March’s Bulletproof Bullet Points: Aging Gracefully
March’s Bulletproof Bullet Points: Aging Better
Do you want to age well? From a biohacker’s perspective, this means finding ways to get your body and mind to age as slowly as possible. This month’s Bulletproof Bullet Points are all about groundbreaking new anti-aging science. Here’s the latest on ketogenic diets and longevity, a new scan that detects Alzheimer’s, and a promising molecule that could keep your cells young.
Ketosis and Cancer
Boston College biology professor Dr. Thomas Seyfried has an interesting approach to fighting cancer. In a recent interview, talked about using a ketogenic diet to fight cancer and slow tumor growth. Seyfried says, “The drugs we have now are so toxic, and there’s no reason people should have to be poisoned to be healthy. There are some studies, including those we’ve published, showing a direct relationship between the ketogenic diet and slowed tumor growth.”
Seyfried isn’t alone. There’s a growing body of research on ketogenic diet and tumors that’s changing the way doctors view cancer. Consider this:
- Glucose (a simple sugar and a component of carbohydrates) is a key player in your metabolism.
- Dr. Seyfried believes that tumors use glucose to grow, and cutting out foods that are high in glucose could potentially drain tumors of their power.
- Seyfried draws on the work of Dr. Valter Longo, who just a few months ago found that fasting slowed the growth of tumors and improved patients’ responses to chemotherapy.
This theory is still up for debate in the medical community, and given that almost 75% of U.S. clinical trials in medicine are paid for by Big Pharma, significant funding tends to go to studies around medications, not food studies, so it might be a while before we see more about this.
A new scan can show if Alzheimer’s is present in the brain.
Modern medicine just got a bit more modern. Earlier this month, The University of California announced a brain scan that detects Alzheimer’s.
This is a transformative moment in medicine. Prior to the new scan, doctors could only detect Alzheimer’s through an autopsy. Now they’ll be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s years before a patient shows any symptoms. This technology might also give relief to people who are experiencing memory loss and are concerned about possibly having the disease.
We don’t understand the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, but according to the Mayo Clinic, factors are a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle. And while the new brain scan holds a lot of promise, prevention is still the ideal. Here’s a quick list of measures to support your brain:
- Fish oil – DHA and other long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are in fish oil. Studies show that people who have more of these fatty acids in their blood appear less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
- B Vitamins fight off the amino acid homocysteine, which increases brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer’s. In fact, it seems that vitamin B may be able to decrease brain shrinkage by up to 90%, and may make shrinkage seven times slower. And we all know that size matters.
- Going gluten free – gluten causes your body to elevate levels of inflammation, particularly by forming cytokines, proteins found in patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and autism — all neurological diseases.
- Choline – choline is an essential micronutrient that helps your brain make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which fosters intelligence and memory. There are also some studies that suggest it may be protective against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. You can find choline in supplements like Choline Force.
- Turmeric – there is mounting clinical evidence that turmeric might protect the brain from the onset as well as the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and one study shows that it might actually regenerate neural stem cells.
- Exercise – several studies looking at the effect of aerobic exercise in middle-aged or older adults have reported improvements in thinking and memory, and reduced rates of dementia.
Anti-aging properties discovered in certain plant extracts
The fountain of youth is more a lifestyle than it is a magical bubbling spring. There’s no cure-all pill for aging, but there certainly are supplements that slow aging down, and scientists may have just discovered a powerful new one.
Concordia University and the Quebec-based biotech company Idunn Technologies just published a study which found that certain molecules from plant extracts slowed down the aging process in yeast (Yeast cell growth is very similar to human cell growth). They conclude that these molecules could even prevent certain diseases associated with aging, including cancer.
Willow bark extract appeared to be the most promising compound, increasing the average and maximum chronological lifespan of yeast by 475 percent and 369 percent. Willow bark contains anti-inflammatory properties and has long been used as nature’s aspirin, helping relieve pain, headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.
Before there is a run on willow bark, it’s worth noting that this study was about plant extracts, which involves a complex separation process where a very concentrated part of the plant is isolated and the active ingredients removed. This probably isn’t kitchen chemistry. That said, this is an excellent reminder of the potency of plants and is a positive direction for the anti-aging community.
While you can’t beat death, you can at least take some measures to help the aging process go a little smoother. You get to live in this body. How will we take care of it?