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Is there a difference between Aging and Chronic Disease?
We get misdirected by complex medical studies and lose sight of the common denominator in chronic disease; all are symptoms of oxidative stress and inflammation. Every symptom that ever occurs starts with a shortage of cellular bio-energy: electrons. Colds, bronchitis, indigestion, high blood pressure, bleeding gums or depression are first signs of inflammation and a progression toward heart disease, arthritis and cancers that arrive decades later. The fooler is that symptoms may appear in different locations in the body, yet reflect a predictable correlation with a range of specific insults."
A National Geographic Channel documentary series, "Breakthrough," recently aired an episode on Aging that brought together world experts as they petitioned the FDA to allow research into finding a "drug" to stop it. But alas, "Sorry," said The FDA, "Aging is not a recognized disease." And of course if it is not a disease, there can be no drug for it...by law only a drug can cure a disease. That's a law?
The doctors found that all the chronic killers like cancer and heart disease occurred coincidentally with advancing age. They seemed to agree that if a "pill" were found to prevent aging that chronic disease issues would not need to be treated individually.
An observant doctor traced the history of the medical system back to the treatment of infections with a singular antibiotic application which went on to birth the "germ theory of disease" and the (sketchy) idea of a pill for every ailment. Another mentioned metformin, but not its side effects. Some think gene editing may be the answer.
One doctor was seeking a way to kill-off senescent cells. (Senescent cells have sustained DNA damage to the point they can no longer replicate, release inflammatory chemicals and may become cancerous. Preventing genetic damage and senescence would seem to be a start...)
Snippets of various findings followed. Longevity researchers had noted caloric restriction increased lifespans in laboratory animals which later dovetailed with Cynthia Kenyon's findings in c. elegans. The excessive intake of high glycemic items (like sugar) accelerated aging while a single mutation of the Daf 2 gene saw lifespans doubled!
(Wikipedia) DAF-2 is part of the first metabolic pathway discovered to regulate the rate of aging. DAF-2 is also known to regulate reproductive development, ***resistance to oxidative stress, thermotolerance, resistance to hypoxia, and resistance to bacterial pathogens. Mutations in DAF-2 have been shown by Cynthia Kenyon to double the lifespan of the worms. In a 2007 episode of WNYC's Radiolab, Kenyon called DAF-2 "the grim reaper gene."
***Note; Resistance to oxidative stress/hypoxia/pathogens.
The documentary validated the common denominator viewpoint by lumping chronic disease under the heading; "aging." The researchers all seemed to agree oxidative stress was involved, but didn't mention the "Free Radical Theory of Aging?" The difference between preventing aging and addressing chronic diseases that shorten life is only in the words.
Where we diverge is on the drug approach where the obvious foundational first step would be to address the root causes of oxidative stress/inflammation.
How This Works
X amount of oxidants, free radicals and acids require an equivalent amount of antioxidant electrons to reach neutrality; generated metabolically, via antioxidants like glutathione or uric acid produced in cells, by supplements, nutritional precursors or direct external energy inputs of heat, light, sound or electrons themselves via earthing. This means that any stressor, no matter how large or small, can be offset by appropriate quantitative opposition..to return the system to equilibrium with a viable charge. We know we need to increase numbers of electrons, but not how much. One size does not fit all!
Examine these common antioxidant molecules. By looking at the molecular diagram of any substance, it is then possible to predict its antioxidant capabilities by virtue of electron abundance. Vitamin C seems to be the most versatile electron donor and electrons are promiscuous going where wanted, but then again there are thousands of other antioxidants evidenced to be active in specific conditions and aging in general. (See GMI database on Aging)
Vitamin C is the cheapest electron source. As it raises body charge it reduces blood and fluid viscosity to promote oxygen penetration. Along with the amino acids lysine/proline (found in bone broths), vitamin C rebuilds all connective tissues (vessels, intestinal lining, mucus membranes, skin, joints, bones and fascia) and has been shown to prevent metastases of cancers. Vitamin C's electrons mobilize positively charged metals for easy elimination. Vitamin C protects mitochondria from oxidative burn-out allowing more metabolic (ATP) electron production. Vitamin C's electrons power macrophage cleaner cells, important in lung function. In megadose Vitamin C generates H2O2, an immune oxidant in many bio-oxidative therapies, that destroys cancers, pathogens and cell debris.
