Your thyroid, one of your most important endocrine glands, greatly influences almost every cell in your body. Aside from regulating your metabolism by releasing the necessary hormones, the thyroid is also important for the growth and development in children, as well as nearly every physiological process in your body.1
When your thyroid levels are out of balance, so are you. Too much (hyperthyroidism2) or too little (hypothyroidism3) hormone secretion can spell trouble for your overall health.
A 2018 study noted that 0.3% to 3.7% of the general U.S. population suffer from hypothyroidism, although it could be as high as 15% if you count a type of “subclinical” hypothyroidism. On the flip side, 0.5% of the population have hyperthyroidism.4
Poor thyroid function has been linked to health conditions such as fibromyalgia,5 irritable bowel disease,6 vitiligo,7 gum disease,8 infertility in women9 and autoimmune diseases,10 which is why it’s imperative to learn how your thyroid works and what can cause it to go off-kilter.
The Thyroid Gland: Understanding How It Works
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box. It has two lobes on each side of the windpipe that are connected by a tissue called the isthmus.11 A normal thyroid gland weighs somewhere between 20 and 60 grams (0.7 to 2.1 ounces).12
Your thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It produces two hormones:13
Hormones secreted by your thyroid interact with your mitochondria, causing “an increase in nutrient breakdown and production of ATP.”14 The fact that these hormones play important roles throughout your body explains why a less-than-optimal thyroid status is associated with many widespread symptoms and diseases.
Almost 90% of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form.15 Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, through deiodination.16
If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and have the correct amounts of thyroid hormones, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body.17 If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or by not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers. T3 is critically important because it plays a role in burning fat in your body. In one study, researchers noted that when they increased T3 levels in participants, weight loss occurred.18
Your thyroid hormone levels can be disrupted by various risk factors. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases outlines the following possible factors for both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism:19,20
Age (more common among people 60 years old and above)
Age (more common among people 60 years old and above)
History of thyroid problems, such as goiter, and thyroid surgery
Have a disease such as Type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia or primary adrenal insufficiency
History of radiation treatment to thyroid, neck or chest
Eating foods with large amounts of iodine, or drinking medicine that contains iodine
Pregnant in the past six months
Pregnant in the past six months
Have a disease such as Turner syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and pernicious anemia
Hypothyroidism: The Sluggish Thyroid Syndrome
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition often linked to iodine deficiency.21 Dr. David Brownstein, a board-certified holistic practitioner who has been working with iodine for the past two decades, claims that over 95% of the patients in his clinic are iodine-deficient, as stated in his book “The Soy Deception.”22
In addition, a study published in 2012 estimates that 4.3% to 8.5% of the population has subclinical hypothyroidism,23 a condition wherein you seemingly have normal thyroid levels but “serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are mildly elevated.”24
However, only a marginal percentage of people with subclinical hypothyroidism are being treated. The reason behind this is the interpretation of lab tests, particularly TSH. Most physicians believe that if your TSH value is within the “normal” range, your thyroid is fine and you don’t need treatment.
But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. If your doctor suspects that the TSH levels may be slightly elevated even if the tests don’t indicate such, treatment may be started early to help prevent the subclinical condition from becoming overt.25
How to Know if You Have Hypothyroidism
Identifying hypothyroidism and its cause can be tricky. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are vague and may be confused with other disorders. Physicians often miss a thyroid problem since they rely on just a few traditional tests, leaving other clues undetected.
The most sensitive way to find out is to simply pay attention to signals from your body. According to InformedHealth.org, people with a sluggish thyroid usually experience diverse indicators, such as:26
Fatigue and lethargy
Sensitivity to cold temperatures
Slight to moderate weight gain
Shortness of breath during exercise
Hair loss and dry skin
Heavy menstrual bleeding or other menstrual problems in women
Muscle or joint pain
Any of the mentioned symptoms can be suggestive of an underactive thyroid. The more of these symptoms you have, the higher the likelihood that you have hypothyroidism. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic notes that if the disease is left untreated, it may lead to more health complications, such as:27
Increased risk of heart disease
Birth defects for pregnant women
Damage to peripheral nerves
Increased severity of mental health problems, such as depression
Myxedema, a severe form of hypothyroidism that may result in “cardiogenic shock, respiratory depression, hypothermia and coma”28
The more vigilant you are in assessing your own symptoms and risk factors and presenting the complete picture to your physician, the easier it will be for you to get the proper treatment.
How About if You Have a Hyperactive Thyroid?
