Another couple of tabs I’ve had open in my browser since the weekend:
- Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach
- Fasting or Caloric Restriction, What Holds Greater Promise as a Means of Life Extension?
Dot connecting. My favorite thing to do, and the more diverse the sources, the better. I think I’m at my relative best as simply an integrator and synthesizer. Everyone else can pretend they know shit they don’t; be authoritative: ’cause that’s what everyone seeks. I think the best knowledge is found in pieces, from itsy bits some people know about but never have the complete picture of, and you put it all together. So, I like to assemble where I can, even with bits from vegans like Dr. Greger. I laf when people say, “but he’s a vegan;” just as I do when people say, “but Dr. Eades is LC carnivorous.” This signals the root of the problem and obstacle, to me. Nobody has the complete picture. Lots of people have bits and pieces, and they’re typically pitted against one-another and often enough by us side-seekers. Any semblance of a complete picture gets obscured in the rush for those sides, betting on which one wins.
And everybody loses.
OK, so about the articles. You won’t find a word about fasting in the first. In the second, you won’t find a word about gut bacteria and its health benefits. And yet, I think they’re connected.
From the first:
Her parents were running out of hope. Their teenage daughter, Mary, had been diagnosed with a severe case of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as ADHD. They had dragged her to clinics around the country in an effort to thwart the scary, intrusive thoughts and the repetitive behaviors that Mary felt compelled to perform. Even a litany of psychotropic medications didn’t make much difference. It seemed like nothing could stop the relentless nature of Mary’s disorder.
Their last hope for Mary was Boston-area psychiatrist James Greenblatt. Arriving at his office in Waltham, MA, her parents had only one request: help us help Mary.
Greenblatt started by posing the usual questions about Mary’s background, her childhood, and the onset of her illness. But then he asked a question that no psychiatrist ever had: How was Mary’s gut? Did she suffer digestive upset? Constipation or diarrhea? Acid reflux? Had Mary’s digestion seemed to change at all before or during her illness? Her parents looked at each other. The answer to many of the doctor’s questions was, indeed, “Yes.”
That’s what prompted Greenblatt to take a surprising approach: besides psychotherapy and medication, Greenblatt also prescribed Mary a twice-daily dose of probiotics, the array of helpful bacteria that lives in our gut. The change in Mary was nothing short of miraculous: within six months, her symptoms had greatly diminished. One year after the probiotic prescription, there was no sign that Mary had ever been ill.
Her parents may have been stunned, but to Greenblatt, Mary’s case was an obvious one. An imbalance in the microbes in Mary’s gut was either contributing to, or causing, her mental symptoms. “The gut is really your second brain,” Greenblatt said. “There are more neurons in the GI tract than anywhere else except the brain.” […]
EXPERTS ARE CONVINCED THAT TWEAKING THESE BACTERIA LATER IN LIFE CAN YIELD PROFOUND BEHAVIORAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES
It’s a distinct possibility: in one 2013 proof-of-concept study, researchers at UCLA showed that healthy women who consumed a drink with four added probiotic strains twice daily for four weeks showed significantly altered brain functioning on an fMRI brain scan. The women’s brains were scanned while they looked at photos of angry or sad faces, and then asked to match those with other faces showing similar emotions.
Those who had consumed the probiotic drink showed significantly lower brain activity in the neural networks that help drive responses to sensory and emotional behavior. The research is “groundbreaking,” Cryan said, because it’s the first trial to show that probiotics could affect the functioning of the human brain. Still, he notes that the results need to be interpreted with care.
As the research community increasingly lends credence to Greenblatt’s ideas, and public awareness about gut bacteria grows, he’s confident we’ll soon know more about the power of probiotics. “Because of the commercials and the other information that’s out there, patients are beginning to ask,” he said. “They’re much more aware of how important probiotics are.”
Point SAD (“Standard American Diet”). Go ahead and read it all if you like.
The problem, as we’re beginning to learn in the Resistant Starch series of posts (last one here, with links to all the previous…oh, and here’s a T2 Diabetic’s report about blood glucose regulation), is that prebiotics are probably more important than probiotics. The latter has a tough time getting to the colon before getting killed off. Resistant starch does get there unimpeded, feeds the residents; and other bacteria—legal and illegal alike—can also hitch a ride.
Probiotics Hitching a Bus Ride on Resistant Starch
We began this—”Tatertot” Tim and I—really having no idea of appropriate dose. Many studies use around 30g per day. So we went with that, equivalent to about 4T Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch per day. Everyone is different, but I had hilarious fartage. This is now defined as fartage that’s so intense, so long…so tuba…that you toss your hands in the air and laugh. I just mean that it must be experienced, to be believed.
The initial and understandable reaction is that something’s wrong. This is not good. Unpossible! But I’m German—in dominant heritage and somewhat of mind—and as all good Germans know, farts are funny. So I went with it, laughing all the way. …And now, a few months later and to my general chagrin and disappointment, I can’t hardly bring on anything better than a toot from a Kindergarten Recorder, no matter how much RS I take in daily, and even with beans (which, when taken together with RS, had previously raised the hilarity to jumping up and down proportions). There go all of my orchestral dreams…
It is undeniable that many of the centenarians are known for their rather modest energy intake and is has been long established that there is a direct mechanistic connection between “living on the high energy fast track” and increased aging. The border between calorie restriction on the one hand and malnutrition on the other is however fluid and where one may effectively add a couple of years to your life-span the other is not only going to make it shorter, it will also make it miserable. Within the past years fasting and intermittent fasting have emerged as potential alternatives.
The purpose of today’s article is now to take a closer look on whether they are equally or better suited to lead a long, healthy life that is not going to wast you away.
