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TomBAvoider

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  1. TomBAvoider

    LDL CHOLESTEROL AND LONGEVITY

    Yeah, I listened to this while exercising (which is when I listen to medically-oriented podcasts), and as usual Tom Dayspring delivers. It's worth going back a couple of years to the long series of podcasts he did with Peter Attia about cholesterol. Very educational. The thing that always amazes me is how far the average doctor or even specialist, such as a cardiologist is from the current research. Unless the doctor continues to educate themeselves, they're soon out of touch, and they can only rely on what they learned at school. What's worse, that what's being taught at med school is also frequently badly outdated and the schools for some reason don't feel motivated to update their curriculum. I know this for a fact, because even in casual conversations with GP doctors, you realize they know very little about cholesterol and what they know is out of date by decades. One note on HDL from the podcast. We don't know much about the function of HDL and as explained in the podcast we're unlikely to learn much going forward, because there is no financial incentive to investigate. There doesn't appear to be much value to be extracted from the HDL number in the standard tests we all take. In very, very rough outlines, for part of the population, higher HDL is a marker for lower number of the very harmful particles, but that's not even true for a substantial minority. It's also possible to have zero CVD problems with low HDL, though that depends on many other factors. As usual, it's all complicated. It's a very good episode, though, if you want to learn more about cholesterol.
  2. TomBAvoider

    Olive oil? Healthy or not?!

    Ron, I think you should take a careful look at your olive leaf powder. Chances are extraordinarily high - a virtual certainty - that you are not getting what you think you are getting in any olive leaf powder you purchase anywhere. That is due to the physics/chemistry of how such powder is produced and natural processes that make it virtually impossible to maintain polyphenol integrity in the product. Here is a link I urge you to read (sorry for the dodgy format): https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/18317/PDF I have a whole post dealing with my research into olive leaf powder (which I used to add to my coffee): So that's the first issue - what is the chemistry of the olive leaf powder you are consuming? Then there is the second issue - what is the health effect of consuming OLP and how does it compare to EVOO. In this very thread we are currently in - if you go to the beginning - there is an exchange between me and MR that touches on some considerations: Bottom line, I'd be very cautious in assuming anything about the OLP you are consuming. YMMV.
  3. TomBAvoider

    LDL CHOLESTEROL AND LONGEVITY

    Well, there's also the known effect of cholesterol dropping when the person is on a downward health slope. I remember reading an interview with a doctor who said that he often hears from patient relatives that the cholesterol numbers have significantly improved in the sick relative, and that is celebrated by the relatives whereas to the doctor that is the signal that things have turned for the worse and death is now the likely outcome. In other words, it's possible that the casuality is reversed - not low cholesterol leading to early mortality, but an underlying disease process that will result in early mortailty leads to low cholesterol. If this is true, then we should see the following: LIFELONG low cholesterol, i.e. not as a result of a possible disease process, should lead to at least a normal lifespan - and this is true, at least in those families in Italy where a genetic variant results in superlow LDL, those families are characterized by a virtual absence of CVD and longer than average lifespans. Also, medication designed to lower cholesterol should not result in a shorter lifespan, because the lower cholesterol is not caused by an underlying disease process. Here it's a more difficult situation, because frequently the initiation of cholesterol lowering medication is prompted by CVD problems, which in turn impacts lifespan. And the picture is indeed mixed. There doesn't seem to be much evidence that statins shorten lives, and little evidence that they cause cancer in humans (possibly might even lower cancer incidence). On the other hand, PCSK9 inhibitors have come in for some concerning stats, where perhaps folks on those medications are doing worse longevity-wise, it's too early to say authoritatively. That leaves two final cases. One, lifestyle interventions, diet and exercise which lead to lower cholesterol - given the effects of this, it's hard to expect a negative impact on health and longevity. That leaves the last case - where cholesterol is lowered in someone for no discernable reason and it represents a change (unlike lifelong low cholesterol) - I don't find it surprising that somone like that might have some hidden underlying health problems that result in early mortality. But I would not necessarily chalk that up to the effect of the cholesterol being lowered, but the effect of whatever it was that lowered the cholesterol as a side effect. YMMV.
  4. I was looking at it more from a perspective of potential use for longevity purposes. And this promotes longevity how?
  5. TomBAvoider

    Ashwagandha

    In general, I have noticed that food items from India are frequently high in lead. This may have to do with pollution at the production site or growing areas etc. But this is true not just of supplements but of many spices and food additives such as psyllium. As a result I'm very selective and careful about products from that area and try to get organic sources (although that's no guarantee at all). Frankly, I try to avoid such items from India and China - it's not always possible, but if I have any choice at all, I look for other places, such as Japan.
  6. TomBAvoider

    Guess what? TMAO IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEART???

