Strengthening the immune system: - Book Reviews and much more


FOTCM Member
This book review is actually a review of six books, all of which deal with strengthening the immune system: finding the root causes of health problems and dealing with them. The first two are from the perspective of gut microbiome and cell mitochondria health, one is from the perspective of hormone imbalance and cell communication networks. The fourth book entered the list whilst reading a forum thread and watching the video Extra Time mentioned in one of the posts. And, the last two books are from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine. All of these books are part of a continuation of research into strengthening the immune system and recovery from infections and inflammations, and finding the root causes of health and aging problems. For background, see the previous Forum Book Reviews: The Immunity Fix: Strengthen Your Immune System, Fight Off Infections, Reverse Chronic Disease and Live a Healthier Life; and From Fatigue to Fantastic! The comprehensive guide to Optimizing Energy and Recovery from: Pain, Insomnia, Brain Fog, Infections, and much more.

What is sought from this particular piece of research is a broad, and rounded, view of the problems, and possible solutions that are taken from different perspectives: connecting the dots to determine if a pattern emerges.

The first two books are: The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age, (2019, New York, HarperCollins Publishers), and The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-And-Go Has Got Up and Gone, (2021, New York, HarperCollins Publishers). Both books are written by Steven R Gundy, MD, and are from the perspective of a Professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery, who then went on to focus, for the last 20 years, on Restorative Medicine, with the main emphasis on working with the health of the body’s holobiome, gut microbiome, or bacteria, in particular: gut microbiome, gut wall lining, and the health of cell mitochondria. In recent years, 50% of his practice has been devoted to the reversal of challenging autoimmune conditions in his patients. The third book, The Metabolic Effect Diet: Eat More, Work Out Less, and Actually Lose Weight While You Rest (1st edition, 2011, New York, HarperCollins Publishers), is written by two brothers, Jade Teta and Keoni Teta, who are holistic physicians, biochemists, and certified personal trainers. Their emphasis is on performance-enhancing diets (nutrition) and exercise programs, specifically on biochemistry: how the body reacts to hormone imbalance and the communication network that carries instructions to the cells.

The fourth book is, The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link Between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health (2018, Carlsbad, California, Hay House, Inc), by Dr Steven Lin. He is a licenced dental practitioner and the world’s leading functional dentist. Through ancestral medicine, epigenetics, and an examination of the oral and gut microbiome, he has developed food-based principles for an holistic health prevention approach that is top down. Also, he is a health educator.

The last two books: The New Chinese Medicine Handbook: An Innovative Guide to Integrating Eastern Wisdom with Western Practice for Modern Healing (2015, Beverley, Massachusetts, Fair Winds Press) by Misha Ruth Cohen. and Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine: Plus 175 Recipes for Optimal Health, (2017, Toronto, Robert Rose Inc.), by Ellen Goldsmith with Maya Klein.

Misha Ruth Cohen, O.M.D., L.AC., is a doctor of Oriental medicine and a licenced acupuncturist, clinical director of Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, executive director the Misha Ruth Cohen Education Foundation, and research specialist of Integrative Medicine at the University of California Institute for Health and Aging. She is a member of the board of the Society for Integrative Oncology. She has been practicing traditional Asian medicine for the past $0 years. Ellen Goldsmith, L Ac, is a graduate of the National University of Natural Medicine's Classical Chinese Medicine programme, with an MSc in Oriental Medicine, she is licensed as an acupuncturist, and certified in Chinese herbal therapy. For the past 12 years she has taught Chinese dietetics and its application in practice for NUNM's classical Chinese medicine program.

In order to ease the reading of this thread, separate posts are given for each of the three perspectives above.

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This post is concerned with the health of the body’s holobiome, gut microbiome (or bacteria) in particular: gut microbiome, gut wall lining, and the health of cell mitochondria. What follows is based on Steven R Gundy’s two books: The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age, and The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-And-Go Has Got Up and Gone. The books are carefully written, whilst at the same time Dr Gundry’s writing style is obliquely humorous, without deviating from the true scientific gravitas contained within. He has translated the complex sciences of longevity and cellular energy systems into engaging and practical books. They are accessible at both the technical and layman level. Each chapter, in both books, contains references from the latest research given in relevant papers and journals: these are compiled at the end of each book. Dr Gundry has successfully treated tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases with a protocol that detoxes the cells, repairs the gut, and nourishes the body.

However, before getting into the ‘guts’ of the two books and what they have to offer, first, a brief ‘history recap’ that starts about 3 billion years ago on Earth, and has consequences for us in the present day. This gives a foundational setting for the Author’s approach. The ‘history recap’ is compiled from accounts given separately in each of the books, and paraphrases the author. This is to give a complete, and at the same time, coherent ‘recap’.

About 3 billion years ago, Earth was a vast, empty space where the only living organisms were bacteria and other single cell organisms that grew and divided without the aid of oxygen. In fact, they thrived on hydrogen sulphide, and we would call this a toxic gas. These bacteria evolved in this oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment. In fact, many of them are obligate anaerobic, which means that they cannot tolerate oxygen at all.

About 2.4 – 2.0 billion years ago, the low levels of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere began to rise, such that, in the following 10 million years, the atmosphere became oxygen-rich. For these, above mentioned bacteria, oxygen is lethal, and the world became a dangerous place for them to live. Like many living things, bacteria, which belong to the class of organisms known as prokaryotes, have a biological imperative to survive and pass on their DNA. So, they came up with a ‘cunning plan’. They hitched a ride inside other single-celled organisms and in return, made a deal; a deal that was to dramatically change the course of life on Earth. In exchange for food and a stable, protected ‘home’, the bacteria would provide the host cell with extra energy to fuel its functions and survival. The relationship was built on symbiosis. This arrangement resulted in advanced cells, called enkaryotes, which make up the cells of algae, fungi, plants and all animals, including human beings. Eventually, these bacteria hitched a ride with human beings and made the same kind of deal. These bacteria still reside inside us, they are called mitochondria, and their job is to use the oxygen you breathe and the food you eat to create energy, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), for all of your cells. Other bacteria escaped the deadly oxygen environment and, in exchange for a comfortable, safe home inside the colon, which is an oxygen-free environment and has a steady supply of nutritious foods, they would supply human beings with a whole host of health and longevity-promoting benefits.

Zoom forward to the present day, the ‘hitched’ bacteria, mitochondria, still reside in our cells. The bacteria in your gut, or colon, keep in close contact with their relatives, the mitochondria, so that they can communicate with them to see what is happening on the ‘other side’, as it were. These are the good guys; Dr Gundry refers to them in the text as ‘gut buddies’.

Now for the bad guys, and nothing symbiotic here. About 450 million years ago, when plants were the only life-forms on Earth, they ruled the land for approximately 90 million years. Then, insects appeared and started to eat them (as they continue to do today). This was a bad time for plants. So, in order to keep growing and reproducing they came up with a ‘cunning plan’. In order to protect themselves, they developed complex defence mechanisms. Amongst these were chemical compounds that poisoned, paralyzed, or even entrapped their predators. Other defence mechanisms included making the predator sick or disoriented. Fast forward to the present day, and humans are unwittingly consuming these plants and their chemical compounds, and as a result, suffering health crises.

Moving back to the ‘gut buddies’ and their activities in the present day, since humans are the bacteria’s home, what happens to us depends upon on what happens to them! Your fate, literally, is in the hands of trillions of bacteria that live inside, on the surface, and in a personal cloud around you. In fact, the ‘you’ that you consider ‘you’ is but a small part of the whole. Actually, 90% of the cells that make up your body are not actually human cells at all. They are cells of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and worms. They are commonly referred to as the microbiome, or overall, as holobiome. In addition to being made up of 90% foreign cells, a human being is comprised, mostly, of foreign genes. In fact, 99% of all the genes that make up ‘you’ are bacterial, viral, or protozal genes, not human genes at all. Humans actually have very few genes (20,000). Compared with, for instance, the tiny water flea, or daphnia, which has 31,000 genes. The question arises, how did we, humans, become so complex? What is it that makes us different from other animals? The answer to both, is bacteria. When human beings evolved, our bacteria changed and it was our bacteria rather than our genes that made us human.

Our longevity is paradoxically tied to the fate of these ancient organisms: the oldest parts of us have the power to help us keep young, energetic too for that matter. It all goes back to the bacteria’s need to survive and pass on their DNA; to the symbiotic relationship. If we provide a good home for them and feed them with food that they like, they will look after us for the long term. However, if we feed them food that they do not thrive on, they will give up and let the rest of you decay alongside them. So, it’s time to stop focusing on taking care of the 1%, and start paying attention to the 99% of the genes that make up you. This is the foundation for the Author’s approach and his clinically proven programme.

So, what is the ‘gut buddies’ role, which is an important one, in our digestion? One important contribution is that they break down food that our digestive system cannot handle on its own. That includes fibres from certain plants. They also help extract precious energy from food; help extract and manufacture vitamins, including K2, folate and B12. They lower intestinal pH, thereby increasing the solubility and absorption of essential minerals, such as calcium, iron and magnesium. In addition to this impressive digestive work, the microbes also regulate and provide substrates, or building materials, for hormone production, metabolizing amino acids, such as tryptophan to create a substance that is the precursor to the hormone serotonin. They shed older cells to help reclaim protein from them for your body to use a second time; to build tissues. Significantly, they also influence the expression of DNA in your cells.

Getting back to the rest of the content of the two books, basically, they are in two parts, although The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age splits that first part in two. As a whole, the first part deals with what the author posits as the problems and their solutions, and provides backing-up science, whilst the second part deals with what the author calls the ‘Paradox Program’; including foods and meal plans, lifestyle, essential supplements, and recipes. This review will combine the two books in summary.

Starting with the problems: the foods consumed today; chronic inflammation; lack of sleep; the wrong sort, or lack, of exercise; and energy disruptors.

The foods consumed today are depleted compared with those eaten in the past and as a consequence people, energy wise, are underpowered. At the same time, they are overfed, consuming so-called ‘energy promoting’ foods (containing various types of sugars) on a continuous basis through the day. These are taxing the body’s cellular energy system, which, as a consequence, is struggling to keep up with the constant onslaught of these high calorific foods. Also, people are fibre (both of the soluble and insoluble kind) deficient. Fibres are a variety of complex carbohydrates, including resistance starches and other non-digestible sugars that resist breaking down in the small intestine and pass straight through into the colon. There, via fermentation they break down. Fibre deficiency leads to rampant inflammation and exhaustion. Interestingly, the author states that following a keto diet, which is high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate, and low in fibre, on its own, is deficient in terms of promoting mitochondrial health. Other deficiencies of this type of diet include: not providing any gain in, or long-term, muscle mass; nor does it provide more energy. Long-term use leads to inflammation, weight gain, and insulin resistance. Neither does it burn fuel-efficient ketones; it is merely a signalling function of the ketals DHB and acetyl-CoA, telling the mitochondria that food is scarce and that it is time to make more. Note that in nature, ketosis only occurs during starvation.

