Zinc and broccoli sprouts – a winning combination

This 2019 study deserved better coverage than a one sentence mention in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane:

“Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is one of the most common breathing disorders in sleep, with a high prevalence of 3–7% and severe consequences. It is characterized by intermittent hypoxia (IH) due to recurrent episodes of partial or complete collapse of the upper airway during sleep, leading to blood hypoxemia, hypercapnia, sleep fragmentation, augmented respiratory efforts, and increased sympathetic activity.

Our study is the first investigation of the combination of BSE [broccoli sprout extract] and Zn [zinc], Nrf2, and MT [metallothionein] inducers, to protect against IH-induced cardiomyopathy. By effectively activating Nrf2, its downstream targets, and MT, this combination can ameliorate defects associated with IH-induced cardiomyopathy more effectively than monotherapies.

Mice were administered with BSE (equivalent to SFN [sulforaphane] 2 mg/kg) and/or Zn sulfate heptahydrate (5 mg/kg) by gavage from 8 weeks of age at a frequency of once every other day for 8 weeks. Doses used in this study are safe to convert to human doses. [2 mg x .081 x 70 kg = 11 mg sulforaphane; 5 mg x .081 x 70 kg = 28 mg zinc]

  • Heart mass was significantly lower in the IH-BSE/Zn group than in IH and IH-BSE groups. Heart mass / tibia length ratio was significantly lower in the IH-BSE/Zn group than in IH and monotherapy groups.
  • Treatment with BSE and/or Zn can ameliorate myocardial fibrosis associated with IH, to a certain extent, and combination therapy has the best antifibrotic effect among treatments.
  • BSE or Zn can significantly ameliorate myocardial inflammation induced by IH, but the combination provides a better anti-inflammatory effect.
  • We used 3-NT as an indicator of the severity of oxidative stress. 3-NT protein levels were significantly reduced in IH mice for all treatment groups, and reduction was greater in the combination treatment group.
  • Combination is more effective than monotherapies to activate Nrf2-mediated antioxidant function.

  • In Zn-treated and combination treatment groups, MT protein expression was significantly higher than in the IH group, and there was only a slight increase in the IH-BSE group.”

Combination of Broccoli Sprout Extract and Zinc Provides Better Protection Against Intermittent Hypoxia-Induced Cardiomyopathy Than Monotherapy in Mice


One way to improve broccoli sprout compounds’ effects is to eat them with zinc. One way to improve zinc’s actions is to take it with broccoli sprouts.

Mild stress improves broccoli compound yields

This 2020 plant study by the same university as Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts investigated seasonal and stressful effects on broccoli compounds:

“In this study, three crop trials were carried out to evaluate effects of cultivation season, application of different dosages of methyl-jasmonate (MeJA) on overall quality and on total content of bioactive compounds of ‘Parthenon’ broccoli cultivated under field conditions of southeastern Spain.

Elicitation is the main tool used to increase content of secondary metabolites in vegetables, as it induces stress responses in plants. Several studies have involved application of elicitors to broccoli plants in order to improve their nutritional properties (although this application is more common for seeds and sprouts).

Content of total carotenoids, phenolic compounds and glucosinolates were higher in autumn compared with spring, showing increases of 2.8-fold, 2-fold and 1.2-fold, respectively. Moreover, a double application of MeJA increased contents of total carotenoids, phenolic compounds and glucosinolates by 22%, 32% and 39%, respectively, relative to untreated samples.

Controlled and timely (four days before harvest) application of 250 µM MeJA as an elicitor to aerial parts of plants, on two consecutive days, yielded florets of Parthenon broccoli with higher contents of bioactive compounds, without changing its overall quality.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/9/10/1371/htm “Seasonal Variation of Health-Promoting Bioactives in Broccoli and Methyl-Jasmonate Pre-Harvest Treatments to Enhance Their Contents”


Findings by broccoli compound category were:

Glucosinolates

“Total content of GLSs was 2-fold higher in autumn than in spring. Total precipitation [2018] in spring was 361 mm compared with 185 mm in autumn. The water deficit in autumn could have contributed to the increase in total GLS content.

The main compound in samples of plants cultivated in spring (first and third assays) was glucoiberin (GIB), followed by glucoraphanin (GRA). The order was reversed in broccoli cultivated in autumn, with GRA being the main compound, followed by GIB, for all treatments.

Aliphatic GLSs were predominant in our Parthenon samples, representing on average 76%, 86% and 83%, of total GLSs in the first, second and third assays, respectively. In relation to the effect of MeJA on content of GLSs, neoglucobrassicin (NGB) was the only compound that showed a significant increase after application of MeJA in seasonal trials, since other GLSs decreased or did not differ with respect to the control group.

NGB increased significantly, from 0.3 mg/kg f.w., to 175 mg/kg f.w. in broccoli treated with two consecutive doses of 250 μM MeJA, and contents of GBSs, total indole GLSs and total GLSs also increased. In contrast, one single dose of 500 μM MeJA did not enhance contents of these compounds.”

Phenolics

“Contents of flavonols and chlorogenic acids were higher in autumn than in spring, whereas content of sinapic acid derivatives was higher in spring. Influence of light on individual phenolic compounds could explain the increase in flavonols and chlorogenic acid derivatives in autumn.

Although MeJA altered contents of phenolic compounds, this effect was not clearly associated solely with MeJA. We found a greater effect of the excipient and MeJA in autumn. When we added an extra stress factor – namely, MeJA – the impact was not as great as in autumn.”

Carotenoids

“In broccoli cultivated in spring, the order was β-carotene > lutein > violaxanthin > neoxanthin, while in autumn the order was β-carotene > violaxanthin > lutein > neoxanthin. Content of total carotenoids in broccoli cultivated in autumn (26 mg/kg) represented a 2.8-fold increase compared to broccoli grown in spring (9 mg/kg).