Thyroxine or T4 is a hormone made by the thyroid gland and converted into T3 through deiodination. Many of your cells and tissues depend on these hormones to work properly.29
An overactive thyroid secretes too much T4 or T3 (sometimes both),30 causing some of your body functions to accelerate. This condition is hyperthyroidism, wherein your thyroid overproduces hormones. According to a 2016 study published in The Lancet, women are more susceptible to this condition.31 Hyperthyroidism may manifest in different ways, according to the Lancet study:32
Polydipsia (excessive thirst33)
Some of these symptoms may be unnoticeable, depending on factors such as your age and underlying cause. A study in the American Family Physician explains that elderly patients may have hyperthyroidism, but diagnosing may be harder because symptoms are less apparent, which may lead to complications.34 Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to heart problems like atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, angina and heart failure.35
Diagnosing Possible Thyroid Issues
There are several ways to diagnose an underactive or hyperactive thyroid. The following laboratory tests are what most professionals use to get the real score of your thyroid health:
Serum TSH test — A blood test that measures your TSH levels. Results that indicate too high or too low levels may indicate abnormal thyroid function.36
T4 test — Your doctor may order a test that checks both free and bound T4 levels. Free T4 is the hormone that’s “freely” running through your bloodstream, while bound T4 refers to ones that have already “bonded” to proteins.37
Thyroid antibody testing — This test looks for antibodies that target thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin and TSH receptors.38
Body temperature checks — According to Dr. Denis Wilson, who was the first doctor to use sustained release T3 thyroid hormone in a 2015 study, low body temperature may be a possible indicator for poor thyroid function.39
Radioactive iodine uptake — Ingesting a small amount of radioactive iodine may help determine thyroid function. Results that show high uptake may indicate hyperthyroidism. Low uptake may suggest hypothyroidism.40
Other tests that may help with your diagnosis are a thyroid scintigraphy,41 fine-needle aspiration42 and thyroid ultrasound.43 But these are specialized tests that your physician will use only in a small number of cases or in special situations.
Are You at Risk of Thyroid Cancer?
The American Cancer Society predicts that around 52,070 new cases and 2,170 deaths from thyroid cancer will occur in the United States alone in 2019.44 Thyroid cancer is classified into five different types: papillary, follicular, Hürthle cell (these three are called the differentiated thyroid cancers), medullary and anaplastic.45
Just like with any type of cancer, early intervention may heighten your chances of remission and recovery. This is why you should always be on the lookout for symptoms. Below is a list of potential warning signs of thyroid cancer, according to a 2015 study:46
The presence of thyroid nodules
Swelling in front of the neck
Hoarseness or other changes in voice
In addition, there are certain risk factors that may predispose you to this disease. These include:
Gender — Females are more susceptible to developing thyroid cancer compared to men.47
Weight — Researchers discovered a correlation between obesity and increased incidences of thyroid cancer, but the connection has yet to be clearly established.48
Family history — A family history of thyroid cancer increases your risk of thyroid cancer, which triples with first-degree relatives who developed the disease.49
Iodine deficiency — A 2017 meta-analysis concluded that increasing iodine intake may help protect your health from thyroid cancer.50
Environment — One study concluded that exposure to various chemical pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), bisphenol A and phthalates may increase the risk of thyroid cancer.51
4 Things That Affect Your Thyroid Health
These are some key contributing factors that can ruin your healthy thyroid function:
1. Gluten — Gluten is a notorious culprit of thyroid dysfunction, as it can cause inflammation and autoimmune responses in many people, and can be responsible for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.52
Gluten sensitivity can cause your gastrointestinal system to malfunction, so foods you eat aren’t completely digested, which may lead to leaky gut syndrome, allowing bacteria and other toxins to enter your bloodstream.53 This connection becomes more apparent as one study highlights a connection between autoimmune thyroiditis and celiac disease,54 a gluten-related autoimmune condition that damages your small intestines.55
Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine practitioner, recommends The Gluten-Free Challenge. This involves completely removing gluten from your diet for at least 30 days, and then adding it back right after. He explains:56
“If symptoms improve during the elimination period, and return when gluten is reintroduced, a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can be made.”
2. Soy — As I’ve mentioned so many times before, soy is not the wholesome health food the agricultural and food companies have led you to believe. There are studies explaining the danger of soy foods such as their antinutrients,57 impact on digestive health58 and goitrogens that affect thyroid function.59
Properly or traditionally fermented, organic and unprocessed soy products such as natto, miso, and tempeh are fine — it’s the unfermented soy products you should stay away from, like soy “meat,” soy milk and soy cheese. To know more about soy, read “Soy — Health Food or Not?“
3. Bromine — Bromine is a common endocrine disruptor60 found in fire retardants. Evidence shows that this compound may affect proper thyroid function, as well as hormone transport.61
When you ingest or absorb bromine, it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today. This phenomenon is significant enough to have been given its own name: the Bromide Dominance Theory.62
In addition, when food becomes contaminated with bromine, it may cause nausea and vomiting.63 Bromine can be found regularly in a number of places, including:
Pesticides for agricultural applications64
Plastics such as those used to make common consumer products65
Bakery products such as flour66
Soft drinks that have citrus flavor — in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs)67
Swimming pools as an alternative to chlorine68
Fire retardants to prevent fires from occurring69
To achieve the best thyroid health possible, proper lifestyle changes are needed. I strongly recommend that you avoid products and environments that can expose you to bromine.