Persistent low-grade inflammation is the one that causes the most chronic problems for people today, and this is in response to modern diets, lifestyles, and exposure to the environment. Note that 70 – 80% of the immune system lies in the layers of tissues making up the gut wall, and in the fat surrounding the intestines. So, having a leaky gut is disastrous. Lectins create holes in the gut walls and as a consequence, predators get into the bloodstream to trigger an even bigger inflammation response. Glutens, legumes, and grains (in the hulls only), some vegetables, such as nightshades, and the peels and seeds of some fruits, such as cucumbers and squashes, as well as fruits picked out of season, and conventional milk and dairy products harm the gut wall too. Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are fragments and pieces of bacterial cell walls, also cross the gut wall and trigger inflammation. This is mainly in the liver from where it can move into the blood and lymph system, and hence into the brain. They also piggyback on to fat transport molecules (chylomicrons) and thus ride through the gut wall and into the lymph system resulting in inflammation and perpetual exhaustion. Arthritis, osteopenia, and osteoporosis are caused by bad bugs in the gut creating inflammation. Now, moving onto another type of inflammation, that of the brain. From those innocuous senior moments to the more serious neurological conditions such as, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, and all other cognitive problems start from the same root cause: neuroinflammation. As now may be known from reading these books, inflammation starts in the gut. The gut and the brain are connected, they are in constant communication, each influencing and helping the other to maintain homeostasis. Also, high sugar diets and saturated fat diets that are low in microbe-feeding fibre impair the integrity of the blood-brain barrier and cause neurological issues, weakening cognition and memory by disrupting the hippocampus. Plus, to add to the pot, there is a ‘wireless-network’ of free-floating inflammatory cytokines which cross the blood-brain barrier to cause more trouble. Overall, neuroinflammation results in the collateral damage of the neurons that the brain immune system is there to protect.

We live in a world of people walking around as sleep deprived zombies, and the worst part is that people have become sadly accustomed to it. Sleep is as critical to our wellbeing as is nutrition. Sleep impacts on our health in many ways. Research has shown that when people were restricted to five hours of sleep for four consecutive nights, they began to develop insulin resistance (prediabetes). One obstacle to long and restful sleep is blue light, which affects our circadian clock and disrupts sleep patterns. Researchers have discovered a system that allows cerebrospinal fluid to flow through the brain, cleaning out the spaces in between cells, just as lymphatic fluid does in the rest of the body. This is called the glymphatic system. In order for this cleaning out to happen during deep sleep, the cells shrink in size so that the fluid can ‘wash through’, and it goes twenty times faster when a person is in deep sleep than it does when they are awake. Hence, on awakening, the mind is refreshed and rejuvenated; cleaned of junk and debris. The glymphatic system is most active at a specific stage of deep sleep that happens very early in the sleep cycle. The glymphatic system requires a great deal of blood flow, just like the digestive system. So, for the ‘brain wash’ system to be effective, it needs plenty of blood to be effective, unimpeded by being directed to focus on digestion, which happens with late evening eating. Eating within three to four hours before bedtime diverts the blood flow to aid the process of digestion down in the gut, instead of giving the brain the resources it needs for its freshening-up period. If the glymphatic system cannot wash out the brain effectively, the result is a build-up of amyloid and other toxins, including leptins and LPSs in the brain, and results in neurodegenerative diseases. Sleep and exercise go together. Lack of exercise prevents good and quick sleep. A full seven to eight hours of sleep is required. Sleeping in at the weekend doesn’t make up the sleep lost during the week. In fact, it actually throws off a person’s circadian rhythm.

Today, by and large, people lead a sedentary lifestyle, and when they do exercise, it is usually the wrong sort, is done to excess, or a combination of both. Also, when people retire, they tend to stop ‘moving’, and muscles start to waste away. Within muscles themselves, when left alone exercise-wise, worn-out cellular components and misfolded proteins can cause ‘faulty information’ in the cells prompting cancerous-type changes. A little regular exercise is essential for the health of the body, however, too much exercise has the exact opposite effect. Too much cardiovascular-type exercise, such as running, especially long distance, leads to gut permeability, and there is plenty of research evidence that acute endurance exercise causes muscle loss, and myocardial fibrosis, leading to arrhythmias or even congestive heart failure. Long distance running puts too much stress on the heart for too long. Also, exhausting exercise, taken to perceived exhaustion, causes oxidative stress by creating free radicals, as opposed to moderate exercise that stimulates an antioxidant effect that protects the body from the oxidative stress caused by these free radicals. Exercise is another example of hormesis, whereby limited stress put on the body actually makes it stronger. It stimulates autophagy, which is the recycling of old, worn-out cellular components, and a similar process called unfolded protein response (UPR), where the cell degrades dysfunctional or misfolded proteins, and restores health to the muscle cell.

The final problem is what the author calls energy disruptors. The first is antibiotics. The vast majority are contained in animal feed. They lead to impaired immunity, have an impact on the mitochondria, and after a while the body becomes antibiotic resistant. The second is what the author calls the ‘antibiotic of the earth’, Glyphosate. It too is in animal feed, and is in both the food and water systems. Apart from suppressing an enzyme that is needed for making adequate vitamin D, it makes the gut wall more permeable, and leads to inflammation as well as a leaky blood-brain barrier. It also strips out micronutrients of any food eaten. Environmental chemicals, such as BPA and the non-stick surfaces of pans, and food preservatives alter thyroid function and disrupt the endocrine system. Overused pharmaceutical drugs damage the mucosal barrier in the gut, both in the small intestine and the colon. This allows lectins, LPSs and other foreign substances to pass through the gut wall and thus, initiate the inflammatory cycle. Statins increase the risk of diabetes, and interfere with vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 metabolism. Fructose, and it is present in many more things than initially come to mind, is absorbed from the intestines into the liver where it prevents adenosine monophosphate (AMP) from entering the AMP production chain in the mitochondria. Fructose is a direct mitochondria toxin and a major contributor to heart disease. Fructose produces uric acid, leading to gout, kidney stones and high blood pressure, whilst in the liver it is turned into the saturated fatty acid palmitate and causes insulin resistance. Junk, or blue light disrupts people’s relationship with normal light and thus, the circadian rhythm, which regulates all metabolic functions. It produces hormonal stress at the cellular level and disrupts the normal production of melatonin (which balances out cortisol. Finally, EMFs which hurt the mitochondria.

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So much for the problems, now the author’s solutions. These he puts in place as dos and don’ts, and to a degree, they impinge on the second part of the books which deal with what the author calls the ‘Paradox Program’. However, it makes sense to put them all here.

Starting with foods to consume. Eat foods rich in prebiotic fibre to support the health and reproduction of gut buddies; and feel less hungry as a result. As with all the dos that follow, he goes on to give a list of suitable foods. Food rich in probiotic fibre slows down the transit of other foods, so that the mitochondria can assimilate nutrients in a slow and deliberate manner. Note that for each pound of fibre eaten, one third of a pound of new bacteria is produced for the gut to use to heal the gut wall and boost mitochondria health. Eat foods that promote postbiotic production, such as cruciferous vegetables and other sulphur-containing foods. From these foods gut bacteria produce hydrogen sulphide gas and fatty acids. One postbiotic is called indole and that helps prevent fatty liver disease. Hydrogen sulphide is a vascular, neuro transmitter and neuromodulator, as well as being a signalling molecule used to influence other bodily functions. Hydrogen sulphide protects against high blood pressure and cholesterol. Make starches more resistant, for example by reheating left over vegetables, to slow down digestion and reduce the mitochondrial food bottleneck. Some vegetables are best eaten raw though, as they already contain resistant starches. Eat fruits only in season, preferably locally grown, organic, and then only in moderation. Preferably only eat low sugar fruit. Most of today’s fruits are hybrids, ‘fattened up’, and as a consequence are full of high levels of fructose, which goes straight to the liver, cutting ATP production, making palmitate, and hence ceramides to further aggravate the mitochondria. Eat melatonin and phospholipids. The first comes from exposure to sunlight and from certain foods eaten, even from red wine. Phospholipids are special fats that keep the mitochondria membranes in good shape and give them their integrity. To get them, eat high amounts of shellfish, either fresh, canned, or frozen.

Now for the don’ts, as these foods drastically reduce energy production, starting with avoiding lectins. These are found in refined starchy goods, grains, sprouted grains, pseudo grains and grasses as well as nightshades, vegetables, beans, lentils, peels and seeds of some fruits that are called vegetables, and some seeds. Lectins cause massive digestive damage, leaky gut and may even be the source of some autoimmune disorders. Lectins are directly linked to weight gain. Lectin containing foods are difficult to digest, reduce nutrient absorption, cause inflammation, and eliminate gut flora. However, most lectin containing foods can be consumed when pressure cooked. Lists are given for lectin containing foods to avoid, as is the case with lists for the following don’ts. The advice is as simple as what follows. Peel your vegetables, most of the lectins are contained in the skin and seeds of plants; simply peeling and de-seeding vegetables (like tomatoes and peppers) reduces their lectin content. Swap brown rice for white; whole grains and seeds with hard outer coatings are designed by nature to cause digestive distress, and are full of lectins. Similarly, shop for fruit in season. Fruit contains fewer lectins when ripe, so eating apples, berries, and other lectin-containing fruits at the peak of ripeness helps minimize lectin consumption. The next don’t is; sugar consumption. Many foods, especially processed, contain highly refined sugars and carbohydrates, even though they are not obvious, as the sugar content is effectively hidden on food labels. Next, use protein to restore flexibility, yet don’t overdo it. Overconsumption of animal protein can cause too much production of hydrogen sulphide in the colon with the result of colon cell injury. Sources of good protein include wild fish and wild shellfish, omega-3 eggs, as well as meat. However, limit meat portions to a maximum of 113g (4oz) of the highest quality meat that you can get: 100% grass fed and grass finished, or in the case of poultry, pasture-raised, not free range. In other words, know your farmer and butcher. Bear in mind to that nuts contain between 4 – 9g protein in a handful (approximately 28g (1oz)). Avoid milk products, as they contain casein, unless they are from southern European cows (A2 casein). US milk products contain a highly inflammatory type of milk protein called A1 casein. Or, source from goats, coconut milk, Hemp milk or ghee (clarified butter). Finally, avoid ‘Frankenfoods’ loaded with ‘Frankenfats’. In other words, highly processed, sugary and fatty (the bad sort – polyunsaturated and trans fats (see list given in the books)) foods. They are highly inflammatory and dramatically decrease energy production. Eat omega-3 fatty acids instead of bad fats. Other good fats are listed, and especially mentioned are olive oil and sesame oil. The latter can drastically reduce blood pressure, block the effects of LPSs and EMF damage through being a strong antioxidant.