Organic Chemistry 201
Each line in the diagrams has a carbon (or oxygen/nitrogen symbols, O&N) atom at each end, each line representing a bond and shared electrons...A double line or ring structure means extra electrons are there and available to satisfy a hungry oxidant molecule. When a free radical wants electrons, these ring structures are sacrificed in place of a cell molecule. Better to throw a wide variety and copious quantities of antioxidants at these electron bandits before they begin to devour your organism. (Vitamins, polyphenols, high ORAC nutrients, etc.) And better yet remove metals, toxins, empty foods and stress that kill charge. Therein also lies the beauty of ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting; head-off the formation of free radicals and allow time for oxygen to penetrate and scrub acidic metabolic wastes. Call it free radical aging, oxidative stress, inflammation or chronic disease; the solutions remain the same.
(Ascorbic acid is involved in many essential functions including connective tissue regeneration and cell apoptosis, and is found in high concentrations where electron demands and oxidant populations are greatest and where mitochondrial protection is critical; organs, glands, retinas and the brain)
A building block of polyphenols like curcumin, EGCG, resveratrol, etc..Plants produce a myriad of protective compounds in response to... oxidative stress.
Wikipedia; (Uric acid is a product of the metabolic breakdown of purine nucleotides.)
(In most other mammals, the enzyme uricase further oxidizes uric acid to allantoin. The loss of uricase in higher primates parallels the similar loss of the ability to synthesize ascorbic acid, leading to the suggestion that urate may partially substitute for ascorbate in such species. Both uric acid and ascorbic acid are strong reducing agents (electron donors) and potent antioxidants. In humans, over half the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma comes from uric acid.)
(For example, some researchers propose hyperuricemia-induced oxidative stress is a cause of metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, plasma uric acid levels correlate with longevity in primates and other mammals. This is presumably a function of urate's antioxidant properties.) ***Note, mine; Hyper-urecemia is a "reaction to hypoxia" and lack of enough oxygen to metabolize efficiently, not a "cause" of metabolic syndrome.
Art of This Deal
So the whole deal boils down to an ever fluctuating balance.
When inflammation/oxidative stress is minimal, the charge of the body stays in the high-healthy zone, DNA expression is peak and genes remain intact...metabolism, enzyme output and immune strength are optimal and all cell structures are protected.
As various insults occur, the body's H2O matrix begins to lose structure and polarity, mitochondrial ATP-electron output is taxed and charge drops incrementally into unhealthy ranges where genes are turned off or suffer disabling or fatal mutations. All cell structures begin to erode. Oxygen penetration and circulation become sluggish, mitochondria burn-up, buffering reactions and signaling fail, molecular bonds are destroyed so tissues and membranes disintegrate. Pathogen populations can explode.
This is a very mechanical view of life. The interactions of molecules are determined by charge attractions and repulsions and the integrity of molecules depends upon an abundant charge environment that prevents electrons from being ripped from their bonds. Oxidation like burning and rust render complex bio-molecules into their constituent elements, so for example an elegant and functional DNA helix becomes a pile of carbon dioxide, bits of nitrogen and phosphorous and water.
Perhaps a longevity drug will be found so we can all "outlive" the decline in our ecosphere? Acidic hypoxia and oxidative stress sweep the planet as we de-volve into economic domination under filthy industrial monopolies (Energy, weapons, agriculture, mining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals) the medical system actively ignores and refuses to address. Inflammation can be a normal healthy short lived oxidative response, but low-level ongoing environmentally caused inflammation/oxidative stress is simply an attack on the molecular structure of every living cell.
The Problem is Huge
The oceans are becoming bacterial slime (like your oceans within), the air has reduced O2 levels, food lacks vitamins/minerals/good fats as chemically damaged soils are oxidizing world wide. For now there is much to be done via clean nutrition, molecular level detoxification, optimal lifestyle elements and emotional equanimity. And doesn't it all hinge on environmental health?