Biology selects for the longevity of the species by investing heavily on the reproduction of the individual. Nature endows a lot of resources in the reproductive years, when you are young. Your skin is incredible (after your teens), when you fall and scrape yourself you repair in a few days, and now it takes weeks to heal, and the anti-wrinkle cream does not work so well anymore.
Nature does this to guarantee the longevity of the species. Many of us don’t want any more children, but are invested in having a long and healthy life. Yet this is counter-evolutionary. Biology does not want you to have a long life, because then you begin to transmit to your offspring faulty genes, and the energy of the young has to be spent in caring for the old.
Nature safeguarded the longevity genes in password protected regions of our DNA. These are the Sirtuins, the immortality genes. And they could only be accessed through a special diet, by intermittent fasting, and by cultivating intelligence.
Nature selects for intelligence more than for teeth, muscle, and brawn. And nature built sequences into our DNA code that ensure the survival of the wisest.
This wisdom is the product of higher order neural networks in the brain that are switched on by omega-3 rich foods such as wild-caught fatty fish like salmon, nuts, and certain legumes. And then wild berries, cruciferous vegetables, and natural bitter herbs switched on the Sirt-1 genes that silenced more than 200 genes that create disease, switched on more than 500 genes that create health, and upgraded your cellular antioxidant systems.
This diet was primarily plant-based, nutrient dense and calorie poor, in contrast to our modern diet that is animal based, calorie rich, and nutrient poor.
Why it Works
Around the age of 40, cellular anti-aging and anti-oxidant systems that produce glutathione and superoxide begin to shut down. Nature realizes that we are no longer reproductive, and stops investing in our health. These are mission-critical longevity systems in the body, since accelerated aging and disease are associated with free radical damage within the cell.
Free radicals are produced by mitochondria as a result of improper combustion, therefore damaging our mitochondria.
The less healthy your mitochondria, the more free radicals that you produce. And this is a problem, because mitochondria have their own DNA, with 38 genes, in the form of a ring, like bacteria, versus our DNA, with 24,000 genes in a double helix.
The DNA of mitochondria is not protected by histones like our own nuclear DNA, and is vulnerable to free radical damage. Our DNA is tightly coiled around histones and only reveals minute parts of themselves to replicate and build proteins. But m-DNA is a ring and is exposed all the time, and vulnerable to oxidative stress, and then they begin to mutate. This is when things start to go wrong, when we begin to create pathology, including cancers, dementia, osteoporosis, and a host of other diseases that are related to damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria.
Mitochondria are also in charge of the death clock inside the cell, a process known as apoptosis. When apoptosis is not functioning properly you have cells that age too quickly, and others that do not know that they need to die, which is what we call cancer. The impaired mitochondria of cancer cells can only feed on sugars, and cannot feed on fats, on the ketones.
We are discovering that one effective prevention strategy for cancers is restricting carbohydrates from your diet, thereby cutting off the sugar supply to these impaired mitochondria, who then begin to die.
You can switch the free radical scavenging systems and begin producing GSH at the level you had when you were 20 years old in a matter of days with the plant-based diet of our ancestors. But to do this, you must practice intermittent fasting. The rule I like best is to fast one day a week, three days a month, water only.
The shamans of old discovered how to hack our biology to turn on the free radical scavenging systems and the longevity genes after nature had turned them off. They became wise with a diet rich in brain-building omega-3s and through prayer and fasting. They ate a primarily plant-based diet that switched on the Sirtuins. And they discovered that when they attained this natural wisdom, the universe conspired on their behalf to maintain their health. They were able to get their healthspan to equal their lifespan.
Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is the author of One Spirit Medicine and Shaman, Healer, Sage. Visit https://thefourwinds.com.
This article is a part of the Oct - Nov 2017 issue of Whole Life Times.