Moving now on to the dos and don’ts of chronic inflammation. Basically, these have been covered in the above sections on foods to consume. A few extras are added. Drink hydrogenated filtered water, a morning cup of black coffee, and drink black or green tea through the day. Eat extra dark chocolate (72% minimum), 28g (1oz) a day as it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties (antioxidants and flavonoids). A little chocolate protects the brain, improves memory, and for the elderly provides more blood flow in the part of the brain that is diminishing with age. Eat the healthy fats, DHA and EPA, which are two types of omega-3 found in fish oil. They have the anti-inflammatory components ravelins, which block inflammation of nerves and eyes, but they need to be activated in the first few weeks with salicylic acid found in aspirins (ensure that they are enteric coated) to get them to work properly. The brain has an innate sensitivity to insulin, so to retain and/or restore that system, reduce the workload on the mitochondria through carefully timed eating; remove foods that rush sugars into the system and thus creating insulin resisting cells; and inhibit ceramide production by eating high fat foods such as walnuts, or other high fat nuts, olive oil, and sesame oil. Olive oil dramatically reduces the likelihood of neurological diseases and restarts autophagy, or cellular replacement, and it decreases blood sugar levels. Finally, feed the gut buddies in a healthy manner to maintain insulin sensitivities.

Next up is sleep. Here the dos and don’ts are mixed together. Get a full 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. Keep a constant bedtime and wake time throughout the whole week. Finish eating three hours, preferably four, before bedtime. Avoid, or at least reduce blue light exposure after sunset, as it stimulates both the alertness and the feeding cycles. It suppresses melatonin and stimulates cortisol. Exercise regularly as it helps with falling asleep. Take glycine as it lowers body temperature when taken close to bedtime, and as an added benefit it competes with glyphosate for bonding sites on tissues. Finally, if having problems sleeping, add any of, or all, GABA, L-thiamine, ashwagandha, valerian extract, and rosemary extract to pre-sleep routines. Many forum members will be familiar with these.

Turning now to the wrong sort, or lack, of exercise. Our ancestors walked for food. They rarely ran, it was too exhausting for when the prey was eventually found. Then they carried the food back to camp. So, a balance of walking type exercise and weights, of some form including bodyweight, are required. Running impairs the immune system and long-distance running causes myocardial fibrosis and kills heart cells, as well as increasing gut permeability. Note that the benefits of moderate exercise are negated by intense bouts of exercise. Regular exercise, at least once daily, aids muscles to stay ‘hungry’ and thus crave insulin. Muscles are metabolic organs that consume both sugar and fat. They are the body’s reserve ‘fuel tanks’, and they store up glucose after food is eaten, with excess stored in the form of glycogen. When exercise is done these ‘fuel tanks’ are accessed and free fatty acids are burnt much faster. Movement matters, especially when done in the form of exercise, as it forces the cells to adapt and become more resilient. Stimulated muscles build more mass, and hence more ‘storage tanks’, secrete myokines (messenger chemicals that stimulate neuronal health in the brain), and improve insulin sensitivity, which in turn increases metabolic flexibility. Also, exercise boosts the benefits of fasting and helps train the metabolism to be fit and flexible. Exercise creates the right conditions for cellular and mitochondrial clean-ups. Exercise is another form of hormesis that DNA has evolved to expect. Finally, note that the effect of exercise is dependent upon microbiome health and composition: if it is good, then the effects of exercise are good; if not good, then not so good.

Finally, energy disruptors, and these are all avoids, except one. Avoid using BPA products and Phthalates (which are found in softened plastics), such as clingfilm, and in skin care products. Avoid arsenic, which is found in most grains, particularly in rice. Avoid Azodicarbonamide, which is a foaming agent used in carpet underlays and yoga mats. It is also used to bleach flour, so avoid eating grains and fast foods. Also, avoid blue light after sunset. The one ‘do’ is to get exposed to as much natural light as possible. Natural light ‘excites’ semi-crystalline water in cells. Research shows that near infra-red and red light actually control ATP production by charging water movement within mitochondria using quantum mechanics. Red Near infra-red light breaks up excess nitric oxide which would otherwise clog up ATP production. Natural light tells the mitochondria what time it is and when to do what jobs. It aids the functioning of the circadian clock in the body that regulates functioning. The more eyes and the skin are exposed to natural light throughout the day, the better the body’s energy system can work.

Part II of the books: The Paradox Programme. Basically, this is in two parts: Eating; and Lifestyle.

Although, before getting into those, a short story (taken from The Longevity Paradox). Shortly after the author started his Restorative medicine practice, a thin, tall, erect, beautiful, well dressed woman, and wearing high heels came for a consultation. She appeared to be about 65 years old. However, it transpired that he was in her nineties, of ‘chronological old age wrapped in an implausibly youthful, vital physical form’. She told him that for most of her life she had followed, to the letter, the advice of the nutritionist Gayelord Hauser. She had bought his books and read them and adopted his dietary protocol. She was still as fit as a fiddle. She was almost 106 years old when she peacefully passed away. The author admits that he learnt more from her than she learnt from him, and this led to his research of longevity.

The Eating Programme is based upon a drastic reduction in food eten, or in calorie reduction. In this programme it is done intermittently. Before getting to those details, the author suggests eating the right foods in a time restricted manner. He suggests eating within a window of 6 – 8 hours per day, so that the mitochondria, gut and brain cells can rest, repair and rejuvenate. This allows a fasting window of 16 hours. In fact, he suggests that this time restricted eating pattern is followed for the months of July to December, and that for the months of January to June restricting the eating window to just two hours. This is in order to balance out the circadian rhythm. Back to the details of the Eating Programme, working one month at a time, first, he suggests what he calls ‘fast-mimicking’ days, where animal protein is eliminated and calories are limited to just 900 a day for five consecutive days. This is to mimic the benefits of a whole month of full-time calorie restriction. This will drastically change the makeup of gut bacteria, driving out the bad and nourishing the good. The vegetables eaten, are taken from the given acceptable list, should be organic, in season if fresh and grown locally with sustainable farming practice, if possible, or frozen. On the ‘free days’, the plan allows for the consumption of the gut buddies’ favourite foods, although ‘meat’ protein consumption is restricted to 37g per kilogram of bodyweight. Remember that there are other sources of protein than meat or fish. The next up is what the author calls ‘brain wash’ days where dinner is either skipped or eaten very early so that the brain can be scrubbed clean during early sleep. Then there are the optional calorie restriction days to get extra longevity benefits. So, for these, eat lots of raw or well-cooked vegetables with a small amount of olive oil and concentrated vegetable or nut protein. Finally, there is an optional intensive care cleanse programme which will give the mitochondria an extra boost. This is used if people are either suffering from a degenerative disease, or it can be used to kickstart the whole process. This time, on ‘free days’ all fruit and seeded vegetables are eliminated, and it is suggested to eat macadamia nuts for preference. If eating a small amount of chocolate, ensure that it is at least 90%. Also, eat egg yolks, which are virtually all fat, and as such are good for the brain. Restrict animal-based protein to 57g per day.

The Lifestyle Programme is divided into two parts: first, ‘the habits that will stress and strengthen your cells’; and the second, ‘the habits that will allow them to recover’. So, for the first part, do sustained movement, even low-level, since moving vigorously burns ketones. Take daily walks, which should include slopes, for an hour, or walk up and down stairs for between 1 – 5 minutes. The author suggests doing a five-minute exercise plan twice a day, which includes jogging, classic crunches, planks and squats (the latter two work against gravity and together stress every major muscle group in the body), and meditate (to bring the heart rate back down). In addition, he suggests doing HIIT of ten-minute duration three times a week. Working for, say 30 – 60 seconds working as hard as is possible in whatever activity is chosen, followed by a similar recovery time, an repeating the sequence. The next stressor is heat shock, either using a Far Infrared sauna blanket or a Red Near Infrared light source. The final stressor is to toughen up for winter with a little cold therapy. Moving on to ‘the habits that will allow them to recover’, the first is to perform controlled breathing: breath exercises. The next is to set aside daily time to focus on the positive things in your life: to count your blessings. Then, experiment with meditation; followed by prioritizing sleep; and finally, connecting with other people in a community, and ‘hugging’.

The author provides what he calls the ‘Paradox G8 Supplements’. These are nutrients that it is strongly recommended to incorporate into every diet, either as food or as supplements. The supplements are Vit D3, Polyphenols, Green Plant Phytochemicals, Prebiotic, Lectin blockers, Sugar defences, Long-chain Omega-3s, and Mitochondrial boosters. He also recommends taking the following supplements as a matter of course: Magnesium; Glycine; Phospholipids; Vit K2; CoQ10, or Ubiquinol, or PQQ; Chlorella and Activated Charcoal; Acetyl-L-Carnitine or L-Carnitine; the energy B vits (methyl B12, methyl Folate, and Vit B6); Liver protectors; Berberine and Quercetin; and Ketone salts. In the book, The Longevity Paradox, he gives a list of the supplements that he, himself, takes. In the book, The Energy Paradox, the good doctor provides a list of lab tests to undertake, if it is desired to gather more valuable information on the state of your health.

Both books are valuable resources, and whilst The Energy Paradox builds upon The Longevity Paradox, both contain information and scientific explanations that are not mentioned in the other book. Also, The Longevity Paradox tends to be more practical, in terms of specific programs to follow. Both are recommended reading.

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This post is concerned with biochemistry: how the body reacts to hormone imbalance and the communication network that carries instructions to the cells, and is based on the book: The Metabolic Effect Diet: Eat More, Work Out Less, and Actually Lose Weight While You Rest, by the Teta brothers. At the beginning of the book, the authors state in the dedication: “This book is dedicated to the dream that one day nutrition and exercise will replace pharmaceutical drugs as the cornerstone of a physician’s education and will be used as the first line of defence for both the treatment and the prevention of disease.” The authors state that the Metabolic Effect Diet combines the latest scientific research in endocrinology, exercise science, nutritional biochemistry, and strength and conditioning research, plus it has thousands of satisfied clients. This sets the tone of their offering.