4. Stress and adrenal function — Stress is one of the worst thyroid offenders. Your thyroid function is intimately tied to your adrenal function, which is affected by how you handle stress.70
Many of us are almost always under chronic stress, which results in increased adrenal stress hormones71 and cortisol levels — and elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function.72 Thyroid hormone levels drop during stressful times, and affect the function of the HPT axis.73
When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals — adrenaline and cortisol — produced by your adrenal glands interfere with your thyroid hormones, causing a whole gamut of health-related issues like obesity,74 high blood pressure75 and high LDL cholesterol.76 It also affects your glucose metabolism.77
Iodine is perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to thyroid hormones. It’s an important nutrient found in every organ and tissue. It’s essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism,78 and evidence shows that low iodine levels relate to numerous diseases, including cancer.79
Iodine is a potent antibacterial80 and antiviral81 agent. It has other significant roles in your body, namely to maintain proper metabolic function, develop brain and cognitive function in children and strengthen your immune system.82 Though thyroid health is often associate with iodine, deficiency in this nutrient can affect human biology in several ways. Some noteworthy examples include:
Cretinism — This is a form of intellectual disability documented in children, along with other symptoms such as dwarfism.83
Goiter — One study shows that inadequate iodine levels may lead to nontoxic nodular goiter.84
Pregnancy problems — One study shows that iodine deficiency may lead to pregnancy-related complications such as stillbirths, congenital anomalies and increased infant mortality.85
The Total Diet Study, performed by the FDA, reported an iodine intake of 621 micrograms for 2-year-olds between 1974 and 1982, compared with 373 micrograms between 1982 and 1991.86 One probable reason for the reduced iodine intake through the years is its disappearance from our food supply because of iodine-deficient soil.87
Exposure to toxic compounds I’ve mentioned before — brominated products, fire retardants and other toxins — has dramatically increased as well. Here are more factors contributing to falling iodine levels:
Diets low in fish, shellfish and seaweed
Vegan and vegetarian diets88
Fluoridated drinking water89
Rocket fuel (perchlorate) contamination in food90
Decreased use of iodized salt91
How to Increase Your Iodine Levels Naturally
Sadly, up to 30% of the population worldwide could be at risk for iodine deficiency.92 In fact, iodine deficiency is one of the three most common nutritional deficiencies, along with iron93 and vitamin D.94 Here are some helpful strategies to increase your iodine levels naturally:
Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly to minimize your pesticide exposure.
Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.
If you have to eat grain, look for organic whole grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” labels on commercial baked goods.
Avoid sodas. Make natural, filtered water your beverage of choice.
If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.
Look for personal care products that aren’t laced with toxic chemicals. Remember: Anything you put on your skin can potentially go into your bloodstream.
When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are in much higher concentrations inside buildings (and cars) than outside.
If you suspect that you are iodine-deficient, I strongly encourage you to visit your health care provider to undergo iodine testing. You can also get an affordable prescription for SSKI (super-saturated potassium iodine), which you apply on your skin once a day.
If when you touch something with slightly wet fingertips and you see a yellowish stain, it means the iodine is coming out of your skin, indicating that your body has enough supply of iodine inside. Read more about it in this article, “Iodine Supplements May Be Too Much of a Good Thing.”
Simple Steps You Can Do to Improve Your Thyroid Health
Here are simple ways that you can take in order to improve the performance of your thyroid:
Identify and treat the underlying causes — Find out what’s really triggering your thyroid problems — whether it’s iodine deficiency, hormone imbalance, environmental toxicity or inflammation — to address it appropriately. For best results, consult an integrative medical practitioner.
Load up on fresh iodine-rich foods — As an alternative to iodine supplementation, eat toxin-free seafood such as seaweed, sardines and Alaskan salmon. However, make sure that these are harvested from uncontaminated waters. Eggs and dairy products such as grass fed milk, yogurt and cheese contain iodine as well.95
Avoid gluten — A 2019 study stated that avoiding gluten, or undergoing a gluten-free diet may benefit your thyroid, especially to those who have autoimmune thyroid disease.96
Minimize your stress levels — Take a break, meditate, soak in the tub, go on vacation — do whatever works for you. Practice Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an energy psychology tool that can help reduce stress. A 2011 study noted that stress affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, which plays a role in hormone secretion.97
Make an effort to limit your exposure to toxins — As mentioned earlier, exposure to environmental pollutants may increase your risk of thyroid cancer. Examples include BPA and phthalates.98
Avoid all sources of bromine as much as possible — Bromines are a menace to your endocrine system and are present all around you. Despite a ban on the use of potassium bromate in flour by the World Health Organization, bromines can still be found in some over-the-counter medications, foods and personal care products. Being a savvy reader of labels can save you from tons of toxic trouble.
