Specific organs are in control of our longevity.
Do you perhaps have a gut feeling about this?
I think I just gave it away right there.
Yes, this one organ has the final say. If you treat it badly, it’s going to make your life miserable. So treat is with respect.
Gut health and aging
Probably one of the biggest reasons why gut health is involved with aging is because it’s the biggest area that’s exposed to such a condensed source of toxins. The intestine needs to keep the toxins out, but if gut integrity starts to suffer, so does health.
So it’s not really gut health that deteriorates specifically with aging, as most young people nowadays also have gut issues. And it’s easy to get gut issues. Stress, low blood sugar, poor sleep, poor diets, the consumption of allergenic food components, etc., can also damage the gut, enhance the absorption of toxins in the gut and contribute to disease and aging.
It’s actually a silent pandemic. About 90% of the people I work with have gut issues. They want to optimize their testosterone, mood and health, but never connected gut issues with their symptoms. It’s impossible to have optimal health and high testosterone “symptoms” if you have gut issues (even if it’s not obvious). Endotoxins and serotonin from the gut inhibit and inflame all other organs, including the testes and brain.
As you can see below, A is the young fly with good gut integrity and B is the old fly with poor gut integrity. The researchers gave young and old flies a blue dye to see what would happen. Because of poor gut integrity (leaky gut), the blue dye was absorbed and was present in all tissue of the body of most of the old flies.
In young flies, as expected, the blue dye was found exclusively within the proboscis and digestive tract post-feeding. However, when we examined old flies we observed a significant fraction of the population where the dye was found throughout the body. We interpret the “Smurf” phenotype, i.e., the leakage of dye into the haemolymph and consequently all tissues, to reflect a defect(s) in intestinal integrity.Reference
Now you know why the gut is involved in almost all disease.
If endotoxin and other toxins are able to enter the body in large amounts and are able to induce inflammation anywhere, why isn’t it involved in ingrow nails, joint pain, poor skin, vision issues, hair loss, low testosterone, thyroid dysfunction, mental disorders, etc, etc.
Gut function, digestion and nutrient absorption
The gut is responsible for proper digestion and extraction of nutrients that we need for survival, growth and regeneration.
When the intestine is damaged by oxidative stress and inflammation, we start to develop vitamin and mineral and even amino acid deficiencies.
For example, rodents exhibit an increase in intestinal barrier permeability (Katz et al., 1987) and a reduction in intestinal sugar and amino acid transport with age.Reference
I see this all too often that people have many nutrient deficiencies and the last thing they need is impaired absorption on top of that.
Micronutrient deficiencies will dramatically reduce quality of life and health. Micronutrients are essential for hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis and function, energy metabolism, growth and regeneration, proper gut function, etc.
Gut function and lifespan
#1 Leaky gut and lifespan
It’s well-known that calorie restriction enhances lifespan in a number of diverse invertebrates and mammals. There are many theories as to why, but this study hypothesizes that the gut plays a major role.
However, mice subjected to caloric restriction, a dietary intervention that robustly extends lifespan in a number of diverse invertebrates and mammals, were observed to maintain an intestinal absorption capacity for sugars and amino acids nearly twice as high as that of control mice, thereby associating enhanced and/or maintained intestinal function with lifespan extension.Reference
I’ve also written an article explaining why intermittent fasting has so many benefits for some people. And it comes down to an improvement in gut function and a reduction in inflammation overall.
#2 Bacterial colonization and longevity
This study found that delayed colonization in the gut bacteria extends lifespan (R). Also, with age, bacterial count goes up.
As worms age, bacteria accumulate in the intestinal tract. We show that as adult worms age, several C. elegans genotypes show diminished capacity to control intestinal bacterial accumulation. We provide evidence that intestinal bacterial load, regulated by gut immunity, is an important causative factor of lifespan determination; the effects are specified by bacterial strain, worm genotype, and biologic age, all acting in concert.Reference
What happens with aging? Energy drops, cellular function goes down, transit time slows down (which leads to the accumulation of bacteria), natural defenses (mucus and defensins) against bacteria go down and immunity becomes impaired.
In aged GALT [gut associated lymphoid tissue], a marked multiple impairment of the immune response has been reported as evidenced by several studies conducted in animal models . Major alterations are represented by :Reference
1. Reduced secretion of mucus and α-defensin;
2. Easy entry of pathogens into the mucosal layers and generation of a low grade inflammatory response (the so-called “inflamm-ageing”)  with Th1, Th2 and Th17 cell polarization.
