Your Healthy Lifespan & Longevity Unlocked – a report on NrF2 was released by Oxford Academic that is a game changer for YOUR HEALTH! Researchers at Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center, revealed positive associations between NrF2 as a mechanism governing both the rate of your health decline with age and the age at which that health decline begins ~
“Novel therapeutics, mainly dietary polyphenols, which elicit beneficial effects through the activation of NrF2 also modulate cellular signaling processes that are important in the defense against inflammation, neuro-degeneration and cancer.” Why is that SOooo important?….
This one sentence puts YOU back in the driver’s seat of your health and aging! You’ve no doubt heard of ‘Free Radicals’ ~ (No, not the Hippie kind from the ‘60’s). Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause damage to your cells and contribute to both disease and aging. What makes it so unstable? Ahhh because it’s lost an electron. This happens all the time in fact just as a result of you taking a breath (it’s called oxidative stress). Once a free radical forms, all too easily it next succeeds in robbing the electron that it’s missing from any other nearby molecule. Now, this leaves its victim short an electron and has now made this molecule a free radical, which will in turn, try and steal an electron too. You see the problem now, don’t you? It keeps going. The result is called a free radical cascade, which is an enormous chain reaction of free radicals ~ and this causes the break down in your health and causes aging.
BUT ~ your amazing body repairs this damage through signaling the production of antioxidant enzymes or ‘survival genes’ in what’s being heralded as the NrF2 Pathway. Okay, yeah you still want to know what the heck this NrF2 stuff is to begin with.
Well, NrF2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) is a protein which has been found to be latent within every single cell in your body. NrF2 exists in the cytosol of a cell (this is the region just outside of the cell nucleus where it cannot interact with your DNA). It’s held captive there by another protein called ‘Keap1’, which prevents it moving into your cell nucleus(16).
Yep, it’s unable to move or function in your cells until it’s released by an NrF2 Activator. No, that's not some new Marvel Comic Villain!
Once released by an NrF2 Activator, then it takes action ~ it migrates into the cell nucleus and bonds to DNA at the location of the Antioxidant Response Element (ARE) [or also called hARE (Human Antioxidant Response Element)] which is the master regulator of your total antioxidant system and is available in EVERY single human cell. We’re talking trillions of cells. Now the big guns come out!
Next it turns on the production of antioxidant enzymes such as Catalase, Glutathione and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). These high powered antioxidant enzymes are powerful enough to neutralize up to one million free radicals per second, every second. This one, to one million ratio proves to be an amazingly effective weapon in your winning the battle over disease and aging.
NrF2’s effect is boosted even more by the presence of certain chemical compounds. The simplest of these were identified as 1,4-benzenediol (hydroquinone), tert-butylhydroquinone and 1,2-benzendiol (catechol), and more complex examples include the isothiocyanate sulforaphane from broccoli seed extract, curcumin from the turmeric plant and carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Ummmm Okay, these are all pretty complex in name and structure, but they share one common function for you which is that they all support increased and prolonged expression of NrF2 gene targets(1, 2).
What’s an NrF2 activating food? Well…. the exact source of these nutrients varies a bit, but remember our sentence said 'mainly dietary polyphenols', which means yummy dark green & leafy vegetables (think collard greens, kale, spinach and broccoli, especially the seed extract) also spices (turmeric, saffron or paprika) are a particularly rich source. Essentially these foods typically are also rich in direct antioxidants and show numerous other health benefits, so they’re a great way to improve your overall health.
- Exercise (3),
- Infrared, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) (4)
- Fish Oil/DHA (5)
- Vitamin D3 (6)
- Sulphoraphane/Broccoli Sprouts(7) (and other Isothiocyanates from Cruciferous vegetables(8)
- Lipoic Acid
- Luteolin(12) (this is ideal because it’s been proven to inhibit Nrf2 in many cancer cells(13)
For some of you ~ this is no surprise and you’re already well on your way by incorporating these in your DAILY dietary regimen and now you simply have even more reason now to continue. But, for some....this, I hope, will be inspiration to get cracking!
Wait! Is there an NrF2 down-side? Glad you asked. There are some instances where it may prove harmful. Researchers demonstrated this using a mouse model with a condition lacking Keap1, meaning that NrF2 would be constantly activated; then severe health effects would develop(14). Also, mutations in the NrF2 gene in human studies have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, with the authors proposing that constant NrF2 activity prevents anti-cancer targeted oxidative stress, allowing cancer cells to survive(15).
But these are NOT typical conditions and it’s unlikely that dietary supplementation would ever create such strong effects. It’s an example of how oxidative stress isn’t always bad. Importantly there are no currently reported SNP's in NrF2 which impact on its function. A lack of variation in genes like this typically points to how important they are to life, however an alternative option is that NrF2 has not been widely investigated.
A breakthrough like this was eminent. The study cited for you above is from 2010. I chose it for you as a starter because it’s so comprehensive, but far more research on NrF2 of course continues:
This is happening NOW! You, yes YOU are back in the driver’s seat of your health and aging!
Jeanne Ricks, CHC
There is NO MAGIC BULLET; No “hyped-up” health drink; No supplement; No tea to add to your shopping list. Actually there are a few things you need to remove completely from your shopping list like processed foods and beverages. BUT the new changes you need to make do not need to be time consuming or cause trauma to your taste buds or be costly. In fact, did you know that eating a diet based on whole foods can save you money.
Get Rid of those unwanted pounds: Research has shown that you will significantly improve your weight-loss goals by eating more fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Why?