Treatment with MeJA significantly reduced total content of carotenoids in broccoli cultivated in autumn, whereas it did not show any effect on plants cultivated in spring, and in some cases even led to an increase in carotenoid content. Plants that received two applications of 250 µM MeJA content of carotenoids (34 mg/kg f.w.) increased in comparison with plants without this treatment (28 mg/kg f.w.) as well as those receiving one application of 500 µM MeJA (28 mg/kg f.w.).

Chlorophyll content was directly related to carotenoids content, with a strong correlation in autumn. Carotenoids absorb solar light in the spectral region not covered by chlorophylls and pass light energy to chlorophyll a, protecting it from harmful reactions that occur in conditions of excessive light, in the presence of oxygen. When high temperatures reduce content of carotenoids in spring, a reduction in total chlorophylls is also observed, possibly due to the photo-oxidation process.”


DEET and permethrin cause transgenerational diseases

This 2020 rodent study from the labs of Dr. Michael Skinner at Washington State University examined how great-grandmothers’ insect repellent exposures produced diseases in their great-grand offspring:

“Permethrin and DEET are the pesticides and insect repellent most commonly used by humans. These pesticides have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease in rats.

Direct exposure impacts an individual and their germ line. If germline epigenetics are modified, offspring generated with the affected germ cell can have epigenetic impacts on health and physiology.

Negative health effects of pesticides exposure do not stop with the individuals directly exposed. Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance occurs when future generations without exposure also exhibit alterations and disease. Epigenetic alterations are more common among individuals with disease than specific genetic alterations or mutations.

Pathologies examined are relevant to human populations including prostate, testis and kidney disease, as well as multiple disease incidence. No common DMR [differential DNA methylation region] among the different transgenerational disease DMR biomarkers was identified.

Observations suggest a common set of epimutations is not present between different diseases to alter general disease susceptibility. Although suggestions of such general molecular impacts for disease susceptibility may exist, the current study suggests predominately disease specific epimutations.

DMRs are present for each individual disease on all chromosomes, except the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. The multiple disease signatures are present on the Y chromosome, as well as all other chromosomes. These results support the idea that transgenerational epigenetic effects of ancestral pesticides exposure are genome-wide.

The current study used an epigenome-wide association analysis to identify an epigenetic signature of transgenerational disease present in sperm. Biomarkers identified herein may potentially be used to assess paternal transmission of disease susceptibilities to future generations.”

https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-020-00666-y “Epigenome-wide association study for pesticide (Permethrin and DEET) induced DNA methylation epimutation biomarkers for specific transgenerational disease”


Don’t understand how studies on long-term effects of day-to-day human actions like applying insect repellent aren’t front page news. Everyone could benefit from this knowledge. When I explained this study to coworkers, they had a lot of questions and feedback.

An interesting side note was peer review exchanges. A human behavior indicator was pushback regarding repetition of key points among sections, which the researchers justified with:

“The reader does not have to skip back and forth between sections to understand the basic design and methods used.”

Behavioral aspects of epigenetic inheritance haven’t been investigated by this research group. Wouldn’t inherited conditions produce behavioral evidence of their consequences?


Anti-tumor effects of β-glucan

This comprehensive 2020 rodent study investigated dozens of scenarios for β-glucan in the context of anti-tumor immunity:

“Neutrophils and granulopoietic progenitors are major cellular effectors of β-glucan-induced trained immunity. The anti-tumor effect of β-glucan-induced trained immunity was mediated by qualitative changes in neutrophils.

A tumor-suppressive phenotype in neutrophils was associated with training of granulopoiesis mediated by type I IFN [interferon] signaling. Our analysis provided additional evidence for trained immunity-induced epigenetic rewiring of granulopoiesis toward an anti-tumor phenotype and corroborated the experimentally demonstrated IFN- and ROS-related mechanisms.

We observed inhibition of tumor growth by systemic transfer of trained neutrophils into already tumor-bearing mice. As granulocyte transfusion is currently considered as a therapy in humans with neutropenia, it is conceivable that cancer patients could receive as an adjuvant immunotherapy granulocytes from normal donors after induction of trained immunity in the latter.

Our study is the first to link the anti-tumor actions of β-glucan to trained immunity. We show here that the innate immune training and rewiring of granulopoiesis underlies the anti-tumor effect of β-glucan.”

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)31299-X “Innate Immune Training of Granulopoiesis Promotes Anti-tumor Activity”


Which do you prefer? The study’s graphical abstract:

or one of its volcano plots?

Here’s an overview of one investigated direction:

“To determine whether adaptive immunity is involved in the anti-tumor effect induced by β-glucan, mice that lack B and T cells were treated with β-glucan [1 mg] prior to the secondary tumor challenge. Pre-treatment with β-glucan decreased both B16-F10 [melanoma] and LLC [Lewis lung carcinoma] tumor burden also in [these] mice, showing that the anti-tumor effect of β-glucan-induced trained immunity does not require adaptive immunity.”


This study provided another example of what they called rewiring (but I term reprogramming) of the body’s environmental signaling pathways to achieve a desired phenotype, trained innate immunity. Whatever the terminology, almost every day over the past fifteen years I’ve eaten β-glucan in an oats breakfast and a 1/3, 1/6 yeast supplement at dinner as part of individually evolving.

Reprogramming other signaling pathways are in blog posts such as:

Take responsibility for your one precious life.

Flying over waves

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of epimutations

My 600th curation is a 2020 rodent study from Dr. Michael Skinner’s labs at Washington State University:

“Numerous environmental toxicants have been shown to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation. Alterations in the germline epigenome are necessary to transmit transgenerational phenotypes.

