Activate and Turn On your Nrf-2 System

March 27, 2023

 How To Engage your Inner Nerf

"...Nrf2 ...may well become the most extraordinary therapeutic and most extraordinary preventive breakthrough in the history of medicine."

How's that for a bold statement? The authors aren't kidding, and the volume of research on Nrf2 is becoming staggering. Almost all diseases originate with some dysfunction around "oxidate stress", and the Nrt-2 system is at the nexus of its repair. This review article details how all of our "health-promoting activities" have a common means of activation: the Nrf2 system. The Okinawan and Mediterranean Diets make their magic via Nrf 2. Exercise activates Nrf2. Intermittent fasting does it. Astaxanthin does it. Vitamin E (the gamma delta version), works. And our modern American Diet is almost the antithesis. Sugar and white flour, metabolic syndrome, and ultra-processed foods don't work.

That is how central the Nrf2 system is to virtually all of our modern diseases and "hallmarks of aging". In fact, there are now authors claiming that "Nrf2, ..(is the).. guardian of healthspan and gatekeeper of species longevity."

The diseases that have been identified as Nrf2 affected include cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, pulmonary, cancer, metabolic, and gastrointestinal...... which includes just about everybody.

There are identified foods that Okinawan and Mediterranean Diets use that are now known to be beneficial because of their NRF2 activation. For example, the phenolic antioxidants in olives (Mediterranean) and purple sweet potatoes (Okinawans) activate Nrf2 pathways. Carotenoids from green leafy vegetables are abundant in Mediterranean and Okinawan diets. Lots of fish oil. Lots of allium family (onions and garlic). Isothiocyanates from crucifers and terpenoids from eggplant and citrus all participate in both cuisines. That provides the scientific underpinning for the benefit of each of those cuisines.

And that's where rosemary comes in. The lovely, pungent Thanksgiving spice, rosemary has lots of carnosic acid in it. There are over 200 points of impact in the NRF2 pathway that has been identified. No one food or spice activates Nrf2 all by itself. However, once you hit 3-4 critical junctures in the complex pathway, you get synergies. Carnosic acid activates some of the most important, rate-limiting steps. Rosemary (carnosic acid), luteolin, and ginger are one powerful combination sold in a product called PB-125. Rosemary, by itself, is pretty good, but you get a 5-6 fold increase in Nrf2 activation with ginger and luteolin added in.

www.What will Work for me? I feel like I just found a missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of aging. Nrf-2 activation works on just about everything, right at the very beginning of the problem. Without Nrf2 activation, stressed blood vessels get smooth and exposed, losing the glycocalyx coating that protects them from sheer stress. Without that glycocalyx, sheer stress starts injuring the artery. With Nrf-2activation, the complex, protective coat (Look like sea grass swaying in the current) comes back. PB-125 is one powerful, synergistic compound based on rosemary. There will be others. The evidence we want to watch for is the measured benefit proven by lab testing. The cool thing is that almost all spicy Asian cuisines are champion Nrf2 activators. We just need the lab science to show us which is best. Right now, it's PB-125 from Pathways Bioscience. I'm taking it. You should too. One pill a day. And keep up the exercise, the green leafy diet, the fish oil, the spices, the intermittent fasting.....and lose the donuts.

References: Acta Physiologocial Synica, Nutrition, IntegrativeCompBio., FreeRadBiolMed, Redox Biol, Int Jr Mole Sci, J Neurochemistry,

Pop Quiz

1. What role does the Nrf2 system play in ALL systemic diseases? Answer: Just about all diseases come about because of Oxidative Stress from some imbalance the human body can't keep up with. Nrf2 activation prevents that stress.

2. What happens to the Nrf2 system with aging? Answer: you know that answer. Just try jumping out of bed in the morning without an ache or pain. Nrf2 declines precipitously over age 40.

3. I can turn on my Nrf2 system by eating lots of rosemary? T or F. Answer: Slightly true. Any one food or spice will activate the complex Nrf2 pathway in only 2-3 places. Considering that there are now about 200 points of influence, you need more than one activation. Multiple components provide the threshold of synergy.

4. What is the active agent in rosemary which will likely play a role in most activators going forward? Answer: Carnosic acid, 20% is the magic threshold.

5. Name some lifestyle features that by themselves also activate and support the Nrf2 system. Answer: Exercise, fasting, ketogenesis, green leafy vegetables, omega-3 fats, onions, and garlic, purple Okinawan sweet potatoes, olives, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and not so many grains and not so many sugars.