Get adequate amounts of sleep — Inadequate or low-quality sleep can put your health at risk. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology notes that participants “with greater insomnia scores, especially non-obese women, had a significantly increased risk of thyroid cancer.”99 For more helpful tips on getting high-quality sleep, please review my “Top 33 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep Routine.”
Exercise — Research shows that getting regular exercise may help reduce the risk of cancer.100 Walk your dog in the park, jog in the morning and incorporate strength training and other core-building routines. You can also check out my updated Fitness Plan for a comprehensive workout guide.
Do you love hosting backyard parties during summer? If so, this easy and healthy fruit pizza recipe should pique your interest. It’s a refreshing summer snack (or dessert) that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike, and it makes use of the best produce this season has to offer.
This fruit pizza is a better alternative to snacks containing sugars and other additives, or conventional pizzas loaded with unhealthy toppings and oozing with grease. It also allows you to save time and money by encouraging you to use ingredients you may already have at home.
How to make fruit pizza
Just like an ordinary pizza, this healthy fruit pizza recipe is served on a crust with cheese. What sets this recipe apart are the ingredients you’ll be using, as they’re healthier compared to toppings found in typical pizzas. If you want to make a delicious fruit pizza to share this summer, try this recipe adapted from Low Carb Yum:
Cream cheese fruit pizza recipe
For cauliflower crust:
2 teaspoons melted organic grass fed butter or Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil
2 1/2 cups organic cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 a large head)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Grate the cauliflower using a box grater until you have 2 cups of cauliflower crumbles. Steam until soft and let cool.
Mix in the egg. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round prepared pizza pan.
Coat lightly with melted butter or Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
To make the topping:
Mix the cream cheese and powdered sweetener with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the whipping cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cauliflower crust. Top with fresh berries.
This recipe serves 12 people. Total time: 24 minutes Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 14 minutes
This fruit pizza can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just like with savory pizzas, there are countless variations you can make for this recipe. If you don’t have strawberries and blueberries, you can use other berries like blackberries or raspberries. Bananas, pineapples and kiwifruit are great choices, too.
Tips to remember before making a healthy fruit pizza
To ensure your fruit pizza is both tasty and nutrient-rich, take note of the following tips:
Purchase produce that’s organically grown and GMO-free — In the Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list, strawberries ranked No. 1, meaning they contained the highest amounts of pesticide residues compared to other fruits and vegetables tested, so they’re best bought organic.
When buying fruits for the topping or cauliflower for the pizza crust, buy organic fruits and vegetables from a farmer you trust or from farmers markets near you to mitigate your exposure to health-damaging pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
Opt for grass fed cream cheese — When buying cream cheese for this fruit pizza, look for varieties that have been made using unpasteurized, grass fed milk, instead of milk that came from grain-fed CAFO cows. This ensures that your chosen product not only has delicious flavor, but has added benefits and nutrients because it’s made with grass fed milk.
Avoid store-bought pizza crusts — Some fruit pizza recipes suggest that you use sugar cookie dough or store-bought crusts made with bread flour. But, it’s better to stay away from these foods since they’re often high in unhealthy carbohydrates and sugar your body doesn’t need.
Skip the canned fruit — Some canned fruits not only have added sugars or syrup, but the cans are also lined with an endocrine disruptor called bisphenol A (BPA). Medical News Today highlights that BPA may affect the function of hormones in your body, act as a precursor for infertility among women, and may increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases and some hormonal cancers, as well as possibly negatively impact brain development in babies, As mentioned earlier, you’re better off purchasing organically-grown fresh fruits from a trusted farmer or farmers market.
Monitor your fructose consumption — Always remember that fructose and other natural sugars are present in fruits. Excess intake of sugar, even from healthy fruits, may cause your insulin levels to spike and be a precursor for insulin resistance and diabetes. As such, it’s highly recommended to eat your fruits in moderation. Strive to keep your daily fructose intake from all sources below 25 grams, and even as low as 15 grams if you’re insulin resistant.
If you’re planning a delicious picnic with your friends and family this summer, surprise them with this easy and yummy fruit pizza. It’s a healthy and refreshing alternative to this popular snack.
That said, it’s still a great standalone, as it goes into great detail and provides specific protocols for you to follow. Importantly, it clears up one of the primary confusions about autophagy. A common fallacy is that since autophagy is a good thing, you should activate it continuously. This simply isn’t true, and could backfire rather severely, especially if you’re older.