In previous studies, the pesticide DDT and the agricultural fungicide vinclozolin were shown to promote the transgenerational inheritance of sperm differential DNA methylation regions, non-coding RNAs and histone retention, which are termed epimutations. The current study was designed to investigate the developmental origins of the transgenerational differential histone retention sites (called DHRs) during gametogenesis of the sperm.

In addition to alterations in sperm DNA methylation and ncRNA expression previously identified, the induction of DHRs in the later stages of spermatogenesis also occurs. This novel component of epigenetic programming during spermatogenesis can be environmentally altered and transmitted to subsequent generations.

While the DHR may be consistent and present between the stages of development, the histone modifications may be altered. Several of the core histone retention sites absent in the DHRs had altered histone methylation. This adds a level of complexity to the potential role of histone retention in that it may be not only the retention, but also the alterations in histone epigenetic modifications.

The DHRs had positional associations with genes and the major functional categories were signaling, metabolism and transcription.

In the event the embryo stem cell population has a modified epigenetics and corresponding transcriptome, then all somatic cells derived from the stem cell population will have an altered cascade of epigenetic and gene expression programming to result in adult differentiated cells with altered epigenetics and transcriptomes. Previous observations have demonstrated in older adult human males alterations in histone retention develop and are associated with infertility.

Similar observations have also been provided for the development of differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) induced by environmental toxicants such as DDT and vinclozolin. Since DHRs have a similar developmental programming, other epigenetic processes such as ncRNA are also anticipated to be similar.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160620301834 “Developmental origins of transgenerational sperm histone retention following ancestral exposures”


This study, like its dozens of predecessors performed year after year by this research facility, provided evidence for mechanisms of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. The studied F3 generation members were great-grand-offspring, the first generation to have no direct exposure to DDT and vinclozolin.

As pointed out in A compelling review of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance:

“During the 1950s, the entire North American population was exposed to high levels of the pesticide DDT, when the obesity rate was < 5% of the population. Three generations later, the obesity frequency in North America is now ~45% of the population.”

There are varieties of mischaracterizations and hand-waving denials of epigenetically-inherited diseases. People don’t want to hear about and read proof that something we did or experienced disfavored our children, who unwittingly passed resultant problems on to their children, and which furthered on to their children’s children.

Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

Here are my Day 70 measurements* to follow up Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts, which had these findings:


Keep in mind that I’m not in the population represented by the clinical trial sample:

  1. My chronological age is above their inclusion range;
  2. My BMI is below their inclusion range; and
  3. I take supplements and meet other exclusion criteria.

I also didn’t take Day 0 measurements.

June 2019 BMI: 24.8

June 2020 BMI: 22.4

2020 IL-6: 1.0 pg / ml. See Part 2 of Rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane for comparisons.

2020 C-reactive protein: < 1 mg / l.

2019 and 2020 No biological age measurements. Why aren’t epigenetic clocks standard and affordable?


I’ve made four lifestyle “interventions” since last summer:

  1. In July 2019 I started to reduce my consumption of advanced glycation end products after reading Dr. Vlassara’s AGE-Less Diet: How a Chemical in the Foods We Eat Promotes Disease, Obesity, and Aging and the Steps We Can Take to Stop It.
  2. In September I started non-prescription daily treatments of Vitamin D, zinc, and DHEA per clinical trial Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends.
  3. Also in September, I started non-prescription intermittent quercetin treatments of Preliminary findings from a senolytics clinical trial.
  4. I started eating broccoli sprouts every day eleven weeks ago.

1. Broccoli sprouts oppose effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) provided examples of Items 1 and 4 interactions.

2. Two examples of Item 2 treatment interactions with Item 4 are in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane:

  • “The effects of the combined treatment with BSE [broccoli sprout extract] and zinc were always greater than those of single treatments.”
  • “Vitamin D administration decreased tumor incidence and size, and the co-administration with SFN [sulforaphane] magnified the effects. The addition of SFN decreased the activity of histone deacetylase and increased autophagy.”

3. How broccoli sprout compounds may complement three supplements I take was in a 2020 review Central and Peripheral Metabolic Defects Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease: Targeting Mitochondria for Diagnosis and Prevention:

“The nutrients benefit mitochondria in four ways, by:

  • Ameliorating oxidative stress, for example, lipoic acid;
  • Activating phase II enzymes that improve antioxidant defenses, for example, sulforaphane;
  • Enhancing mitochondrial remodeling, for example, acetyl-l-carnitine; and
  • Protecting mitochondrial enzymes and/or stimulating mitochondrial enzyme activities, for example, enzyme cofactors, such as B vitamins and coenzyme Q10 .

In addition to using mitochondrial nutrients individually, the combined use of mitochondrial nutrients may provide a better strategy for mitochondrial protection.”

The review provided a boatload of mitochondrial multifactorial analyses for Alzheimer’s. But these analyses didn’t include effective mitochondrial treatments of ultimate aging causes. I didn’t see evidence of why, after fifteen years of treating mitochondrial effects with supplements, treating one more effect could account for my Week 9 vastly different experiences.


I nod to An environmental signaling paradigm of aging explanations. Its Section 10 reviewed IL-6, C-reactive protein, senescence, and NF-κB in terms of feedback loops, beginning with:

“It is clear that the increasing number of senescent cells depends on the post-adult developmental stage rather than chronological age. The coincidence that these processes result in particular forms of impairment in old age does not seem to be random as it is present in all mammals, and may be causative of many aspects of aging.”

A derived hypothesis: After sufficient strength and duration, broccoli sprout compounds changed my signaling environment, with appreciable effects beginning in Week 9.

