Look around at the world today and you will see something gone wrong. Increased rates of heart diseases, all types of cancers, fears of pandemic flus and other degenerative conditions becoming more prevalent such as arthritis, auto-immune disorders, and alzheimers.
Is this just part of a wake-up call on an evolutionary level?
Where did We go Wrong?
Today’s environment that we live in (including the foods that we eat) is far from the natural conditions that people lived in long ago. That is not to say we all need to move back into caves and hunt for food, but we should focus on the more important recent (esp the last hundred years) changes that are taking our health in the wrong direction.
Those big changes include:
While I am not going to ever point out just one thing to blame for our sad state of health today, they all play a part. We need to start looking at the damage being done on the body as a whole and how it effects us at the cellular level. Optimizing health at the cellular level is vital.
For example, what is cancer? Essentially it is a bunch of cells gone bad and destructive. If left unchecked it will continue to damage other cells and create more and more “cells gone bad”. Do this in your lung and you have lung cancer, in your brain and you have brain cancer, etc.
So in our modern goal of health awareness and reducing risks of disease, we should be looking to focus our efforts on maintaining health at the cellular level (which means creating less destruction and increasing repair/rebuilding ).
The Only Known way to Live Longer/Healthier
Scientists have known for a long time that there is really only one proven way to increase the lifespan of animals in test conditions (as well as improve health in humans). This is what is known as Calorie Restriction (or CR). Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the New York Times on the calorie restriction experiment:
Calorie Restriction is a natural way in which the body can produce less damage and be more resistant to damage at the cellular level. All this leads to a healthier and longer life. Also it seems that there is another process going on that helps to repair the damage due to aging. This could hold the key to helping not only treat people with diseases, but also help people live longer (by slowing down the destructive aging process ).
Cell Death and Recycling
More and more light is being put into how the cells can “recycle” their own damaged parts and create a new and healthy cell in the process. This is what is known as autophagy and could be one of the keys to living longer and healthier!
Here’s a good summary from the University of Florida Health news on UF scientists reveal how dietary restriction cleans cells:
and more from this really good article in Scientific American on How Cells Clean House:
The programmed cell death/self-suicide of a cell, otherwise known as apoptosis, is a good thing in some cases. While you don’t want all your cells to die off, you definitely don’t want the cancerous cells gone bad sticking around and creating more damage. It could be summed up that a defective apoptosis system is a big reason for the progression of cancerous cells in a body. If left unchecked, the cancerous cells spread and create more. A functioning apoptosis system would call for the cancerous cells to commit suicide and stop the progression.
So it seems that autophagy through various pathways can not only help stop new progression of cancerous cells, but may also help improve apotosis signaling through healthy mitochondria. Add this to a continual process of healthy cell repair and “going green” (recycling) at the cell level may be the real fountain of youth.
Understanding Aging to Reduce Diseases
Researchers are now currently looking for a pharmaceutical treatment to increase autophagy in healthy cells and apoptosis in cancerous ones (although more is not always better and with every treatment seems to come more negative side effects). By looking at the real source of the problem (aging), evolutionary solutions can be seen in helping people with diseases associated with it.
from this recent article in the Boston Globe on Age-old woes, New Tactic.
Message is Simple: Eat Less (and Eat Real Foods)
While researchers are trying to come up with patented pharmaceutical versions to enhance autophagy (and they will probably not be cheap either), we already have those systems built in if we send the right signals to help increase their function. Namely through a “ restricted food supply”, like the “feast-famine” environments that our bodies were designed to survive.
While CR is certainly not the most realistic nor enjoyable solution for many, there is still many of the same benefits found with Intermittent Fasting (or IF). The benefits of IF is you can also maintain lean bodyweight (muscle) while burning fat and still enjoy eating. Plus, it is the cheapest way I know of that you can reduce your risks for degenerative diseases!
So while health care costs are going through the roof and medical treatments are too expensive for many to afford, maybe it is time we all start to realize the evolutionary plan for the body to help heal itself. It costs nothing more than just personal awareness into how you eat effects your own health. Eat less and eat more “real foods” is the best advice I think we all need to take to heart (and tell others to do as well). The bonus is if you eat mainly real foods anyways, that it is hard to actually overeat in the first place!
If you want to know more about IF, you can get the FREE IF Revolution ebooks here. Don’t forget to join us all on Nov 1st for “IF Day” to help spread awareness into how eating less (taking breaks) can help us to lose weight and just be healthy. Tell a friend/family member/coworker and help spread the awareness.
More related quotes and articles on Autophagy
Overview of the importance of autophagy and diseases (which still shows there is much we don’t know as well)