One way to remain in autophagy is to minimize protein, and if you’re on a chronic low-protein diet, you never really activate anabolism, the building of muscle tissue. Land does a magnificent job of clearing up that confusion and giving very specific cycling protocols to help make sure you’re maintaining your muscle mass and getting the full benefits of autophagy.
Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy
Land’s interest in autophagy began in high school, when he began doing intermittent fasting. One of his primary aims was to improve his body composition in the easiest way possible.
“At first, I didn’t delve into the longevity aspect of it, but after a while, it kind of just emerged — this idea of autophagy and stem cells,” he says. “I went down the rabbit hole and started to realize that it’s a very critical part of antiaging, as well as just general homeostasis of your cellular functioning.
The reason I started writing the book was because there were a lot of misconceptions about autophagy and fasting. ‘It’s the best thing. You want to have it all the time.’ But coming from this background of doing some amateur bodybuilding, I realized it doesn’t actually make sense to chronically activate autophagy.
You don’t want to be in this fasted, ketosis state all the time. I wanted to refute some of the misconceptions about it, especially [issues relating to] protein and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and anabolism, because those are important aspects of healthy aging, like having more muscle.”
For those who have not studied biochemistry and are unfamiliar with molecular biology, Land does a terrific job of breaking it down to the basics. Reading his book can save you hundreds of hours of reading intense molecular biology literature.
In brief, autophagy translates into “self-eating.” It refers to the biological process in which your cellular parts are recycled. “Simplistically put, it’s a recycling mechanism that prevents the accumulation of old and worn-out organelles, whether that be broken-down mitochondria, reactive oxygen species [or] inflammatory cytokines,” Land explains.
“Autophagy is this process that your body goes through when it wants to or when it needs to repair and heal itself. It has a critical role in many of the diseases that we suffer from. Conditions like insulin resistance [and] liver disease can benefit from autophagy.
Even Alzheimer’s and heart failure — they’re kind of connected with the processes of autophagy. Efficient autophagy has been shown to be very causative for those things and promotes these diseases.”
How to Activate Autophagy
Autophagy gets activated during nutrient starvation and energy deprivation. Whenever your body is deficient in critical nutrients such as amino acids, proteins, carbide, glucose or carbon, just to name a few, autophagy is activated, allowing your body to recycle these components.
Other downstream pathways also come into play to support this rejuvenating process, such as sirtuins, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and forkhead box (FOX) proteins. “All of them have been found to be the central components of longevity when it comes to things like caloric restriction and exercise,” Land says.
“In mice … blocking autophagy while being on caloric restriction doesn’t promote [increased] lifespan, whereas when they have autophagy activated, then they will live longer when put on caloric restriction. Caloric restriction is one of the few known ways of promoting lifespan and one of the most effective ways.
Actually, the focus shouldn’t be on caloric restriction. The focus should be on autophagy, because if you won’t get autophagy even when you’re storing, then you won’t see those desired benefits. That’s one of the critical components.”
The problem with calorie restriction is that it’s enormously difficult to do, and compliance is low. The good news is that calorie restriction is not necessary. You can get the same results through intermittent fasting and regular fasting. Calorie restriction also has drawbacks, such as malnutrition, frailty, loss of muscle mass and bone density, for example, which are side stepped when intermittently fasting.
“Intermittent fasting is literally like biohacking caloric restriction, because you mimic most of the benefits of caloric restriction. You will get more autophagy from intermittent fasting because you’re in a fasted state and you don’t necessarily need to restrict your calories, restrict your protein or become malnourished to gain those benefits.”
Like me, Land uses a restricted eating window, eating all of his meals within four-hours every day. I use a four- to five-hour window. Importantly, this is not the same as calorie restriction. You’re not restricting the amounts of calories you consume; you’re simply restricting the time in which you eat them, and by so doing, you’re able to activate autophagy.Land’s Personal Program
Autophagy Is Easily Disrupted by Food
As explained by Land, even small amounts of food will inhibit autophagy. “Eating a bagel is going to stop autophagy. That’s literally the breakfast of most people in the world,” he says. “They’re immediately inhibiting the benefits of caloric restriction and the benefits of intermittent fasting if they break autophagy immediately in the morning.”
The key is to maintain a close-to-zero-calorie state that isn’t going to raise your insulin and put you in an anabolic state (which is a fed state). In other words, the fasted state is what allows your body to remain in autophagy. Granted, there are degrees of inhibition depending on the type of nutrients you eat. Land explains:
“The nutrient status is being constantly monitored by fuel censors like mTOR, the main growth pathway. The opposite of that is AMPK. These two are like the yin and yang of your metabolism. They’re constantly monitoring what kind of fuel is burning through your bloodstream.
Based upon that information, they’re going to decide whether they’re going to grow or whether they’re going to activate autophagy to recycle themselves. Throughout the entire day, those fuel sensors are balancing each other out, so they can’t coexist a lot.