I offered weak supporting evidence in Upgrade your brain’s switchboard with broccoli sprouts where a study’s insufficient one week duration of an insufficient daily 17.3 mg sulforaphane dosage still managed to change a blood antioxidant that may have changed four thalamus-brain-area metabolites. For duration and weight comparisons, I doubled my daily amount of broccoli seeds from one to two tablespoons just before Week 6 (Day 35), and from that point onward consumed a estimated 52 mg sulforaphane with microwaving 3-day-old broccoli sprouts every day.

Maybe a promised “In a submitted study, we will report that peripheral GSH levels may be correlated with cognitive functions” will provide stronger evidence? I’m not holding my breath for relevant studies because:

  • There wouldn’t be potential payoffs for companies to study any broccoli sprout compound connections with research areas such as aging, migraines, etc. Daily clinically-relevant broccoli sprout dosages can be grown for < $500 a year.
  • Sponsors would have to change paradigms, a very-low-probability event. They’d have to explain why enormous resources dedicated to current frameworks haven’t produced effective long-term treatments.

What long-term benefits could be expected if I continue eating broccoli sprouts every day?

The longest relevant clinical trial I’ve seen – referenced in Part 2 of Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane – was twelve weeks. Part 2 also provided epigenetic clock examples of changes measured after 9 months, which accelerated from there to the 12-month end-of-trial point.

Reviewing clinical trials of broccoli sprouts and their compounds pointed out:

“Biomarkers of effect need more time than biomarkers of exposure to be influenced by dietary treatment.”


A contrary argument: Perhaps people don’t require long durations to effectively change their signaling environments?

I apparently didn’t start eating an effective-for-me daily broccoli sprouts dosage until Day 35, when I changed from one to two tablespoons of broccoli seeds a day. If so, Weeks 6 through 8 may account for my substantial responses during Week 9.

  • Could eating broccoli sprouts every day for four weeks dramatically change a person’s signaling environment?
  • Do you have four weeks and $38 to find out? Two tablespoons of broccoli seeds = 21.4 g x 30 days = .642 kg or 1.42 lbs.

This is what twice-a-day one-tablespoon starting amounts of broccoli seeds look like through three days:


Maintaining the sprouting process hasn’t been a big effort compared with the benefits.

In the absence of determinative evidence, I’ll continue eating broccoli sprouts every day. Several areas of my annual physical have room for improvements. Extending my four lifestyle “interventions” a few more months may also provide hints toward inadequately researched connections.

* Results may not be extrapolatable to other people, to any specific condition, etc.

Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

The further I get into a daily regimen of eating broccoli sprouts for ten weeks, the more I appreciate “Effects of long-term consumption of broccoli sprouts on inflammatory markers in overweight subjects.”

“This study represents an advance in intervention studies as the broccoli sprouts were included in a daily dietary pattern in quantities that reflect a real consumption. The hypothesis of our research is that broccoli sprouts are able to reduce the inflammatory status in overweight subjects due to their content in phytochemicals, mainly glucosinolates.

Total concentration of aliphatic glucosinolates was 80.50 mg/30 gf.w. This concentration was two-fold higher than indolic glucosinolates. Volunteers consumed an average of 51 mg (117 μmol) and 20 mg (42 μmol) of glucoraphanin and neoglucobrassicin, respectively, on a daily basis, during the 70 days of the dietary intervention. Considering an amount of GRA [glucoraphanin] of 117 μmol by serving, a 4% on average was metabolized through mercapturic acid pathway.

No significant changes were observed in weight and BMI. By contrast, body fat mass slightly decreased significantly after 70 days of broccoli [sprout] consumption and returned to basal levels at day 90, a state that was maintained until day 160.

The decrease in IL-6 levels was significantly related to the increase in 24 h urine SFN [sulforaphane] levels. In case of C-reactive protein, the decrease was significantly related to the increases in 24 h urine SFN-NAC [SFN-N-acetylcysteine] and SFN-CYS [SFN-cysteine].

The possible synergistic interaction of both SFN and 3,30-DIM and the isothiocyanates erucin and sulforaphane are interconvertible, so that the anti-inflammatory effects observed with broccoli sprouts intake are likely due to the combined effects of all the hydrolysis products of glucosinolates.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261561418301183 (Not freely available, better format) and https://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4647168/ (freely available)


Modifications I’ve made to the clinical trial’s protocols include:

  1. I start new broccoli sprout batches twice a day with one tablespoon of seeds per A pair of broccoli sprout studies.
  2. I eat 131 grams daily as calculated in Estimating daily consumption of broccoli sprout compounds.
  3. Per 3-day-old broccoli sprouts have the optimal yields, I consume broccoli sprouts when they’re 3 days old. The clinical trial subjects ate broccoli sprouts that were at least a week old.
  4. I immerse 3-day-old broccoli sprouts in 100 ml distilled water, then microwave them on 1000W full power for 35 seconds to achieve up to but not exceeding 60°C (140°F) per Microwave broccoli to increase sulforaphane levels.
  5. Per Enhancing sulforaphane content, after microwaving I transfer broccoli sprouts to a strainer, and allow further myrosinase hydrolization of glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates into sulforaphane and other healthy compounds.

I use the above studies as guides to create broccoli sprout hydrolysis compounds just before eating them. I don’t depend on my metabolism to create sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, erucin, and other hydrolysis compounds as did the clinical trial. But then again, those subjects ate super sprouts:

“We used the elicitor methyl jasmonate (MeJA) by priming the seeds as well as by spraying daily over the cotyledons from day 4-7 of germination. We observed that MeJA at concentrations of 250 μmol act as stressor in the plant and enhances the biosynthesis of the phytochemicals glucosinolates.

Compared to control plants without MeJA treatment, the content of compounds as the aliphatic glucosinolate glucoraphanin was enhanced up to a 70% and similar increases were observed with glucoiberin or glucobrassicin. In this way, we improved the content of these health-promoting compounds.”


