A few nights ago, Donna Gates, author of The Baby Boomer Diet, came on UW Radio wielding nothing but anti-aging truth bombs.
We spoke a lot about digestion and the importance of adding fermented foods to our diet. We also talked about reproduction, A1 and A2 milk, the reasons WHY we age, and the fascinating concepts of jing and chi.
NOTE: If you have not read yesterday’s blog, this one will likely go over your head. Check it out and come on back!
So now that we’ve met the players in this game, let’s discuss how we can keep them from screwing up team chemistry and resulting in autoimmunity.
Once considered quackery, the role of the gut mucosa, or intestinal barrier, has over the years become a more established factor in triggering autoimmunity. As you learned yesterday, when your gut is inflamed with big holes punched in it (intestinal hyperpermeability), undigested food particles and other not-so-nice stuff can make their way into the circulation (your bloodstream) and trigger an immune response.
But what happens when your immune system gets a little trigger-happy? What happens when that undigested rib-eye steak molecule you’ve been fighting off for years starts to look a lot like your thyroid, or your pancreas, or your adrenal glands?
In a case of mistaken identity, your immune system begins attacking tissues, organ, and glands. It can even attack hormones like estrogen, leaving you infertile. No bueno. This process is called molecular mimicry, confusing one molecule with another.
Environmental toxins, called haptens, can also trigger autoimmune reactions. Haptens include inorganic compounds like the formaldehyde coming out of your carpet, chemicals in your water, as well as heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium.
Here’s where glutathione comes in. As I explained in last week’s Underground Antioxidant blog, one of glutathione’s primary roles is detoxification. It acts like sticky paper grabbing onto toxins and carrying them out of the body for you. In other words, when rogue chemicals and bad guys come into your body, glutathione takes the hit for you, allowing the immune system to rest.
However, when glutathione levels are depleted due to aging, toxicity, stress, and poor diet, YOU take the hit. And you take it right in the immune system! When environmental toxins enter the body with your glutathione defenses down, big bad TH-17 is upregulated, contributing to autoimmune flare-ups.
If you recall, the activity of the TH-17 system determines the severity of the autoimmune flare-up. If you are currently dealing with autoimmunity, or would like to avoid it altogether, downregulating TH-17 by way of maximizing glutathione levels is certainly in your best interest.
Note: If you are a practitioner and suspect toxicity is playing a role in your patient’s or client’s autoimmune condition, you may want to think twice about using heavy detox protocols (like chelation) without increasing glutathione levels first. Heavy metal chelation can be devastating to anyone with autoimmunity if glutathione is not there to take the hit.
Let’s get back to the TH-1 and TH-2 balancing act. Autoimmune conditions typically (but not always) show dominance in one system over the other. The role of the T-regulatory cells is to reduce this polarity. When there is a downregulation of these T-regulatory cells, TH-1 and TH-2 go off kilter, thus triggering the faulty immune process.
Glutathione to the rescue!
Research shows that glutathione plays a critical role in upregulating T-regulatory cells, bringing TH-1 and TH-2 back into balance and calming autoimmunity.
Speaking of research, this study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science demonstrated “a significant correlation between plasma glutathione and SLE (lupus) severity exists that may aid evaluation of the disease severity and usefulness of the management of SLE”. (sources: Pubmed & Kharrazian lecture slides)
SLE, or lupus, is the most destructive of all autoimmune conditions. This study showed that those with the most severe symptoms had the lowest glutathione levels.
If its role in the activation of the T-regulatory cells, the balancing of TH-1 and TH-2, downregulation of destructive TH-17, and improved detoxification isn’t enough for you, consider this. Glutathione also reduces intestinal barrier inflammation, promotes healing of the mucosa, and contributes to healthy gut function. In other words, it helps keep the flies out, reducing or eliminating yet another autoimmune trigger.
Glutathione’s ability to enhance tissue healing is critical not only for preventing autoimmunity but also for recovery from autoimmune flare-ups. This likely explains the reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness when taking Protandim, which is proven by peer-reviewed research to increase glutathione by 300%.
