Triglycerides Predict Longevity And We Know HowNovember 07, 2021
Triglycerides and Longevity
Yup! Your triglycerides tell a lot about you. In fact, they might be the most important part of your cholesterol profile. Here is the physiology, and the implications it has. Note, cholesterol isn't the main story.
First of all, we now recognize that high triglycerides come about because of peroxisome dysfunction. We see high triglycerides most commonly in diabetes and worry endlessly about how to lower it with statins (they don't work). Essentially, what is happening in diabetes is the flooding of your mitochondria with too many calories in the form of carbs and fats. In a desperate attempt to keep up, your peroxisome, which is meant to be feeding chopped-up fat into the mitochondria, stresses out and can't chop up fat at all. Your triglycerides go up. Your peroxisome is all jammed up and flooded, just like your gasoline-car engine.
The question arises, what is the best way to modulate those triglycerides? Ah! Easy, peasy. Cut the calories. Clean up the logjam of calories. Intermittent fasting will do it. In a lovely study from Pakistan during Ramadan, 40 volunteers with high triglycerides agreed to not eat for 12 hours every day (That's easy: that's what Ramadan does for Muslims every year). Guess what happens to the flow of calories into the peroxisome! It drops to "tolerable levels". The peroxisome can start chopping up fat, like it's meant to. Guess what happens to the triglycerides? They get chopped up. Their level drops like a rock. (You can prove this for yourself: try intermittent fasting and measure your own.)
That's what intense exercise does too! It uses up the stored carbs and forces you to start burning fats. That wakes up the peroxisome to solicit more proteins so that it can provide you with the calories you need (in this case from burning fat instead of glucose). A mitochondrion has 29 genes of its own to manufacture new, essential proteins, on a minute-by-minute basis. It can burn glucose or fat, depending on what is presented to it on a minute-by-minute basis, but will go for glucose first until it is used up. The peroxisome, right next to the mitochondria, is the entity that is tasked with chopping up those triglyceride fats to feed into the mitochondria, can't respond so quickly. It takes a couple of days to ramp up. It too has to call for the nucleus to manufacture new proteins, but it has no DNA of its own, and it takes a little longer to ramp up. If you go on a very stringent fast right away without inducing the peroxisomal "biogenesis", you will become hypoglycemic and feel awful. You stopped eating carbs and run out in just 12 hours, and you can't make fat. You feel like you are going to die. Your diet will fail.
You have to wake up those nascent genes in your cell nucleus and export some mRNA out to the ribosomes to make new peroxisomes. And you do that best by little stages. Each day, nudge your metabolism for an extra hour of fasting. Do it overnight. Don't eat for 12 hours (depleting your glycogen to zero and beginning to burn a teeny bit of fat). Then, stretch it to 13 hours....14....15. Skip breakfast and go for 18 hours. Your triglycerides will disappear. You don't have to call me, you can measure them yourself. It takes some 4-5 days to get them properly turned on. If you have extreme discipline and put up with the "keto-flu", you can muscle your way through it. Or, you can gradually accommodate to it by stretching out your intermittent fasting to longer time periods.
But that's not the meat of this week's email. You live longer? Why? Ah...healthy peroxisomes also make more plasmalogens. Higher plasmalogens are then associated with larger brain size. Larger brain size correlates with larger muscle mass and longevity.
That is the key. Low triglycerides and high plasmalogens even trump APOe status. APOe4 becomes a problem only if you are insufficient plasmalogens. Peroxisomes also need the right building blocks to make plasmalogens, like choline and ethanolamine, DHA, and B12/B6/folate. Just look at the figures in Goodenowe's study. Healthy plasmalogens result in longer life. Period. And you can't have healthy plasmalogens in your brain when you have high triglycerides in your blood.
www.What will Work for me. Triglycerides are a quick and dirty peek at peroxisome function. It's easy to measure. Sure enough, the folks with healthy, low triglycerides will tell you they eat very little sugar, white flour, and tons of vegetables. And very likely exercise. We now know that some 60-70% of the calories from green vegetables arrive in the form of Beta-hydroxybutyrate after the gut bacteria break the plant cell wall down. Peroxisomes LOVE beta-hydroxybutyrate. When you eat a salad with olive oil dressing, you are getting a perfect peroxisome soothing diet. I've stopped looking at total cholesterol. In fact, the data now has convinced me that the healthiest cholesterol is 210-250, not less than 200. But it's the triglycerides that matter for good health.
References: Brain Sci, Molecular Metabolism, Frontiers Nutrition, Frontiers in Cell and Develop Bio, Nature - Experimental Med,
1. What is going on with triglycerides? What is really happening down in the gearbox of your cell? Answer: High triglycerides suggest your peroxisome is all backed up, in conjunction with the mitochondria from getting too many calories all at once. Fast food, highly processed, floods your peroxisomes. Sugar is the worst.
2. How can you modulate that? Answer: Change the way you deliver calories to your cells. Cut the sugar, cut the processed foods. Add more vegetables.
3. What's the key strategy you can start, even today? Answer: Go 12 hours every day without eating anything. So start with no late evening snack. Then, stretch out breakfast and make it a little later. Gradually extend that time all the way out to lunch. "Compact your calories" or "Intermittent fasting".
4. What else do peroxisomes do besides chop up fat (thus lowering triglycerides)? Answer: They make plasmalogens for your nervous system.
5. What predicts long life with plasmalogens? Answer: The more of them, the better. An average person who is two standard deviations below normal, compared to two standard deviations above, drops dementia risk by some 90% in improves longevity by some 15 years.