The following 20 blogs give or take will be from notes that I took on a 20 hour presentation on Longevity combined with some of my wisdom. This is some of the best information I have seen to date.
Prior to the invention of the light bulb, there was not much shift work. Not too long after that came another invention, antibiotics. Then came the industrialization of our food supply. Before this most of the food that we consumed was grown locally. It had a seasonal rotation to it. We did not always have oranges available. When I was a kid we only had five channels to watch. With the advent of the information age we have a dramatic decrease in the amount of physical activity that people do. Now we can work from home and order our food to be delivered so that we can eat it while sitting in front of our computer. We never have to go outside. We can go online and have the doctor prescribe us medication. We can construct a life online where we never have any meaningful social interaction. In the period of one very long lifetime or perhaps two generations we have seen every aspect of our life change profoundly in a totality beyond all life on earth previous to this period.
The epidemic of chronic illness has not yet spread to developing nations. It is a problem for the industrialized world. Children in western countries are experiencing skyrocketing rates of all kinds illness from asthma, autism, to zoster shingles. The reason for this could be that we live differently. Why or where is this explosion in chronic disease coming from? Is there something that has changed in the last 50 years that may contribute to the exponential growth in chronic disease? We are getting sicker quicker.
Epidemiological experts now state that our life expectancy is no longer growing. It has been regressing since 1997. This curve has become rapid in the past three years. This current generation will outlive its children. We have more healthcare practitioners, gymnasiums, hospitals, drug stores, even chiropractors and we are sicker than we have ever been. Modern medical textbooks have no definition of health. Their primary focus is on the treatment of disease. Most people adhere to an outdated view of health. They think that either they have bad luck, have angered God, or have bad genetics.
Our health care system evolved with its focus mostly on acute conditions. If we get hit by a car the hospital can do a good job. However, our system fails miserably with chronic conditions. The medical system has never thought about how do we keep ourselves healthy for a long period of time. We have become overly dependent on the health care system, particularly pharmaceuticals. We have allowed that industry to take tremendous advantage of us. 10% of the pediatric population in the United States is being treated with psychotropic drugs. There is a record of a one-year-old baby being treated psychiatrically. This is the outcome of the refusal to admit that something is wrong. We treat the body as if it is a bunch of different parts. We have an arm doctor, we have a leg doctor, etc. We go to a doctor for a certain part and nowhere in these visits are we considered a human being. A doctor once told me that he went to medical school because he was interested in how the body worked. I asked him if he was aware that there was a human being inside that body.
Say you have a headache. It could be caused by over eating, eating the wrong foods, not having the right flora in your gut, a nutritional deficiency, a toxin etc.. As of now there is no system for mapping this. Science has progressed rapidly, but clinically we have not caught up.
It is estimated that over 60 million Americans suffer from some kind of autoimmune condition. 70% of the adults have been diagnosed with some kind of chronic disease. It is estimated that by 2030 that half the population will be diagnosed with cancer. Our medical system is not equipped to handle this. Let’s review the aging process to better understand exactly what it is and so that it may shed light on why we are going wrong. Aging can be described dozens of different ways, but a good one is a loss of our ability to adapt to our environment quickly. The health of our cells determines the health of us. Or we could think of aging as the way that the human body can sustain itself despite the fact that cells are dying at a more rapid rate. How can we continue to adapt even though we are moving closer to death?
Over the past few decades there has been controversy over the physiology with regard to aging. Currently the focus is on the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy producing portions of our cells. They are considered to be bacteria that cells incorporated into themselves way back in the evolutionary process. The cells thought this is great, we get this bacteria to sit here and get a free energy source. The bacteria/mitochondria probably looked at it as we get a free Petri dish. As our mitochondria become damaged they release enzymes that create apoptosis, which is the process by which the cell kills itself because it realizes it cannot recover and we see more of this with aging.
Senescence is defined as, a change in cell state, resulting in a lack of cell division and shift in function toward an increase in cellular inflammation and immune response. The organs that decline first such as the brain, kidneys, the heart, the endocrine organs, and the muscles, they go first because they have a high oxidative rate. They are more active so they require more energy and the process of making energy through oxidation occurs in the mitochondria. These systems have a high energy demand but a low-energy reserve.