The chapters in the book basically cover the following: how the Metabolic Diet works, why burning fat is better than losing weight; discovering what type of fat burner you are via a questionnaire; start burning fat by eating specific foods for your metabolic type; the Metabolic workout, shifting the metabolism into fat burning with unique hybrid style exercises; Lifestyle choices; and finally, recipes and food plans. The authors are paraphrased in the following texts.

Starting with how the Metabolic Diet works. Exercises and food carry information and instructions for the body. Some of them tell the body to store fat, whilst others tell it to burn fat. The messages sent depend upon the individual nutritional makeup of each food eaten or on each specific type of exercise undertaken. The Metabolic Diet focuses on the nine hormones that are critical for fat burning. The first hormone is adrenalin, which signals to the body when to begin burning fat. This is the start of a chain reaction that causes the release of certain hormones, such as cortisol, testosterone, and human growth hormone (HGH) and the body enters into a fat-burning mode. If a person has high levels of insulin and leptin, when adrenalin is released, that person goes into a sugar-burning mode. The next hormone is cortisol, which, depending on the levels of cortisol, testosterone, and HGH, determines which mode of burning is used, either muscle or fat. Ghrelin is a hormone which influences the body’s state of hunger on an hour-to-hour basis. Note that its messages of the body being hungry can be dulled by eating protein, fibre and doing intense exercise. Glucagon helps to burn fats and works in the liver where it helps the process of regulating sugar and fat usage. Leptin is the hormone that influences the body’s state of hunger on a day-to-day basis. You could think of it as the body’s fuel gauge. Testosterone and HRH work as the building and burning hormones. They work with adrenalin and cortisol to ensure that fat is burned rather than stored. Finally, the thyroid stabilizes the whole metabolism and acts like a weight thermostat, taking messages from other hormones on how to act. The organs and tissues responsible for making, releasing, or reacting to metabolic messengers have an effect on the ability to turn on fat-burning. The adrenal glands act as the body’s alarm system. They secrete hormones that enable a person to wake up in the morning. They help regulate blood sugars, heart rate and a person’s moods. Adrenal hormone reserves directly affect the body’s ability to burn fats. Fat is both a type of body tissue and a hormone-secreting organ. The pancreas releases insulin and glucagon in response to food eaten and to stress. The liver acts as the body’s major detoxifier, and as such is a primary site for hormone activity. Muscle is a tissue and acts as a hub for hormonal activity. It is a prime source of metabolic messengers for restoring lost muscle, which comes about from leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Chapter 2 deals with determining what type of fat burner a person is. The authors claim that their greatest discovery was that each person was different on the inside, both biochemically and hormonally at the cellular and genetic levels. Hormones predict the type of fuel a person predominantly burns: sugar, muscle, or mixed. They provide a questionnaire, based upon reactions to hormonal stimulators to determine a person’s type. The difference is noted in the way hormones respond to certain food types, starch by way of example. Sugar burners will react dramatically, whilst starches may actually benefit muscle burners, and starches are less detrimental to mixed burners. This is a different approach to the previous two books as it targets people individually.

Two chapters are concerned with the process of starting to burn fat by eating specific foods for a person’s metabolic type. One is more advanced than the other. They are conflated together in the following text. In recognizing that people are individual in their type of burning, the diet is tailored to their individual food needs. First some rules: Avoid skipping meals and snacks, as skipping meals causes the body to secrete stress hormones and puts the body into a muscle burning mode. This leads to binge eating later in the day. Eat breakfast within two hours of awakening. Eat every 2 – 4 hours, with four hours being the maximum gap. Count carbohydrates and starches in ‘bites’ (or spoonful (1Tbsp)). As a rule of thumb: Sugar burners eat 3 – 5 bites of specific vegetables, legumes, grains, and specific breads and crackers; whilst mixed burners can eat between 5 – 10 bites, and muscle burners between 7 – 15 bites of specified carbohydrates and starches.

Sugar burners are advised to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, eating small meals every 2 – 3 hours. A typical meal plate would consist of 50% vegetables (2 – 3 different types) and/or fruits; 43% lean protein; and 7% carbohydrates or sweet fruits (3 – 5 bites). They are allowed to eat up to 1/2Cup of nuts a day. Mixed burners are advised to eat 3 meals and 2 – 4 snacks a day. Their meal plate would consist of 50% vegetables (2 – 3 different types) and/or fruits; 36% lean protein; and 14% starchy carbohydrates and sweet fruits (5 – 10 bites). They are allowed to eat up to 1Cup of nuts a day. Muscle burners are advised to eat 4 – 6 meals a day and at least 3 snacks. A plate would consist of 50% vegetables (2 – 3 different types) and/or fruits; 25% lean protein; and 25% carbohydrates or sweet fruits (7 – 15 bites). They are allowed to eat up to 1 1/2Cup of nuts a day.

Certain high protein and high fibre foods, such as chicken broth and broccoli can be eaten in large quantities, yet still turn on the body’s fat-burning mechanism because of the specific metabolic messengers they initiate. The authors provide a list of vegetables that a person can eat as much of as they like, irrespective of their type of burner. Some vegetables are eaten raw, others steamed or roasted. Unlimited quantities of fruits, although specific to burner type, may be eaten at each meal. Fruits should be fresh whenever possible, or frozen. However, canned fruits are to be avoided as they are usually packed in sugar-laden syrup. If fruits are eaten that are not specific to type, they are to be treated as starches and limited to the corresponding bite rule, so as to maintain in fat burning mode.

Proteins help curb cravings and hunger. Protein is the second most abundant substance in the body after water. The fat burning outcome of a meal is largely determined by the ratio of protein to carbohydrate. This is because protein initiates the release of the fat burning hormone glucagon, which aids as a hormone/metabolic messenger that increases the use of fat for energy and is required for maintaining muscle mass by providing amino acid building blocks. While carbohydrates cause the secretion of fat storing insulin. Many foods, including beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products fall short when the hormonal effects are analysed. The starch content is much higher than the protein content. Nuts are high in fat content when compared with protein. Milk and cheese amino acids stimulate insulin production. The best protein sources are those that contain mostly protein and very little starch and/or fat. These sources of protein include all types of lean animal protein, especially chicken, turkey, pork, and beef, as well as eggs (although the authors only use the whites in their recipes (presumably because of the fat and cholesterol content of the yolks (although the cholesterol in the yolks, when eaten, does not reach the bloodstream as such)), game, meat and fish. Wild caught fish and farm raised game meat, and organic animal protein are best.

Good fats, such as the Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are found in wild fish, game, and grass-fed animals. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is found in milk fat from grass-fed animals. CLA shrinks the size and number of fat cells. Small fish, such as anchovies, herrings, mackerel, and sardines are high in Omega-3 oils and low in mercury. Other good fats are hemp oil and walnut oil.

Whey protein powder is a dairy by product that aids in fat loss. It does this by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, whilst raising the brain hormones dopamine and serotonin. Both of these, boost immunity and stabilize blood sugar.

Carbohydrates come in two categories, which are: sugar, which will create an insulin response; and fibre. Fibre is a blood sugar regulator. Preferably, any carbohydrate type food should contain more fibre than sugar/starch, which is why fruits and vegetables are better to eat than grains.

Phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plants, fruits, and vegetables, as well as in chocolate, coffee, spices, wine and some other foods. Phytonutrients directly interact with the genes in the fat cells, where they turn on AMP kinase to switch the body from sugar to fat burning.

Black and green teas contain another phytonutrient compound called Epigallocatechin gallate. Pure herbal teas are another source of phytonutrient compound. It is recommended to drink between 3 – 6 cups a day.

Condiments and spices are important for healthy metabolism. For example, cinnamon, chiles and fresh ginger have a direct effect upon the body’s fat burning ability. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses these ‘warming’ ingredients as fat burning aids. They act as metabolic messengers that can affect hunger, lower fat storing hormones and make fat more likely to be burned rather than stored.

Chocolate and cocoa are fat burning fuels. Remember, though, that commercial chocolate bars contain sugar and will therefore raise insulin levels. Muscle burners and mixed burners may eat two small squares a day. Pure cocoa powder is full of phytonutrient compounds. In particular, phenylethylamine (PEA) helps a person feel energized, motivated, and satisfied.

Water enables easy fat loss as it controls hunger. It is important for the body to stay hydrated, neither under nor over, preferably with filtered water. It is important to note that coffee, fruit juices, soda, and alcohol do not count as water, so it is important to replace each cup or glass drunk with an equivalent amount of water.

Sweeteners in the form of naturally occurring compounds, such as Erythritol and Xylitol, are acceptable to use in place of sugar.

Finally, sugar burners need to eat foods that keep the liver and pancreas healthy, that warm up the body and that help keep it satisfied between meals.

Also, two chapters are concerned with the Metabolic Diet workout, which is about shifting the metabolism into fat burning with unique hybrid style exercises. Each chapter represents the level of progression made; the essence of each is distilled in the following. Our ancestors walked all day, every day to gather vegetables and fruits that grew close by, they hunted wild animals, they walked to find shelter, to fetch water, and did other tasks for survival. In addition, they fought off predators. During a typical day they walked, hauled, lifted, and climbed. Then, when the sun went down, they slept. The Metabolic Diet workout attempts to simulate that type of exercise. It incorporates a rest-based, hybrid weight training workout that is performed at each person’s performance level. The workout works synergistically with the diet regime, so as to trigger peak hormonal and muscle responses. The thirty-minute workout, performed three times a week, is complemented with 30 – 60 minutes of walking on the non-workout days. Rest-based workouts differ from High Intensity Interval Training in that there are no set limits on how long to work and when to rest. It is based on the principle of ‘pushing yourself’ rather than ‘pacing yourself’. In this process, metabolic messengers stimulate the body to build muscle and burn fat quickly and efficiently. The process continues to work for 16 – 48 hours after the workout is over due to increased energy output that is referred to as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, also known as oxygen debt. In the workout there are four groups of hybrid exercises, in four different groups. The workout consists of taking one exercise from each group for a total of four exercises per workout. Twelve repetitions are done for each of the four exercises carried out in a circuit fashion. Resting is done for as long and as often as necessary before resuming. The workout session lasts for 20 minutes, with as many circuits of four exercises completed as is possible, with a goal of reaching five rounds. The hybrid exercises combine upper and lower body movements, and are combined with dumbbells to tax both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Lifestyle choices: the first is to expose the body to as much natural light as is possible. Our ancestors arose when the sun rose, and started to work immediately, and when the sun went down, it was time for them to sleep. The process of life is both dualistic and diphasic. Everything has its opposite, and balance is achieved by the constant interplay between two opposing forces. In Traditional Chinese Medicine this concept is called yin and yang. In order to find balance, it is first necessary to choose balance in all of the relevant aspects of life. For hormones balance is everything. Natural light has an immense effect on our physiology and hormones. Hormones prepare the body for movement on awakening. Sleep is next. When asleep all of the fat-storing hormonal machinery is turned down. Adrenalin, cortisol, and leptin are lowered thus allowing the body to ‘hear’ the signals of the hormones once again. At the same time, glycogen HGH, testosterone and other growth-promoting and anti-oxidant hormones, such as melatonin, are elevated. The combination of this hormonal environment puts a person into a fat-burning, anti-aging, and growth state. The longer a person sleeps, the more likely the person is to make the switch from fat-storing to fat-burning. People who sleep shorter than eight hours a night may never reach that fat-burning mode at all. For the most effective sleep, nine hours is closer to ideal. Think of being in bed by 10.00pm, avoid eating for between 2 – 3 hours before bedtime, and turn the lights (blue) off once the sun sets. A nap is a powerful tool for hormonal balance. A 30-minute power nap, or a longer two-hour nap in the early afternoon allows a person to briefly rest their hormonal software and balance normal fat-burning. However, naps do not make up for a poor night’s sleep. Finally, control stress, especially those types that can be controlled. Note that as the daily stress load increases, a person’s health, mood, energy, productivity, and well-being suffer. Historic man under stress daily too, however, stress did not affect him as it affects people today, because he slept long, exercised hard, and was forced to stay in the moment.

