Blended excerpts from Potential Within A Guide to Nutritional Empowerment
Authored by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-9731701-0-7
Original post: September 10, 2010
This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.
Whether it’s pain, inflammation, blood clot, or asthma attack, the biological response is caused by multiples of specialized hormones. There are different types of hormones circulating to interact in a manner so complex it’s beyond our ability to completely understand no matter how much science unveils about the communication system. However, maintaining a youthful, responsive hormone system is crucial to healthy aging; it’s critical for the preservation of youth. And it’s not that difficult to establish if we allow the body to do what it was designed to do. Instead of thinking about inducing or pushing systems forward, we will be taking a more basic approach.
This involves simply blocking the biological interference which prevents our inbuilt genetic systems from working according to design. By preventing this intrusion and averting nutrient limitation we will facilitate natural weight management and health maintenance systems. Ultimately we’ll feed and fuel natural metabolic activity.
Autocrine hormones are a class of hormones which function differently than the endocrine hormones we commonly talk about. Cells are designed to produce in excess of 100 of these autocrine messengers in carefully planned, precisely balanced proportions. The response our body experiences to environmental, dietary, and emotional stimuli depends on the variable mix of these hormones. The building blocks from which our cells produce these messengers ultimately come from our diet.
Hormone communication is complex but we can have a little control over the activity by limiting the negative impact diet and environment may impose. Not only does diet supply the starting materials for the hormones, it also delivers the building blocks for the receptors receiving the hormone’s message at the cell surface. Each meal also provides the materials for the secondary messengers within the cell which convey the message to the nucleus, or nerve center, of the cell. Every bite we eat dictates how our hormones function from the quality of the building blocks supplied to the proportions of hormones released in response to the meal.
The profile or proportion of fat, carbohydrates, and protein in the meal also dictates the balance of insulin, glucagon and other endocrine hormones which are triggered by the meal. The supply of building blocks in the meal is only one basic influence. The induction of hormones by the meal’s constitution is another profound influence which controls how inflammatory chemistry is produced in our cells. The intensity of inflammatory disease can be controlled by diet. It’s scientific fact. You can take better control over the intensity of disease you experience and in many cases even reverse the condition by choosing the right foods with the right and combination and proportion nutrient supplements which improve this hormonal cascade at the genetic level. This basic knowledge can change your life profoundly!
These factors all play a huge role in day-to-day tissue repair, neurological activity, organ efficiency, body-mind communication, and aging. Communication between the cells involves a complexity of different hormone categories: endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine hormones. With an understanding of how nutrients influence these systems you can have more control over hormone efficiency and youth preservation than you might think; simply by limiting the dietary and environmental interference. Dietary restriction is not necessarily part of the equation.
Essential-fat and other omega-3-fat supplements, such as cold water fish fats, deliver the precursors for healthy cell membrane structure, receptor site status, and hormone balance. However, these building blocks also require meticulous genetic activity to guide the construction process. Some of us may not be functioning at full capacity at a genetic level due to poor antioxidant status of the cells. Oxidants, or free radicals, can literally change the way genes operate. Blocking this unnatural level of environmental and dietary oxidation allows the miracle of our inbuilt gene systems to do their wonderful health and youth preserving work.
Health preservation requires that a comprehensive antioxidant system be used as opposed to singular vitamins. The antioxidant program literally penetrates to the genetic level but it requires careful planning. It must be a comprehensive supplement program which blocks the interference and navigates the precursors down their destined path from the genetic instruction. This is the objective of a properly planned supplement program. It’s much more than a supply of basic building blocks.
Antioxidants can induce powerful gene activity when taken correctly. Self-regulation of health is only possible when all the vitamins and mineral co-factors for enzyme function are provided abundantly in the diet. This healthy biological activity is the essence of healthy aging. The level of toxicity that we’re exposed to today did not exist one hundred, fifty, or even thirty years ago. This unnatural level of oxidation needs to be met in the body by a higher than normal antioxidant protection which the body cannot produce on its own.
Vitamins needed for basic genetic and downstream biochemical activity must penetrate this toxic sludge to get to the point of activity and thus higher dietary intakes are required today than yesteryear. Supplementation is essential for the prevention of premature aging-irrefutable!
Premature aging is most often caused by the inhibition of natural health maintenance systems. We all have the inbuilt ability to maintain health and preserve youth. Lifestyle is a key to maintaining these systems active. A supply of all the building blocks, cofactors, and protective antioxidants is a crucial requirement. Our body can recover from incredibly abusive damage. Just think that one could smoke for decades to produce lungs which are black as coal and within a year or so of good lifestyle habits which includes cessation of smoking these same lungs could assume a healthy pink color and normal function.
Cirrhosis of the liver caused by long-term alcohol abuse could be reversed over a short time with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle. In order to deploy these recovery strategies, the body needs the right tools and without limitation. Recovery from simple daily wear and tear is impossible if we are deprived of these natural building blocks and gene protection. Supply these tools and the body will do what it was designed to do.