Whenever you eat the bagel, the bagel is going to raise insulin levels and activate mTOR and it will put you in the feasted state, which will inhibit autophagy.
But at the same time, if you eat something more along the lines of a ketogenic meal, then that’s going to have a significantly lower anabolic response because it doesn’t raise insulin and it doesn’t have extra amino acids.
So, there’s definitely degrees [of autophagy inhibition], with high amounts of carbs and high amounts of protein being more anabolic and more mTOR-stimulating. Things like low-carb, moderate-protein and higher fat, those would be more AMPK-stimulating, [thus] they are able to maintain autophagy for longer or much more easily.”
Of course, the length of your fast will also have an effect. For instance, after a 24- or 48-hour fast, your AMPK will be much higher and mTOR significantly suppressed — far more so than after a 16-hour fast. In this case, your buffer zone is greater, meaning certain foods will not have as great an impact on autophagy.
“In that case, taking collagen protein or something that doesn’t have the anabolic amino acids … wouldn’t interfere with autophagy that much, as long as you stay within a certain threshold of calories,” Land says.
Land’s Personal Program
Land, who has the physique of a well-trained gymnast, is a sterling role model for how a well-planned program that cycles through autophagy and anabolism can transform your body. His own program typically consists of 20 hours of fasting per day and eating all of his meals within four hours.
When breaking his fast sooner, say after 16 or 18 hours instead of 20, he does it by drinking bone broth or something similar. This breaks the fast, yet doesn’t do it completely. “I’ll still maintain the semi-fasted state until I have the rest of the calories,” he says. He also dispels concerns about losing muscle mass through fasting.
“The truth is you won’t be losing muscle when you are fasting as long as you’re in ketosis and you’re keto-adapted, because your body will become very efficient at using ketones and fat for fuel, and then it becomes much more muscle-preserving.
But at the same time, if you’re trying to build muscle, then having some source of amino acids circulating in the bloodstream during exercise or during resistance training will help to maintain more muscle and also help to recover faster.
For that, whenever I’m doing like a heavier resistance training or workout or doing some gymnastic rings or something like that, then I’ll have a little bit of protein powder or some collagen protein during the workout to shield any potential negative side effects of working out in a fasted state …
… because at that point, I don’t care if I stop autophagy because I’ve already been fasting for 18 to 20 hours. Having the protein shake isn’t going to be interfering with my goals. It’s going to actually build [muscle].”
Catabolism/Anabolism — You Need Both but Not Simultaneously
There are two distinct metabolic pathways you can activate: autophagy (catabolism, the breakdoAnabolic Timing and Benefitswn or repair of your tissues) and mTOR (anabolism, which is the rebuilding process). The mTOR pathway is essentially a protein sensing pathway, and is activated by protein and insulin.
I used to be overly concerned about activating mTOR, thinking it was probably best to avoid activating it as much as possible, as mTOR is a major driver of chronic disease and aging. This isn’t completely true and Land’s book does an excellent job of clearing up this common misconception.
As with autophagy, you don’t want mTOR chronically activated, but you do want to cyclically activate it on a regular basis. Now, if you’re doing a two-day fast, that’s not the time to do heavy resistance training, because that would result in trying to activate anabolism and autophagy at the same time. It’s like pressing the brake and accelerator on your car simultaneously, which isn’t a good idea. So, when fasting, remember why you’re doing it. Land explains:
“You can’t really build muscle doing extended fasts. The goal of any prolonged fast is to go into deeper autophagy and essentially promote cellular clearance [and] heal yourself.
At that point, I don’t see a point in trying to have a heavy resistance training workout, because first of all, you don’t have enough energy to actually reach your personal record. Secondly, your body doesn’t respond to it as beneficially. You may potentially just put additional stress on your body.
What I like to do on these longer fasts is some easier workouts with body weight or resistance bands just to stimulate the muscle. That would just signal the body that it still needs to preserve more lean tissue. If I were to do a heavy workout and then not eat anything afterwards either, I’ll set myself up for failure. That’s going to inevitably lead to more muscle catabolism.
You shouldn’t think of trying to catch two rabbits at the same time. You’d want to focus on one thing at a time: either deeper autophagy or trying to build lean tissue with the deactivation of mTOR. It’s supposed to be cyclical, punctuated almost. If you’re trying to do both at the same time, then you end up not getting the benefits of either.”
Anabolic Timing and Benefits
When it comes to muscle building, the timing of anabolism activation can make a big difference. To optimize muscle building, you want to do heavy resistance training while in a fasted state and then refeed directly afterward. As noted by Land, working out fasted might slightly reduce your maximum performance, but you don’t need to work out at your personal max to improve strength and muscle development.
“The key is to do it consistently, and send the right signal to your body on a daily basis, within this 24-hour period,” he says. “It’s smarter to backload most of your calories into the post-workout scenario because, in that case, you can get away with mild caloric restriction and still be able to build muscle.