An additional therapeutic measure for dampening autoimmunity is to increase levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), another powerful antioxidant enzyme. Coincidentally, the discoverer of SOD is Dr. Joe McCord, the primary formulator of Protandim and winner of the 1997 Elliott Cresson medal for co-discovering the biology of free radical reactions in living organisms. That means he co-discovered the entire field of free radical biology.
I think he’s credible!
This paper from The Ohio State University published in 2011 demonstrates a threefold increase in SOD activity in the Protandim-treated group.
I cannot say enough about how vital and imperative it is for you to maintain healthy glutathione levels, not only for preventing or dampening autoimmunity, but also slowing down cellular aging, reducing oxidative stress, and protecting you from chronic degenerative diseases. I hope that this series of blogs has opened up your eyes to the power of this critical antioxidant enzyme.
There are 50 million people in this country with autoimmune disease. One of the most well-known is former talk show host Montel Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1999. MS develops when the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths coating the neurons in the brain. Symptoms include lack of coordination, double vision, jerky eye movements, involuntary leg movements, slurred speech, muscle weakness, and seizures.
In the video below, Montel gives his testimonial regarding the power of Protandim, a supplement that he credits so much for allowing him to live a fairly normal life that he tried to buy the company. However, it was not for sale.
This is not a sales pitch. I’m just sharing what I know can help millions of people boost health and fight disease. No more. No less.
That’s it for me today. It has given me much pleasure to share this life-changing information on nutrigenomics, hittin’ switches, NRF2, glutathione, and autoimmunity this past week.
Tune in tomorrow for another Inspire Millions challenge from Brett Klika and me! If you have low back pain, you won’t want to miss it!
I’m out! Keep hittin’ those switches!! ☺
Source: Lecture notes/slides from Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s Autoimmune Regulation by the Nitric Oxide and Glutathione Systems lecture
I’ve been here for almost three years. The people are nice, crime is low, and Padres season never fails to liven things up during the spring and summer months.
But if there is one thing I haven’t gotten used to in all my time here it’s the one-way streets. Those things come out of nowhere! There have been plenty of days when I’d come to my senses at just the last moment before going against traffic down 7th Avenue.
I prefer walking to driving anyway. At least once a week I catch myself waving my arms frantically from the sidewalk in an attempt to get an errant driver’s attention.
No one wants to see an accident.
But imagine a place where no one called out to that driver, a place where oncoming traffic preferred not to flash their lights and slow down, where bystanders just stopped, watched, and waited for a head-on collision.
That would be crazy.
Such is the state of conventional medicine’s approach to autoimmunity. Allow me to explain.
Right now, approximately 50 million Americans, or one in five people reading this blog right now, suffer from autoimmune disease. According to our good friend-in-gluten Dr. Tom O’Bryan, autoimmunity is the number three cause of morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death) in the industrialized world. Unfortunately, many people with autoimmune conditions are either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
Autoimmunity is what happens when your body’s immune system goes haywire and confuses your own tissues as foreign invaders. The immune system produces antibodies against these tissues, causing their progressive destruction.
The keyword here is progressive. It doesn’t happen overnight.
For example, your immune system may be currently producing antibodies to your thyroid. You may not feel any effects today, however five years from now you may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Your doc may ignore the antibodies (they usually never test for them anyway) and prescribe some form of thyroid medication. Yet the problem does not reside in the thyroid itself. Rather, the root cause is the autoimmune reaction being perpetrated by the thyroid antibodies produced by your immune system! Medication won’t stop these antibodies from flaring up and chewing away at your thyroid tissue. The destruction continues.
So you’re in and out of the doc’s office for years with the same recurring symptoms that only seem to be getting worse. Eventually, you are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition for which severe conditions are commonly treated with steroid medications. Not good.
Here’s my beef. In order for an autoimmune condition to be officially diagnosed, there must be severe tissue destruction. But again, this destruction does not happen overnight. It is progressive. What absolutely boggles my mind is that the current medical approach to autoimmunity is to be the bystander watching the car drive against traffic without warning until an accident happens!