I’ve referenced our model clinical trial in 15 previous blog posts. They are, in date descending order:

  1. A pair of broccoli sprout studies
  2. Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane
  3. A hair color anecdote
  4. Week 7 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts
  5. Part 2 of Rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane
  6. A rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane
  7. Week 6 of Changing an inflammatory phenotype with broccoli sprouts
  8. Week 3 of Changing an inflammatory phenotype with broccoli sprouts
  9. Broccoli sprouts oppose effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
  10. Reviewing clinical trials of broccoli sprouts and their compounds
  11. Understanding a clinical trial’s broccoli sprout amount
  12. Week 2 of Changing an inflammatory phenotype with broccoli sprouts
  13. Changing an inflammatory phenotype with broccoli sprouts
  14. Growing a broccoli sprouts Victory Garden
  15. How much sulforaphane is suitable for healthy people?

An environmental signaling paradigm of aging

To follow up A rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane, the study’s lead laboratory researcher – Dr. Harold Katcher – provided evidence for an environmental signaling paradigm of aging in this 2015 paper:

“The age-phenotype of a cell or organ depends on its environment and not its history.

Organ dysfunction is not the cause of aging, but is the result of its milieu. Therefore, the aged milieu is the cause. Though it has been thought that the aging immune system is the cause of aging, it can seen to be the result of aging.

The systemic milieu of an organism sets the age-phenotype of its cells, tissues and organs. Cells and organs secrete factors into the blood, which are determined by the age-phenotype and repair-states of those cells and organs. The presence and concentrations of these blood-borne factors determine the age-phenotype of cells and organs.

Here we must be a bit more speculative. Changes in the concentrations of factors present in the blood, rather than their presence or absence, determines age-phenotype.

Interactions between disparate levels of the body’s hierarchy establish a consensus age-phenotype for cells and organs, and this largely occurs via the bloodstream. There appear to be positive factors that promote youthful age-phenotypes and negative factors that promote the aged phenotypes.

We readily consider development as a ‘program’, and it seems clear that we must consider post-adult development as ‘programmed’ as well. But if there is a program it is neither in the genes nor the chromatin, but in the interaction of complex, interconnected systems spanning the hierarchical levels.

If these aforementioned principles are correct, it should be easy to verify. If so, then whole organism rejuvenation might require little more than changing the concentrations of all age-determining molecules of the bloodstream and the various stem cell niche environments to youthful levels for a time sufficient to cause rejuvenation at the cellular level.

Once cells start secreting factors appropriate to their new, younger age-phenotypes, cognate changes should propagate through the hierarchical levels.

The analogy to the workings of a mechanical clock is not very exact. ‘Gears’ represent the individual aging clocks, both cellular and organic (shown at different levels within the mechanism) which interact, ultimately resulting in the organismic age, i.e. the ‘body clock’, represented by the ‘hour hand’ (no minute hand is shown).

In mammals, the readout of the clock corresponds to the age-related composition of the blood plasma. In this model, moving the hour hand backwards should result in a turning back of the composite clocks as well – a result obtain[ed] when induction to pluripotence is used to reset the cellular clocks.

Apart from being slowed down or sped up, the body clock can also be reset. Organisms, organs, and their cells can be reset to different age-phenotypes depending on their environment.

We know that old transplanted tissues and organs can regain function and live for the entire life of the younger host at least in rodents. We must suppose that age-phenotype changes must have taken place at the cellular level to allow this.

Rejuvenation cannot be explained on the basis that aging represents the accumulation of irreparable cellular damage.

None of these principles is rigorously established as such, but all are supported by experimental evidence.”

http://www.eurekaselect.com/130538/article “Towards an Evidence-based Model of Aging”


Here are some of his responses to comments on the blog post that first curated his current research:

“We’ve (scientists), spent the past 70 years trying to definitively prove the commonsense ‘wear and tear’ theories and have not succeeded. So I tried something different, looking at the results of experiments.

This is not based on ‘theory’ (say mitochondrial aging or ‘wear and tear’) but on experimental evidence. Theory comes in explaining our results, not achieving them. There is a theory becoming clear, one very different from the commonsense view of ‘wear and tear’ aging.

We haven’t examined the immune response. All that we know for sure is that the chronic inflammation of aging stopped. I can definitively say that chronic inflammation due to aging can be reversed with factors present in young blood.

There are amazing things that Big Pharma won’t touch as there’s not enough profit in them (they can’t be patented). So I guess we’re somewhat the same, but we know what to do and have proven it – for us, it’s not the money. However, money allows you to do things.

Being 75 myself puts a time-frame around the project. We plan to propose its use for the diseases of aging – eventually, everyone will use it. It will end up changing humanity. As people already seem to have too much free time to begin with, what will people do with those extra years they will be given?”


Sections 3 “Aging Manifestations that Have Hitherto Been Proposed as the Causes of Aging are the Consequences of Aging” and 10 “Several Factors ‘Conspire’ to Promote Inflammation in Old Mammalian Bodies, Inflammation Leads to Several Diseases of Aging and Perhaps to Aging Itself” were especially informative.

The former section discussed cells that were capable of making repairs but didn’t make repairs, with aging being the consequence of this behavior. The latter reviewed topics of the current study such as senescence, IL-6, NF-κB, and C-reactive protein in terms of feedback loops.

See Reevaluate findings in another paradigm for comparisons of Section 6 with another view of hypothalamic aging.

We believe what we need to believe

While getting ready for bed tonight, I mused about how my younger brother had such an idealized postmortem view of our father. As he expressed six years ago in an obituary for our high school Literature teacher:

“I’ll remember my favorite teacher and how much he’s meant to my life. My father and Martin Obrentz were the two people who made me care about the things that make me the person I am today.”