This condition of inflamm-ageing  is perpetuated by overgrowth of intestinal pathobionts.
As cellular energy and natural defenses go down, more bacteria (including worms, parasites, fungus, etc.) are able to multiply and release inflammatory byproducts that further de-energize the intestine.
It’s a messy business…literally.
Older individuals’ gut microbiome is different from young healthy people. Older individuals tend to have a more inflammatory phenotype (lower levels of Akkermansia and higher levels of TM7 bacteria and Proteobacteria (R)) compared to younger people, which just further speeds up aging.
Scientists, by using deep learning to analyze human microbiome data, helped build a human microbiome aging clock, which predicts host age with an accuracy of about 4 years (R).
During aging, progressive or sudden immune dysfunction and generalized inflammation lead to improper surveillance at the interface between the host and the microbiota, which can result in dysbiosis—an imbalance in bacterial community composition.Reference
So which one comes first? The inflammation and immune dysfunction or gut dysbiosis? Most likely the former, but now you’re back in the catch 22.
For example, transferring gut bacteria from anti-biotic treated young fish to middle-aged fish, significantly increased their lifespan.
Work with the naturally short-lived African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) [53, 54] has shown that acute transfer of gut microbes from young donor individuals to middle-age recipients, after antibiotic treatment, is sufficient to significantly extend life span and delay behavioral aging .Reference
But if your intestine is not in proper health, the microbiome will just go back to the way it was, because that’s why it went wrong in the first place.
Sometimes using anti-microbial or anti-biotics are good enough to restore health, as it removes the energy block which allows your intestine to be properly energized. But other times, you need to specifically revitalize your intestinal cells as well.
You have to focus on fixing both to optimize your health and reverse aging.
Gut healing catch 22
Slow transit time increases the proliferation of bad bacteria and the accumulation of toxic substances such as endotoxins. If transit time is slow, that allows more time for these compounds to be absorbed or to cause damage to the intestines.
Slow transit time is associated with an increase in oxidative stress, inflammation and neurological damage. This damage to the intestine slows transit time even more and contributes to gut dysbiosis.
In order to heal the damage, the body uses NAD.
As we know, NAD levels go down with aging and low NAD leads to cellular dysfunction and impaired intestinal function.
If the cells (and the neurons that innervate them) of the intestine are damaged, transit time is reduced which leads to the further accumulation of serotonin, endotoxins and other toxic bacterial byproducts.
In order to recover your intestine maximally, you have to fix transit time as well as cellular health in order to break the cycle.
Fixing the cycle
We’re going to do that by focusing on improving transit time and also improving cellular health.
Speed up transit time
I already wrote an article on increasing transit time, so I don’t want to elaborate too much on it here.
In summary, stearic acid, Lactobacilli Rhamnosus, cascara sagrada, walking, coffee, avocado, etc., can help to increase transit time.
Optimizing cellular health
#1 Cell renewal
The digestive tract is constantly challenged by chemicals, toxins, and pathogens in ingested food, and needs to be regenerated continuously. The intestinal stem cells (ISCs) exhibit the ability to self-renew to maintain the stem cell population, generate daughter cells of all mature cell types, and replace damaged and aged cells during normal epithelial regeneration as well as in response to cellular stress and injury. These functions are essential for intestinal homeostasis. Dysregulation of intestinal stem cells can lead to developmental abnormality and chronic diseases (R).
Flies with intestinal dysplasia (the abnormal development of cells) are short-lived, and animals with impaired ISCs proliferation or daughter cells differentiation die faster when challenged with pathogens, genotoxins, or ROS inducing compounds.
A nutrient dense diet containing all your vitamins (especially vitamin B3) and minerals, low inflammation and stearic acid (because it promotes mitochondrial fusion) can dramatically improve cellular renewal.
#2 Autophagy, mitophagy and fusion
Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that continually fuse and divide. The morphology of mitochondria is well balanced between fusion and fission reactions and linked with ROS production. Defective mitochondrial fusion and fission are often associated with aging, metabolic disease, and cancer (R).
A little bit of ROS is needed for proper cellular function, but too much ROS (because of slow transit time, endotoxins, etc.) causes cellular damage, promotes excess fission and inhibits proper mitophagy and fusion. This leads to small fragmented mitochondrial that overproduce ROS and this further worsens intestinal health.
And here’s the importance of NAD again.