Maybe it’s just me, but I would assume that early detection of these antibodies (we’ll discuss this tomorrow) as well as addressing the faulty immune system would be a much more effective approach in controlling autoimmunity.
Notice that I used the phrase “controlling autoimmunity”. Once the autoimmune genes have flipped on, they stay on. The best we can do is contain them. This may be discouraging for some, but containment is certainly preferable to severe tissue destruction.
Think of it this way. You can turn your car around and drive with traffic instead of against it.
Understanding the cast of characters playing a role in autoimmunity is paramount to containing it. The key players we will discuss today are the mucosal/intestinal barrier, the TH-1 and TH-2 immune systems, the regulatory T-cells, and TH-17 system.
You’re Letting the Flies In!
A healthy mucosal barrier acts like the screens that cover your windows, letting the good guys in and keeping the bad guys out. This protective mucosal layer lines your airways, lungs, intestines, and reproductive tract.
Your intestines are where 80% of your immune system resides. When the intestinal barrier is compromised, it is like a kid coming around and poking holes in your window screens on a hot day with no air conditioning. Next thing you know, you’ve got a house full of flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. Ugh!
When your intestinal barrier is compromised due to inflammation, bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth, parasites, stress, medications, and/or food sensitivities, you’re in the same predicament as you were with the holey window screens. But this time undigested food particles and various gut bugs can cross over into your bloodstream where they’re not welcome. When this happens, your immune system recognizes these antigens as invaders and mounts an immune response to fight them off. In other words, it acts just like you when you have a room full of flies. Your immune system grabs a magazine and starts whacking away!
Of course, you can’t spend your whole summer swatting flies. If you’re smart, you’ll go to the hardware store and buy yourself some new window screens. And maybe give that crazy kid a spanking. We’ll get back to this. The new screens. Not the kid.
Playing Seesaw with the Fat Kid
The design of your immune system is something to behold. It makes nerds like me get all excited and stuff!
The two pathways of primary importance to those with autoimmune reactions (antibodies only, no diagnosis) and autoimmune disease (severe tissue destruction, diagnosed) are the TH-1 and TH-2 systems.
The TH-1 system goes on the attack when it encounters an invader (antigen). You can think of it as the FBI chasing after the bad guys.
The only problem with this FBI squad is that they got hit hard by federal budget cuts and lost their vision coverage, making them dependent on the TH-2 system to properly identify intruders for them in the case of future antigenic invasions. The TH-2 system does this by tagging intruders and entering them into a criminal database. That way, the next time the intruders attack, the TH-1 system will be ready to pounce all over them.
An imbalance between these two systems is where the immune system goes wrong and autoimmunity begins. If the two sat on opposite sides of a seesaw, they should both have their feet off the ground. However, when the systems become polarized with one side of the seesaw on the ground and the other way up in the air, you should start looking for oncoming traffic.
An overactive TH-1 system is an immune system in “shock and awe” attack mode just looking for something to go after, including your own harmless tissues, glands, and organs.
An overactive TH-2 system is one that gets tag-happy, sticking tags on everything it can, including innocent bystanders like perfectly healthy foods you consume every day. Consequently, mistaken identity goes on the rise with your immune system committing frequent acts of friendly fire.
Autoimmune conditions tend to be TH-1 or TH-2 dominant. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, TH-1 dominant conditions include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and Type 1 diabetes. TH-2 dominant conditions include lupus and dermatitis.
Regulators! Mount up.
If the dominance of one side of the immune system is keeping the seesaw from moving, you need the help of the T-regulatory (T-3) cells to even them out. Think of them as seesaw-balancing specialists. When these cells are asleep on the job, imbalance occurs and one side of the seesaw hits the dirt.
Quite interestingly, opioids stimulate T-regulatory cell activity. This is why many autoimmune conditions go into remission while spending time laughing with loved ones.
There’s Always a Villain
The final character in this immunological movie is TH-17. He’s all about drama. The severity of autoimmune flare-ups depends on the activity of TH-17. When activity is high due to increased stress, lack of sleep, or depleted glutathione, bad things happen.
Did someone say “glutathione”?