Given that our gut bacteria comprise 90% of the total cell count of our bodies, I chew on the implications. First, I realize that biologically, I’m just a host. At the same time, not just. They may outnumber me by a scale of 10, but they’re not typing right here. Yin-Yang.
Ah…so it’s a symbiosis! A balance! Use whatever italicised, exclamatory phrase you like!
Longevity effect of caloric restriction: More than a long-lived myth?
Scientists were pretty excited, when the first realized that a reduction in caloric intake without malnutrition, will initiate metabolic adaptations that can extend the lifespan of a variety of species.
“Key early studies in rodents revealed that mice fed 55–65% caloric restricted diets through their life exhibited a 35–65% greater mean and maximal lifespan than mice eating a non-purified ad libitum diet (Weindruch. 1996). Although attenuated, these effects remain present even when moderate caloric restriction (20–40%) is implemented in middle-aged mice (Weindruch. 2001).”
At least in rodents (Weinbruch. 2001) and nonhuman primates (Colaman. 2009) these beneficial effects on life expectancy were partly mediated by reductions of exactly those diseases that are currently carrying off increasing parts of the population of the Western Obesity Belt, namely cancer and diabetes.
Sidebar: Insulin surprise: Higher not lower fasting insulin levels are associated with better cognitive performance in Chinese nonagenarians and centenarians. At the same time, the worst cognitive function was found in subjects with hypoglycemic (=low) blood glucose levels (Yan-Ling. 2013). Evidence that similar beneficial effects can occur in human beings comes mostly from studies on overweight subjects on calorically restricted diets.
Evidence that similar beneficial effects can occur in human beings comes mostly from studies on overweight subjects on calorically restricted diets. Unsurprisingly, the latter have been associated with
- reductions of several cardiac risk factors (Fontana. 2004 + 2007; Lefevre. 2009),
- improved insulin-sensitivity (Larson-Meyer. 2006), and
- enhanced mitochondrial function (Civitarese. 2007).
These health improvements went hand in hand with a reduction in oxidative DNA damage (Heilbronn. 2003 + 2006; Hofer. 2008), but support the benefits of general caloric reduction only in those who have been eating well than they needed for years
The article goes on: But what about the healthy, lean physical culturist?
I go back to where I started: about 240 pounds at 5’10”, and zero idea of anything but eat less, move more. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things. Not only about blogging and how much controversy I ought to get involved in for my own better or worse, but also how lean I really want to be, how much weight I really want to lift and how often, and the tradeoffs surrounding all of it.
…At some point surrounding the hilarious fartage, I went on a camping trip and forgot to take my potato starch and where—just like many of you—I was at the point: WHAT IS THE DOSE? OK, 4T PER DAY, EVERY DAY!!! That’s the prescription. Period.
What I found is that your gut needs a break just as much as you do. So my gut got a 3-day fast from anything prebiotic beyond just regular Paleoish, or whatever was on the camping menu. And guess what? It did the whole trick. By the morning of the second day I could tell something was up; but, TMI. This continued blissfully for the remainder.
I was onto something.
They need fasting too—which in the practical, amounts to culling the flora. I’ve longtime understood and benefitted from episodic fasting or complete restriction in food, and the more I eat to nutritional density (think: things that make babies grow, like milk (mammals) & eggs (reptiles, birds, fish); toss in some oysters, mussels, clams, liver, other offal, etc), the easier it is to just not be very hungry.
…I’ve reduced all supplements now to D3, K2, some dessicated liver tabs, and about a gram of mag-malate taken once per week. I drink a good amount of whole milk (1L per day, av) and eat a good amount of nutritionally dense food. I’m completely deficient in all “superfoods,” all of which are 1000% less—and and even less—nutrient dense than the foods I’ve mentioned…and you can read my book for proof, with graphs, sourcing the USDA nutrient database.
For a final thought, remember what you did when you first got interested in Paleo. You connected dots, didn’t you? You didn’t worry about who’s right or wrong, but whether there was some logic to it and it made fucking sense, right? But then, problem. It wasn’t any more automatic than you’ve ever found even 1% of your life to be. You were surprised, but you should not have been. Probably partly my fault, and others. I was pretty bright eyed, too, and my blogging reflected it.
Way back when, it was so open ended, so much to discover and learn. It’s why I so took to it. Fortune struck me with a little influence and a popular blog, and here I am still—never having made much of anything monetarily beyond pocket change. As I’ve see the Paleo divorces over the years, I’ve both understood and been stalwart about sticking it out because, it will be open ended no matter what, ultimately, or science is dead. I’ve placed my bet and I’m holding. Maybe even looking for an opportunity to raise.
I’ll tell you the truth: I pretty much hate 90% + of all the marketing and products and everyone trying to hitch a $$$ ride—and so often, out of nowhere. I just detest it while I actually wish people well because I’m conflicted over my emotions over it, and the practicality of others doing something and need to make a living vs. time. So, I just don’t rant about that and generally hate all who do, because they can’t even manage to muster my very poor sense of discretion.
I’m cool with people making a living, making money. That’s not it. What it is, and the source of my moody conflict is that we’re dealing with children, essentially. And there’s no real way to deal with children in a medium like this, with a message like this, than to sell them dogma-ish—if you’re about making a real splash. And so, it’s back to trade offs and on some days, I wish I could do it. But I just can’t. It does make me feel superior some days, but not too much, so I soldier on. Paleo has yet to make a dent in terms of the number of people who can be helped and the only thing that keeps me from just totally blogging to my absolute whim is that I absolutely know how it helps people and families in profound ways.
Is your concern for people so great as to actually help them, or only so great as to vote for others to be forced to help them?
I don’t vote. Never will. I wouldn’t do that to you, or anyone.