I was looking for ways to watch some of my “usual shows” on the laptop instead of the TV (as it is less likely to keep the spouse awake at night what with headset and smaller screen and all…)
Along the way I learned that CNBC has gone to a DIY Some Assembly Required format. They have a bunch of “snippets” of their channels up at their site and you get to pick Just What You Like… unfortunately “what they are broadcasting now” does not seem to be one of the choices… So you have things like 1-8 of 45 ‘snippets’ on a topic area… and a few dozen topic areas… Basically, all the “Value Added” of their programming layout and editing decisions is thrown away, all the “real time news” aspect is thrown away, and they have a load of “stories” of unknown context and age that you get to wade through. Yuck.
I’d already found that Fox Business had a live feed. So I’ll likely be watching it (even though after US Market hours it tends to be more political / commentary than ‘World Markets’ oriented and I really like the European political / economic insights from the financial analysts on CNBC World – who are far less ‘happy talk airheads’ than their US counterparts on CNBC… or the empty head prompter readers on Bloomberg…) I’d like to have a choice of all three, but Fox is enough and Bloomberg in a pinch.
So I decided to see if Bloomberg was more “reasonable”. (Despite Herr Mayor being an ass…) Well, it USED to be more or less a real time feed. The top page is now a couple of near-real-time updates and some news stories. If you dig around a bit, there is a live tv feed that seems reasonable, even though it starts off with an obligatory commercial… But I did find one story that was interesting on the top page, even if not at all useful as ‘market prep’ for the next day coming.
They had a story about Hydrogen Sulphide gas and longevity.
Rotten Egg Gas Seen Offering Promise of Extending Life
By Natasha Khan – Feb 18, 2013 8:01 AM PT
In the hunt for ways to extend life, scientists are turning to an unlikely source: the gas that gives rotten eggs their distinctive foul smell.
Hydrogen sulfide — maligned for its toxic and explosive properties — may slow aging and block damaging chemical reactions inside cells, according to scientists in China, who reviewed studies on the malodorous gas and its effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Hydrogen sulfide activates a gene implicated in longevity in a similar way to resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine [...]
In some ways not so surprising. I’ve generally figured that if something is ‘produced by living things’ it will likely be found to be involved in a lot of life processes in one way or another. That Sulphur shows up in many life compounds tends to imply it is important in many processes. That H2S shows up in some kinds of processes implies pathways that use it. Not a hard rule, but a pointer…
So some folks have found it isn’t just a stinky decay waste product.
“Everyone always thought of hydrogen sulfide as the bad guy — an environmental pollutant, a toxin,” said Matt Whiteman, associate professor of experimental therapeutics at England’s University of Exeter. Since the discovery that the gas is made in mammalian cells, “this research area has exploded,” he said.
Hydrogen sulfide appears to slow aging and aging-related diseases in at least three main ways, said Jiang Zhisheng and colleagues at the University of South China in Hengyang City, Hunan, in a report slated for publication next month in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology. The gas helps counter cell-damaging free-radicals; encourages production of an enzyme thought to be a regulator of lifespan; and interacts with a gene that appears to have its own market basket of anti-aging activity.
They are trying to figure out how to use this insight in some way, and seem to not think that maybe just eating some eggs might be a simple first step… They do mention onions and garlic, but in passing and without much content.
The gas has a role for regulating blood pressure, improving the flexibility of veins and arteries and producing a smoother flow of blood, researchers from the University of Exeter’s Peninsula Medical School and King’s College London said in study in the journal Circulation published in 2008. Whiteman and fellow University of Exeter researchers showed the following year that decreases in hydrogen sulfide may contribute to vascular complications in diabetics.
“It was assumed that any hydrogen sulfide in the body would be bad,” he said. “However, it’s now emerging that the body actually produces hydrogen sulfide by specific enzymes and, as more researchers become interested in this gas, we are finding changes in hydrogen sulfide synthesis or changes in how hydrogen sulfide is used by the body.”
So they have found out that it’s important. But don’t know how it works, or exactly what it does, but figure tinkering with the system might do something good, or at least profitable… Me? I think I’ll just continue me French approach to diet, with a fair serving of eggs and onions… Denver Omelet anyone? ;-) And maybe top it off with some garlic, sardines, and cheese…
The gas appears to switch on klotho, a gene named after one of the mythical Greek fates who controlled the length of human life. Klotho is thought to extend lifespan via a number of different pathways, some of which promote production of the body’s own antioxidants, Jiang and colleagues said in their report. On the other hand, low levels of hydrogen sulfide are associated with high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, it said.