    The whole TMAO and TMA and gut bacteria issue is so complicated that I honestly don't have a good handle on it. It's certainly always been observed that fish have very high levels of TMAO which enters the bloodstream very fast upon consumption, yet the consumption of fish has been generally associated with good CV health. There have been many attempts to disentangle the TMAO mess, and while this study is another building block of understanding, I by no means think it resolves much at all. Besides which, I'm wary of studies in rats and particularly rats which are genetically engineered for some effect or another. What I want to know is what to do about choline. Do we supplement? Do we strongly stay away from supplements? Are we super careful about dietary choline sources (f.ex. from eggs vs nuts etc.). We've had many discussions about this on these boards, but I'm still not clear about it all. I chalk it up to one of those confusing areas which one day may or may not gain clarity. YMMV.
  7. It's the process of dying that is so scary. Hmm. On a few occasions when I was sick, or in great pain, I understood a few things. It's tolerable, because you expect that state to end so that you are no longer in pain or sick. But what if this state of sickness/pain were to persist, and become what's known as "chronic pain" or chronic condition of some kind? It's easy to imagine. And at that point it may no longer be tolerable. When the quality of life is that poor, death can easily be a more inviting prospect. There's also a lot to the game of expectations. A cancer patient in their 30's or 40's even if they're suffering, has the awareness that they have not really lived a full lifetime and should - were it not for cancer - be able to live for decades more. They still have ambition or unfulfilled dreams that can still be actualized if only they get better. Crucially, they still know they have the strength and raw capability to accomplish great goals or ambitions. But what if you are in your old age, and don't have that energy or capability anymore? You don't feel strong or clear-headed enough to accomplish much at all - no books to be written, no music, no discovery, no accomplishment of any kind, because it's not in you anymore, you are way, WAY past your prime, you're a pale shadow of your former self... what reason do you have for hanging on? And then you throw in great pain and suffering from illnesses and your life prospects are nil. What then? I believe that getting old is the biological process of preparing you for death that's easy psychologically. It's NATURAL. When young you fear death. When old, you no longer care. You just DON'T CARE. I think at that point, death seems not terrifying at all. Not existing as a prospect is not terrifying. When you're young or still full of vigour - OF COURSE you don't want to lose your life because your experience of life is of quite a high quality. But when that quality is in the toilet, what exactly are your afraid of losing? You have no energy. Your mind is fuzzy. You have no prospects. Nobody is going to fall in love with you and you're irrelevant to the world. And then, the PAIN, the constant terrible PAIN. In that state, there is exactly ZERO mystery as to why people might not experience "terror" when thinking "gee, I might no longer experience this bowel movement of a life! what a loss that would be... NOT!". As a matter of fact, it can happen a lot earlier and without ill health. Coincidentally I had this conversation with a friend not long ago. He was always extremely terrified of death and thought of it constantly. But now that he's reached his late 50's, he suddenly feels no fear at all. As he put it, if he doesn't wake up tomorrow, so what - he isn't afraid of that prospect. What changed? Well, he came out on the other side of his midlife crisis - he realized with exquisite clarity that he will never fulfill his dreams, he will never become what he wanted to be and accomplish the things he dreamed of when he was young. He realized, that from the perspective of his youth, he was a comprehensive failure. And since he had no more prospects, he shot his wad at life, well, if he were to die, so be it, what is there to regret and fear? It's not like living longer is going to allow him to accomplish his dreams. He's healthy and not in pain. It's just that he understood that in the race of life, he has LOST. He's been left behind. He feels no desire to go on. And he lives on only because of inertia. Mechanically. So if he buys the farm, well f*** it, so be it. No TERROR of non-existance at all. He's completely lost his fear of death. So as you can see, it doesn't take much to understand that experiencing TERROR at the prospect of death is only one of many possible reactions to the prospect of death. And none is more logical than the other one. It's just that historically we've priviledged the perspective of TERROR and fear of death - a state that's by no means the only logical one. There are perfectly logical and valid reasons not to fear death AT ALL. And my feeling has always been - well, there's nothing I can do to prevent death, so why worry about it? Why freak out and be terrorized? How does living in terror make my life better, since it won't prevent death anyway? And if so - f*** it, I will ignore it. Tell me something new. I ain't stressing over something I can't control. Sure, I'll take any sensible measures - taking care of my health etc. - to make the likelyhood of death as small as possible, but I'll sum up my attitude the way I always put it to my wife: "I'm doing the best I can. And if I croak anyway or become sick, well, I couldn't have done better, so why should I stress about it?" So my philosophy is: do the best you can, have a clear conscience that you've done what you could, and therefore there is zero reason to stress and have regrets and worry. I've done my "duty" to my body - and now I'm free from worry, regrets and fears. Would I have liked to live forever or at least much, much longer? Absolutely! But since I can't, I ain't gonna worry about it. YMMV.
  8. TomBAvoider

    A CR Garden

    Fabulous! Thank you for the update!
  9. TomBAvoider

    Natto is the way to go!