(((the crowd goes wild)))
Sorry, guys! I’m out of time. Gotta wait until tomorrow when you’ll learn how raising your glutathione levels repairs the intestinal barrier, balances TH-1 and TH-2 via activation of T-regulatory cells, turns down that big meanie TH-17, and much more!
It protects every single one of your 50 to 75 trillion cells, including your brain.
The lower your levels of it, the higher your risk of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmunity.
And as of today, a Pubmed search displays 95663 scientific articles on it.
BUT I bet you’ve never heard of it.
Why? Well, maybe because you can’t fortify juices, cereals, and Diet 7-Up with it.
Or maybe because today’s multi-billion dollar antioxidant industry will crumble to its knees once the public catches wind of it.
When it comes to antioxidants, glutathione is as underground as it gets.
Before we jump into exactly what glutathione does, let’s discus why it does it. You have probably heard the phrase “the powerhouse of the cell”. Every time I hear that I flash back to elementary school and the entire class shouting “THE MITOCHONDRIA!”.
The mitochondria’s nickname couldn’t be any more appropriate. Housed within each of your cells, they generate the energy your body runs on by way of utilizing oxygen to convert food into fuel, or what is known as ATP.
Just like your car produces exhaust as a byproduct of the burning of gasoline, the mitochondria’s energy production system creates reactive oxygen species, better known as free radicals.
The mitochondria have a built-in protection system (antioxidant enzymes) to protect themselves from these free radical scavengers. However, 5% escape and wreak havoc on the cell, including damage to the DNA (potentially cancerous), enzymes, and cellular membrane. No bueno!
To get an idea of how these free radicals work, let’s use an analogy I actually heard last night from my friend Blue Elam. If you were to put 10 rambunctious boys into a room with 9 basketballs, what would happen?
First of all, you’d be a cruel, mean person for doing that. But the boy without a ball would steal a ball from another. And then the boy who doesn’t have a ball anymore will steal one from the next boy. And it never stops!
This is exactly what free radicals do. They steal electrons from vital areas of your cells in order to fill their outer shells. This process, called oxidative stress, has been associated with over 200 different diseases and conditions. In fact, a Pubmed search for oxidative stress displays 87374 scientific papers! In some cases, the free radicals cause the disease. In others, the disease causes the oxidative stress.
This is exactly why we have become so enamored with dietary antioxidants in the forms of expensive juices, supplements, and of course, fortification of processed foods.
As we discussed in Tuesday’s blog, dietary antioxidants, while effective, are in fact inferior to the antioxidant enzymes produced by your cells. These enzymes include superoxide dismutase, catalase, and the pound-for-pound antioxidant champ glutathione.
Glutathione is a protein consisting of three amino acids (a tripeptide). Its job is to act as a cellular security guard and protect the cell and mitochondria from free radical damage. When glutathione levels become depleted due to aging, stress, heavy metals, pollution, radiation, poor diet, and more, free radicals run wild. One consequence is the dimming of the lights in your cellular powerhouse. In other words, your energy production slows down. Is it any wonder why we have an epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!
Glutathione works in conjunction with dietary antioxidants. It breathes new life into the water-soluble vitamin C, which then interacts with the fat-soluble vitamin E and CoQ10 (also vital for energy production), helping to keep antioxidant levels of those intact. (Perricone, 35)
If you’re taking a handful of vitamin supplements every day, you’ll be well served to boost your glutathione levels to keep them hanging around for longer.
In a nutshell, glutathione is what I call the bomb!
But don’t take my word for it.
In his book Forever Young, anti-aging expert Dr. Nicholas Perricone states,
“Elevating glutathione levels and other substances that protect against free-radical damage in the mitochondria is the cornerstone of the quest to look and feel Forever Young.”
Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, in his book Health and Nutrition Secrets, writes,
“Several studies have shown that the lower a person’s glutathione levels are, the greater the risk of cancer. We also know that one of the early events associated with Parkinson’s disease is a fall in glutathione levels in the neurons associated with the disease.”
