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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Ketogenic Diets, Longevity, NAD, and Other Science

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Today’s Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities features Rhonda Patrick, PhD, interviewing Eric Verdin, MD, about ketogenic diets (high healthy fats, medium protein, low carbs), exercise, fasting, longevity, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and other exciting endogenous molecules and biochemical compounds.

Dr. Patrick is a biomedical scientist best known for her groundbreaking discovery that a protein critical for cell survival has two distinct mitochondrial localizations with disparate functions.

She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute with Dr. Bruce Ames. She has also done research on aging at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, where she investigated the role insulin signaling plays in protein misfolding, which is commonly found in neurodegenerative diseases.

Her list of scientific publications is impressive. 

Dr. Verdin is the fifth President and CEO of the prestigious Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and a professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He previously held a faculty position at the National Institute of Health (NIH). He is a native of Belgium and received his MD from the University of Liege with additional clinical and research training at Harvard Medical School.

His laboratory focuses on the role of epigenetic regulators in the aging process, the role of metabolism and diet in aging and on the chronic diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s and proteins that play a central role in linking caloric restriction to increased health span.

He discusses the growing scientific evidence that supports time-restricted (intermittent) fasting, ketosis and its role on health span in animals and humans, particularly on brain health and memory.

For readers who are not familiar with beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body (energy molecule) we make when we are running on fat instead of carbs. We use them for energy instead of glucose because this ketone is linked to improving health—but possibly for limited periods of time.

Over the past few years, researchers who focus on aging have paid a lot of attention to a unique chemical compound called NAD, one of the major carriers in cellular respiration and used to power metabolism by enabling the mitochondria power stations of the cell to convert the food we eat into the energy our body needs to sustain all its functions.

NAD is also suggested to repair mitochondria damage in aging brains, as well as helping to prevent loud noise hearing loss.

Two final thoughts: 

1: It's important to remember that most promising ketogenic studies have been done on mice, not humans. For now, both Drs. Verdin and Patrick seem to favor time-related restriction of caloric intake (intermittent fasting) for 14 hours to extend health span and manage weight (early brunch- early dinner). It's much easier to manage than a ketogenic diet.

2: It's also important to remember that we are biochemically unique, so what works for one person might not work on everyone.

The good news: Aging-well and extended health span dietary recommendations will soon become specific, based on identification of individual blood, plasma, enzyme, epigenetic, and artificial intelligence (AI) biomarkers of aging.  Along with clean energy, it's the hot new areas of venture capital technology and pharma scientific investment, given the large aging population and the huge amount of personal and government health care dollars that could be saved by keeping people healthy, happy, and self-sufficient longer.

Enjoy the interview. I promise you will find both of the esteemed scientists informative, educational and entertaining.

Happy Sunday.

Ellen Troyer and the Biosyntrx Staff 

A few of Dr. Verdin's selected publications:

  • Verdin E. NAD⁺ in aging, metabolism, and neurodegeneration. Science. 2015 Dec 4; 350(6265):1208–13. doi:10.1126/science.aac4854. Review. PMID 26785480.

  • Verdin E, Ott M. 50 years of protein acetylation: from gene regulation to epigenetics, metabolism and beyond. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Apr; 16(4):258-64. doi:10.1038/nrm3931. PMID 25549891.[6]

  • Gut P, Verdin E. The nexus of chromatin regulation and intermediary metabolism. Nature. 2013 Oct 24; 502(7472):489-98. doi:10.1038/nature12752. Review. PMID 24153302.[7]

  • Shimazu T, Hirschey MD, Newman J, He W, Shirakawa K, Le Moan N,  Grueter CA, Lim H, Saunders LR, Stevens RD, Newgard CB, Farese RV Jr, de  Cabo R, Ulrich S, Akassoglou K, Verdin E. Suppression of oxidative  stress by β-hydroxybutyrate, an endogenous histone deacetylase  inhibitor. Science. 2013 Jan 11; 339(6116):211-4. doi:10.1126/science.1227166. PMID 23223453; PMC 3735349.[8]

  • Hirschey MD, Shimazu T, Jing E, Grueter CA, Collins AM, Aouizerat B,  Stančáková A, Goetzman E, Lam MM, Schwer B, Stevens RD, Muehlbauer MJ,  Kakar S, Bass NM, Kuusisto J, Laakso M, Alt FW, Newgard CB, Farese RV  Jr, Kahn CR, Verdin E. SIRT3 deficiency and mitochondrial protein  hyperacetylation accelerate the development of the metabolic syndrome. Mol Cell. 2011 Oct 21; 44(2):177-90. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2011.07.019. PMID 21856199; PMC 3563434.[9]

  • Hirschey MD, Shimazu T, Goetzman E, Jing E, Schwer B, Lombard DB,  Grueter CA, Harris C, Biddinger S, Ilkayeva OR, Stevens RD, Li Y, Saha  AK, Ruderman NB, Bain JR, Newgard CB, Farese RV Jr, Alt FW, Kahn CR,  Verdin E. SIRT3 regulates mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation by  reversible enzyme deacetylation. Nature. 2010 Mar 4; 464(7285):121-5. doi:10.1038/nature08778. PMID 20203611; P