There is a chapter on recipes and food plans, and finally, a chapter on goal setting and visualisation, from their life coaching programme. In the resources section, they mention their website where supplements and equipment may be bought; this facility no longer exists, it is just about workouts and their life coaching services.

Clients referenced were suffering, variously from: obesity; exhaustion, lack of sleep, and being overweight; being vegetarian with osteopenia, and a lack of muscle mass; being overweight; food cravings, depression, and excess bodyfat. They do not give any cases of treating, or preventing more serious illnesses.

The book contains a list of selected references only, yet fails to show where they back up what they are saying in any depth. These are the only source of scientific backup to their text. The impression gained is one of the authors operating one step removed from the root cause of problems when compared with the other Western-based books reviewed.

The authors’ concentration is on building muscle and preserving tone via fat burning. The question arises: Is this just a body builders recipe book with its emphasis on eating as much, of certain food types, as a person likes, and on the maximal use of protein shakes in the recipes?

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This post is concerned with food-based principles for an holistic health approach that is top down. It is taken from the perspective of anthropological, physiological, and nutritional science coupled with oral health to integrate effective prevention in dentistry. It is based on the book: The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health, by Dr Steven Lin. What follows reviews and paraphrases relevant text.

The health profession has long understood the links between gum disease, heart disease, and type II diabetes, including the fact that diseases that originate in the mouth have consequences for the entire body. So, oral health can be a means through which diseases are prevented before they cause long-term illness. Today, functional medicine aims to understand the whole body and not just treat diseases in different organ systems in a compartmentalised way. It is interesting to note that in nature, dental problems rarely occur. However, after the introduction of the modern diet, it only took one generation for tooth decay, crooked teeth, and jaw problems to appear. So, immediately on changing from traditional food to the new diet, people’s mouths began to change; for the worse.

The book is split into three parts: I - The truth in your teeth; II - How modern food has destroyed our health; and III - Dental nutrition – how to eat for a healthy mouth, body, and mind.

In the first part, the author is concerned with: Why your mouth matters; The modern diet’s missing pieces; The ancient wisdom in our teeth; The mystery of the missing vitamin; The language of bacteria; and It’s not genetic. From a science and technological perspective, the ‘meat’ of the book is contained in this part.

In chapter 1, the author states that the mouth acts as a natural gateway to the body, a portal through which nutrition shapes a person’s health. People’s DNA, once thought to be the final word on people’s lives and health, is extremely responsive to their environment. The biggest factor is the food people eat. A ‘soup of complexity’, based on the interplay of the epigenetic messages in people’s food, the genes of a person’s microbial population, and a person’s own genetic code determines a person’s health and longevity. Dental disease is a painfully obvious message that something is wrong in the body as a whole. The mouth is a person’s foundation for health, and the way the mouth is treated is the exact way in which the body will treat a person back. Some people seem immune to tooth decay, and other people are prone to it, no matter what they do. However, the difference is not genetic; there is a good chance that one person’s teeth are stronger because of their diet as they eat foods that have the nutrients that teeth need to fight off disease and decay.

In chapter 2, whilst travelling abroad, the author recalls reading a book he came across, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and their Effects, which was about the research of Weston Price, a dental professor in the 1920s and ‘30s, into the link between modern food and the rise in diseases. Weston Price had started researching this link and that led to him and his wife exploring the globe to see if traditional societies were actually healthier than modern ones, and if that was the case, what did they do. After five years of exploration, Weston Price found that with these traditional societies dental disease was virtually non-existent. Yet, when he visited colonies run by Europeans, Weston Price saw a staggering rise in tooth decay and crooked teeth. The key that he found during his explorations was that, the healthy, traditional cultures all seemed to eat diets rich in fat-soluble vitamins. This summarised the contents of Weston Price’s book.

In the next chapter, the author states that the present epidemic of crooked and impacted wisdom teeth is a sign that, due to what is eaten, people’s jaws are not developing properly. Also, that’s a sign that other parts of the skull, including the airways, are not developing properly and as such are compromising the ability to process oxygen. Two to three million years ago, the brains of our very close, yet very distant, primate ancestors started getting bigger and more complex. At the same time the jaws got smaller along with the size of the gut. Archaeological skull records indicate three parts in human history where changes in the jaws and teeth can be measured: 1) approximately two million years ago, on separation from primates, the jaws shrank to modern human size; 2) approximately 10,000 to 14,000 years ago, during the agricultural revolution, humans began suffering from modern tooth decay; and 3) around 200 to 300 years ago, during the Industrial Revolution, humans began to suffering from malocclusion and wisdom teeth impaction. This was after modern, mass-produced foods first began to be eaten.

The upper jaw is crucial to breathing and eating. Sometimes the upper jaw does not develop properly and can lead to impacted wisdom teeth. Improper development also leads to a deviated septum and narrow, obstructed nasal passages. This in turn compromises nose breathing. Oxygen is the most important nutrient humans consume, and humans are designed to gather oxygen primarily by breathing through the nose. Breathing through the mouth produces dry, unfiltered air and a lack of nitric oxide getting into the lungs. This starving of the body of oxygen can cause damaged heart muscles, brain tissues, and potentially, damage to all of the cells in the body. Problems with the mandible or jawbone can cause sleep apnoea and other breathing problems: oxygen starvation again. Modern foods hamper correct functioning of the jaw and facial muscles, and as a consequence, breathing.

Chapter 4, notes that our teeth have living inner cores that essentially make them functioning organs onto themselves. They need a very specific balance of minerals, vitamins, and proteins to stay strong and healthy. Not only do teeth need to be taken care of from the outside, they need protecting on the inside too. Far from being inanimate objects, teeth are constantly building, maintaining, and protecting themselves from the outside world. Odontoblasts, which are cells that build and maintain dentine (that layer of tissue that serves as a sort of insulation beneath the enamel) by releasing immune cells that fight any infectious bacteria that make it through the bony maize of enamel. To enable this to happen, they need vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a vitamin that the entire body should get every day in copious amounts. Vitamin D is one of the major factors that determine whether the stem cells from a person’s bone marrow grow and mature into bone-forming cells, blood cells, or immune cells. It also regulates how all of these cells operate. Vitamin D does far more than manage the immune system inside a tooth. It also helps supply bones, teeth, and muscles with the raw material, the ‘cement’ they need most to build themselves up: calcium. Vitamin D helps the intestines absorb calcium from the foods that are eaten, and helps to carry it through the bloodstream to the rest of the body. Vitamin D plays a central role in many physiological processes: it controls hormones and cell growth; it regulates digestion and gut microbes; it helps with balance; it influences metabolism; it strengthens the body against respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, and other ailments; and it aids neurological function.

Weston Price referred to Vitamin K2 as ‘Activator X’, which he described as a ‘vitamin-like activator’ that helped the body use minerals, fight tooth decay, and allowed people to grow strong, healthy jaws. Vitamin K was not formally identified until after his death. Vitamin K2 serves to actuate two proteins, osteocalcin and matrix GLA-protein (MGP), which makes some calcium go where it is supposed to, that is, in the bones and teeth, and, it removes calcium from being involved in artery hardening. It also prevents the calcium deposition responsible for kidney stones and the formation of gallstones. There are two types of vitamin K2, the animal derived MK-4 and the bacteria derived MK-7. Good sources of K2 (MK-4 form) include organ meats, eggs from pasture raised chickens, butter from grass fed cows, shellfish and emu oil. K2 (MK-7 form) can be created by the fermentation of bacteria. Examples include natto, sauerkraut and cheeses like Gouda and Brie.

The final necessary vitamin is A. Vitamin A comprises a group of organic compounds including retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and beta-carotene. Besides helping: teeth and bones develop; in reproduction; in regulating the immune system; and helping the membranes of the skin, eyes, mouth, nose, throat, and lungs to stay moist; it helps cells called osteoclasts to break down bone. This is so that existing bone cells can be replaced by new bone cells. Plants of microorganisms make their own vitamin A, humans do not, and need to get it from their diet. Animal foods are a good source of vitamin A, better than plant food. Cod-liver oil is a good source too.

One major difference between modern man’s diet and traditional diets is that the food eaten is lacking in a sufficient quantity of these fat-soluble vitamins.

Chapter 5 is concerned with the language of bacteria. Note that it is only recently that researchers began to understand bacteria’s complex role in the mouth and body. Research has shown that the whole body, including the mouth and teeth, is actually filled with the bacteria that it needs to stay healthy. Infectious diseases largely come from unwanted microbes that invade the inner microbe population from outside. For the most part, all of the microbes inside of people are necessary for good health and they even help protect people from harmful microbe invaders. As long as the different strains inside are in balance, all is well. When they are out of balance, a state called dysbiosis exists: they can cause disease. When it comes to tooth decay, it is more a matter of maintaining a balance among the different species of bacteria than it is of fighting back invaders.

