Category Archives: health

Can’t Sleep? Read This!

A few years ago, I fell out of sleep rhythm. I would get very sleepy around 8 or 9 and go to bed, only to wake up around 2 or 3, wide awake. At first, it happened once in a while. Then it became more regular. And then it became the norm.

In my case, the solution was fairly simple — less wine and more water with dinner. That helped me a lot, but  what about the rest of humanity? As it turns out, I see in the media that lots and lots of people have trouble sleeping.

So my question — why is there no business model out there that offers a full range of potential solutions to people who have this issue? There are “sleep clinics”, but what about something you could access from home?

BA has taken a step in this direction with a post on various products and services that are out there. I had not heard of most of them!

If you are not getting your full 8 hours a night and waking up with energy, check it out!



Fiddling with the Immortality Enzyme

I didn’t know that there was an “immortality enzyme”! But there is an it is called telomerase.

What does it do? Here is the key idea – you need to understand a bit about chromosomes (from the above linked Forbes article).

To help protect the integrity of the chromosome, and to prevent the end of one chromosome from fusing into the next one, each chromosome is capped with a telomere, which is a series of repeated nucleotide sequences. In humans, this repeated sequence is TTAGGG. The average human telomere has thousands of these.

Got that?  Here is the problem!

Every time a cell divides, the chromosomes are copied, but they aren’t copied all the way to the end. Consequently, telomeres gradually get shorter. In fact, we lose around 50 to 200 base pairs each time. In this way, they behave like a cellular countdown clock.

Yikes! And it can get pretty bad

As telomere length falls below a certain threshold – somewhere just shy of 4000 base pairs – you start getting problems, like a rise in pro-inflammatory signals and increased risk of cancer. Indeed, short telomeres are known to be involved in a number of diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

The enzyme telomerase is able to add DNA back to add DNA back to telomeres and can extend the life of a cell.

Great! Why not just take telomerase pill? First, telomerase doesn’t work that way. Second, if your body has lots of working telomerase in places where you don’t want it, things can get ugly. Like in tumors. Indeed, That is one way that cancer spreads — by activating telomerase.

So this is complex stuff. And the first step in learning how to work with telomerase is to be able to understand how it works. To do that, you need to be able to see it.

And drum roll please!!! According to the Forbes article, now we finally have our first workable images.

So we have a chance to start blocking telomerase in tumors and switching it on in stem cells.

For those 90% of tumors with unchecked telomerase activity, blocking telomerase could be a good thing. Conversely, improving telomerase activity in adult stem cells may be able to slow down the ageing process. Blocking or activating telomerase indiscriminately comes with significant pitfalls, but there may be scope to alter telomerase activity under highly controlled conditions, like only in certain cells or only for certain periods of time. So it will be very interesting to see where this goes.

Go for it!


Brain Balls, Anyone?

How delightfully gauche!

Of course, “brain balls” are not for cocktail parties. They are something that scientists grow in labs in order to better understand what your brain is like. These curious blokes can’t open up your head and peek in, so they are trying to grow something that is very much like the real thing in the lab.

Pretty weird. But progress is being made to produce very long lasting brain balls! And who knows, we may soon move on to brain salads!

Ah, the future!

Re-Thinking Alzheimer’s

Good morning! It is time for your morning provocation.

Here is the major poke in the ribs. In the old days, Alzheimer’s was a rare condition. It is now a top 3 killer in the US. At the present time, 45 million Americans are currently at risk of developing Alzheimer’s. BTW, 65% of those affected are female. Something has changed. What is it? Conventional 20th century medical thinking has no answer.

An alternative view – Alzheimer’s may be caused by normal physical responses to conditions imposed on the body from inflamation, toxins, diet or other factors.

Here is the video where two doctors discuss this. I welcome your comments.

Addicted to Nightshades?

Scientists are just starting to understand the relationship between the microbiome in the gut and overall health. and new knowledge is emerging as more research is completed. One area relates to leaky gut and immune system problems.

That interests me because I have had immune system issue my whole life. It started with rather severe allergies with a touch of asthma. I developed periodic iritis (eye inflamation), sinus issues, and so on. Throughout my life, I never thought that his might be related to diet.

Bt more recently, I found that I had developed chronic asthma. Self-experimentation revealed that I could control it by avoiding white bread. I had no idea why, but my experience has been consistent. If I eat pizza, for example, I will start coughing. If I avoid bread, I cough less. Interesting.

Around this same time, a close relative was diagnosed with MS. – an immune system illness. That person found that he could control it, at least to a certain degree, by following a restricted diet. So far, he has not had significant symptoms when he stays on this diet and is not on a medication protocol because he believes that he is doing as well using diet control. Interesting.

My experiences convince me that there is much to learn. And one of the areas that I would like to learn more about relates to proteins that we injest from certain foods, called lectins. I have posted about this before, and I offer this link today that explains why nightshades might cause problems for people with immune system issues because of their lectins.

The weird thing is that those problems arise from eating things we have always thought are inocuous – like tomatoes and potatoes. BTW, I am adjusting my diet to cut down on nightshades and other lectin heavy foods and will keep you posted on how this goes.

Stay tuned!

A Follow Up on Lectins

I posted a while back on the theory offered by a Dr. Gundry that a major cause of gut disorder is a protein called “lectins”. My brother gave me the links to Gundry and I passed them on here.

Since then, I have altered my diet to try to reduce lectin consumption. You can’t eliminate lectins — they are in many foods — and you don’t want to. Your body needs a small amount. But if you have auto-immune issues like I do, you probably want to reduce consumptoin of lectins.

So how to do it? This article by Dr. Jockers is the best quick entry point that I have found for doing that.  I have eliminated eggplant, tomatoes, zuchini, and potatoes from my diet. I also have cut back on cheese. I will also try a “bioavailable enzyme” to see if that helps.

To be honest, I don’t notice any huge change yet. But apparently, it takes a bit of time for the auto-immune system to calm down after lectin levels are down..

I will keep you posted and welcome any experiences that you might have.

Have You Had Your Vital Reds Today?

Over the years, I have had a number of autoimmune issues. Allergies were the main symptoms. But I also had iritis, asthma and later on, a sensitivity to white bread. More recently, a close relative was diagnosed with MS, also an autoimmune problem.  So I have developed a keen interest in how researchers are coming to understand the immune system and its disorders.

A few years ago, I read a lot of posts and articles about the connection between the gut and the immune system. Vastly simplifying the literature, there are apparently friendly and not so friendly bacteria in the gut, and the not so friendly bacteria stimulate inflammation — an immune system reaction. So we can improve our immune system health via diet.

BTW, this way of thinking has so far been confirmed. So far, knock on wood, the MS that I mentioned, has been kept in check with a strict diet. But I recognize that the above is a simplification of a complex process. And I have been wondering if and when researchers would get more sophisticated in assessing how gut health can be improved. First, by developing better explanations of the biochemical processes that are involved in digestion, and then in recommending more healthy diets.

With that long wind up, this morning my bro sent me a link to several videos by Dr. Gundry. Yes, he has some products out there. But he is also a scientist, and he has some very interesting ideas about stuff that we all need to know. I was impressed by his reserach. he also explains stuff very well.

Watch out for those lectins and high protein diets!

Check it out! Enjoy!