    Brilliant! Well Dean, this looks so enticing I might not be able to resist and have to plunge in myself... I already make my own kefir, the advantage of that is the keffir grains seem to last a lifetime - I bought a kefir making kit from Amazon about 10 years ago that came with two packets of grains... and I'm still on the first package! But how far can one go with all this? Folks here grow their own mushrooms too, and who can forget Dean's extensive garden! Btw. Dean are you still going strong with your garden veggies? Then there's the traditional stuff like making your own sauerkraut cabbage, pickled cucumbers, wine and so on. Pretty soon you're doing nothing but growing/building your own food :)
  10. TomBAvoider

    "Extreme" Exercise - Good or Bad?

    Well, Ron, I keep meaning to, but for a variety of reasons don't persist and give up. Mostly I find it hard to trust the accuracy, it's fiddly and generally sporting some kind of deal-breaker. I'm not against them - quite the contrary - but I'm waiting until something comes along that has the requisite characteristics that would push me to get one again. I guess you could call me a late adopter. I waited until the iPhone 6S before getting one, until the Air 3 iPad before getting an iPad and so on for most of my equipment - it has to reach a minimum treshold of a combination of features. The Apple Watch is miles and miles away from that, and others are not enticing, although the Garmin Venu looks interesting. I still feel a few product generations need to pass before I sign up. YMMV.
  11. ...in mice. AKG is in the news again - and dollar signs are dancing in people's eyes: A dietary supplement bodybuilders use to bulk up may have a more sweeping health benefit: Staving off the ravages of old age "Ponce de Leon Health already sells a formulation of AKG called Rejuvant that it says can “slow the aging process.” Kennedy defends these claims. “We are upfront about the data that we have and do not yet have on the website,” he says. And Brown-Borg notes the Buck team isn’t the first group of aging-focused researchers to start a company to develop an antiaging treatment, an idea she hopes will eventually pan out in clinical trials. “It’s an exciting time in the field,” she says."
  12. Yep, that's a pretty funny article and very accurate - thanks, Dean! A couple of quotes: "Musk got me again. I should have known better. After all, I once believed Tesla would reach level five autonomy (full driverless) by 2020 because Musk swore it would happen. Actually he said there’d be a million fully autonomous vehicles on the road by the end of the year (most experts still think we’re decades away from the first one). And I bought it when he said The Boring Company would revolutionize transportation. Y’all, it’s just a regular tunnel." "At the end of the day Neuralink is another example of Musk’s hype machine getting everyone excited for science and technology, only to remind us that optimism and money aren’t the only things keeping humans from living in a science fiction utopia." I guess the difference for me, is that I have stopped being taken in by the hype sometime in the 80's, after I witnessed the bursting of the biotech bubble. I learned some hard lessons, and crucially I learned to recognize the signature of empty HYPE. Now, when I see the signs of HYPE, I duly note the attempt and ignore it completely - saves a lot of time and unnecessary energy expenditure. Of course, it doesn't mean you can't profit from the HYPE even if you know that it's the typical flim-flam - see David Sinclair's Sirtris Pharmaceuticals that brought in a cool $720 million before it was quietly shut down. Still, the company went public in 2007 and was bought in 2008, so not long after, which is pretty good - from wikipedia: "Sirtris went public in 2007 and was subsequently purchased and made a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline in 2008 for $720 million.[5] GSK paid $22.50/share, when Sirtris's stock was trading at $12/share, down 45% from its highest price of the previous year.[6]" The amazing thing is that many of us already were raising serious questions about resveratrol and the mice experiments - and the breathless hype of resveratrol had all the classic signs of HYPE empty completely deliberately planned PR campaign. You'd think the pharma execs would be smarter - but no. From what I understand GSK execs were against buying Sirtris, but were over ruled by one powerful board member. After the disaster, of course, in typical fashion no one was held accountable. Meanwhile: "Studies published in 2009 and early 2010 by scientists from Amgen and Pfizer cast doubt on whether SIRT1 was directly activated by resveratrol and showed that the apparent activity was actually due to a fluorescent reagent used in the experiments.[7][8][9" But even after the whole thing sank, there was still money to be made on the back end of the breathless PR in the supplement space, since it doesn't require any proof or FDA approval: "In August 2010, a nonprofit called the Healthy Lifespan Institute, which had been formed the year before by Westphal and Michelle Dipp, who joined GSK from Sirtris, began selling SRT501 as a dietary supplement online;[4] when this become public GSK required Westphal and Dipp, who were still GSK employees, to resign from the nonprofit.[13][14]" Meanwhile the original research that sparked the whole thing was quietly put to rest: "GSK/Sirtris terminated development of SRT501 in late 2010.[15][16] GSK said it was terminating SRT501 due to side effects of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea it caused, and because the compound's activity wasn't specific to SIRT1, at some doses it actually inhibited SIRT1, and the compound itself wasn't patentable.[15][16] The company said at that time that it was focused on two compounds called SRT2104 and SRT2379 that were not resveratrol analogs, had better drug-like qualities, and were more selective SIRT1 activators.[15][16]" And there you have it. The HYPE game never dies and P.T. Barnum's dictum lives on "there's a new one born every minute".
  13. TomBAvoider

