The Nutrition Investigator

Nutrition plays a big role in longevity. Roc Ordman, PhD, is a professor emeritus at Beloit College and has a great blog on nutrition. I particularly liked his August post, so I included it in my own blog. In it he talks about brown adipose tissue conferring longevity; calcium supplements being bad for you; calorie restriction and many other interesting topics.

Roc Ordman, PhD, writes a regular blog called Nutrition Investigator which is well worth reading.  I have long believed that nutrition plays a big role in rate of aging–one of the reasons I log all the food I eat.  I receive Dr. Ordman’s posts by email and found a lot of interesting information in his August post.  So I wrote him and asked permission to post it:

Hi Roc,
I have started a blog called Defeating Aging (which is still pretty rough) and sometimes I occasionally I like to post other people’s writings to it.  I am wondering if you would mind my posting your August Nutrition notes?  With appropriate credits (and links to you if you like).
I have been following your writings closely because I firmly believe that good nutrition is a key to living a long and healthy life.  I feel quite a few things you mention in your Notes would be useful to my readers.
While I will post press releases without positive authorization, your work I regard as covered by copywrite so if I don’t hear from you…I won’t post it.
Ray Collins
Fairbanks, Alaska

To which he replied:

There is no copyright, though I appreciate your giving me credit.  You could say, Written by Prof Roc, Beloit College Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry.

I think the title gives more credibility.
Thanks. I often use things from other newsletters, and try to give credit, too.

I came across an interview of Dr. Ordman about his views on education.  This is a bit off topic, but it was a good interview so I added it here for those who are interested.

Here are the “August nutrition notes from Roc“:

Calcium supplements are harmful: Another harmful effect of calcium supplements: Elevated levels of calcium altered the properties of young neurons to resemble those of aged counterparts. -2 Aug Science pg 459 [Ray comments:  I am somewhat against supplements.  I have seen occasional mention of damage caused by taking supplements, and little data supporting using them such as this study showed.]

Whey provides leucine for muscle protein synthesis: Whey is one of the high-quality sources of protein with a higher proportion of indispensable amino acids compared to other sources. Its high leucine concentration makes whey an optimal protein source to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and to attenuate muscle protein breakdown at rest and following exercise. Under resting conditions, a single serving of ∼0.24 g/kg body mass seems to be enough for stimulating a maximal postprandial response of MPS.

Your immune system can regulate your microbiome to prevent obesity: Clostridia represses fat absorption, Desulfovibrio promote absorbing fat. -26 July Science pg 316

Cannabinoids may be carcinogenic: Fixation of damage of the DNA in the form of chromosomal damage is generally considered to be essential in the multistep process of malignancy, therefore the currently available data are indicative for potential carcinogenic properties of the cannabinoids. The effects were seen at concentrations which are in the range of the levels also found in the blood of users. Archives of Toxicology Jan 2019

Calorie Restriction Extends Life in Part via Endoplasmic Reticulum Hormesis

EGPG (in green tea) reduces inflammatory signals:

Lower vitamin D levels are associated with a higher cancer risk: Observational studies suggest that lower vitamin D levels are associated with a higher cancer risk. Carcinogenic heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) form in well-done cooked red meat.  HAAs found especially in prostate cancer victims. -From National Cancer Institute

Brown adipose tissue activity (which results from exercise) confers longevity:  [Ray comments: brown adipose tissue, which is also called brown fat, is the body’s heat generator.  Immersion in cold water will also increase your brown fat levels.]  Also in Geroscience, Sarcopenia is a universal characteristic of the aging process and is often accompanied by increases in whole-body adiposity. These changes in body composition have important clinical implications, given that loss of muscle and gain of fat mass are both significantly and independently associated with declining physical performance as well as an increased risk for disability, hospitalizations, and mortality in older individuals. Telomere length matters for women, not men, in cancer risk.

Onions and garlic can help you fight infections and cancer: Know the health benefits of the allium vegetables.

