoic acid and gamma linolenic acid are not amino acids. Alpha lipoic acid is an endogenously produced antioxidant compound which is produced more inefficiently as we age, so we benefit from supplementation (although as with many supplements, it's good to stop taking it for a while every now and then so your body doesn't downregulate its own compensatory processes). GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid, but unlike most it actually inhibits the formation of inflammatory eicosanoids. I'm not sure it's actually all that important if you have a proper 3:6 ratio to begin with, but it's not likely to hurt.

                            @ Stabby

                            For most people your age, the benefits of supplementing CoQ are going to be fairly minimal. Your body is making it fine on its own.

                            Our ability to store monolaurin is minimal.

                            A and D are absorbed along with fat from the gut. Their actual absorption isn't mutually antagonistic. As long as you are fat-adapted and eating plenty of fat, you can break up your fat-soluble vitamin dosing more or less as you see fit over the course of the week.

                            @ Lovestoclimb

                            None of which I am aware.

                            @ Canarygirl

                            Here is what I would do if I were at risk for heart disease, as reprinted from another thread:

                            Reduce carbohydrates, this will reduce VLDL particle formation to hold the trigs that they form.

                            Reduce fructose, blood sugar disregulation is the last thing you need right now.

                            Reduce PUFA, you need to keep inflammation low if you're going to heal instead of getting worse.

                            Increase fat from mono and saturated sources, this will raise HDL (which will do a number of good things for you, including cleaning out arterial plaque if it gets high enough). It may raise or lower your LDL, but this isn't the important part. It will change your lipids from pattern 'B' (atherogenic) to pattern 'A' (benign). A small but not insignificant percentage of people see pattern 'B' increases with saturated fat (it's a genetic thing), which aren't necessarily a problem but you should test for with a VAP in your case.

                            Make sure you get plenty of n-3 fatty acids, this will reduce inflammation and keep blood trigs down.

                            Get plenty of D3 from sun or supplementation as well as K2, this will reduce inflammation and help put the calcium in your plaques somewhere helpful instead.

                            Consider making red wine, turmeric, blueberries, pomegranate, green tea, and cacao larger parts of your diet (watching your fructose in the case of the fruits) or supplementing with their extracts. All of these foods contain compounds with a wide spectrum of cardioprotective effects.

                            Do not limit cholesterol-containing foods. The cholesterol they contain has no effect unless you have certain genetic defects (not common at all), and they contain all kinds of nutrients which will help you.

                            Take low dose aspirin. It is an anti-inflammatory compound with very few negative effects.

                            Get off that statin. It lowers HDL and LDL and the LDL reduction comes largely at the expense of the pattern 'A' LDL (harmless), leaving you worse off than before. Most of the statin effect on lowering CHD events is coincidental anti-inflammatory properties, which you can get from something less toxic. In addition, it causes serious interference with many crucial processes. If you insist on continuing to take it, supplement with CoQ (ubiquinOL is more bioavailable than ubiquinONE) and R-alpha-lipoic acid to keep the mitochondrial damage low and consider supplementation with dementia-protective compounds like vinpocetine and acetyl-L-carnitine.

                            Test your thyroid hormone levels. Supplement with iodine and bio-identical thyroid hormones if deficient.

                            MCTs (from coconut oil and butter) for ketone production which keeps the heart fed and happy and jacks up HDL.

                            Intermittent fasting to insulin sensitize, reduce inflammation, and promote ketogenesis.

                            If you want to be particularly cautious, reduce salt, but its link to heart disease is tenuous indeed. What I would recommend against is spiking salt intake, which does have a transient BP effect.

                            Reduce stress, simplify your life, go for walks, get plenty of sleep, meditate, spend time with a pet. Low cortisol is your friend.

                            A meticulous low fat diet as per Ornish is also capable of reducing your CHD event risk, but at the cost of other aspects of your health and well-being.

                            @ TigerJ

                            Stress constricts blood vessels at the surface (to minimize bleeding from injury) and to non-essential functions. Digestion is among them (and indeed severe stress induces vomiting). Oxygen delivery to tissues is carefully calibrated through a variety of co-factors which bind to hemoglobin and induce more or less oxygen release.

                            As far as deep breathing goes, relaxing or meditative processes actually tend to lower the BMR if they persist over time. As far as your digestion, however, I would expect that more relaxation (rather than more oxygen) would, in fact, improve digestion.

                            There are other reasons it may not be great to eat just before sleep, but I don't know that your heart rate is affecting the rate of digestion.

                            That I know of, B-vitamins, iron, water, and some amino acids which are precursors for neurotransmitters are required in increased amounts during acute stress. Chronic stress, I believe, increases mineral excretion from the body, and may have other effects of which I am unaware.
                            Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

                            Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread


                            • Okay, here's one that I've had- Prion disease THREAT or MENACE?????

                              No, actually seriously. When I was a vegan we used to obsess over this stuff, gloating over the fact that all meat eater everywhere were doomed to get infected with awful incurable meat borne illnesses. Late at night we'd break out in cold sweats worried that maybe we'd already have been infected.

                              How much of a concern should this be for people who still eat some, but not the majority of their meat from conventional producers?

                              What about other forms of parasites, and illnesses?

                              Obviously I don't believe that this is inevitable, but is it a consideration? How much should we be thinking about this?


                              • Prions are a very, very low risk. They don't have particularly high infectivity between organisms, and BSE has been confined to only a few, fairly isolated instances. The media blows it way out of proportion.

                                CAFO animals have very little chance to pick up parasites since they're not out roaming around. They wouldn't be very resistant if exposed, but the risk is pretty minimal.

                                Various bacterial illnesses, like salmonella and E. coli are a much higher risk with CAFO meat. I wouldn't eat raw CAFO meat, personally. I'd probably be just fine, but it's getting to where it's enough of a risk that I'll pass. That's not to say that "underdone" CAFO meat isn't pretty safe. Conventional recommendations for cooking meat well-done "or else" are totally unfounded.

                                I don't worry that much about different meat-borne ailments, not even from cross-contamination. Exposure to low amounts of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli has beneficial effects, so while I'm not licking the cutting board or anything, I'm also not boiling my hands in lye every time I handle raw meat.
                                Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

                                Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread