A Stinky Long Life?

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.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-18/rotten-egg-gas-seen-offering-promise-of-extending-life.html

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:

http://www.canarys-eye-view.org/challenges/food/sulfurfoods.html

While these folks claim a shortage of sulphur can lead to heart attack risks:

http://www.longevity-and-antiaging-secrets.com/sulfur-deficiency.html

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.

sulfur deficiency

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
Cellular detoxification
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.

In Conclusion

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! ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to A Stinky Long Life?

  1. Petrossa says:

    You should visit a retirement home more often. You’ll quickly get rid of that ‘i want to get really old’ idea. The good thing about being dead is that you are. Whilst there is no real need to hasten the process, health insurance statistics show us that all ‘extra’ years added beyond the norm for your body are years full of afflictions,diseases and suffering.
    Once it’s worn out, best discard it. Holding it together with duct tape and bits of wire beyond is not a good idea.
    So my take on it is, whatever you eat that’s not really unhealthy is good enough. Your genes will decide for you when its your time.

  2. Petrossa – maybe the more sulphurous diet would have given those old people a longer time of being healthy and aware, which seems more worth it than just surviving longer with reduced muscle and brain power. The interplay of genetics and diet is not that well understood, so it’s hard to say whether any particular diet is optimum – we’re just picking up odd clues from statistics as to what conditions may be better or worse.

    I’ve seen quite a few things go from “good for you” to “killer” and vice-versa, so I tend to just eat what I like and try to keep to the largely simply-processed foods that our ancestors would have eaten. As it happens, that means I do eat a fair amount of onions, garlic and smelly cheese – nice to know that this might also prolong my useful life before my brain turn to mush.

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    When producing sulphides I have smelled many times hydrogen sulphide. It has the peculiar characteristic that a few minutes after you smell it you don´t feel it anymore. It is easily produced by making react an acid with sodium sulphide….
    Which would it be the advice? Start smelling farts?

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. You are a PANDORA´S BOX !…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…
    OMG! That´s why the New World Order Elite want us not to eat garbage food and not smoking!….They want to kill us! :-)

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrossa & Simon:

    The “key bit” about those longevity “hot spots” is not just years, but FIT years. Saw film that was looking at those places. 90+ year old guy running around a hill side chasing sheep in Italy.(He did carry a cane, though. Leaned on it when he stopped chasing sheep, shook it at them mid chase…). Folks in Okinawa that were in their 80s and 90s and in better condition than their kids (by a lot… some of whom died at 60 something).

    My interest, frankly, is NOT in lasting more years. My interest is in making the years more functional and comfortable. If I get more of them too, well that’s OK.

    I have a personal angle on this too. On both sides of the family, grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s in good shape. (Dad’s Dad, for example, was working the farm into his late 80s and only died in his 90s ‘by surprise’… that is, not a long lingering decay…) My Dad died at 56, for comparison. BUT, it was from lung cancer after 40 years of smoking unfiltered Camels. At autopsy everything else was in pretty good shape. So it’s highly likely that I can live a long, and functional, life. IFF I can get enough of the ‘right stuff’ into the diet and behaviours and enough of the ‘wrong stuff’ out.

    As of now “right stuff” is looking clearer. (It had been a bit murky before, what with hot spots all over and in several ethnicities). Not just “natural foods” and “avoid processed crap”; but specific food choices. Some wine and cheese (common to both the French and Italian “hot spots”) with emphasis on the short fatty acid sheep and goat milk cheeses. Cruciferous vegetables. Seafoods and high omega-3 sources. Eggs and grass fed meats. Brown rice and whole wheat.

    In short, the same kinds of stuff folks ate in older agrarian times on mountainous islands where “my folks” came from.

    So sounds to me like I can enjoy life more in the process, and have a longer time of enjoying it too.

    Sidebar:

    Petrossa, I spent the better part of a few years ‘tending the mother-in-law’. She was in nursing homes and I was the one who was available. I did everything possible to keep her active and entertained including taking her out for drives and meals long after nobody else could (as I was big enough to help lift her into / out of seats, cars, etc.) Typically twice a week, sometimes more and sometimes went with the spouse on ‘her days’.

    I don’t know how many total days that is, but well over 1,000. I’ve seen a lot of nursing homes. I’ve seen a lot of the folks in them.

    Eventually The MIL got bad enough with the “mixed dementia” that she could no longer go out. We still visited on the same schedule. Maybe another year, or two. I lost track (suppressed the memory?) I know what the worst is that can come my way. I’m not afraid of it, but I’d rather be chasing goats or sheep over a mountain side at 90 than be in a wheelchair drooling in my soup at 84. (MIL was about that when our ‘drives’ had to end.)

    So, you see, It’s not a fixed schedule, either in duration or in consequences. And my interest is in finding ways to mitigate the consequences. That the sulfur compounds also look to mitigate the consequences (i.e. a shortage is seen in folks with decay / diseases) was the part that interested me most. On the farm, Grampa ate a lot of eggs, grass fed beef and pork, and cheeses. He was running around at 90. Not drooling in his soup.

    Now if I have my wine and cheese, lamb chops and bacon & eggs and end up with a heart attack at 70, frankly, that would be an acceptable result too. But the completely unacceptable is a life of deprivation, of denial of eating good foods and avoiding the pleasures of wine and cheese, only to find out that I end up drooling in my soup at 70 and lingering to 75… Now if I just happen to discover that eating the ‘traditional rich mountain and sea’ way and enjoying my wine and cheese lets me chase the grand kids around at 80 or 90, so much the better ;-)

    And I’m looking at these options with complete understanding of the consequences of failure to get it right. So far I’ve done pretty good at it. I’m now a ’60 something’ and the only ‘issue’ I have with any significance is some sporadic arthritis that I’ve had for decades. Directly modulated by a couple of foods. I still don’t wear glasses (despite a bit more effort to read fine print, I pass the drivers exam without aid) and I still “learn new things” pretty easily. I have started to forget a few things, but then again, it’s been over 40 years since I thought about some of them… so maybe it’s not all that big a deal that I’m forgetting my one Russian class that I didn’t do so well in anyway ;-) At the last doctor visit (with the ‘walking pneumonia’ in progress) my blood pressure was normal. ( I breathed while it was being taken, which keeps it normal. Something like 126 over 85 ? The nurse was surprised, as was the doctor. Especially when then making the diagnosis…)

    All that leads me to think that I’ve been doing OK with my “pattern”. We’ll see. I likely have between 5 years and 25 to go. So the answer will come “soon enough”. For now, I’m happy to just enjoy the things that please me. That they happen to fit the “hot spot” diet pattern is just so much gravy ;-)

    So what’s my major ‘big lumps’? Absolutely NO trans-fat. Minimal to no sodas other than when on the road and hard to avoid. Preferentially eat foods I fix myself (i.e. not packaged chemical factory specials – though I don’t avoid them religiously). Typical meal pattern is “A protein, a starch, and a vegetable”. Sporadic beer or wine. So fried chicken, mashed w/ gravy, peas. Ham, candied yams, greenbeans, home made bread / butter. REAL butter. NO margarine. Scrambled eggs and toast with butter. Ham sandwich on home made bread. Noodles with pecorino and marinara or sometimes Alfredo and olives. Garlic bread. Fried onions (in butter) on bread. French onion soup. Sushi w/ excess wasabi and sake. I love brussels sprouts and grow my own kale. Like “mashed roots” of some mix of potatoes, carrots and turnips. Love buttered parsnips too. And spinach and even the occasional turnip greens. Chile beans with too much onion and garlic; and burritos too. Carnitas especially.

    So your basic “things you recognize as meat or a plant” and made into something you like. Lots of mustard on dogs w/ kraut. Lots of wasabe. Lots of chili sauce or peppers in “Gun Powder Chicken” (Gung Pow Chicken ;-) I love Indian food too, but the spouse doesn’t, so only occasionally my Curried Lentils & New Potatoes….

    I have the sporadic salad, but not all that often (mostly from sloth in making them).

    Things you would find on a plate 100 years ago. Not things from a box or factory unless I’m just too lazy to deal with it today or I’m on the road (or the ingredient list is not obtuse…)

    Basically, your typical plants, meat, and spices with cooked grains and coffee / tea / wine / beer. As I’ve only had a hospital stay for physical injuries my entire life, I think it’s worked out well. No regular medications. Only “aw shit’ was some polyps found on a colonoscopy a decade back. None since. No blood pressure meds. No diabetes (pre- or otherwise). No blood work out of line. Nothing.

    My hair is thinning though… but I think that is normal for my family. ;-)

    Oh, I did have my wisdom teeth removed about a year ago… I was a bit slow on that… Still have all the others, though. (Some with caps from my soda pop drinking years… that crap eats holes in your teeth. I don’t get cavities if I avoid it…)

    So I think it works pretty well. I’ve had a lot of friends develop all sorts of “issues”. I figure some day my turn will come. But so far it just doesn’t seem to happen. And that is my major goal…

  6. Petrossa says:

    Problem is EM, you only find out when it’s to late to do something about it. Hotspots maybe just as well genetic hotspots. I seriously doubt you can actually prolong fit life by diet/lifestyle modifications. In fact i think it’s impossible. What i think everyone gets mixed up is that you can shorten it by the wrong ones.

    It’s only human to then jump to the conclusion that if you can shorten it you can also lengthen it.
    But each to his own dream. I prefer reality, where my genes have decided my fit age and i quit while the going is good.

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    GOD gives you four score and ten. How you piss it away is up to you. “Use it or lose it” is very true about your health. Work hard and eat/drink well to allow your body to do it’s maintenance and repair will give you a full measure of good years. I am only 66 and am still robust, physically and mentally. I still dig ditches, move rocks, cut firewood and learn new things. Never used tobacco and am very careful about medications, Doctors can cure you or ruin your health, It’s your body so pay attention to what it tells you. damage it and there is little going back. Have a glass or two of wine or beer from time to time as it is good for body and soul! pg

  8. gary turner says:

    Petrossa says:
    19 February 2013 at 4:43 pm

    It depends on your definition of lengthen, doesn’t it? If you do away with those things that shorten your life, then doesn’t that qualify as lengthening? It is my impression that those who aren’t killed by something tend to live to about 100, give or take. So, if you don’t eat things that lead to the debilitation of some system or another, hastening death, you effectively lengthen your life. Likewise, a lifestyle that includes those things that counter the aging processes, such as anti-oxidants like vitamin C and various sulfur compounds, or that strengthen the immune system, for example vitamins A, D, and E, will lead to a longer period of youthful vigor. Does that not effectively lengthen ones life?

  9. DirkH says:

    Petrossa says:
    19 February 2013 at 10:41 am
    ” So my take on it is, whatever you eat that’s not really unhealthy is good enough. Your genes will decide for you when its your time.”

    Petrossa, that’s just daft. You don’t get problems from eating SOMETHING (maybe with the exception of transfats), you get most of your problems from a lack of something. You can eat beans all day long, you will never get Methionine from them. Add a little Sesame Oil and now you have all the amino acids. So are the beans really unhealthy? No, but a lack of Methionine surely is.

  10. DocMartyn says:

    Take your N-acetyl cysteine. Crosses blood-brain barrier and boosts brain glutathione.
    BTW if you give animals or perhaps people low levels of hydrogen sulphide you can put them into suspended animation.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrosa:

    Life extension is clearly demonstrated. In labs and in people. The “easy” way is cut your ration in half. Mammals on 1/2 ration (including people) live significantly longer (up to 50% IIRC). Easily demonstrated with animal studies AND historical data-dredge on genetically uniform populations under different circumstances.

    There is NO practical difference between saying “eat FOO you die in 1/2 the time” vs “do not eat FOO you live twice as long” (or the inverse). Only difference is the starting point. For my “genetic type” (i.e. extended family) life span directly maps to closeness of diet to ordinary diet of 100 years ago and inversely with “modern packaged diet”. Similarly, fitness at time of death has the same map.

    There is no doubt at all that what you eat can and does change how long you live and how high a quality of life you have. It does interact with your particular genetics, but it is NOT just a genetic determined single outcome.

    The “hotspots” are proven NOT to be genetic hotspots. Folks from those places that change to “modern” diets die at “modern” i.e. young, ages. The kids in Okinawa who become “old” looking and ill and die at 55-65 while their parents are 80 to 90 and fine. Similar pattern in folks from the Italian ‘hot spot’ who move away to modern lives. It’s been looked at, and it clearly is not genetics.

    None of this is a ‘dream’. It is all observed, measured, and tested. The exact “why” is still being worked out, but the basics are known. Gross calorie reduction. Short chain saturated fatty acids. High omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of relatively unprocessed meats and vegetables. More speculative: Cruciferous vegetables (and this speculative connection to sulfur intake) and high vitamin and mineral intake. Sun exposure and Vit-D levels higher. Phosphate compounds in the bran of rice (for sure) and wheat (maybe).

    There is also an “avoid” list, but that is orthogonal to “what do the hotspots do”. So avoid things that screw up metabolism. Like trans-fats and Bisphenol-A.

    No magic. No dreams. Just observation, measurement, lab testing. ( I don’t know if I ought to feel sorry for the rats, or not, but they live twice as long on a calorie restricted diet. Repeated many times.) But I’m not willing to go that far ;-)

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    So true. The “physical work” causes the muscles to create Human Growth Hormone. This circulates widely in the body and causes repairs in unrelated places… so like it or not, one needs to make the muscles unhappy from time to time so the rest of the body gets the repair hormones.. We are “balanced” for a higher level of physical activity than most folks do. So get out and dig a garden or walk that beach every day…

    @Gary Turner:

    BINGO!

    FWIW, there is a demographic “knee” at about 75 to 80. If you make it past that point, you tend to make it much further. (Though recent overall life span increase by more ‘technical’ means have blurred that line somewhat. I think of it as the George Burns effect. Make it past 80 smoking your cigar, you are headed for 100 still smoking that cigar…)

    @DirkH:

    Generally true, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Yes, mostly ‘edge cases’, but worth recognizing…

    Some foods put high stress on some systems or contain toxins that can cause damage. From free radical promoting foods to oxidative stress increasing foods to flat out toxins (like Solinine in potatoes). Sometimes a little bit of the “bad thing” causes an excess of positive repair response so can actually increase lifespan. (Very low dose radiation is in that group).

    Fava beans are an interesting example. They cause a high “oxidative stress” reaction that can cause a bit of damage and shorten cell lifespan. Yes, it gets repaired, but each reproduction cycle shortens the telomeres on the ends of the genes and when they run out, you die. (That is why food restriction prolongs life, it preserves the telomeres due to longer cell replacement cycles…) Now Fava Beans are not going to kill you if you eat too many, but they will ‘have issues’ in large quantity. Yet even there it is a mixed blessing. Oxidative stress in the red blood cells kills off Malaria… So excess fava beans might well help you get well and recover from malaria a bit faster. (Speculative and not tested that I know of). HOWEVER, some “Mediterranean ancestry” folks get “Favism” when they eat Fava beans. It causes their red blood cells to have too much added oxidative stress. Why? Those folks have genes for high natural levels of oxidative stress in the red blood cell so as to be more resistant to Malaria… So depending on your genetics, Fava Beans can be a nice food, a medicinal help, or a toxin…

    There are similar (though not malaria related) issues with various foods and food components. The spouse, for example, needs to avoid high oxalate foods as her metabolism will make kidney stones on high oxalate diet. Me? I can eat it all day long and nothing happens. Though generally oxalate is toxic to some cells when too concentrated and needs to be minimized where possible.

    So most foods are a package of “good things” and “toxins” (as the plants are trying to find ways to prevent bugs, birds, and mammals form chowing down…). From Soybeans making estrogen analogs to disrupt reproduction of predators to potatoes making solinine to kill off bugs and herbivores to rhubarb making high oxalate leaves to discourage munching… Even to “hot peppers”. The “hot stuff” is tasteless to birds, but causes strong reaction in mammals. The idea being that birds swallow the seeds whole and crap them out in fertilizer while mammals have flat grinding teeth and destroy the seeds; so discourage mammals and let birds go for it… (Then along came people who liked the hot / pain and a few million years of evolution was thwarted ;-) But it looks like it may also have some life prolonging effects and antimicrobial effects…

    So each food is a unique packet of “stuff” and how it interacts with your metabolism is what matters. Getting them matched to each other gives the optimal length and quality of life.

    One interesting example: Omega-3 vs Omega-6 fatty acids. Your body has ONE pathway that takes in both fatty acids and makes hormones out of them. O-3 makes an inflammation reducing product. O-6 makes one that promotes inflammation. As the ‘wild type’ diet was relatively constant in 3:6 ratio, no need to have a control system to adjust the ratio of the two hormones. Now we eat a LOT more O-6 than historically. (Grains are high in 6. Leaves, and critters that eat leaves, high in 3). Consequently, we have much higher tendency to inflammation than our ancestors. This causes more arthritic and related problems and perhaps even worse (cardiac and vascular inflammation and plaque). So simply getting your Omega-3 level up (a lot) from the “modern” level and your Omega-6 down can make a big difference in your quality of life.

    The interesting bit is that you NEED both. But in the right proportion. IIRC about 1:4 of Omega-3 to Omega-6 while modern diets are closer to 1:20 and way out of whack.

    All the metabolic pathways for that are known and the effect is demonstrable. It is well known and not at all speculative. Large quantities of disease could be avoided just by getting our metabolism back into a more normal range of those two diet items. (So range grass fed beef and lamb along with high omega-3 eggs from chickens fed flax seed… and cut back on the omega-6 grain derived cooking oils. Olive yes, corn and soybean no… It really can be that simple..)

    @Verity Jones:

    Fascinating….

    I like Epsom salt baths and feel much better after them. I’d focused on the mg not the SO4… but maybe… Hmmm….

    Many folks benefit from mineral baths. I wonder just how much it helps a variety of mineral “issues” to soak some in through the skin.

  12. Petrossa says:

    I rest my case:
    Birthday girl Clara Cowell has proved that it’s never too late to change bad habits. At 102 years old, she finally quit smoking after picking up the habit in 1931. She did not even quit smoking because of her health – she finally stopped the habit because her family was worried that falling ash would set her house on fire.

    According to the Daily Mail, Ms. Cowell has smoked two to three cigarettes a day since picking up the habit – amounting to about 60,000 cigarettes in her lifetime. But the centenarian finally quit at the urges of her family, who worried about the safety of her habit.

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    Ms. Cowell lives independently. Her daughters say that the secret to her success may be rooted in hard work and poverty, but also something more surprising: her cigarettes and her daily habit of a cup of tea with whiskey.

    Indeed, Ms. Cowell’s life has been rather tough. When her husband, a coal worker, was called in to fight during World War II, Ms. Cowell tasked herself with raising their four children by herself and working in an ammunition factory. A tailoress by trade, Ms. Cowell sewed parachutes. She says that, like many of the other girls, she took some silk for herself to sew some underwear. She says that the war was hard, that there was never enough to eat or time to sleep, but they did not suffer from the experience.

    Ms. Cowell suffered from tuberculosis as a child, but does not believe in medication. At her age, she is now so sprightly that she wowed crowds at her 101st birthday as she performed a waltz. She says that she used to love to dance when she was young, particularly the waltz and the foxtrot.

    Ms. Cowell appears to still have quite a bit of life left. Her daughters reported that they spent her birthday at a pub.

    In addition to her four children, Ms. Cowell has nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

    http://www.counselheal.com/articles/3949/20130219/102-years-old.htm

    Genes, genes, genes. Noway nohow will you arrive at this by eating/drinking/abstaining/exercising if you just don’t have the proper genes

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrosa:

    Genes are helpful, but only 1/2 (or less) of the story.

    Your body and metabolism are a machine. Knowing how it works and how to tend it can significantly improve the operation and longevity of the mechanism.

    I already gave you one specific, but I will repeat it here as applies directly on your example.

    “there was never enough to eat”

    That, right there, all by itself, says she will likely live longer. As noted above, calorie restricted diet can increase lifespan on the order of 50%. For some folks, one episode of near starvation can have a lifetime effect. (One guy stuck on a life raft at sea for several months only eating small amounts of fish, never did eat large meals the rest of his life as his metabolism had shifted.).

    At each cell division, you lose some telomeres from the ends of your chromosomes. It is your metabolic clock. When it counts down to zero, the cell dies. Food deprivation slows the rate of cell division and you life longer. This works for all sorts of animals and has been demonstrated in people.

    So, take someone who would live “Three score years and 10″ and put them on a 1/2 ration diet. They will now live to 105 (baring accidents and such).

    It really is that simple, and that direct. The mechanism is known and you can keep count of your telomers if willing to pay a lab.

    No magic. Not dependent on any magic genes. We all can do it.

    Now if you have some extra telomeres, you might live a bit longer due to your genetics, but still having a calorie restricted diet you can add 50%.

    BTW, there are many more such examples. This is the the easiest to describe, most clear to show, and directly relates to your “poster granny”.

    Also note that the cigarettes smoked was a very small number. Starting to get down into the that “small doses helps rather than hurts” range… and we don’t know how fully inhaled they were. Also note the modest whiskey consumption. Another of the “known extenders” is modest alcohol consumption. “Tea totalers” are known to kick off sooner than those who have one or two drinks a day. ( High daily consumption goes back into the shortening column again).

    So your “poster granny” has TWO known life extension methods being used just in what you listed and that I picked up. A shot of whiskey a day and calorie reduced.

    Anyone can do that, it does not depend on genetics.

    (Though it is nice if you have the genes too…)

    There’s a lot of things you can do to extend the duration and quality of life. Just learn how the machine works and give it what it needs.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206142025.htm

    Heart disease continues to be the nation’s number one killer, with cancer and Alzheimer’s close behind. Such diseases place tremendous strain on patients, families and our healthcare system. But now, researchers in the laboratory of Gladstone Senior Investigator Eric Verdin, MD, have identified the role that a chemical compound in the human body plays in the aging process — and which may be key to new therapies for treating or preventing a variety of age-related diseases.

    In the latest issue of the journal Science, available online December 6, Dr. Verdin and his team examined the role of the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB), a so-called “ketone body” that is produced during a prolonged low-calorie or ketogenic diet. While ketone bodies such as βOHB can be toxic when present at very high concentrations in people with diseases such as Type I diabetes, Dr. Verdin and colleagues found that at lower concentrations, βOHB helps protect cells from “oxidative stress” — which occurs as certain molecules build to toxic levels in the body and contributes to the aging process.

    “Over the years, studies have found that restricting calories slows aging and increases longevity — however the mechanism of this effect has remained elusive” Dr. Verdin said. Dr. Verdin, the paper’s senior author, directs the Center for HIV & Aging at Gladstone and is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, with which Gladstone is affiliated. “Here, we find that βOHB — the body’s major source of energy during exercise or fasting — blocks a class of enzymes that would otherwise promote oxidative stress, thus protecting cells from aging.”

    I prefer to get my oxidative stress reduction by other means than a low cal low carb diet.

    But please notice that this is identified down to the chemical pathways. It isn’t speculative. It is a lot of detailed hard work on metabolism.

    However, Dr. Verdin and his team found that βOHB might actually help delay this process. In a series of laboratory experiments — first in human cells in a dish and then in tissues taken from mice — the team monitored the biochemical changes that occur when βOHB is administered during a chronic calorie-restricted diet. The researchers found that calorie restriction spurs βOHB production, which blocked the activity of a class of enzymes called histone deacetylases, or HDACs.

    Normally HDACs keep a pair of genes, called Foxo3a and Mt2, switched off. But increased levels of βOHB block the HDACs from doing so, which by default activates the two genes. Once activated, these genes kick-start a process that helps cells resist oxidative stress. This discovery not only identifies a novel signaling role for βOHB, but it could also represent a way to slow the detrimental effects of aging in all cells of the body.

    “This breakthrough also greatly advances our understanding of the underlying mechanism behind HDACs, which had already been known to be involved in aging and neurological disease,” said Gladstone Investigator Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, an expert in neurological diseases and one of the paper’s co-authors. “The findings could be relevant for a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and traumatic brain injury — diseases that afflict millions and for which there are few treatment options.”

    Oh, and it doesn’t matter what your genes are like. Too much exposure to toxins and too much oxidative stress and too many cell divisions, you die. All your genes can do is slightly change where the “too much” is for you vs someone else.

    All I’m saying, really, is that if you have an engine and run it with no oil, it wears out quicker. Doesn’t matter if it is a Chevy or Mercedes. Learn to change the oil every 3000 miles and use the best available, both will last longer than typical. We, like the cars, are just machines. And we can learn how to better keep the machinery in good repair and drive it for the longest service life.

    Or not.

    (I tried the low calorie diet once. Metabolism did slow down. I’d rather eat more and be done sooner though ;-) I got tired of feeling cold and weak…

  14. Petrossa says:

    Ah well, EM. I guess we differ opinion here. But in a free society that’s no problem. One thing is for sure, dead is dead and everyone ends up that way with the last years being the most difficult as clearly shown by the sharp uptick in healthcare needs around 75-80 years.

    If you choose to believe you can push 80 tot 82 by going through a whole system of rituals, good for you. Who knows you end up 2 years extra.

    I take a more lackadaisical view, life being futile it must be at least in balance of negative/positive experiences. As soon as the balance tips towards durable negative it’s time to quit with dignity. If that is at 60 or 160 is immaterial since once dead you’ll be … dead.

  15. Tim Clark says:

    Metallic cofactor required in glutamine synthetase. manganese.

    top ten foods:

    #1: Spices and Herbs (Cloves and Saffron)
    Dried spices and herbs are packed with the vitamins and minerals we need. Ground cloves provide the most manganese with 30mg (1502% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 2.1mg (105% DV) per tablespoon, 0.6mg (30% DV) per teaspoon. Saffron provides half as much with 0.3mg (14% DV) per teaspoon, and is followed by cardamom, ground ginger, cinnamon, dry spearmint, parsley, bay leaf, tarragon, turmeric, dry coriander, and finally dried marjoram which provides 0.05mg (3% DV) per teaspoon.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #2: Wheat Germ and Bran (Rice Bran, Oat Bran)
    Rice, Wheat, and Oat bran are great additions to breads and breakfast cereals like oats, rye, and buckwheat. Toasted wheat germ (not bran) contains the most manganese with 20mg (998% DV) per 100 gram serving, which is 22.6mg (1128% DV) per cup, and 1.41mg (70% DV) per tablespoon. Wheat bran provides 6.7mg (334% DV) per cup, rice bran provides 16.8mg (838% DV) per cup, and oat bran provides 2.1mg (106% DV) of manganese per cup.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #3: Nuts (Hazelnuts, Pine Nuts, Pecans)
    Nuts are a great source of manganese, hazelnuts (or filberts) provide the most manganese with 12.7mg (633% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 3.5mg (177% DV) per ounce. Pine nuts provide 2.5mg (123% DV) per ounce (~167 kernels), and pecans provide 1.3mg (63% DV) of manganese per ounce (~19 pieces). Other nuts high in manganese in descending order include: hickory nuts, english walnuts, macadamias, and finally almonds with 0.73mg (37% DV) per ounce (~22 pieces). Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #4: Mussels, Oysters, and Clams
    Shellfish are often prepared steamed or served in a chowder/soup/bisque. Steamed blue mussels provide the most manganese with 6.8mg (340% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 5.8mg (289% DV) per 3 ounces. Pacific oysters provide 1mg (52% DV) of magnesium per 3 ounces, 0.31mg (15% DV) per oyster. Clams provide 0.9mg (43% DV) per 3 ounce serving, 0.01mg (5% DV) per clam.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #5: Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate
    Chocolate is showing more and more health benefits and dark chocolate is coming into vogue. Unsweetened baking chocolate provides 4.2mg (208% DV) of manganese per 100g serving, 1.2mg (60% DV) per square. Cocoa powder will provide 3.8mg (192% DV) per 100g serving or 3.3mg (165% DV) per cup. Most milk chocolates provide around 0.5mg (24% DV) per 100g serving or 0.21mg (10%DV) per bar.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts

    #6: Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
    A popular food in the Middle East and East Asia pumpkin and squash seeds contain 0.5mg (25% DV) of manganese per 100g serving, 0.32mg (16% DV) per cup, and 0.14mg (10% DV) per ounce (85 seeds). If you can’t find these in your local supermarket you will surely find them in Middle Eastern or East Asian specialty stores. Alternatively, you can also buy them online or make your own.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts. Seeds and Nuts with the Fewest Calories

    #7: Flax, Sesame Seeds, and Sesame Butter (Tahini)
    Flax and Sesame seeds are a great source of heart healthy oils and also provide a good source of manganese. Sesame Butter (Tahini) provides 2.54mg (211% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 0.41mg (20% DV) per tablespoon. Dried sesame seeds and flax seeds provide 2.5mg (123% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 0.25mg (12% DV) per tablespoon.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #8: Chili Powder
    Chili powder makes a great addition to almost any soup or stew. Chili powder provides 2.2mg (108% DV) per 100 gram serving, 0.17mg (9% DV) per tablespoon, and 0.07mg (3% DV) per teaspoon.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #9: Roasted Soybeans (Edamame)
    Great as a snack or as an addition to salads, roasted soybeans (known as Edamame) are also a great source of manganese. Edamame provides 2.2mg (108% DV) of manganese per 100 gram serving, or 3.7mg (186% DV) per cup.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    #10: Sunflower Seeds
    Sunflower seeds are great as a snack or as an addition to salads, they are also a great source ofvitamin E, iron, vitamin B1 (thiamin),B6, protein, magnesium, selenium, potassium, andcopper. Sunflower seeds provide 2.11mg (106% DV) of manganese per 100 gram serving, that is 2.7mg (135% DV) per cup hulled, and 0.59mg (30% DV) per ounce.
    Click to see complete nutrition facts.

    I’m on a red wine and chocolate binge right now in snowy, blizzard covered SC Kansas.
    As for Petrossa, I guess he has a l;ife ethos of ” eat S#!) and die”.

  16. P.G.Sharrow says:

    @Tim Clark; Red wine and chocolate binge! At least you are going out with a smile on your face.;-)
    Stay warm man. pg

  17. Petrossa says:

    As for Petrossa he has a life ethos of carpe diem. I am the cricket in the fable of the cricket and the ant.

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