Believe what you need to believe, David. But like I said five years ago in Reflections on my four-year anniversary of spine surgery:

“I don’t remember that my three siblings ever received a paddling or belting, although they were spanked. Even before he retired, 17 years before he died, the Miami-Dade County public school system stopped him and the rest of their employees from spanking, whipping, beating, and paddling children.”


It’s extremely important for a child to have a witness to their adverse childhood experiences. Otherwise, it’s crazy-making when these experiences aren’t acknowledged as truths by anyone else. Especially by those who saw but disavow what they saw.

It didn’t really drum into my conscious awareness until tonight that I had such a witness. It wasn’t my mother, of course, since she directed most of my being whipped with a belt, and beaten with a paddle that had holes in it to produce welts. She has denied and deflected my childhood experiences of her ever since then.

It wasn’t my siblings, regrettably for all of us. It wasn’t our Miami neighbors.

When I was twenty, I ran across a guy 300 miles north in Gainesville, Florida, named David Eisenberg, if I remember correctly. A couple of weeks after we met, he asked if my father was Fred Rice, Dean of Boys, West Miami Junior High School. He said he had been beaten by my father several times!

Those weren’t early childhood memories like mine. Those were experiences of a young man during grades 7-9 that he remembered more than a decade later.

I was shocked. It came at a time when I wasn’t ready to face facts about my life, though. I needed fantasies, beliefs to smother what I felt.


I don’t expect that the impacts of my childhood experiences will ever go away. After three years of Primal Therapy that ended a decade ago, at least mine don’t completely control my life anymore.

Dr. Arthur Janov put self-narratives of several patients’ experiences into his May 2016 book Beyond Belief which I partially curated in February 2017. It was partial because I couldn’t read much past Frank’s horrendous story in pages 89 – 105, “The Myth of a Happy Childhood.”

Aging as an unintended consequence

The coauthors of 2018’s The epigenetic clock theory of aging reviewed progress that’s been made todate in understanding epigenetic clock mechanisms.

1. Proven DNA methylation features of epigenetic clocks:

  1. “Methylation of cytosines is undoubtedly a binary event.
  2. The increase in epigenetic age is contributed by changes of methylation profiles in a very small percent of cells in a population.
  3. The clock ticks extremely fast in early post-natal years and much slower after puberty.
  4. Clock CpGs have specific locations in the genome.
  5. It applies to prenatal biological samples and embryonic stem cells.

While consistency with all the five attributes does not guarantee veracity of a model, inconsistency with any one will signal the unlikely validity of a hypothesis.”

2. Regarding what epigenetic clocks don’t measure:

“The effects of

  • Telomere maintenance,
  • Cellular senescence,
  • DNA damage signaling,
  • Terminal differentiation and
  • Cellular proliferation

have all been tested and found to be unrelated to epigenetic ageing.”

3. Regarding cyclical features:

Both the epigenetic and circadian clocks are present in all cells of the body, but their ticking rates are regulated. Both these clocks lose synchronicity when cells are isolated from tissues and grown in vitro.

These similarities compel one to ponder potential links between them.”

This was among the points that Linear thinking about biological age clocks missed.

4. The reviewers discussed 3 of the 5 treatment elements in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends:

“It is not known at this stage whether the rejuvenating effect is mediated through the regeneration of the thymus or a direct effect of the treatment modality on the body. Also, it is not known if the effect is mediated by all three compounds or one or two of them.

What we know at this stage does not allow the formation of general principles regarding the impact of hormones on epigenetic age, but their involvement in development and maintenance of the body argue that they do indeed have a very significant impact on the epigenetic clock.”

Not sure why they omitted 3000 IU vitamin D and 50 mg zinc, especially since:

“It is not known if the effect is mediated by all three [five] compounds or one or two of them.”

5. They touched on the specialty of Aging as a disease researchers with:

“Muscle stem cells isolated from mice were epigenetically much younger independently of the ages of the tissue / animal from which they were derived.

The proliferation and differentiation of muscle stem cells cease upon physical maturation. These activities are initiated in adult muscles only in response to injury.

6. The reviewers agreed with those researchers in the Conclusion:

“Epigenetic ageing begins from very early moments after the embryonic stem cell stage and continues uninterrupted through the entire lifespan. The significance of this is profound as the question of why we age has been attributed to many different things, most commonly to ‘wear-and-tear.’

The ticking of the epigenetic clock from the embryonic state challenges this perspective and supports the notion that ageing is an unintended consequence of processes that are necessary for

  • The development of the organism and
  • Tissue homeostasis thereafter.”


https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1535370220918329 “Current perspectives on the cellular and molecular features of epigenetic ageing” (not freely available)

Do early experiences of hunger affect our behavior, thoughts, and feelings today?

Reposted from five years ago.


A 2015 worldwide human study Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects found that people’s current degree of hungriness affected their propensity to acquire nonfood items.

The researchers admitted that they didn’t demonstrate cause and effect with the five experiments they performed, although the findings had merit. News articles poked good-natured fun at the findings with headlines such as “Why Hungry People Want More Binder Clips.”

The research caught my eye with these statements:

“Hunger’s influence extends beyond food consumption to the acquisition of nonfood items that cannot satisfy the underlying need.

We conclude that a basic biologically based motivation can affect substantively unrelated behaviors that cannot satisfy the motivation.


The concept of the quotes relates to a principle of Dr. Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy – symbolic satisfaction of needs. Two fundamentals of Primal Therapy:

  1. The physiological impacts of our early unmet needs drive our behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
  2. The painful impacts of our unfulfilled needs impel us to be constantly vigilant for some way to fulfill them.

Corollary principles of Primal Therapy:

  • Our present efforts to fulfill our early unmet needs will seldom be satisfying. It’s too late.
  • We acquire substitutes now for what we really needed back then.
  • Acquiring these symbols of our early unmet needs may – at best – temporarily satisfy derivative needs.

