Monday, December 24, 2012

Short note on the idea of energy excess

Health scientists don't like cellular energy surpluses.  They think that the cells do bad things like become resistant to things.  I have problems with the facile notion that our cells just have too much energy to process and so they shut down.  I think this has more to do with moralistic underpinnings of health research that infect many parts of the glorious institution to this day.  Cells are not subject to the 7 deadly sins.  Unlike us, whenever they get energy they do something with it.  The problem is that researchers don't seem to look at the big picture.  When you have an excess of acetyl CoA or pyruvate or fructose 6 phosphate or whatever, your liver doesn't just throw its hands up and go "well I guess I'll just let myself go."  It creates steroids, among other things like ramping up its detoxification pathways.  These crazy metabolic monsters that are created from carbohydrate metabolism are dwarfed by the sublime gaze of the protective hormones.

Energy and structure are interdependent at every level.  When you have more ability to do things, the body does things- because that's what life does.  Hysteresis (biological inertia) and resonance govern life's inherent ability to become more elegant, when it has the chance.  The chief product of a decrease in cellular energy is growth (both hyperplasia and hypertrophy).  The chief product of an increase in cellular energy is transformation.  

A literal example is the shift from larval hormone to molting hormone in insects.  You can either continue to be a caterpillar or you can metamorphosize into a moth.  I bet you thought I was going to say 'butterfly.'  Butterflies are savage, vile creatures.

Excursion to banana island?

I've had a long time to read a lot of things.  The thing that I'm most interested in is the idea of protein and what we need it for.  When Ray talks about the dietary need for moderately high protein, I wonder what factors he's considering.  Generally, it's stated that it's for "general resistance to stress."  And that may seem frustratingly vague to some people, but I think that it's just another case of keeping it simple.  I have no idea how protein factors into stress resistance specifically, because I thought that glucuronidation was primarily glucose driven.  But who knows what else is going on there.  I remember Chris Masterjohn's treatment of Campbell's protein restricted mice.  The ones that had a complete protein got cancer; the ones that got partially so called "complete" protein died early.  The complete protein was either soy or whey.  The incomplete proteins were from somewhere interesting, I'm sure.

Campbell:  "Ergo, animal protein causes cancer."

Of course.  Idiot.

So there's clearly something useful about having adequate supplies of the amino acids when in the face of an acute stress.  However, seeing as though we are generally not ingesting pounds of mold toxins with our cereal, I wonder how one can compare it to a human life.  Yes, we're exposed to natural and manmade environmental toxins all the time.  Yes, we're even exposed to boat loads of environmental stressors.  But there are a million factors that the low-proteinies get that probably help compensate for the stress.  Added glucose and fructose from all that fruit and quinoa that they eat.  Added magnesium and B vitamins from all that... fruit and quinoa that they eat.  Et cetera.

There's another interesting character in this story that never gets mentioned.  The humble handyman, the keto-acid.  There are a number of these things that are present in fruit and leaves to varying amount. Potatoes, as us Peatards know, are pretty crazy high in these things.  I don't doubt that most plant foods contain these things in some amount, as they are made from various parts of the respiratory cycle.  The studies that I have peeked at have implicated mostly oxaloacetic acid (I think), but I'm sure that other ketoacids are present as well.  If you want to load up on these bad boys and you hate potatoes, then your best bet is strawberry leaves.  I knew you were waiting for me to say that.
Somehow, these things can combine with ammonia in the body and be molded into many different amino acids.  Which ones?  No idea.  Does this mean that in the presence of these neat things, amino acids aren't essential?  Possibly.  The interesting idea is that the biochemical pathways exist to synthesize all the essential amino acids.  The problem is that currently they have only been observed in not us animals.  We lost it somewhere along the way.  Or at least it has never been spotted.  Do ketoacids give us a chance to make up for lost protein?  It might if the additional amino acids spared the essential ones somehow.  Like the "rescuing" of methionine from homocysteine (something that is governed by b-12).  Folic acid also has an integral role in all this stuff, so perhaps the additional folate from all those oranges and kale salads helps cheat the system a bit.  The thing that gives me hope is that the body has remarkable ways of sparing just about everything if the need calls for it.  Stress can short circuit that, though.  And so we come around full circle.

So what I'm doing to test this theory is to periodically have low protein days where I pee and spaz out like Durianrider.  The odd thing is that whenever I get a little meat in my belly, I don't have the kind of "this is mana from heaven and must be treasured" effect that I am expecting.  Provided that I eat enough calories, I don't really care what goes into my maw.  That is very interesting.  I discovered that I didn't need a tub of butter everyday through isolating variables (it was the salt.  yay salt).  Perhaps I'm discovering that I don't need 120 grams of protein every day.  We'll see.

For the record, the clear nose and energy thing is totally true.  The breathing thing actually surprised me, as I have never, ever had an easy time breathing through my nose.  Tryptophan restriction leading to a reduction in double agent serotonin?  I was also more responsive to pregnenolone supplementation when riding the banana boat.  That may or may not be a good thing.