Syndrome X is the label Gerald Raven, a Stanford endocrinologist, gave to insulin resistance and its associated diseases. Syndrome X can result in devastation of health and extremely premature aging. You can prevent it with relative ease. It can be reversed by lifestyle change and strategic supplementation. Syndrome X is a disease characterized by insulin resistance. As we require larger volumes of insulin to compensate for insulin resistance, the risk of secondary diseases—cardiovascular illness, obesity, chronic inflammation, immune-system inefficiency, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and cognitive disorders—increases, as well. This is the essence of Syndrome X. Insulin is crucial for optimal biological function; without it tissues would starve.
It facilitates not only glucose absorption into tissues, but also mediates protein uptake by tissues and promotes cellular protein synthesis and much more. Strategic control of insulin secretions by timing and moderating meal consumption is an important preventive and anti-aging tactic, not to mention an effective weight-management strategy. Ageless Performance, the program described in Potential Within, is developed in consideration of the timing and nutrient proportions of meals to promote healthy hormone cascades in the body.
Minimizing or eliminating full-blown inflammation as well as subclinical inflammation that slowly ages the body without a sign, is crucial to anti-aging and disease prevention. Neutralizing peroxynitrite and preventing its occurrence is a vital anti-inflammation strategy as well. Ageless Performance centers on this system to improve inflammation. As we age our body’s antioxidant production declines to make us more vulnerable to disease, toxins and subclinical inflammation. We can even the score by administering strategic oral supplementation that complements endogenous (internal) antioxidant systems. This is one way we can take control of our health and the rate of biological aging. It’s actually quite easy.
My personal supplement program includes 600 to 900 mg daily of R+ alpha lipoic acid, and that’s not because I’m battling insulin resistance or diabetes. If alpha lipoic acid supplementation can support insulin’s role as well as nitric-oxide regulation, its function in a preventive program is vital. If we look at things another way, anti-aging tactics are essentially aggressive preventive programs. One of the primary goals of the antiaging program is to instill maximum insulin efficiency and regulate the complex nitric-oxide system. If we get a handle on these two metabolic issues, we’re one big step closer to biological age enhancement.
Maintaining a healthy nutrient status of the body is crucial to healthy living. Nutrient absorption can become compromised with age due to gastrointestinal deficiencies which include simple impairment of gastric acid secretion. This results in poor protein digestion and absorption, it can also increase carbohydrate digestion to compound the protein malabsorption problem. Poor protein utilization can result in compromised lean body mass status and glutamine availability for the immune system, poor glutathione antioxidant saturation in the body, poor body fat management and more.
Compromised glutathione levels, alone, result in profound health implications including liver inefficiency, immune system impediments, lung problems including exacerbated asthma, and cognition vulnerabilities – major health risks that could be avoided with the daily supplementation of glutathione and glutamine boosters like a good quality whey protein extraction. Whey protein is much more than a protein supplement and it’s definitely not just a sport nutrition product. It’s ultimately one of the more potent antioxidant supplement available.
Poor gastric pH, caused by the acid reduction also severely influences B vitamin absorption which compromises cognition, energy availability and general metabolism. This gastric deficiency also interferes with mineral utilization including calcium. Poor mineral status of the body results in metabolic havoc. Let’s just evaluate the huge consequences of poor cellular calcium status; it goes way beyond bone health. This will help us better appreciate the value of maintaining nutrient stores in the body through the regular consumption of whole foods and multivitamin/mineral/antioxidant supplements.
Biological aging results in the ―numbing‖ of cells to the stimulus of communication molecules -those endocrine hormones and the autocrine’s prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and other eicosanoid hormones produced from the essential fats our diet should supply. The result of this resistance is obvious: cells don’t function in synchronicity and the body may compensate by raising secretions of communication molecules, leading to possible health risks. Metabolism slows down and weight management can become impossible.
Supplying the hormone and receptor site building blocks as previously described through the healthy diet resolves only part of the problem. The body is complex and each nutrient depends on the others to get its job done. Each nutrient plays one small role in the huge system but each small role is critical to the system. Self-regulation of health is impossible if this system is compromised at any point.
A lack of calcium in the diet can result in a lack of cell responsiveness to hormone signals. A lack of energy and strength are often consequences of this metabolic lethargy as is immune system deficiency and more. Energy deficiencies represent subtle signals we can heed if we’re perceptive about our internalized messages. If we’re receptive to the signs our bodies give us, we can make changes in diet and lifestyle before disease is pronounced. Calcium deficits are a likely underlying cause for these hard-to-detect symptoms, and the resulting bone resorption usually goes unnoticed until a fracture sheds light on the problem.
We’ve devised ways to overcome this cellular numbing such as hormone therapy to increase the intensity of the hormone’s message. One can also apply natural herbs to elevate cellular sensitivity to hormones. Coleus forskohlii is one such herb as is ginseng.