Check out the video below and see what happens when a man with Parkinson’s receives an injection of glutathione. The physician is Dr. David Perlmutter, the world’s leading nutritionally oriented neurologist, who as a matter of fact was slated to be my “secret guest” on my Protandim radio show. However, he had a conflict. I was heartbroken. Would have been so cool to interview him!
Speaking of neurology, there is a little-known connection between the health of the brain and the appearance of the skin. Dr. Perricone calls it the Brain-Skin Connection. According to embryology, during the first four months of gestation there are three distinct and separate layers of tissue from which all of our organ systems are derived. The brain and the skin come from the same layer, the ectoderm. (Perricone, 9)
So when that YouTube viewer was complementing me on my skin (mentioned in Tuesday’s blog), he or she was actually complementing the health of my brain!
My response: It’s the glutathione, baby!!!
Special shout-out to coconut oil, too!
The benefits of the master antioxidant are seemingly endless and go well beyond fighting free radicals.
Your liver contains the highest levels of glutathione, which is why it is known in scientific circles as your chief detoxifier, as it is a primary component in what is called Phase Two detoxification and protects you from liver damage. You can imagine it as a sticky substance catching all of the toxins floating by and carrying them out of the body through your poop.
Speaking of the liver, it is the site of thyroid hormone activation. Glutathione is a critical enzyme involved in the conversion of the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active T3. Increasing your levels may prove highly effective in improving thyroid function, boosting metabolism, increasing body temperature, and aiding in fat loss.
And for the active fitness enthusiasts and athletes like myself, glutathione will give you the edge you’re looking for as it reduces muscle damage, increases strength and endurance, and DEFINITELY reduces recovery time.
Recovery time is what sold me on Protandim (a glutathione booster). I work out HARD and I don’t get sore. If I crush my legs, I may have a bit of tightness in my hamstrings (if you watch my videos, you know how tight my hammies are!), but nowhere near the mood-dampening soreness I had prior to taking it.
I predict that intravenous glutathione as well as nutritionally oriented means of boosting its levels will be a huge advance in sports performance in the very near future.
Wow! I’m 3 pages deep and haven’t answered the most important question. How do YOU maximize your glutathione levels to reduce oxidative stress, recover quicker, reduce your toxic load, and boost immunity (will cover in an upcoming blog)?
As I mentioned earlier, manufacturers will never fortify foods with glutathione. This is because glutathione is quickly digested and rendered useless by the digestive system.
There are some forms of liquid glutathione on the market that have debatable effectiveness in boosting levels. You can try it, but you’ll probably vomit once you catch a whiff of it. It smells like one of my brother’s farts! Maybe worse. This is due to its high sulfur content. Yuck.
You can also find transdermal creams, which combine fatty acids with glutathione to facilitate absorption through the skin. Upon penetrating the deep layers of the dermis, the enzyme make its way into circulation, and eventually reports to the cells and mitochondria for duty.
Consuming foods with a high sulfur content can boost glutathione levels. These foods include eggs, garlic, onions, unpasteurized high-quality whey, and cruciferous vegetables like watercress and broccoli. The foods we discussed in Tuesday’s Top 3 Foods that Turn the Good Genes ON blog are also important due to the fact that hitting the switch on NRF2 sends the signal to your genes to produce glutathione.
Keep hitting those switches!!
Lastly, glutathione is composed of three amino acids: l-cysteine, l-glutamine, and l-glycine. Supplementation with n-actylcysteine (NAC), a derivative of l-cysteine, provides one of the building blocks for the enzyme. Several reports I have read indicate a significant boost in glutathione levels when NAC is taken in combination with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), another potent antioxidant that deserves its own blog.
And of course, there is my favorite supplement in the world that I put my precious reputation on the line for almost a year ago. Protandim boosts glutathione levels by an average of 300%. But don’t take my word for it, read the study.
With improved exercise recovery, faster growing hair and nails, radiant skin, and improved energy, I know for a fact that my glutathione tank is topped off, protecting me from disease, toxins, and neurodegeneration.
Gotta stay tip-top if I’m gonna keep hitting those switches and changing how the world views health!
You should do the same.
Please help make this underground antioxidant go mainstream by sharing this blog with others.