Simply because ~ you can eat a lot more of them while taking on fewer calories than you do when eating other carb rich foods. Also, veggies have more ‘staying power’ that other foods just don’t have. ~
You see, since they contain high amounts of fiber, nutrients and even water ~ they will (satiate) make you feel full while at the same time hydrating you ~ this keeps you fuller longer. This means that you will inevitably eat less and also spend less on food, when you eat more vegetables. You can save even more money by simply adopting one “Meatless Day” and going completely vegetarian one day a week. When you substitute vegetarian meals once a week it can help you cut your Saturated (‘bad’) Fat intake by 15%.
Your answer to run-away weight gain and reducing the likelihood of most chronic diseases requires that you do three things:
a) avoiding inflammatory spikes in your blood sugar, insulin and leptin; and
b) reverse insulin and leptin resistance.
c) move your body enough to keep building muscle mass and perspire
- You are going to Eat Whole Foods (ideally organic) ~
- Sensible amounts of high-quality protein from organic, grass-fed or pastured animals (this reduces the added strain on your body of consuming the dyes, added antibiotics, genetically engineered organisms, and altered nutritional fat profiles associated with factory farmed animals). The clear exception is Pork which should be removed from your diet entirely. It has been shown to host retro-viruses as well as, other health risks (See: United Nations warning here). Pigs are primary carriers of: H1N1 (Swine Flu); Taenia solium tapeworm; Hepatitis E virus (HEV); PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome); Nipah virus; Menangle virus. Each of these parasites and viruses can lead to serious health problems that can last for years to come. We in America have a tendency to eat far too much protein, which can be detrimental. You need only 40 - 70 grams daily. Eating more protein than your body needs will hamper your health in several ways, including stress on your kidneys1, dehydration, leaching of important bone minerals; and ironically extra body fat and weight gain.
- All-You-Can-Eat: Artichoke, Asparagus, Bean sprouts, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage (red & green), Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Green onions or Scallions, Greens, Green Beans, Dandelion, Jicama, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuces, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Parsnips, Pea Pods, Peppers, Radishes, Salsa and Picante sauce, Sauerkraut, Spinach, Squash, Sunchokes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Water chestnuts, Watercress, Zucchini.
- Fermented Veggies like Sauerkraut, Kim Chi, Pickles, Kefir and Natto.
- Fat is Back! You may have as much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated). In fact, much credible emerging research has shown that if you are insulin or leptin resistant (it’s estimated that in the US 80% of us are), you’ll possibly need anywhere from 50 to 85% of your daily calories in the form of healthy fats.
Ultimately here, you want to exercise vigorously enough so that you reach your anaerobic threshold because this is where the "magic" happens that will trigger your growth hormone release which helps to reverse the effects of aging and improper diets. After being cleared by your doctor for physical exercise, you will want to work with a licensed physical trainer and precisely use the following formula for best results:
1. 3min warm-up
2. 30sec Full Intensity
(respiration increases, feel muscles burning, profuse sweating occurs by the 2nd or 3rd repetition)
3. 90sec Medium Pace (respiration should recover)
4. Repeat this 30sec then 90sec activity cycle 7x
5. Finish with a nice 5min Cool-Down
NOTE: A longer session than this will not gain you any more benefit. You must take a day-off, in between sessions. Hydrate well. Also, as an alternative to running, jumping jacks or squat-thrusts, your Interval Training may also be done on a recumbent bike, elliptical trainer, in-line skates or mini-trampoline.
JUST FOR YOU ~ I’ve got the 8 minute anytime, anywhere, no equipment version for you. Did I stutter? Click here: for 8 minutes to Fabulousness! ;o) This easy workout covers EVERY fitness level so there you have no excuses. The longer version will give you the best results but, this will also give you impressive results, quickly.
1. Work with a licensed physical therapist or trainer and begin by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can. The first inch should take about two seconds. Since you’re depriving yourself of all the momentum of snatching the weight upward, it will be very difficult to complete the full movement in less than 7-10 seconds. (When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction)
2. Slowly lower the weight back down. (See: Example) Repeat 2 or 3 times or until exhaustion. (Once you reach exhaustion, do not try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it's not 'going' anywhere, for another five seconds or so. Then Stop!
If you use an App or fitness trainer it’s recommended that you aim for between 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. BTW this is in addition to your regular fitness regimen, not a replacement for it.
Another "add-on" proposition is to start intermittent fasting. What? That’s right ~ the results are in (Read Here). Under physician supervision of course (16 - 24 hours is plenty longer than that is not necessary See: Video). It will improve your metabolism by radically improving your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel. In addition this will naturally help restore your optimal insulin and leptin signaling.
As reported in the publication Cell, December 23, 2014. It is known to have more beneficial health effects, including protection from tissue injury and has also been shown to extend the lifespan of multiple model organisms, ranging from yeast to primates (See: Video).
The molecular explanations for these effects are still not yet completely understood, but were thought to require protective antioxidant responses activated by the mild oxidative stress caused by dietary restriction itself. There is no question that intermittent fasting is also the single most effective strategy to resolve your insulin resistance and junk food cravings. However, you will only see results in using intermittent fasting when you combine it with a healthy diet of real, whole foods along with consistent exercise and weight-lifting.
Intermittent fasting is simply one more tool in your toolbox. In the same way that eating a healthy diet of real, whole organic foods is another tool; exercising regularly is another tool; and meditating or doing yoga to reduce stress is another tool. And don’t forget sleeping at least 8 hours per night is another tool.
Okay ~ So, there it is ~ Your Plan for a NEW YOU! It will be easier than you think and you will see results faster than you believed possible. Go Forth and BE A BETTER YOU!
There's much, much more specific information on all of this in my book: The Biology of Beating Stress, available now on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble book stores (for Kindle & Nook).
AND…You can always contact me for Nutritional Consultation! Schedule an Appointment Now
~Jeanne Ricks, CHC