These alternatives improve cell responsiveness by enhancing the cells’ internal conveyance molecule, cyclic AMP ( cAMP). Administration of these herbs can prime cAMP, improving the regulation of nitric oxide, and enhancing cellular response to our bodies’ communication systems. The point of this detailed example is not at all the complexity of the biochemistry but to demonstrate how profoundly one mineral limitation can influence entire metabolic activity and prevent the body from functioning at full capacity.
Raising efficiency of the cell by using the herbs, however, doesn’t change cAMP’s dependency on calcium. Calcium is a cofactor in cAMP’s activity. In fact, if the rate of cAMP production increases due to the use of the herbs, so does the requirement for calcium. We’re still dependent on the fundamental mineral.
This example using calcium applies for all other minerals which are essential for life. If cellular desensitization is caused by limitations of calcium, whether by poor diet or inadequate gastrointestinal absorption of the mineral, the result of this priming by coleus forskohlii or ginseng is an accelerated resorption of bone minerals as calcium is used up in cells to support cAMP and other cell activities.
Herbs like coleus forskohlii and ginseng can only elicit long-term benefits if a functional nutritional foundation is in place – a healthy nutrient-dense diet. The foundation allows our body all of the natural tools it needs to operate its health maintenance systems – genetic programs we all possess. Our cells can’t perform without adequate calcium, and so our bodies will always fulfill this primary requirement to keep us alive even at the expense of bone mass.
Caffeine has an effect similar to coleus in that the former blocks an enzyme called phosphodiesterase. Phosphodiesterase enzymes have various functions in the cells, one of which is to ―chomp‖ on cAMP, reducing the ―excited‖ status of the cell. Caffeine interferes with phosphodiesterase activity and raises the cellular response rate and intensity to signals (20). With higher cAMP levels, cells respond more quickly to hormone and other signals characterized by the hypersensitization caffeine promotes. Calcium is still vital to this process, which means chronic caffeine use or abuse can result in the depletion of this valuable mineral as well. The point is that whole foods that are dense with all the vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are the critical foundation for maximum health. Supplementation, to further increase this nutrient density, is also crucial.
Some believe supplementation is not needed today. Why would it be, my grandfather, for example, lived to the ripe old age of 101 years, passing away just recently. Wow 101 years old! He never took a supplement ever! However, he led an extremely healthy life and lived half of it eating fresh fruit and vegetables which he seeded and harvested. I remember his expression of disgust to see cans of food in some of his children’s pantries. The foundation of nutrition in his being during development and adulthood was strong, whole and complete. He always ate small portions and grazed all day. It just felt good to eat this way, he said. He walked every day for more than an hour each time. And he maintained this vigorous healthy lifestyle as long as he could.
Today, however, we are faced with toxicity and oxidation which did not exist decades ago and the nutrient density of food is not as high as it used to be. Our internal antioxidant systems cannot protect us from this unnatural level of toxicity without supplemental help. In addition, as we age our own endogenous supply of antioxidants declines and so dietary levels must increase to compensate. We’re also more exposed to processed foods which are relatively empty of healthy nutrition. Supplementation today is essential, if quality of life is desired. Let’s go back to that example of calcium status in the body to further investigate how much more than just bone health is involved.
Colon cancer, too, is associated with inadequate dietary calcium (21, 22). Excess dietary sodium, poor dietary protein quality, and abundant caffeine consumption can inhibit calcium absorption and status and indirectly magnify the risk of cancer. Supplementation with calcium will thwart this danger as will the elimination of the factors inhibiting positive calcium status in the body. The role of minerals is rarely appreciated when it comes to health and fitness.
Studies today show that calcium status in the cells may also play a significant role in the synthesis of glucose-transport proteins, with calcium deficiencies resulting in impaired serum-glucose regulation (24). This relates or even contributes to the onset of insulin resistance and diabetes. The biological manifestation of disease as a consequence of deficiency isn’t a sudden occurrence that arrives without warning. The calcium model conveys the body’s extreme level of tolerance to depletion; the fact that one system is robbed to maintain an immediate need is a message we must heed. The body and the mind present signals of dysfunction long before uncontrollable disease emerges.
The debt of nutrient deficiency must eventually be paid back, even though, on the surface, health seems apparent. Similarly a diet consisting of limited or incomplete protein can sustain a healthy metabolism, as well, but at the expense of systems that have less-immediate requirements. If the liability isn’t paid back to the body, the robbed systems suffer until they can steal from one another. Persist with the dietary limitation and levels of intolerance will creep from one biological system to another and eventually one of them will fail and allow disease to surface. Long before diagnosis, disease will fester.
Prevention is the best cure for disease. Antiaging strategies are ultimately aggressive disease prevention programs. The right combination of whole foods and supplements produces powerful results which will turn back the clock by decades. I follow these principles religiously and bet my life on them!