But the symbolic satisfaction of derived needs – the symptoms – never resolves the impacts of early unfulfilled needs – the motivating causes:

  • We repeat the acquisition behavior, and get caught in a circle of acting out our feelings and impulses driven by these conditions.
  • The unconscious act-outs become sources of misery both to us and to the people around us.

As this study’s findings showed, there’s every reason for us to want researchers to provide a factual blueprint of causes for our hunger sensation effects, such as “unrelated behaviors that cannot satisfy the motivation.

Hunger research objectives could include answering:

  • What enduring physiological changes occurred as a result of past hunger?
  • How do these changes affect the subjects’ present behaviors, thoughts, and feelings?

Hunger research causal evidence for the effect of why people acquire items that cannot satisfy the underlying needmay include studying where to start the timelines for the impacts of hunger. The impacts potentially go back at least to infancy when we were completely dependent on our caregivers.

Infants can’t get up to go to the refrigerator to satisfy their hunger. All a hungry infant can do is call attention to their need, and feel pain from the deprivation of their need.

Is infancy far back enough, though, to understand the beginnings of potential impacts of hunger?

The epigenetics of perinatal stress

This 2019 McGill review discussed long-lasting effects of perinatal stress:

“Epigenetic processes are involved in embedding the impact of early-life experience in the genome and mediating between social environments and later behavioral phenotypes. Since these phenotypes are apparent a long time after the early experience, the changes in gene expression programming must be stable.

Although loss of methylation in a promoter is necessary for expression, it is not sufficient. Demethylation removes a barrier for expression, but expression might be realized at the right time or context when the needed factors or signals are present.

DNA methylation anticipates future transcriptional response to triggers. Comparing steady-state expression with DNA methylation does not capture the full meaning and scope of the regulatory roles of differential methylation.

A model for epigenetic programming by early life stress:

  1. Perinatal stress perceived by the brain triggers release of glucocorticoids (GC) from the adrenal in the mother prenatally or the newborn postnatally.
  2. GC activate nuclear glucocorticoid receptors across the body, which epigenetically program (demethylate) genes that are targets of GR in brain and white blood cells (WBC).
  3. The demethylation events are insufficient for activation of these genes. A brain specific factor (TF) is required for expression and will activate low expression of the gene in the brain but not in blood.
  4. During adulthood a stressful event transiently triggers a very high level of expression of the GR regulated gene specifically in the brain.

Horizontal arrow, transcription; circles, CpG sites; CH3 in circles, methylated sites; empty circles, unmethylated CpG sites; horizon[t]al curved lines, mRNA.”

Points discussed in the review:

  • “Epigenetic marks are laid down and maintained by enzymes that either add or remove epigenetic modifications and are therefore potentially reversible in contrast to genetic changes.
  • The response to early life stress and maternal behavior is also not limited to the brain and involves at least the immune system as well.
  • The placenta is also impacted by maternal social experience and early life stress.
  • Most studies are limited to peripheral tissues such as saliva and white blood cells, and the relevance to brain physiology and pathology is uncertain.
  • The low absolute differences in methylation seen in most human behavioral EWAS raise questions about their biological significance.

  • Although post-mortem studies examine epigenetic programming in physiologically relevant tissues, they represent only a final and single stage that does not capture the dynamic evolution of environments and epigenetic programming in living humans.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6952743/ “The epigenetics of perinatal stress”


Other reviewers try to ignore the times when we were all fetuses and newborns. For example, in the same journal issue was a Boston review of PTSD that didn’t mention anything about the earliest times of human lives! Those reviewers speculated around this obvious gap on their way to being paid by NIH.

Why would researchers ignore perinatal stress events that prime humans for later-life PTSD? Stress generally has a greater impact on fetuses and newborns than even infants, and a greater impact on infants than adults.

A blood plasma aging clock

This 2019 Stanford human study developed an aging clock using blood plasma proteins:

“We measured 2,925 plasma proteins from 4,331 young adults to nonagenarians [18 – 95] and developed a novel bioinformatics approach which uncovered profound non-linear alterations in the human plasma proteome with age. Waves of changes in the proteome in the fourth, seventh, and eighth decades of life reflected distinct biological pathways, and revealed differential associations with the genome and proteome of age-related diseases and phenotypic traits.

To determine whether the plasma proteome can predict chronological age and serve as a “proteomic clock,” we used 2,858 randomly selected subjects to fine-tune a predictive model that was tested on the remaining 1,473 subjects. We identified a sex-independent plasma proteomic clock consisting of 373 proteins. Subjects that were predicted younger than their chronologic age based on their plasma proteome performed better on cognitive and physical tests.

The 3 age-related crests were comprised of different proteins. Few proteins, such as GDF15, were among the top 10 differentially expressed proteins in each crest, consistent with its strong increase across lifespan. Other proteins, like chordin-like protein 1 (CHRDL1) or pleiotrophin (PTN), were significantly changed only at the last two crests, reflecting their exponential increase with age.

We observed a prominent shift in multiple biological pathways with aging:

  • At young age (34 years), we observed a downregulation of proteins involved in structural pathways such as the extracellular matrix. These changes were reversed in middle and old ages (60 and 78 years, respectively).
  • At age 60, we found a predominant role of hormonal activity, binding functions and blood pathways.
  • At age 78, key processes still included blood pathways but also bone morphogenetic protein signaling, which is involved in numerous cellular functions, including inflammation.

These results suggest that aging is a dynamic, non-linear process characterized by waves of changes in plasma proteins that are reflective of a complex shift in the activity of biological processes.”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/751115v1.full “Undulating changes in human plasma proteome across lifespan are linked to disease”


A non-critical review of the study was published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation. Frequent qualifiers like “could,” “may,” and “possible” were consistent with the confirmation biases of their advocacy.

