I would like to debunk 7 common myths about aging:
I will be quoting out of the new book by Dr. Steven Gundry: The Longevity Paradox
Myth 1: Your genetics determine your health
These days there is a lot of excitement about genetic testing and what kind of information could be gathered from it. But many people do not realize that genetics are estimated to only determine about 10% of your overall lifetime disease risk, the other 90% are environmental factors and consequently epigenetics. Epigenetics are the sum of all factors that determine which genes are turned on and which are left turned off.
Myth 2: The Mediterranean diet promotes longevity
Now do not get me wrong, you certainly are better off following the Mediterranean diet then eating the standard American diet, but: By taking a closer look at the cultures in the Blue zones which are known for their longevity, it turns out that 2 of these Blue zones are in the Mediterranean. That led many people to believe that the Mediterranean diet was the ideal diet to follow. The Mediterranean diet however does contain cereal grains and it turns out that this is actually a negative component of that diet and that these people live long despite eating so many grains, not because of it.
What these Blue zones have in common is not what they eat, but what they do not eat, which is a large amount of animal protein. That brings us to:
Myth 3: Animal protein is essential for strength and longevity
You do need an adequate amount of protein to power your body and build muscle to avoid muscle wasting as you age. But there is a big difference between the amount of protein you have been let to believe you need and the amount you actually need, primarily because of commerce.
Animal protein has become ridiculously inexpensive thanks to government subsidies of corn, other grains and soybeans that are fed to industrially farmed animals, poultry and even fish. The result is that many Weston societies fastly overconsume animal protein, leading to higher blood sugar levels, obesity, and a shorter life span.
You might ask why animal protein was so mischievous when it comes to aging. It goes back to the fact that we amended to thrive an annual cycle that includes periods of growth and regression. During periods of growth, your cells communicate with one another by a pathway that sends signals per cells to grow and proliferate. This pathway, which is known as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), helps to regulate cell metabolism and is itself a sensor for energy availability within the body.
So if “mTOR” senses that there is plenty full energy in your body, it assumes that you are in the growth cycle. It then activates the production of a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor I, which sends a signal to your cells to grow. On the other hand, if it senses that there is little energy in the body, it assumes you are in a period of regression, such as a famine, there is little food and it is time to batten down the hatchets, so it limits production of IGF 1.
Constantly high levels of IGF 1 lead to disease and rapid aging, it also paves the way for cancer cells to proliferate. Your cells would never get the signal to call the heard and recyclables or dysfunctional cells through so-called autophagy, which is programmed cell death which is necessary for renewal of tissue and optimal function.
You can therefore use IGF 1 testing as a marker for aging.
But what does this have to do with animal protein? It turns out that when mTOR is scanning the body for energy availability, it keeps an eye out for certain amino acids more than others, specifically methionine , cysteine and isoleucine, which happen to be most prevalent in animal protein.
Mouse and red studies have shown that avoiding these amino acids extends the life span at levels comparable to those that result from calorie restriction.
Myth 4: Growth hormones promote youthfulness and vitality
It makes sense that hi IGF-I levels, caused by mTOR sensing energy in the body, would promote cell growth. This includes growth of both the cells that help us grow tall and the cells that become cancerous. Many studies also revealed connection between height and cancer. In one study, rapid growth during adolescence resulted in an 80% increased risk of cancer 15 years later.
Another way to look at this is that if consuming sugars in animal proteins increases your IGF 1 level, then lessening your consumption of them generally, or at least periodically, is the way to go.
Myth 5: A high metabolic rate is a sign of good health
A high metabolic rate is not a sign that you are burning calories more quickly at all; it is a sign that your metabolism is inefficient and working much harder than it should in order to burn fuel.
During times of stress your cells become more fuel efficient by stimulating the birth of new mitochondria, the energy plants within each cell. A high metabolic rate is the exact opposite–like a car that gets only 10 miles to the gallon.
Recently, I have seen a lot of my patients jump on board to Crace of the high protein ketogenic or carnivore diet as a weight loss strategy. Yes, if you are looking to lose weight quickly, consuming a lot of protein will work, but it works in much the same way that a 12 cylinder sports car works.
The heat generated by a high metabolic rate ages you quickly. This is because when a glucose molecule bounced would amino acid in a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction, compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) are produced. This is a function of both you metabolic rate and, which determines the heat in your body, and the amount of sugar you consume.
One example for this process are the brown age spots that show up as you get older, but it does not only happen only in your skin, it happens in all of your organ systems.
In a 365 day growth cycle, glucose, protein and feet are always present, so you are producing these chemical bonds all the time. A good measurement for this process is the so-called “hemoglobin A1c” value which your doctor may have determined for you to screen for diabetes. It is an indirect measurement of how fast or slow you are becoming a giant brown age spot.
Myth 6: Saturated fat should not be demonized
If you followed along this far, you know why this is a myth, because animal fat does not come without animal protein.
Not coincidentally, the fat sources best for longevity all come from plants.
Myth 7: Milk does a body good
The people in the blue zones do not only eat much less animal protein than elsewhere, they also consume sheep and goats dairy products and rarely cow. Why would that make a difference you might ask:
Here is why: About 2000 years ago, a spontaneous mutation in northern European cows changed the type of protein in their milk from casein A2 casein A1. During digestion, casein A1 can turn into beta- casomorphin-7 and opioid peptide, that attaches to the pancreas insulin producing cells and prompts an immune attack and thus inflammation. This is likely the primary cause of type 1 diabetes. The most common breed of cows worldwide is the Holstein, who’s milk contains this problematic protein.
Furthermore, conventionally raised livestock and there dairy products are laced with antibiotics and Roundup, which will send your good gut bacteria running for the hills.
For longevity sake, stay away from A1 casein products and nonorganic dairy in general, and do not drink milk as a beverage, particularly for children, cows milk is loaded with insulin-like growth factor I.