See you tomorrow. It’s Friday Fun Day! I filmed an awesome workout with Kirk at Hale Holistic. And I make a BIG announcement about an upcoming video series that’s going to start a movement!
Next Monday, we’ll chat about how low glutathione levels contribute to autoimmunity.
And of course, tune in to UW Radio TONIGHT with bone health expert Dr. John Neustadt. I promise he’ll show up!!
NOTE: If you haven’t read yesterday’s blog, this one won’t make much sense to you. Check it out HERE!
“Finding substances that can turn ON the highly protective transcription factor NRF2 holds the key to preventing a host of diseases.”
A few months ago, I stood in an aisle at Borders and stumbled across that line in the book Forever Young by Dr. Nicholas Perricone.
After reading it, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I took out my iPhone and started taking pictures of the passage and texted them to my friends and critics. I posted the quote to Facebook. I thought:
“FINALLY, somebody gets it!”
I had just spent the previous months taking a bit of a beating for my Protandim endorsement. However, regardless of the hate mail and “unsubscribes” from my YouTube channel and email list, I knew I was helping people.
I also learned a lesson I would never forget, that it’s better to educate your people on how something works BEFORE selling it to them. On top of that, I may want to NOT follow a series of anti-genetic modification videos with a bunch of hype over a supplement that alters gene expression. Kinda easy to confuse the two.
Being the Just Eat Real Food guy, the endorsement of a supplement appears antithetical to the overall message of sticking to Nature, no matter how natural the product may be. We should be able to get everything we need from food, right?
Absolutely. But to hit the switch and turn ON your disease-protective NRF2 transcription factor (as Protandim is scientifically-proven again and again to do), you’re going to have to consume a very specific set of foods on a regular basis.
The Big 3 NRF2 switch-flippers we will be exploring today are teas, cinnamon, and turmeric. You can probably find all three in your kitchen cabinet. Personally, I’m not a tea guy. But cinnamon and turmeric never go missing from my ever-growing spice collection.
Here’s why YOU should add them to your diet.
Teas (black, green, & white)
It is no secret that teas provide anticancer and antioxidant benefits. Much of tea’s health-promoting value can be attributed to the polyphenol EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate).
EGCG inhibits the activation of the disease- and age-accelerating transcription factor NF-kB, thus putting the brakes on the production of inflammatory cytokines (bad guys).
When NFkB is left ON, it turns OFF the cell’s ability to self-destruct when it encounters an error, such as DNA damage. Our bodies are always making cancerous cells, even right now as you read this. Programmed cell death, otherwise known as apoptosis, allows our cells to recognize cancer-causing errors and literally self-destruct instead of replicating. This, of course, is a vital function for cancer prevention.
You want to keep your apoptosis turned ON!
While shutting down NFkB, EGCG turns ON protective NRF2, which sends a message to our genes to upregulate the production of over a dozen anti-inflammatory proteins as well as antioxidant enzymes that fight free radical damage on a scale head and shoulders above direct dietary antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E.
If you have ORAC tunnel vision, that last sentence may have bothered you a bit. This is where the disconnect occurs and the knee-jerk squabbling begins. No, I’m not saying that antioxidants from food are not beneficial. Not even!
Dr. Perricone brilliantly summarizes the difference between indirect antioxidant enzymes and direct dietary antioxidants by stating the following:
“When this natural cell-protective mechanism (the activation of NRF2) is achieved with phytonutrients, the response is far superior to the protective action of antioxidants alone, because such antioxidants as vitamin C and CoQ10 are consumed when neutralizing free radicals.”
What the doc is saying is that dietary antioxidants are great, but they neutralize disease-promoting free radicals at a rate of one-to-one. One antioxidant molecule kills one free radical. And then it’s done. The problem lies in the fact that cells produce on average about 300 sextillion free radicals every day. That’s the number 3 with 23 zeros behind it!
You’d have to eat 375 oranges a day to neutralize that many free radicals!
