Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fasting Day 44 - 130.2 (Day 90)

BBC Horizon recently aired an episode entitled, "How to Live to 101". It looked at the citizens of three different locations that have more centenarians than other places on earth: Okinawa, Sardinia, and Loma Linda. What is it that these people are doing differently than the rest of us?

Researchers found that Okinawan's eat 20% less than most people in Europe or America consume. They even have a saying, "Hara Hachi Bu", which basically means "Eat until your 80% full". (This corresponds with the research about longevity and calorie restricted diets. Alternate Day Fasting appears to confer the same benefits as a calorie restricted diet according to recent studies.) Their diet consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and soy protein/tofu. The researchers said that Okinawans eat more soy products than any other population on earth. They found that Okinawans age more slowly than the rest of us and their levels of the hormone DHEA declines at a slower rate.

Interestingly, the researchers also followed up on Okinawan's who moved to Hawaii. As their descendents developed a more westernized diet, they became even more unhealthy than westerners on the same diet. It is as if this group of people's bodies have adapted to require the calorie restricted, healthful diet of their ancestors.

The next group of long-lived people are located in the town of Ovoddo, Sardinia. Apparently this population's genetic lucky card was the result of inbreeding among the early population on this remote island town. (Yuck!) Inbreeding increases the odds of birth defects, but in this case the inherited defect was an advantage. The long-lived Sardinians are deficient in the enzyme G6PD. Researchers are hoping that by studying the Sardinian population they will be able to isolate which genes are beneficial for longevity.

The last group of people are in Loma Linda, California. This town has a high percentage of 7th Day Adventists. Their religion promotes a vegetarian lifestyle and prohibits smoking and alcohol consumption.

The documentary also briefly touched on the people of Glasgow, Scotland, whose aging is accelerated. The researchers hypothesis for this was interesting. They said that in the early to middle of the last century their were over a million people living in a few square miles. Childhood diseases ran rampant throughout the area. Some of the children developed heightened immune systems that protected them from infectious diseases -- a condition called inflammatory response. These children lived long enough to reproduce and thus people with this tendency for inflammatory response increased in the general population. This same overactive immune system is likely to turn on itself later in life and create inflammatory related diseases. Their descendents have inherited this heightened inflammatory response even though the conditions that originally created it are long gone. They are doing all the right things (lowering stress, eating healthy, etc.) but their bodies are still operating as if they are in the environment of their ancestors.

BBC News Magazine has an article, The Towns Where People Live The Longest, if you are interested in reading further.

Walked - 40 minutes

2 protein/water shakes

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