NAD is needed for mitophagy, so low NAD leads to the accumulation of old and damaged cells as seen with aging (R). It has been shown that autophagy/mitophagy is necessary to maintain quiescence and stemness of stem cells by clearing both active and damaged mitochondria.
This study found that “compared to 3-month-old young controls, 2-year-old mice showed a spectrum of degenerative colonic phenotypes and exhibited a significant elongated transit time and slowed stool frequency in the context of Lomotil-induced slow-transit constipation.” (R)
They also had low NAD levels. A drop in NAD leads to an overproduction of intestinal serotonin, which then starts to contribute to colonic inflammation, which further degrades intestinal health.
Furthermore, when the researchers gave the old mice beta nicotinamide mononucleotide, an NAD+ precursor, it improved intestinal health and defecation.
In contrast, pharmacological inhibition of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, the rate-limiting enzyme for NAD+ biosynthesis, induced a reduction in colonic NAD content and impaired gastrointestinal function in young mice (R).
As you can see, low NAD is bad and contributes to aging and disease.
Gut optimization approach
Our ultimate approach is going to improve digestion, speed up transit time and energize the intestine.
#1 Improve digestion
This step is to reduce overall food for bacteria. A fast transit time can help to prevent a lot of the harms of excess undigested food. Things like bitters, betaine, pepsin and digestive enzymes can be very helpful here to promote proper digestion.
#2 Increase transit time
Slow transit time increases the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria, increases oxidative stress and inflammation, depletes NAD, etc.
Read more here on how to increase your transit time.
#3 Energize the intestine
The best way to do that is to replete NAD.
So supplementing niacinamide can be very helpful. Supplementing niacin with a meal can help to promote stomach acid secretion, assist digestion while repleting NAD.
A simple protocol can be to supplement 100mg niacinamide/niacin x3 daily or if you don’t like supplementing frequently, take 500mg niacinamide in the morning.
Get all your vitamins and minerals from your diet
Since a decline of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD⁺) is linked with aging and because NADP⁺ is exclusively synthesized from NAD⁺ by cytoplasmic and mitochondrial NAD⁺ kinases, a decline in the cytoplasmic or mitochondrial NADPH pool may also contribute to the aging process.Reference
Magnesium enhances electron transport chain (ETC) complex proton pumping which promotes ATP and NADPH levels (R). ATP energizes the cells and NADPH can be used to create glutathione, which protects against oxidative stress.
Use other NAD boosters and ETC supporters
- Methylene blue (R)
- Vitamin K2 (MK-4)
- Beta-lapachone (found in pau d’ arco and also Lapodin)
- Emodin (found in senna, cascara sagrada, Aloe, Rhubarb as well as Lapodin)
- Thymoquinone (found in Black cumin seed)
Gut cleaning and healing stack
Kill pathogens stack
- 2 tsp activated charcoal
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 drops essential oil of choice, such as cinnamon, oregano, clove, etc.
This is the standard stack that I recommend in the Alpha Energy Nutrition Course. In the course, I also give a supercharged stack and solutions that you can do when your stack or anti-microbials stop working effectively.
Gut healing/energizing stack
- 100mg niacinamide x3 daily / 100mg niacin with each big meal / 500mg niacinamide in the morning
- 1/2 serving Lapodin x2 daily
- 200mg magnesium (chelate of choice)
- 2g black cumin seeds powder
With aging, stress and energy disruptors (EMF, toxin metals, nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep, etc.) accumulate and NAD and cellular function decrease. As this happens, our transit slows down, pathogenic bacteria, fungus and parasites increase, our guts become leaky and this is when our health starts to deteriorate. Removing the stressors and optimizing cellular function can help to prevent the accumulation of gut pathogens, prevent leaky gut and subsequent inflammation.
The Protocol that Smashes Serotonin and Endotoxin and causes Dopamine to Skyrocket!!
This dopaminergic diet is the best thing ever in a highly serotonergic Western environment.
As always, thanks so much for reading my article. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. And if you found this article to be insightful and helpful please like and share so this information can help others as well.
Have you signed up for my Fun Fact Friday Newsletter yet?
If not, you don’t want to miss out.
Every Friday I share a weekly special, with my readers, of the small things I did and learned that week; things I found interesting, maybe a good book I read, something I’m experimenting with, an exercise that’s giving me great results, a new supplement I’m trying out, an inspirational quote, things like that. I also give a link to the article I did that week so you can stay up to date with my articles.
Want to join us?