Dental plaque is a biofilm that helps to maintain teeth. Bacteria live on the surface of a tooth building biofilm, and also within the hollow crystalline structure of the enamel itself. Along with odontoblasts they protect and maintain the enamel. In fact, bacteria share the calcium present in saliva with the teeth. Saliva gives the microbes inside the mouth the minerals they need, and in return, the microbes help manage the supply chain of minerals that pass among the saliva, biofilm, and tooth enamel. There are, at the basic level, two different types of bacteria: fast eaters and slow eaters. The fast eaters feed on simple carbohydrates like sugar. So, in today’s world of sugary and flour-based foods they go into a feeding frenzy and release acids. The good, or probiotic bacteria are slower metabolizers that feed on complex carbohydrates, or fibre, turning it into short-chain fatty acids. Some gut bacteria perform this conversion by fermentation. Overtime, the acids produced by the ‘fast eaters’ leech too much calcium from the tooth enamel too quickly. Tooth decay is a condition where the diet has effectively forced the balance in the mouth into starvation. By themselves simple carbohydrates like sugar and flour do not cause much damage to teeth. It is how they reduce the diversity of the oral microbiome that causes problems. And, the same imbalance can happen in the gut, leading to more serious diseases.

The oral microbiome flows beyond the mouth and into the digestive tract to become the gut microbiome, where they become deeply important to the overall functioning of the body. The gut, much like the skin is an organ that influences and contributes to crucial physiological processes throughout the body. The gut has to transport, digest and absorb nutrients while at the same time filtering out contaminants that shouldn’t get into the bloodstream. In order to help the gut to do its many jobs there is a vast population of microflora: bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even more obscure organisms. This microflora lives in the gut lining. These micro-organisms serve as another protective barrier, besides the gut lining epithelium cells, for protecting the insides; they produce compounds that kill off potentially harmful bacteria, filter out damaging materials in foods, and stimulate mucus production. Approximately 80 per cent of the body’s immune cells live in the digestive system. The gut produces more antibodies than any other organ in the body. Gut bacteria also send messages to immune cells in distant parts of the body. When bacteria in the gut consume fibre, they produce fatty acids that help manage the immune system, and even metabolism.

A leaky gut can disrupt the conservation between gut microbes and the immune system, and trigger the immune system to overcorrect and spark off allergic reactions, weight gain, and even mental disorders. Bleeding gums can be among the first symptoms of the microbial imbalance that causes these conditions. A person’s immune system relies on the gut microbes to relay information that helps it target pathogens and not the body’s own cells. When the balance is off and the gut is leaky, immune cells start attacking healthy cells, and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis can develop, and dysbiosis to the gut microbiome is linked to conditions such as allergies, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

To replenish the gut microbes, eat fermented foods, as people did before refrigeration and other forms of preserving. Fermented foods are full of probiotic bacteria and prebiotic fibre that helps feed and balance the microbial colonies inside. Research is revealing that there are some interesting nondietary ways that a person’s lifestyle can create a diverse and strong microbiome, as well as through dietary means. These are: intermittent fasting; stress reduction; sleep; exercise; exposure to dirt; and, the social environment and pets.

Intermittent fasting and eating cycle impact the day-to-day life of the microbiome. Fasting increases bacterial diversity and in the absence of food, bacteria keep working. In fact, the time without food represents as more natural feeding cycle, such as when food is not available, and it allows microbes to do their own ‘spring cleaning’ of the digestive and immune system, which is likely part of the body’s normal interaction with microflora.

As far as stress is concerned, having lots of different types of microbes helps the body stay resilient to outside stresses. However, stress is something that humans were designed to encounter only rarely. However, people are exposed to constant, low-grade stress that is sending survival signals throughout the body. These signals seem to impact the microbiome as well.

As far as sleep is concerned, the digestive system works on a diurnal or circadian rhythm connected to the day-night cycle and sleep. When sleep is interrupted, either through poor quality or not enough, the gut microbes suffer as a result.

How a person moves and conditions their body via exercise may influence their microbiome. The relationship is back and forth, with exercise providing a positive boost to beneficial strains and metabolites in the gut.

When a person’s exposure to soil is removed, they may be removing a crucial to their own microbes. Soil and humans share species of microbes that are likely transferred when they eat an animal or plant. Getting food from natural, organic sources and also having a garden may help as they provide a means of getting a healthy boost to the microbiome.

People share microbes with partners, people they come into contact with, and even with their pets.

In the final chapter in this part of the book, the author writes about DNA and epigenetics. DNA is a big factor in how a person’s body develops and, in the overall state of their health. DNA acts like a blueprint that a person’s body interprets, and one of the best ways to make sure that the body is able to interpret that blueprint in a healthy way is to give the body’s DNA the right nutrients. How that interpretation works is called epigenetics. The mouth appears to be the first place where the epigenetic messages that the cells and DNA are receiving can be evaluated. Since the Industrial Revolution, when diets became more unnatural, the modern epidemic of dental disease has got worse. Genes tell the body’s cells what to do. Essentially, the cells do this by teaming up with other cells and producing proteins. Every cell in the body has the same set of genes; and different body parts use different genes to produce different proteins unique to that body part. A person’s environment changes how that person’s genes are expressed. That environment crucially includes the foods chosen to eat, and, those foods have a large influence on a person’s epigenetics. Natural food that is unprocessed or refined contains nutrients that bring out the best in a person’s epigenetic messaging. Whilst, altered foods contain compounds that interfere with healthy genetic messaging. A person’s diet can also help fight chronic diseases. Literally, food shapes a person’s health throughout their life by speaking directly to their genes. So, eat foods that are organically grown with natural farming practices; eat locally sourced foods, noting that plants can lose 30 per cent of their nutrients just 30 days after harvesting; eat seasonally and avoid foods that sit on supermarket shelves, or comes from factories that treat it with synthetic pesticides and antibiotics to keep them edible all year-round.

Both of the last two chapters have excellent diagrams showing how various ‘bacterial’, or gut microbe processes work (pictorially, they also help explain what is happening, as was verbally described in Dr Grundy’s two books).

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In Part II, the author deals with: Why the food on your plate is making you sick, and; From low-fat to cholesterol.

In Chapter 7, the author writes about how, as a population, we are surrounded by foods that barely resemble what humans healthily ate for thousands of years. Today, eating unhealthy food is harder to avoid than getting tooth decay, having a need for teeth braces, or having wisdom teeth pulled.

There is little research into the connection between our unnatural diets and our declining dental health. Yet, there is plenty of dietary and nutritional information telling people that eating processed food and the like is unhealthy. However, there is much less information on how to break these bad habits.

The majority of people are unable to change their habits to escape the cycle of disease, through a lack of understanding of what to do, or even to admit that there is a problem in the first place; to understand the difference between today’s diet and what made humans healthy for thousands of years. In those thousands of years, different cultures and societies of the world have carefully cultivated their relationship with food, passing food wisdom from generation to generation, with food being treated as nothing less than sacred. They also knew that their health depended mainly on what they ate; they were intimately connected to the way food existed in nature and as to how their bodies were meant to process it. There is a need to find the way back to this ancient knowledge to reset the clock on people’s health and to fulfil their genetic health potential.

The demons of modern food are: sugar; grain; processed corn; vegetable oils and refined seed oils; dairy; and soy.

Nearly everyone knows that sugar is bad for them, yet they cannot resist eating it. In nature, it is rare to come across simple carbohydrates. They are bound up in the fibrous skins of fruits and vegetables. When eaten that way, the fibre is broken down so that the sugars are released and metabolized more slowly. In the modern diet this is not the case. In fact, on an average day, a person is likely to eat between 40 – 50 teaspoons (130 – 155g) of pure sugar, without even thinking about it.

Grains today are processed right down to white flour, bleached and treated with chlorine gas so as to make the gluten proteins mature instantly; this is for easy digestion. In other words, refined white flour becomes a form of simple carbohydrate: sugar. Even, so called ‘whole grain’ breads are mostly white flour that has been fortified with B-vitamins, iron, and added fibre. Grains are also seeds, and in nature are meant to be eaten by animals and passed to fresh fertile ground in their faeces. They have components that prevent them breaking down, such as phytic acids, which can cause digestive problems in humans. Traditional cultures do eat flour, yet they make sure that it is grown and matured in such ways as to retain its nutrients and allow it to be digested. They use soaking, fermenting, and sprouting.

Corn is farmed abundantly in America, is versatile and cheap; so, it is manipulated and used as a filler in processed foods. Common corn product names include: corn flour, caramel flour, corn fructose, corn meal, corn oil, corn syrup, dextrin and dextrose, fructose, lactic acid, malt, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate, sorbitol, or another variation. None are designed for the human body to digest. High fructose corn syrup is a relatively new food additive, and it is like ‘sugar on steroids’. It adds a ‘wild card’ to the body’s system, beginning with tooth decay and ending with organs that are ‘drowning’ in sugar. Normal, or natural fructose is at its highest availability from fruits as they ripen and fall to the ground. Our bodies are designed to eat them straight away, so that they can store the excess sugar as fat and as insulation around organs during the cold winter.

Processed and refined vegetable oils also carry important health risks. To a large degree they have replaced natural fats in our diet. Refined polyunsaturated fats, such as corn, canola, and sunflower oil, become unstable in a person’s body, causing inflammation. Cooking polyunsaturated oils on high heat can also turn them into partially hydrogenated fats, or trans fats, which can harm the body’s cells and blood; increasing the risk of heart attack.

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. It is made up of two simple carbohydrates, glucose and galactose, and the human digestive system requires a special enzyme called lactase to digest it. For thousands of years, people drank milk mainly from local cows milked by hand. Industrialization changed all that, and dairy became an industry itself. Milk is now pasteurized and that kills a large number of healthy natural bacteria, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, which the digestive tract relies upon to properly digest milk and make use of its nutrients. It also warps the structure of the caseins (milk proteins), making it harder to digest. As does the homogenization of industrial milk.

Modern farming methods change the meat that you eat, such as grass-fed versus grain-fed cattle. People used to eat cattle that grew up in their natural habitat and lived on natural foods like grass. Then, during World War II surplus grain started to be fed to cattle. This fattened up cattle for slaughter quicker. Whereas 75 years ago it took a cow 4 – 5 years to grow big enough for slaughter, today, through feeding them grain, giving them protein supplements, antibiotic medications, and growth hormones; cattle can be slaughtered at just 14 – 16 months of age. In addition, since corn-fed cattle are susceptible to many illnesses, they are given antibiotics, leading them to develop antibiotic resistant bacteria which increasingly render modern medicines ineffective. Also, the fat in grain-fed beef is generally lower in fat-soluble vitamins A and E. It also contains fewer minerals, such as zinc, iron, and phosphorus. In addition, its omega fatty acids are skewed; fewer Omega-3 fats and more Omega-6 fats, which increase inflammation in the body.