One of the main advantages of hydrogen sulfide may be its ability to activate the SIRT1 enzyme, a so-called skinny gene that mimics the effect of caloric restriction, the University of Dundee’s Rouse said. There is good evidence that limiting food delays aging as the body generates fewer free radicals that cause wear and tear on the body, he said.
So low levels connect with some particular diseases of the blood vessels and brain too. Hmmm…. Sure looks to me like ample enough reason to presume that the French Longevity Anomaly might be related to their consumption of sulphur rich (and sometimes a bit smelly…) foods. Garlic, Onions, Eggs. Cheeses and those stinky cabbage family vegetables… From Brussels Sprouts to Kale and turnips.
These folks give a list:
While these folks claim a shortage of sulphur can lead to heart attack risks:
Sulfur deficiency is a little known nutritional problem that can have very serious consequences for your health. A deficiency of sulfur can raise homocystiene levels and put you at risk for a heart attack.
Sulfur appears in your body in the form of sulfur amino acids like methionine, taurine, cysteine, and cystine. Of these methionine is the only one that your body can’t synthesize, so it has to be supplied by your diet.
These sulfur amino acids are vital to a process called “methylation” by which the amino acid methionine is converted first to homocyteiene, and then in a final step, to cystiene.
Without adequate sulfur the conversion process does not fully convert homocystiene to cysteine, and toxic levels of homocystiene build up in your body causing inflammation and damage to your arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes!
So folks skipping those eggs, cheeses, red meat and other rich sources are at increased risk… Kind of like Americans following the skinny diet fad and then dropping like flies from heart attacks on trans-fat rich margarine and low animal foods diets; while the French just happily ate their butter, cheeses and eggs and kept on living…
What are some of the things sulfur does in the body?
Critical for your body’s electron transport system
Biosynthesis of glutathione – the most important cellular antioxidant
Enables insulin to function properly and regulate blood sugar
Critical element for bones, joints, and connective tissues
Critical element in biosynthesizing vitamin-d from sun exposure
Cholesterol sulfate is critical for cardiovascular health
Looks kind of important to me…
I note in passing the insulin and blood sugar roles. Any time I’ve felt any level of ‘shaky’ (after playing with diet and inducing a hypo-glycemic like state or similar extreme things) I’ve noticed that a chunk of red meat, cheese, or hard boiled eggs seemd to “fix it” very quickly. While I’d generally attributed it to the fat and high calorie load, perhaps it is a bit more complicated than that. It would also help to explain why it took me several weeks to induce the “problem” (a friend was diagnosed as hypoglycemic so I was ‘playing with my metabolism’ to find out what might help him without screwing up his already unpleasant days any more) and a few days to have it ‘stay away’ without tending. Time to deplete sulphur and time to rebuild stocks and enzymes. ( I’d gone to a very low protein and low fat high carbs and sugars diet. Indirectly also screening out high sulphur foods: meats, eggs, cheeses, etc.)
I’m also going to be seeing if adding some more onions to the spousal diet helps with her low Vit-D conversion efficiency.
Not a whole lot to conclude.
Just that it might help explain the French Longevity Anomaly. And to point out that maybe we don’t know as much as we think we know about diet and the effects on metabolism. That demonizing meat, eggs, and cheeses just might have some unintended negative consequences, and that traditional diets and diet wisdom may have more to it than “modern theory” recognizes.
Me? I’m going with the thousands of years of tradition and history, not the modern “bright idea and theory”. Those French and their anomaly. The ‘Italian Hotspot’ characterized by consumption of LOTS of lamb and sheep’s milk cheeses (Pecorino Romano in particular) and folks living well past 100. The Okinawa longevity “hot spot” with traditional diets rich in sea food and cabbage family vegetables (both also rich in sulphur).
So French Onion Soup with melted cheese. Pasta with a nice olive and Pecorino topper. Yosenabe ( sea food & vegetable stew).
Forget the cucumber sandwich and the midget sized soda, and tell Herr Mayor Bloomberg and Madam Obama to keep their mitts off your dinner plate. If I want a double double burger with cheese and double onions, it’s “for my health” and my sulphur requirements. If they try to take away my garlic sardines in olive oil and my cheese and onion soup, why hell, I might just have to get nasty and breath on them! ;-)