By activating NRF2 via phytonutrients and Michael acceptor pharmacophores (MAPs) like EGCG, the genes are instructed to produce antioxidant enzymes that can destroy free radicals at a rate of up to one million per second! And they are not used up. They keep fighting the good fight by protecting your cells and extinguishing inflammation.
One of these antioxidant enzymes is glutathione, the chief cellular antioxidant and protector. You can’t eat glutathione. Stomach acid will kill it in a hurry. Instead, you have to coax your cells and genes to produce more of it via foods you consume and the way they influence your gene expression. That is the essence of nutrigenomics.
We’ll discuss glutathione in detail tomorrow.
Nothing beats a little apple pie with cinnamon. Yum!
You may think that this tasty dish will send your blood sugar through the roof. However, studies show that just a dash of cinnamon will keep blood sugar levels stable by way of improving insulin sensitivity.
And it doesn’t stop there. Cinnamon reduces fever similar to aspirin or Tylenol, without the negative side effects. (Perricone, 40). It is also antimicrobial, fights infections, and supports the immune system.
It’s awesome! Why aren’t you using more of it?
The key flavor compound in cinnamon is cinnamic aldehyde, which is also classified as a MAP.
You know what that means!
As we discussed in yesterday’s Hittin’ Switches blog, MAPs trick NRF2 into action by producing minimal amounts of oxidative stress. Sensing danger, NRF2 sends the message for the genes to turn ON the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory hoses to put the free radical fire out.
Now you have an excuse to make cinnamon rolls on an 80/20 Day!
Gluten-free, of course.
This blog is getting LONG! My bad.
According to Dr. Perricone, “the single most promising food-derived compound to combat cancer, based on the current body of scientific evidence, is the curcuminoids found in turmeric.”
The curcuminoids are what give turmeric its yellow pigment. Their anti-cancer properties come from their mild oxidizing effect and activation of NRF2. They also turn OFF the aforementioned NF-kB.
Turmeric is very common in Indian cuisine, which is why curry is typically yellow. If you’ve ever wondered why Indian people age so well with such beautiful skin, it’s the curcuminoids. The deactivation of NF-kB and AP-1 (mentioned yesterday) keeps wrinkles from being born in the deep layers of the skin. Furthermore, the activation of NRF2 gives the skin a radiant appearance with decreased poor size, and reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. (Perricone, 44)
Probably why I’ve never had more guys ask me what I’ve been doing with my skin since I’ve been on Protandim! One YouTube commenter asked me recently if I had Botox done. Ha!
I like to sometimes sprinkle turmeric on my eggs and always use it when cooking chicken. Tastes so good!
Darn! I’m running out of time. Blogging hours are from 1-3pm. Gotta stick to my schedule. I intended to discuss cocoa, but you guys know the deal already. It activates the good guys and turns OFF the bad guys. Be sure to consume the 70% – 85% cocoa. Go with the non-Dutch kind since Dutching reduces the amount of flavonols in cocoa. (Perricone, 59) If you’d like me to blog about cocoa, leave a comment below. I’ll see what I can do.
Protandim: NRF2 Insurance
I’m not looking to turn this blog into a sales pitch. All I’ll say is that most people take a multivitamin as a form of nutrient insurance; just to be sure they get most of what they need.
Protandim is my NRF2-activation insurance. Consisting of turmeric, ashwaganda, green tea extract, bacopa, and milk thistle, it is scientifically proven by seven peer-reviewed studies to hit the switch on NRF2 and upregulate the production of disease-fighting enzymes. We’ll discuss glutathione, likely the most important enzyme, tomorrow!
That first line from one of my favorite gangsta rap songs perfectly captures the spirit of today’s blog.
Nutrigenomics is a topic that sparked my interest almost two years ago when I began skeptically investigating Protandim and its claims. Eventually, it led me to such classic books as Deep Nutrition, The Primal Blueprint, Genetic Nutritioneering, and now Forever Young by Dr. Nicholas Perricone.
Nutrigenomics is exactly as it sounds. It is the combination of nutrition and genomics. In other words, it is the study of how nutrients and other substances influence the expression of our genes.