For ancestral eating, of going back to the basics of what the traditional or native societies ate, it is necessary to understand the principles behind the foods eaten, rather than the foods themselves. The principles are based on food as it is naturally found in the environment. Traditional diets have long been centred on providing nutrients in their natural form. These include unprocessed full fats from animals, and whole plants. Both traditional cultures and wild animals alike have focused on eating the organs of an animal, for example, the liver. It is filled full of fat-soluble vitamin A, D, and K2, which allow both animals and humans to build and maintain strong bones.

Finally, the author touches on the importance of food preparation, in particular fermentation and meat broths. Fermented foods tend to be good for health because the fermentation produces valuable nutrients, including vitamins like thiamine, nicotinic acid, biotin, riboflavin and vitamin K2. Modern foods are deficient in these nutrients which are necessary to keep our mouths and bodies balanced and healthy. The beauty of meat broth is that it is full of minerals and nutrients and is an excellent source of gelatin. Broths are a fundamental part of any diet designed around the health of the mouth, digestive system, joints, and the skeletal system.

In the last Chapter of Part II, the author blasts away the misconceptions about saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease. The myth that low-fat diets protect against heart disease, obesity, and diabetes is unproven; that saturated fats cause heart disease is false; that high blood cholesterol leads to heart disease is false; that saturated fats raise bad cholesterol is false; that dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol is false.

In the third part of the book, the author deals with: Eating to make your dental checkup a breeze; The dental diet model and food pyramid, and; The 40-day dental diet meal plan.

In the first chapter of Part III, the author writes about the principles of good dental nutrition: keeping the jaw, face, and airways healthy and strong; giving the mouth the nutrients it needs, with a focus on calcium balance and fat-soluble vitamins; keeping the microbiome balanced and diverse; and eating foods with healthy epigenetic messages. The ways to do this is, first, to prioritize fibrous foods that require chewing, such as whole raw vegetables, whole nuts and seeds, meat on the bone, and chewy dried and cured meats. Next, engage in proper healthy nose breathing, then eat a balance of foods that contain both probiotics and prebiotics (fibres) to keep the microbes happy. Eat foods with healthy epigenetic messages by sourcing foods products from pasture-raised animals and free-range livestock; seafood caught in natural waters; and crops that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics, which shift the microbiome of their soil as well as that of their own genes. Support nutrients are needed to work with the fat-soluble vitamins: calcium; fat and cholesterol, the body needs all kinds of fats, such as saturated (from meats, tallow, lard, cheese, butter), monounsaturated fats (fish, walnuts, flaxseeds), cholesterol (liver, fish, eggs, butter); magnesium; zinc; and gelatin.

The author then provides a list of foods (in each of the following categories) to eliminate: refined vegetable oils, white flour, and sugar, and what to replace them with.

Every meal should contain sources of fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, as well as the support elements that work alongside them in the body, including magnesium, zinc, and dietary fat. The author then provides a list foods rich in whole full-fat animal products, including the skin. Then he provides a list of places to find support elements to eat. This is followed by a list of sources for probiotics and prebiotics.

In Chapter 10 the author describes his Dental Diet model and Food Pyramid. The familiar food pyramid is the original USDA guideline that is concerned with ‘servings’, in terms of amounts to eat. In Dr Lin’s Food Pyramid, a person eats until they are satisfied, without any fixed amount being specified. Also, the USDA Food Pyramid guideline took no account of many of the principles of healthy eating that our ancestors developed over thousands of years, similarly of a lack of concern for the microbiome, food sourcing, or the fat-soluble vitamins needed to make use of the many nutrients contained in food.

The author’s model is based on three main principles: it is best to eat whole foods; it is not just which foods to eat, it’s how they’re prepared; and, sourcing is important, too. In Tier 1, the base of the Dental Food Pyramid, contains foods of which to eat the most, and includes: vegetables and legumes; herbs; and probiotics. Note that vegetables or plant foods come from every part of the plant: the fruits; the seeds; the flowers; the stems and shoots; the leaves; the tubers and roots; and the bulb. He gives examples of each. The more species and colours on the meal plate, the better, and take time to eat a mix of both raw and cooked vegetables. He also provides a list of legumes, and probiotics. Tier 2, the next level up, contains foods of which it is recommended to add to a meal plate, in the form of 1 – 2 different foods from the following groups: dairy; meat, fish, and eggs; and fermented foods. Again, the author gives a list of acceptable foods to eat for both meat and fish, as he does with fermented foods and dairy. Tier 3 consists of foods to cook with, and to add flavour: fats and oils; nuts, seeds and spices. As before, Dr Lin gives lists of acceptable fats and oils to use, as well as nuts seeds and spices. And finally, Tier 4, the top of the pyramid, for which he recommends to limit intake; concerns fruit and grains. The body is designed to consume fructose in only two or three small pieces of fruit a day. The author provides a list of low-fructose fruits that can be eaten more often, and a list of higher-fructose fruits to eat more sparingly. Finally, he lists acceptable grains to eat.

Chapter 11, the final chapter, provides a 40-day Dental Diet meal (three times a day) plan, that includes recipes too.

I wish I’d read this book 50 years ago; it would have saved so much money, heartache and loss! Well worth the read, chock full of information and references for backing up the science contained in each chapter. Recommended reading.

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This post is concerned with Traditional Chinese Medicine and its role in nutrition.

Whilst reading one of the chosen books to review, Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine, my attention was taken by the following quoted paragraphs:

“In comparing Chinese dietary therapy to the Western approach to eating for health, we see similarities – both stress the elimination of poor-quality processed foods with excesses of refined flour, sugar and fat, both encourage an abundance of fresh whole foods in the diet. Both systems advocate the role and value of healthy eating for the prevention of disease.

This, however, is where the two approaches diverge: Western nutritional and dietary therapy looks at food’s potency through its parts – micro- and macronutrients, vitamins, amino acids, proteins and calories, to name a few. Unlike the ancient classifications used by Chinese medicine, foods are recommended in the West as new research brings the role of specific nutrients to light.

So how can we adopt a system that was created thousands of years ago to our way of eating in modern day life? … “ [my highlighting]

On reading this, I realised I did not yet understand enough about Traditional Chinese Medicine, and its contribution to nutritional healing, to do justice to reviewing the two chosen books. It is one thing to read about it, another to understand it, it is a work in progress. So, before completing this post, a timeout is planned in order to better understand the approach they take.

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This post is about connecting the dots, to see what is common, although so far, it is only based on considering the four Western dietary style influenced books: The comprehensive guide to Optimizing Energy and Recovery from: Pain, Insomnia, Brain Fog, Infections, and much more, by Dr Gundry; The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age, also by Dr Gundry; The Metabolic Effect Diet: Eat More, Work Out Less, and Actually Lose Weight While You Rest, by Jade Teta and Keoni Teta; and The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link Between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health, by Dr Lin.

The first connection is in the level at which the authors are making interventions to either prevent illness, or disease, and/or treating them. Dr Gundry is primarily concerned with the need for good gut bacteria, to get rid of the bad (treating the microbiome as a whole), and the mitochondria, which are bacteria within cells. To quote him, “You are what your gut microbiome digests”. Finally, he is concerned with avoiding eating the wrong foods of today (containing complex defence mechanisms to prevent them being easily eaten and digested) compared with the food and way that our ancestors ate. In the Metabolic Effect Diet the main area of interest is hormones, especially those that predict the type of fuel a person will burn: the nine hormones that are critical for fat burning. The emphasis in the Dental Diet of Dr Lin is the epigenetic messages in the food eaten, in our own microbial population, along with eating the ‘wrong’ foods compared with our ancestors; wrong foods containing the wrong bacteria, which the body does not want. So, Dr Gundry and Dr Lin are in alignment in their basic approach.

As the books are all concerned, in one way or another, with diet it makes sense to move on to the connections in food, starting with vegetables. The Metabolic Effect Diet has the most, allowable vegetables, closely followed by Dr Gundry, and then the Dental Diet, which contains approximately three quarters of the specified amount of the other two. The following vegetables are agreed by all: broccoli, cabbage (green, red, napa, Chinese), Swiss chard, cauliflower, chives, asparagus, celery, fennel, garlic, lettuce (all) onions (all), scallions and shallots. Dr Gundry and the Metabolic Effect Diet separately agree on: arugula, Brussel sprouts, cassava, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, endives, kohlrabi, mushrooms, mustard greens, radicchio, and watercress. Dr Gundry and the Dental Diet separately agree on: artichoke, Bok choi, beet (raw), carrots, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, and turnip. The Metabolic Effect Diet and the Dental Diet separately agree on bell peppers, cucumber, eggplant, ginger root, and tomatoes.

Moving on to pre-, pro-, and postbiotics. The Metabolic Effect Diet does not mention any specifically, but they are indicated by default in some of the vegetables recommended. Both Dr Gundry and Dr Lin mention specific prebiotics: tubers and roots (for example, artichokes, asparagus, chickery, chives, garlic, leeks, onions, parsnips and radishes) and fibrous vegetables (such as whole raw vegetables) in general, as well as whole nuts and seeds, along with basil, bananas and dandelion greens. The Dental Diet mentions more probiotics, loosely covered by fermented foods, such as: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, active cultured yogurt, cheese, butter, kefir, miso, cider and vinegar. Both Dr Gundry and Dr Lin specify postbiotics, which in many cases are also probiotics. All sources use pr-, pro-, and postbiotics.

Next, animal protein, Dr Gundry is the only one to suggest limited amounts of meat eaten. He gives a very detailed list of grass-fed and finished meats, including pork that is humanely raised and pasturized, game meats, cured hams, and mentions organ meats, especially liver. For the Metabolic Effect Diet, the amount eaten is unlimited, yet in proportion to the other food components on a meal plate, and this diet is only interested in lean meat with little or no fat or starches. Specific meats mentioned include: beef, farm-raised game, and pork. Dr Lin is all for unlimited amounts of protein, as with all food type, enough to satisfy hunger. He suggests full fat animal products, including skin and joints for meals, and leaner meats for snacks. He is not too specific in terms of actual meats to eat, yet he does mention lamb, beef and organ meats. Moving on to poultry, Dr Gundry gives a full list of pastured, non-soy or corn-fed poultry to eat; the Metabolic Effect Diet only mentions chicken, and Dr Lin mentions chicken and duck. All three agree on eating eggs, although Dr Gundry suggests limiting the amount of whites eaten, to eat mainly the yolks. On the contrary, the Metabolic Effect Diet uses egg whites only (no doubt due to the fat in the yolks). In fact, egg yolks are one of the two fats that the brain needs t function properly. So, it appears that Dr Gundry and Dr Lin agree on fatty cuts of meat, whilst the Metabolic Effect Diet only considers lean meat.