    "Extreme" Exercise - Good or Bad?

    Inflammatory Effects of High and Moderate Intensity Exercise—A Systematic Review Conclusion: In summary, intense long exercise can lead, in general, to higher levels of inflammatory mediators, and thus might increase the risk of injury and chronic inflammation. In contrast, moderate exercise or vigorous exercise with appropriate resting periods can achieve maximum benefit.
  14. TomBAvoider

    "Extreme" Exercise - Good or Bad?

    I sympathize with Dean, because I find some aspects of exercise addictive - not so much the exercise per se, but in my case, the tendency to extremism in all practices. Somehow whenever I embark on something I tend to go too far. The latest example are squats. I started with just doing them while on the WBV platform, but now it's escalated to my just doing them in one fell swoop. Currently, I'm doing squats for 31 minutes - about 1090 squats per session, and I do this four times a week, so that's 2 hours and 4 minutes of squats, or some 4360 squats a week. The same days I squat, I also jog for anywhere between 40-50 minutes per session, so 160-200 minutes jogging and 124 minutes of squatting. The way it happens is that I find I adjust to the exercise very quickly and the level of difficulty drops dramatically. I went from 100 squats, to 300 squats, to 600 squats, to 900 squats to now 1090, and really while squatting I feel I can go pretty much forever - the subjective sensation of exertion is pretty minimal (although I do sweat!). I think if I felt I was really breathing hard, or feeling stressed, I'd cut back, but unfortunately my body seems to signal that it's all *easy*. I think the key is to monitor what's happening to the body. For example, in the beginning, I felt the squats in my knees, muscles and tendons the following day. Recently, the recovery days seem about enough - I exercise Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri - so the recovery days are Wed and Sat&Sun. Recently I've noticed that my knees and muscles don't have any discomfort at all after the recovery days. Of course, this is a moving target, so it's possible that as I age, this will be too much and I'll have to cut back. My point: probably the best way to judge of you're doing too much is if you feel worn out, low energy, sore joints, muscles and tendons or otherwise feeling subpar and recovery days don't take you to 100% again. At that point you'll probably start accumulating damage. Of course, this may not tell you if you're doing damage to your DNA, so YMMV.
  15. Here's a pretty sobering article from MIT Technology Review:Elon Musk’s Neuralink is neuroscience theaterElon Musk’s livestreamed brain implant event made promises that will be hard to keep. It transpires that nothing much new was actually demonstrated, as the "noises" generated by the implant is something that's been done neuroscientists for decades already. Long on promises, nothing on delivery, with fuzzy timelines, with a lot of nonsensical and unlikely goals. So why do this? Exactly for the reason I outlined in a classic HYPE sequence - quoting from the article: "The primary objective of the streamed demo, instead, was to stir excitement, recruit engineers to the company (which already employs about 100 people), and build the kind of fan base that has cheered on Musk’s other ventures and has helped propel the gravity-defying stock price of electric-car maker Tesla." And there you have it. Classic HYPE. It's hard to find out what was actually accomplished:"For those awaiting the “matrix in the matrix,” as Musk had hinted on Twitter, the cute-animal interlude was not exactly what they hoped for. To neuroscientists, it was nothing new; in their labs the buzz and crackle of electrical impulses recorded from animal brains (and some human ones) has been heard for decades." Note, another classic HYPE pattern is to make promises which are *never* fulfilled at key timeline points (here the "matrix in the matrix" Musk promised on Twitter), and when the deadline arrives, there is immediate goal post shifting into the future with even more extravagant promises (which of course will go unfullfilled again), and so on for as long as the credulous media and fans are willing to buy. Nothing ever comes of it, and eventually it's all forgotten... until the NEXT hype! Rinse and repeat!
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