We eat food that eventually gets broken down to sugar where our mitochondria can now use it as fuel through oxidation to create energy for the rest of our body. If our mitochondria get stressed and cannot turn food and air into energy then we become fatigued. If mitochondria are happy then you’re happy. If they are stressed then you are stressed. Depending on the type of cells that we have and we have about a trillion human cells, a cell can have anywhere from 500 to 1,000 mitochondria that varies on how much energy that cell needs. Mitochondria are bacteria and they have their own agendas. Of course they want to keep you alive forever because you are a petri dish, they want to make sure that you run away from scary things, eat everything, and reproduce. Those three behaviors can make you old or make you young. Mitochondria not only make energy for us but they create something called reactive oxygen species. These are chemicals that help regulate how much energy is being produced. They also signal cell death. We have an internal antioxidant defense system. Anti-aging is not just how many vitamin C and vitamin E tablets you can take during your lifetime. It is about are you doing the things that stimulate your mitochondria and your cells to build up their internal antioxidant defense system. This is known as the, A.R.E. the antioxidant response element.
Hormesis is defined as a low-level or temporary exposure to otherwise harmful stresses that results in a favorable and adaptive biological response. Hormesis, is what builds up the antioxidant response element. It helps reduce oxidative stress in the long run. People/animals do not thrive in completely stress free environments. That is kind of counterintuitive since we are always told to reduce our stress. In the military they have something called resiliency. They like to see how hard you can test someone to have them come back stronger. That is kind of like hormesis. Certain metabolic stresses are important for longevity. Our bodies have evolved with stress and learn how to cope with certain stress. We require these types of stressors in order to be healthy. We should be able to handle acute stress. In order to do this requires producing more energy. When we produce more energy we produce more reactive oxygen species. At low levels, reactive oxygen species can play a role of different types of mediators, signal transducers. If oxidative stress is excessive, it causes peroxidation of lipids, and this damages the DNA which make our proteins. If these damages are not repaired, they accumulate. All this is okay for the moment, which in medicine we call acute. It is when stress becomes chronic that it causes all the damage that it does, the chronic diseases.
Inflammatory disease, free radical and oxidative stress, it is the same as disease that is related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Chronic illness is related to the mitochondria. Fatigue, cancer, autoimmune disorders is a component of mitochondrial dysfunction. The list was small just 25 years ago, but now the science is indicating that the mitochondria are a large common denominator. Some scientists feel that every disease involves the mitochondria. The first time that there was a connection between human diseases and mitochondrial DNA was made in 1988. In each cell, we have hundreds or thousands of mitochondria. Inside each mitochondria, there are between five to 15 and more copies of mitochondrial DNA. We can have bad mitochondria in our cells. Mitochondrial DNA, when mutated, is the basis for mitochondrial DNA diseases. During the 90s, the number of mitochondrial DNA diseases exploded. The clinical indications are, it’s the balance between healthy mitochondrial DNA in one cell and mutated mitochondrial DNA. The mutated mitochondrial DNA has to reach a certain level before we start seeing clinical symptoms. The demand for energy and it not being met is cell dependent for disease you can get. If these are insulin producing cells the disease will be diabetes. If the major tissue function is to think or have imagination then the disease could be brain fog, dementia, or Alzheimer’s depending on the severity. If the task of the tissue is to run away, that would be skeletal muscles, and there can be all kinds of muscular diseases.
In a nutshell, the more mutations in mitochondrial DNA the more symptoms will be present. Mitochondrial DNA was a breakthrough discovery for anthropologists because it is only from the mother. All of the mitochondrial DNA in our body was passed down to us through our mother’s chromosomes. Maybe one reason why women shouldn’t be smoking and drinking when pregnant, but that is kind of stupid because women should be taking care of their health all the time. If we are concerned about the health of humanity then we should be concerned about the health of women because it is their mitochondrial chromosomes that are going to be passed on. The eggs that are in a woman’s body today developed while they were in their mother and the same for that mother and her mother which makes the first mother a grandmother. That means our lineal heritage regarding our chances of being healthy are coming from women. Ironically, much of the autoimmune disease we see today plagues women.
To be continued for many installments.