If you were to eat all of your calories before the workout, and then not eat anything after the workout, then it’s harder to maintain more muscle in a caloric deficit. You may be able to do it without a caloric surplus, but staying in a caloric surplus all the time isn’t going to be good …
By back loading [i.e., eating after your workout] … you still gain the anabolic response from resistance training and still recover adequately despite having worked out in a fasted state and despite eating only within a few hours of the day.”
That said, there may be some benefit to eating a small amount of protein right before your workout. From this discussion in Land’s book, I started eating two raw eggs before my workout.
“For the goal of muscle growth and muscle preservation, it’s definitely a good idea to have some amino acids and some protein in the system while you are working out. It doesn’t have to be a lot. You probably can get away even with even just 10 grams of protein. That’s going to be enough and it won’t spike insulin. It won’t kick you out of a fasted state completely,” Land says.
The Basics of Hormesis
Land also does a fine job defining hormesis in his book. It’s an important concept that can be summarized as “Whatever doesn’t kill you is going to make you stronger.” It’s a biological strategy that allows your body to adapt to environmental stressors, be it calorie restriction, starvation, cold or heat, for example.
Hormesis also produces effects similar to that of autophagy because it’s stimulated by similar pathways, including AMPK, FOXO proteins and sirtuins. Intermittent fasting, for example, is a mild stressor that activates hormesis. High-intensity exercise is another, more intense activator.
“Those hormetic stressors, they kind of carry over to different areas of stress exposure. Like if I’m able to fast, then I at least notice that I’m also able to endure more cold and heat, or have more endurance … Other ways of activating hormesis is doing saunas and combining that with cold [exposure] like an ice bath or ice plunge.”
In our interview, we also discuss other benefits of near-infrared saunas and heat-shock proteins, which are a corollary to autophagy. In summary, a primary function of heat-shock proteins is to properly refold misfolded proteins, which is one of the reasons why sauna therapy is so beneficial for overall health. Heat also stimulates autophagy.
Customize Your Strategy to Your Age
We also discuss the importance of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme found in all cells that is required for biological processes, including energy homeostasis. During our youtProtein Requirements Increase With Ageh, NAD supplementation is a nonissue, but with age, your NAD level starts to decline.
One of the greatest consumers of the NAD+ molecule is poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP), a DNA repair enzyme. I’m currently researching this issue, and it appears the dose in NAD augmentation therapy is highly dependent on your age.
For people under the age of 30 or 40, it’s likely a nonissue unless you have a chronic health issue. Once you’re in your 40s, however, NAD augmentation becomes an important strategy.
The good news is there are many ways to boost NAD naturally, such as exercise, which dramatically increases a rate-limiting enzyme for NAD called nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase or NAMPT. Fasting will also increase NAD, which is yet another of its benefits.
The problem most people face is that they stop or radically reduce their exercising when they get older. The frailty associated with old age is in part because nicotinamide builds up and is not converted back to NAD. Nicotinamide also inhibits sirtuins, important longevity proteins. Once you stop getting the benefits of sirtuins and NAD, longevity suffers.
“All these pathways are very context-dependent,” Land notes. “What’s the optimal amount of autophagy? Or what’s the optimal amount of NAD+? It depends upon your age. It depends upon your medical condition and physical conditions as well. I can get away with probably a little bit more fasting compared to someone who is very old.
Because the older the person, they’re experiencing more anabolic resistance as well, so it’s harder for them to maintain muscle. They shouldn’t fast that long. They would actually benefit from increased protein intake and definitely maintaining resistance training to promote anabolism and make sure they don’t lose muscle …”
Protein Requirements Increase With Age
This is an important point that Land expounds upon in his book. Protein levels, specifically, change with age, and maintaining muscle will require different strategies depending on your age. Along with decreasing NAD levels, you’ll also see a reduction in growth hormone with age, and your ability to synthesize protein and build tissue goes down.
“To compensate for that, you just need to increase your protein intake a little bit to have a bigger bank of amino acids to pull from, making sure that the stimulus for muscle hypertrophy and muscle growth is still there in the example of lifting weights and doing resistance training.
That’s a very important part of avoiding the negative side effects of aging, such as muscle loss, because if you lose your muscle, then you also become more predisposed to all the other diseases, like diabetes. You’re predisposed to insulin resistance and even Alzheimer’s …
Muscle mass is like a huge pension fund for healthy aging, because with more muscle, you’re more insulin-sensitive. You have bigger glycogen stores. You can get away with eating more calories. You essentially have a bigger protection against all different diseases.
You also don’t need to restrict yourself that much when it comes to fasting and calories, because muscle mass helps you to live longer. It seems like one of the predictors of all-cause mortality is the amount of muscle mass. That’s being used more and more in research and other research as well.”