While 10,000 steps is nice there is no cardiovascular improvement beyond the 7500 steps/day quota:  JAMA Internal Medicine article reviewed the literature in an attempt to find an answer. The data shows that while 10,000 steps is nice there is no cardiovascular improvement beyond the 7500 steps/day quota.  [Ray comments: While on the cruise around the world I worked up from 5,000 steps a day to15,000 steps a day.  I felt that I stopped improving muscles strength & stamina over 12,000 steps a day.  But this was pretty subjective, so it is interesting that cardio improvement stops at 7,500.]

Use of large leg muscles stimulates the production of stem cells in the brain which are thought to renew our neuro-capabilities!  It’s the use of weight-bearing exercise that involves the large muscles of the legs. In a recent report, studies show that use of these muscles stimulates the production of stem cells in the brain which are thought to renew our neuro-capabilities!

Best sources of dietary fiber are whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds:

The heritability of life span is close to 25%:

Regular Exercise Slows Cognitive Decline and Age-Related Damage to the Brain 

Low vitamin K levels are likely responsible for prostate cancer. Vitamin K is huge in the brain, but nobody is researching it: -Maret Traber, Linus Pauling Institute [Ray comments: vitamin K is also good for the heart.  When I returned from being gone on a cruise for 3.5 months my blood pressure increased a lot.  I reviewed my diet and saw my vitamin K was low.  So I ate some spinach, natto and other vegetables–and my blood pressure dropped significantly.  While this is not very scientific, there are a few studies out there showing the same effect, like this one on blood vessel elasticity.]

Alzheimer’s treatment also benefits autistic children: Israeli researchers at Sheba Medical Center have found that a medication used to treat Alzheimer’s patients also has strong therapeutic effects on autistic children. 60 such children were given Donepezil and Cholin for six months and their language skills improved significantly.

Curiously, and contrary to what frequently appears in the media, it is illegal for anyone to die from either “natural causes” or “old age” in the United States: In 2001, if cardiovascular diseases would be resolved, life expectancy would increase by about 5.48 years, stroke 0.65 years, and cancer 3.2 years. Curiously, and contrary to what frequently appears in the media, it is illegal for anyone to die from either “natural causes” or “old age” in the United States or in other developed countries that have adopted the ICD-10.  Those who pursue the etiology of aging today are likely to fall again into the same trap because we still fail to understand that major discoveries bearing on the biology of aging are yet to be made. Worse is the failure to focus on increasing health span and not increasing life span. – Leonard Hayflick

Xanthohumol might help people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease: This project is exploring how xanthohumol (from the hops plant) is digested by gut microbiota to form metabolites that might help people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

Metabolic syndrome patients need more vitamin C to break cycle of antioxidant depletion.

Despite a strong rationale in support of a beneficial role for vitamin E for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, the evidence remains inconclusive.

Researchers have developed a diet that in a 12-week put 75% of children with Crohn’s disease into remissionNovel diet for children with Crohn’s disease. Israeli and Canadian researchers have developed a diet that in a 12-week put 75% of children with Crohn’s disease into remission.  The diet comprised eggs, chicken, potatoes, apples, and mashed bananas and initially excluded wheat, dairy, fish, rice, and other fruits and vegetables.

Need 50% above resting blood pressure workout to combat sarcopenia: Low intensity blood flow restriction (LI-BFR), but not LI improved strength, muscle mass, IGF-1, endothelial function, and selected inflammatory markers in a nonagenarian sarcopenic patient. These results are promising and suggest that LI-BFR should be considered as an alternative to prevent muscle loss and improve functional fitness in frail older populations.  [Ray comments: I had never heard of this so I did a little research.  Blood flow restrictive training is when you restrict blood flow (usually with a cuff like a blood pressure cuff around the limb).   Not sure this is something I would want to try myself!]

How to stop melanoma turning lethal. Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that fat cells close to melanoma cells cause them to become aggressive and form secondary cancers. Removing the fat cells, calms down the melanoma cells and they stop migrating to the organs. The study also suggests new cancer treatments.

Roc Ordman, Professor Emeritus, Beloit College