Now considering fish and shellfish as sources of protein, Dr Gundry gives a comprehensive list of fish, including white fish such as cod, sea bass, redfish, red/pink snapper. He also mentions freshwater bass, perch, and pike, as well as canned tuna, Alaskan halibut, and Alaskan salmon. He provides a comprehensive list of wild-caught shellfish, probably anything you can name is there. He mentions sardines, anchovies, abalone, sea urchins and smelt too. The Metabolic Effect Diet only mentions wild-caught fish without being specific. The Dental Diet mentions whole fish and shellfish, again without being specific. On this basis, all are in tune.

The next source of protein considered is dairy. Dr Gundry warns about the dangers of casein A2 milk in America, so the dairy products he mentions are basically non-America, (other than organic heavy cream, sour cream, and cream cheese): real Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano); French or Italian butter; Buffalo (Mozzarella cheese and butter); Goat (milk, plain yogurt, butter, cheese and kefir); and Sheep (plain yogurt, cheese, and kefir). In the Metabolic Effect Diet, the only mention of dairy is the dairy by product whey, in particular, whey protein powder, which is used in abundance for meals and snacks throughout the day. One of the reasons that they do not consider other dairy products is that they are deficient when hormonal effects are considered. Dr Lin warns that the lactose in dairy is a form of sugar and to be avoided. Although, he does mention: ghee, and raw butter and cream made from grass-fed cows. The Metabolic Effect Diet differs from the other two sources again.

Moving on to nuts and seeds (sources of non-animal proteins). Dr Grundy restricts the amount to 1/2C per day. The Metabolic Effect Diet considers that nuts and seeds fall short when the hormonal effects are analysed, so none are given. The Dental Diet agrees with Dr Gundry on eating the following nuts: Brazil, pecans, pine, and walnuts. For seeds, agreement centres on: flaxseed and sesame. In addition, Dr Gundry adds: chestnuts, coconut milk or cream, hazelnuts and pistachios. For seeds the additions are: hemp, hemp protein powder, and psyllium seed/powder. Whilst Dr Lin adds: almonds and cashews, and for seeds, the extras are chia, pumpkin and sunflower. Once again, the Metabolic Effect Diet is the odd one out.

For fats and oils, both Dr Gundry and the Metabolic Effect Diet agree on Omega-3 fish oils EPA and DHA, which are the only oils that the Metabolic Effect Diet considers, other than CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) as found in milk fat. Dr Gundry and Dr Lin agree on avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. In addition, Dr Gundry adds flavoured cod-liver oil, macadamia oil, MCT oil, rice bran oil, and walnut oil. Dr Lin is in favour of using animal fats including: butter and ghee, lard, and tallow. The Metabolic Effect Diet again is out of sync.

Dr Gundry does not recommend the use of legumes due to the presence of lectins within them. The Metabolic Effect Diet gives a list of beans, as well as chickpeas and lentils, which it shares with Dr Lin. The Dental Diet specifies beans and peas as a whole, plus alfalfa, lentils and peanuts. So, Dr Gundry is at variance with the other two books, due to his avoidance of eating lectins.

For grains and flours, Dr Gundry has a specific list that excludes those with lectins in them; grains, sprouted grains, pseudo grains, and grasses. So, his list of flours include: almond, arrowroot, cassava (or tapioca), chestnut, coconut, hazelnut, sesame, and sweet potato. The Metabolic Effect Diet includes tapioca flour, barley, brown rice, buckwheat groats (kasha), bulger (tabbouleh), millet, polenta, and steel cut oats. The Dental Diet also includes brown/black rice, buckwheat, millet and oatmeal, in addition, specifies black rye bread, sourdough (as it is fermented), and sprouted bread. The Metabolic Effect Diet also adds, in the form of breads and crackers: whole grain breads, whole grain cooked cereals, al-mak crackers, Ezekiel bread, Wasa crackers and whole grain tortillas. Yet, say no to white starches! They obviously did not get the memo about how whole grain bread is made. So, once again Dr Gundry is the odd one out with his avoidance of eating lectins.

As far as fruits are concerned, there is a lot agreement. All agree on avocados (which can be eaten at any time of the year), blueberries, cherries, citrus fruits (such as grapefruit, lemons, limes, nectarines, oranges, and tangerines), kiwifruits, crispy pears (Anjou, Bosc, Doyenné du Comice), and raspberries. Dr Gundry and the Metabolic Diet also agree on apricots, blackberries, peaches, plums, pomegranates; Dr Gundry on green bananas, whilst the Metabolic Diet just specifies bananas. Dr Gundry and Dr Lin agree on coconut, dates, figs, and in Dr Lin’s case, he adds all dried fruit. The Metabolic Diet and the Dental Diet agree on grapes, all melons except watermelon with the Metabolic Diet, whilst the Dental Diet only specifies honeydew and watermelon. Dr Gundry adds mulberries too, whilst the Metabolic Effect Diet adds boysenberries, gooseberries, loganberries, mango, papaya, passionfruit, persimmons. So, take your pick.

Lastly in the food section, condiments, herbs and spices. Dr Gundry and Dr Lin agree on freshly ground black pepper, iodized sea salt, and Dr Lin adds pink rock salt too. Dr Gundry and the Metabolic Effect Diet agree on the use of vinegars, whilst the Metabolic Effect Diet and Dr Lin agree on fresh ginger and cinnamon, although Dr Gundry does add other condiments/spices with the exception of chilli pepper, which the Metabolic Effect Diet recommends. Dr Gundry also adds fresh lemon juice and mustard. Dr Lin specifically adds cardamon, cayenne, cloves, nutmeg and turmeric. The sample size is too small to produce any connection between the authors. Basically, use whatever you want to flavour your meals, except processed sauces.

Before moving on, their thoughts on beverages. Interestingly, the Dental Diet does not mention them. Dr Gundry advises to drink 8 Cups (1.92 litres) of filtered water per day, plus sparkling mineral water (Pellegrino), coffee (sugar free) red wine (6oz, 177ml), spirits (1oz, 28m), except vodka per day, the Metabolic Effect Diet just says alcohol. So far, both agree, although the Metabolic Effect Diet does not specify how much filtered water to drink, they do say that any other beverages consumed do not count as water, so an equivalent amount is needed to replace them. The Metabolic Effect Diet adds soda and fruit juice, which Dr Gundry, says the latter should be pure and freshly squeezed, as bottled fruit juices are loaded with sugar, which is to be avoided. Dr Gundry also adds tea (black, green, or herbal). So, all are pretty much in agreement.

Each of the books have their own take on the lifestyle changes needed for improved health and wellness. The common thread between all of the books is: time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, although the Metabolic Effect Diet doesn’t consider this as it would be difficult when starting to eat within two hours of awakening and eating throughout the day; next is controlling stress in one form or another, including breathing exercises, taking time to be grateful for what you have, or blessings, and meditation; then exposure to as much natural light as possible combined with prioritising getting sufficient restful sleep; doing movement, or exercise, in one form, or forms, and another, both anaerobic and aerobic (although that does not form part of the Dental Diet); and finally, connecting with others (although that does not form part of the Metabolic Effect Diet). In the main, the three approaches are in accord.

Optimal health and wellness are achieved by paying attention to what we eat, to our own microbiome and its needs, in order that it can nourish the body and take care of our overall health and fitness. Overall, in connecting the dots, The Longevity Paradox, The Energy Paradox and the Dental Diet are in much closer accord throughout when compared with the Metabolic Effect Diet.
I watched this interesting video twice and it ties in with a lot of what Steven Gundry says in his The Longevity Paradox, the difference being that the study that was done into longevity in the beginning of the 20th century came up with a different conclusion: the common denominator of the people that lived (much) longer than others surrounding them (even of their own culture) was that they took fermented foods on a daily basis, while Gundry attributes long life to little meat, olive oil, certain veggies, and so on.

Robert Martindale, MD, PhD, general and trauma surgeon in the ICU talks in this video about the necessity of keeping our microbiome healthy during illness, he also talks about the dangers of taking antibiotics even 6 months before an ICU stay and the subsequent rates of mortality among patients whose healthy gut bacteria were wiped out.

Probiotics have been given a.o. to healthy school kids, pregnant women with gestational diabetes and neonates in the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis with fairly good results. He also mentions diet, stress, additives and Round-up and their devastating impact on our microbiome. FWIW.

Mariama said:
I watched this interesting video twice and it ties in with a lot of what Steven Gundry says in his The Longevity Paradox, the difference being that the study that was done into longevity in the beginning of the 20th century came up with a different conclusion: the common denominator of the people that lived (much) longer than others surrounding them (even of their own culture) was that they took fermented foods on a daily basis, while Gundry attributes long life to little meat, olive oil, certain veggies, and so on.
Gundry's 'and so on' also includes taking prebiotics on a daily basis, although not in the form of fermented vegetables (which are probiotics), just types of vegetables, which often are the basis for fermented foods; for him, pre- and post-biotics are the main things that keep the 'gut buddies' (microbiome) happy on a daily basis (the prebiotics feed the probiotic gut bugs). The Dental Diet specifically mentions probiotics, loosely covered by forms of fermented foods, such as: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, active cultured yogurt, cheese, butter, kefir, miso, cider and vinegar. Gundry does recommend some forms of kefir, and cheese (non dairy sourced). So, all three studies (Martindale, Gundry and Li) are loosely in accord: the need for keeping the 'gut buddies' happy on a daily basis; for longevity and immune system health.
Thank you so much for sharing about all you've learned in your current "subject stack." It's funny because a goal I set mid-June for an accountability group was to finish six books this summer (which I assumed would be romance), but then you started this topic and I became so engrossed in it I went out and bought the first of the six cited, to start making my way through them. Let me know what order you think it would be most beneficial to read them in. :lkj:
Thank you so much for sharing about all you've learned in your current "subject stack." It's funny because a goal I set mid-June for an accountability group was to finish six books this summer (which I assumed would be romance), but then you started this topic and I became so engrossed in it I went out and bought the first of the six cited, to start making my way through them. Let me know what order you think it would be most beneficial to read them in. :lkj:
Any order you like, what is important is making the connections between what is in each book, and how those connections fit together in a whole, as a way forward for you.
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