Land also recommends cycling the amounts of protein you consume. For instance, on a fasting day, protein intake can be low, because you don’t need it for muscle recovery, whereas higher protein intake will benefit you the most on days you’re doing strength training.
Land recommends a protein intake of 0.6 grams per pound of lean body mass on the low end and 0.8 to 1.0 gram per pound of lean body weight on the high end. To calculate your lean body mass, determine your percentage of body fat and deduct that from your total weight. So, if you have 20% body fat, then your lean mass would be 80% of your total weight. Then multiply that by, say, 0.8 grams to calculate your protein requirement.
We discuss a lot more than I’ve summarized here, so for more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety. Toward the end, we review the benefits of KAATSU training, for example, also referred to as blood flow restriction training, which allows you to boost muscle growth using far less weight. Another topic we delve into is the importance of sleep, and the negative side effects of sleep deprivation.
The take-home message of this interview though, is the importance of time-restricted eating. Even if you eat high-quality food, if you’re grazing for 16 hours a day, you’re sabotaging your health. A related point is to eat your last meal at least three of four hours before bed. Land recommends four hours. I typically try to aim for five hours.
Time-restricted eating may even allow you to get away with a diet that isn’t entirely ideal, as it blocks many of the harmful effects of a poor diet, likely because you’re regularly activating autophagy.
“Time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting is definitely one of the most important, most effective ways of promoting healthy aging and longevity, as well as improving body composition,” Land says.
“You shouldn’t worry about restricting your protein, et cetera, if you’re doing some form of fasting, because you’re already suppressing the anabolic pathways area to approaching overconsumption whether you’re in a fasted state, so you don’t have to worry about it because you’re doing it more diligently and you’re getting a bigger effect from that.”
Japan’s environment minister said on Tuesday that Tokyo Electric Power will soon run out of room to store the radioactive water from its destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, and they will now have to dump it into the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo Electric (or Tepco) has collected more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the plant was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Yoshiaki Harada, the minister, told a news briefing in Tokyo:
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it. The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”1
Therefore, we suggest performing a new meditation for the Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath in the Bahamas starting at 10:30 PM UTC on Tuesday, September 10th, and then every 4 hours, to help the people who have suffered from the hurricane to receive food and all necessities, as well as shelter, until the affected areas have completely recovered.
This new meditation will replace the Meditation to dissipate Hurricane Dorian every 4 hours, which is no longer necessary.
The 4 hour intervals are as follows:
Rio de Janeiro
Please join us in this meditation in any of the intervals if you feel so guided.
Note: the interval at 2:30 PM UTC overlaps with the daily Goddess Meditation, so please feel free to join either meditation at this interval as you wish.
Here is the link to the Facebook event for this meditation:
Link to the guided audio for this meditation will be shared here when they are ready.
1. Use your own technique to bring you to a relaxed state of consciousness.
2. State your intent to use this meditation as a tool to help people in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian to cope with all the traumas and fear created, and to assist people around the world to rise in consciousness and compassion.
3. Visualize a pillar of Light emanating from the Galactic Central Sun, then going through all beings of Light inside our Solar System and then through your body to the center of the Earth. Visualize another pillar of Light rising from the center of the Earth, then up through your body and upwards into the sky towards all beings of Light in our Solar System and our galaxy. You are now sitting in two pillars of Light, the Light flowing both upwards and downwards simultaneously. Keep these pillars of Light active for a few minutes.
4. Now visualize a soft pink healing divine feminine energy, healing all people affected by the hurricane from all the traumas and fears, bringing peace, harmony, and unity to everyone affected by the hurricane. Visualize the souls of all people being killed by the hurricane to cross safely and peacefully through the plasma plane.
5. Visualize all people affected by the hurricane being provided with all necessities including clean water, food, shelter, fuel supply, financial assistance and other help needed to rebuild the community. Visualize all missing people being found and rescued.
6. Visualize all supplies getting to the people with ease by creating an energy flow that will call forth all that is required for this to move forward. Visualize people around the world being inspired to help the people in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian as best as they can.
We also suggest including the Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath in the Bahamas in the daily Emergency Meditation at 2 PM UTC, until the affected areas have completely recovered. Visualize people receiving all required necessities and medical care. Visualize the Bahamas receiving all necessary aid to rebuild desolated areas.
In a few days, the attention of the Independent Media and the UFO community in particular, will turn its attention to the GENSIX Conference in Branson, MO. An all-star cast of researchers will be presenting the world with the latest in UFO research. The researchers in Branson may reveal the alien end game.
The Goal Is One World Government
As the world sets poised to go to war, in the wake of Venezuela amassing 150,000 troops on the Colombian border, could constitute the next war to end all wars. The US has pledged its support to Bogata.