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The Nutrition InvestigatorThe health and nutrition blog by Dr. Roc Ordman.

January 2019 News Notes

by Roc (click here for full post)

Trying to find time to write essays, there are so many distractions. See index of all postings here. Sorry there is so much news I feel it is worthwhile to share. Nor am I editing it to just headlines.


Update on mechanisms that might be involved in exercise reducing dementias.

NPR Science Friday Jan 18 – Weight training is the exercise that counts – not bike riding or walking, but exercise that builds muscles is most important to reverse the signs of aging. Even at age 80! You lose muscle mass as you age unless you work out. Pushups and the like are great, can restore heart function to youthful levels.  Also good for depression and anxiety – 30 min 3x per week is as good as Prozac.


Humans have evolved to exercise, particularly running for a long time to catch prey. **Compared to other primates, our organs and bodies have evolved for exercise. Our brain needs less sleep. “Exercise is not optional. It is essential, and weight loss is probably the one health benefit it largely fails to deliver.” Endurance exercise reduces inflammation and heart disease, blunts morning cortisol stress hormone, reduces diabetes risk, makes glucose into glycogen instead of fat, boosts immune system, and removes fat from your blood.

Of course, exercise does much more than build muscle. It enhances mood. It improves executive functioning. It boosts grey matter cells! It may also increase telomer length if the exercise is of appropriate intensity. Preventive Medicine 100 (2017) 145–151 did find an increase in telomere length in leukocytes (immune cells). This paper found increased telomere length in participants who engage in high intensity physical exercise but not those engaging in moderate or low intensity exercise. The advantage in telomere length amounted to 9 years over sedentary adults.

Declines in walking speed are associated with a variety of poor health outcomes including disability, comorbidity, and mortality. While genetic factors are putative contributors to variability in walking, few genetic loci have been identified for this trait. We examined the role of mitochondrial genomic variation on walking speed by sequencing the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). These results suggest that mtDNA-encoded variants are associated with differences in walking speed among older adults.


Maret Traber and Garry Buettner report that Vitamin C can reverse antioxidant depletion caused by metabolic syndrome!

Why is LDL cholesterol bad? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have identified that the problem with LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is when excess LDL is deposited on blood vessel walls. It oxidizes into a toxic substance that triggers immune cells to form crystals, leading to inflammation and arterial disease. [Nutrition investigator reported decades ago that, based on scientific literature, it is oxidized LDL that is hazardous. Total cholesterol and total LDL cholesterol are unlikely to correlate with health. This is why Science reported one of the big questions left in 2019 is what cholesterol levels mean for health. Unfortunately, there is no easy test for oxidized LDL.]

Vanishing free will – Scientists identify the brain networks involved in the sense of agency-which make you believe you have free will, even though you do not!

This PubMed.gov link leads to two important blueberry- and green tea-related research reports the first of which reviews evidence for berry-tea synergy:

Melatonin is a neurohormone associated with sleep and wakefulness and is 
mainly produced by the pineal gland. Numerous physiological functions of 
melatonin have been demonstrated including anti-inflammation, suppressing neoplastic growth, circadian and endocrine rhythm regulation, and its potent antioxidant activity as well as its role in regeneration of various tissues including the nervous system, liver, bone, kidney, bladder, skin, and muscle, among others.

Linus Pauling Newsletter Fall 2018 – xanthohumol, found in beer, appears to help fight against the effects of metabolic syndrome-it can normalize blood glucose and cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation; Diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound

derived from phytochemicals found naturally in cruciferous vegetables, can stimulate multiple detoxification pathways in cells. It is produced when you eat brussel sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables.

Unfortunately, 56% of American adults with a mental illness lack access to proper treatment. We created a guide to help those concerned with paying for mental health care manage their debt while also finding affordable mental health assistance. Here’s the link: https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/mental-health-and-debt.php

One doctor maintains that when someone actually has a heart attack the electrical firestorm that ensues is substantially mitigated with better chance of survival in patients who have been taking omega 3s (fish oil) but the studies are controversial; see for  example  http://jphe.amegroups.com/article/view/3849/4642

STUFF FROM GRG AGING RESEARCH-I am now in the Gerontological Research Group, about 500 MD and PhD people sharing research how to extend healthspan:

Perhaps taking aspirin is worthwhile! An age researcher says he is happy to relay reports that willow bark made yeast live a whopping 435% longer! It’s thought to be like aspirin, plus polyphenols,flavonoids and tannins. And evidently works much better! My enormous spread sheet has about 50 aspirin life span experiments. Their average change in life span is only +16%.

Metformin antagonizes benefits of exercise! Metformin and exercise independently improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of diabetes. Metformin was also recently proposed as a potential therapy to slow aging. However, recent evidence indicates that adding metformin to exercise antagonizes the exercise-induced improvement in insulin sensitivity and cardiorespiratory fitness.  These data suggest that prior to prescribing  metformin to slow aging, additional studies are needed to understand the mechanisms that elicit positive and negative responses to metformin with and without exercise.

Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) inflammation plays a central role in 
longevity and multiple age-related disorders. Cellular Senescence (SEN) 
is a fundamental aging mechanism that contributes to age-related chronic 
inflammation and organ dysfunction, including VAT. Recent studies using 
heterochronic parabiosis models strongly suggested that circulating 
factors in young plasma alter the aging phenotypes of old animals
. Our 
study investigated if young plasma rescued SEN phenotypes in the VAT of 
aging mice. With heterochronic parabiosis model using young (3 m) and 
old (18 m) mice, we found significant reduction in the levels 
pro-inflammatory cytokines and altered adipokine profile that are 
protective of SEN in the VAT of old mice. These data are indicative of 
protection from SEN of aging VAT by young blood circulation. 

Here is a method to clean blood in China that claims an average of 4.47 years decrease in age for males and 8.36 years for females.

Recent advances indicate that biological aging is a potentially modifiable driver of late-life function and chronic disease and have led to the development of geroscience-guided therapeutic trials. Since there is no standard set of biomarkers of aging for clinical trials, an expert panel was convened and comprehensive literature reviews conducted to identify 258 initial candidate biomarkers of aging and age-related disease. the current literature resulted in a short list of blood-based biomarkers proposed for measuring physiologic age: IL-6, TNFα-receptor I or II, CRP, GDF15, insulin, IGF1, cystatin C, NT-proBNP, and hemoglobin A1c. 

Variation in healthy aging and lifespan is ascribed more to various non-genetic factors than to inherited genetic determinants, and a major goal in aging research is to reveal the epigenetic basis of aging.  One approach to this goal is to find genomic sites or regions where DNA methylation correlates with biological age. Using health data from 134 elderly twins, we calculated a frailty index as a quantitative indicator of biological age to their leukocyte DNA samples. Our results indicate that DNA methylation at CpG sites in the promoter region of PCDHGA3 is associated with biological age. PCDHGA3 belongs to clustered protocadherin genes, which are all located in a single locus on chromosome 5 in human. 

Peptide SS-31 thought to reverse human aging – From June, 2016  SS-31 reverses age decline in mitochondrial function, muscle, heart, vision in mice, and is in 7 human clinical trials. It is a 7 amino acid peptide. SS-31 improves old heart function to young levels. SS-31 reduces old heart weight to young weight. 1 dose ip inj. reverses age decline in 1 hour. Her compound, SS-31, is being developed by Stealth Biotherapeutics, a company that she co-founded. It is stable for slow release and crosses the blood brain barrier to rejuvenate the brain. It is stable for slow release, and is suitable to inject as a depot (like birth control injected in arm). See details of this peptide here.

– Roc, Nutrition Investigator

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