For some, genetics unfortunately hold us hostage. Many of us erroneously assume that our genes are all-powerful, leaving our health at the mercy of our genetic blueprints. For example, my father and his mother both died of pancreatic cancer. Two generations of such a ruthless disease should have me quaking in my Nikes.
But what should I do? Should I just count down the days, months, or years until I get the formal diagnosis?
I hit switches.
The switches I hit turn my good protective genes ON and my bad genes that cause cancer and other diseases OFF.
You can do it too! And we can all do it through the foods we eat and/or the supplements we take.
The public, media, and medical professionals always tend to lag about twenty years behind the scientific research. One thing that we haven’t quite caught on to is the fact that the benefits of foods go well beyond ORAC values, antioxidant profiles, and macronutrient ratios. Nutrients like catechins, polyphenols, and stilbenes actually affect gene expression.
Today, we’ll focus on what are known as transcription factors. Transcription factors are not really genes. Rather, they are protein messengers in our cells that are activated by different stimuli (i.e. food). When activated, they migrate to the cell’s nucleus, where they attach to receptor sites on the genes and flip the ON switch for specific genetic activities and expressions.
Transcription factors are not always nice guys. NF-kB and AP-1 accelerate the processes of disease and aging. When NF-kB is activated, it skedaddles over to the nucleus and tells the genes to crank up the production of what are called inflammatory cytokines. Not good. This is why NF-kB has been linked to a multitude of diseases, including AIDS, allergy, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and atherosclerosis.
And those are just the A’s. (I stole that from Bill Maher.)
AP-1 (activator protein 1) activation tells your genes to make more collagen-digesting proteins, causing microscars in the deep layer of the skin that give rise to wrinkles.
Anyone want wrinkles?
Better question. Anyone want to hit the switch on NF-kB and the many diseases linked to it?
I didn’t think so. Keep those two turned OFF.
The hero of this story is nuclear factor (erythroid-derived )-like 2. It’s a mouthful!
Fortunately it has a nickname, NRF2.
Just like the bad guys, when activated, NRF2 moves to the nucleus of the cell and attaches to genes. But instead of turning on inflammation, it tells your genes to turn ON the production of more than a dozen protective anti-inflammatory enzymes as well as antioxidant enzymes like glutathione, the chief cellular antioxidant (more on this later in the week).
Now that’s a switch you want to hit! Turning on NRF2 is like hitting the three-wheel motion. (I wonder how many readers know what that means. See pic in the upper right.)
So which foods turn the good guys ON and the bad guys OFF. Well, I’ll be blogging all about the Big Three (tea, turmeric, and cocoa) tomorrow. For now, let’s discuss just how these foods and drinks hit the right switches.
As I mentioned earlier, we tend to focus on ORAC scores and such, but we completely tune out other important substances like Michael acceptor pharmacophores.
We’ll just call them MAPs. A pharmacophore is like a key that unlocks a door. In this case, the MAPs on the food molecules mentioned (as well as many others) have a set of structural features that are recognized by a receptor thus hitting the switch on the appropriate transcription factor and sending either the good or bad guys into action.
What is quite interesting is the fact that these beneficial food molecules are actually electron deficient and pro-oxidative! They cause oxidative stress.
If you go back to seventh grade science class, you know that molecules that are deficient in electrons will do whatever they can to steal electrons from another molecule in order to fill its outer shell. This causes damage to molecule being stolen from, including damage to the DNA (may cause cancer), enzymes, and cell membrane. I did a pretty decent job explaining this in my Antioxidant Myth blog from last year.
You would think that these foods would be harmful to your health. However, they are quite sneaky. The mild oxidative stress they cause actually tricks NRF2 into waking up and going to work. NRF2 rushes over to the nucleus, binds to the gene receptor, and turns ON the production of the protective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes.
At the same time, these foods turn OFF the bad guys.
Trickery at its finest.
Stay tuned! This week is all about how to take the power away from your bad genes and show them who’s boss through the foods you eat and the switches you hit. Why stay 20 years behind the research? Do it NOW.
Tune in tomorrow! We’re gonna set up shop, never close, and get riches. And never stop eating well and hittin’ switches!
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