There were several misstatements of what the study did, including the innumerate:

  1. “used around half of the participant data to build a “proteomic clock”
  2. tested it on the other half of the participants
  3. a total of 3000 proteins”

Per the above study quotation, the numbers were actually:

  1. Closer to two thirds (2,858 ÷ 4,331), not “around half”;
  2. The other third (1,473 ÷ 4,331), not “the other half”; and
  3. 2,925 not 3000.

The final paragraph and other parts of the review bordered on woo. Did a review of the findings have to fit LEAF’s perspective?


In contrast, Josh Mitteldorf did his usual excellent job of providing contexts for the study with New Aging Clock based on Proteins in the Blood, emphasizing comparisons with epigenetic clock methodologies:

“For some of the proteins that feature prominently in the clock, we have a good understanding of their metabolic function, and for the most part they vindicate my belief that epigenetic changes are predominantly drivers of senescence rather than protective responses to damage.

Wyss-Coray compared the proteins in the new (human) proteome clock with the proteins that were altered in the (mouse) parabiosis experiments, and found a large overlap [46 proteins change in the same direction and define a conserved aging signature]. This may be the best evidence we have that the proteome changes are predominantly causal factors of senescence.

46 plasma proteins

Almost all the proteins identified as changing rapidly at age 78 are increasing. In contrast, a few of the fastest-changing proteins at age 60 are decreasing (though most are increasing). GDF15 deserves a story of its own.

The implication is that a more accurate clock can be constructed if it incorporates different information at different life stages. None of the Horvath clocks have been derived based on different CpG sites at different ages, and this suggests an opportunity for a potential improvement in accuracy.”

A commentator linked the below study:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867419308323 “GDF15 Is an Inflammation-Induced Central Mediator of Tissue Tolerance” (not freely available)

which prompted his response:

“Thanks, Lee! This is just the kind of specific information that I was asking for. It would seem we should construct our clocks without GDF15, which otherwise might loom large.”

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance extends to the great-great-grand offspring

This 2019 rodent study by the Washington State University labs of Dr. Michael Skinner continued to F4 generation great-great-grand offspring, and demonstrated that epigenetic inheritance mechanisms are similar to imprinted genes:

“Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance potentially impacts disease etiology, phenotypic variation, and evolution. An increasing number of environmental factors from nutrition to toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease.

Imprinted genes are a special class of genes since their DNA methylation patterns are unchanged over the generation and are not affected by the methylation erasure occurring early in development. The transgenerational epigenetic alterations in the germline appear to be permanently reprogrammed like imprinted genes, and appear protected from this DNA methylation erasure and reprogramming at fertilization in the subsequent generations. Similar to imprinted genes, the epigenetic transgenerational germline epimutations appear to have a methylation erasure in the primordial germ cells involving an epigenetic molecular memory.

Comparison of the transgenerational F3 generation, with the outcross to the F4 generation through the paternal or maternal lineages, allows an assessment of parent-of-origin transmission of disease or pathology. Observations provided examples of the following:

  1. Pathology that required combined contribution of both paternal and maternal alleles to promote disease [testis and ovarian disease];
  2. Pathology that is derived from the opposite sex allele such as father to daughter [kidney disease] or mother to son [prostate disease];
  3. Pathology that is derived from either parent-of-origin alleles independently [obesity];
  4. Pathology that is transmitted within the same sex, such as maternal to daughter [mammary tumor development]; and
  5. Pathology that is observed only following a specific parent-of-origin outcross [both F4 male obesity and F4 female kidney disease in the vinclozolin lineage].”

The study showed that epigenetically inherited legacies extend to the fifth generation. Do any of us know our ancestors’ medical histories back to our great-great-grandparents?

Will toxicologists take their jobs seriously, catch up to the current science, and investigate possible effects in at least the F3 generation that had no direct toxicant exposure?

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160619303471 “Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of parent-of-origin allelic transmission of outcross pathology and sperm epimutations”

Do genes or maternal environments shape fetal brains?

This 2019 Singapore human study used Diffusion Tensor Imaging on 5-to-17-day old infants to find:

“Our findings showed evidence for region-specific effects of genotype and GxE on individual differences in human fetal development of the hippocampus and amygdala. Gene x Environment models outcompeted models containing genotype or environment only, to best explain the majority of measures but some, especially of the amygdaloid microstructure, were best explained by genotype only.

Models including DNA methylation measured in the neonate umbilical cords outcompeted the Gene and Gene x Environment models for the majority of amygdaloid measures and minority of hippocampal measures. The fact that methylation models outcompeted gene x environment models in many instances is compatible with the idea that DNA methylation is a product of GxE.

A genome-wide association study of SNP [single nucleotide polymorphism] interactions with the prenatal environments (GxE) yielded genome wide significance for 13 gene x environment models. The majority (10) explained hippocampal measures in interaction with prenatal maternal mental health and SES [socioeconomic status]. The three genome-wide significant models predicting amygdaloid measures, explained right amygdala volume in interaction with maternal depression.

The transcription factor CUX1 was implicated in the genotypic variation interaction with prenatal maternal health to shape the amygdala. It was also a central node in the subnetworks formed by genes mapping to the CpGs in neonatal umbilical cord DNA methylation data associating with both amygdala and hippocampus structure and substructure.

Our results implicated the glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) in population variance of neonatal amygdala structure and microstructure.

Estrogen in the hippocampus affects learning, memory, neurogenesis, synapse density and plasticity. In the brain testosterone is commonly aromatized to estradiol and thus the estrogen receptor mediates not only the effects of estrogen, but also that of testosterone.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gbb.12576 “Neonatal amygdalae and hippocampi are influenced by genotype and prenatal environment, and reflected in the neonatal DNA methylome” (not freely available)