Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zoopharmacognosy: Chimps Eat Medicinal Plants

What do Aspilia, cocaine and kissing have in common?

Robert M. Sapolsky writes in his book of essays 'The Trouble With Testosterone and Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament' (which I'd highly recommend -- Sapolsky is a FR**KIN genius) about the use of a leaf by chimps studied by Wrangham at Harvard at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. He and the researchers observed the chimpanzees wadding up the leaves whole, then holding them under their tongue for a while, then swallowing without chewing. The leaves passed through the intestines undigested and intact in the stools. 'Off and on throughout the meal the chimpanzees would make faces: Aspilia apparently was no tasty treat' he wrote in the essay entitled Curious George's Pharmacy.

Sapolsky adds...'Intrigued, Wrangham sent samples of the plant for analysis to Eloy Rodriguez, a biochemist at the University of California in Irvine. Rodriquez discovered that the leaves contain thiarubrine-A, a reddish oil kown to be a potent toxin against fungi, bacteria, and parasite nematodes. Indeed, they noted that the youngest Aspilia leaves, much the preferred kind among the chimpanzees, are far richer in the oil than the older leaves are. And he thought it significant that the apes kept the drug under their tongues before gulping it down: the tongue is dense with minute blood vessels, and so a substance held there can bypass the digestive juices and head straight into the circulation.'

Mucosal Absorption of Biochemicals and Hormones

Philematology is the study and science of kissing... turns out many hormones are instantly generated and conveyed via... KISSING... (scientists found: oxytocin and testosterone go up... for bonding libido, but for grrrrls oxytocin goes down... to ?decrease protective defense modes). Hormones via mucosal absorption in the mouth can be transmitted much like the above chemicals in leaves of Aspilia, sublingually administrated cocaine or nitroglycerin. The lining of the mouth and under the tongue (buccal mucosa) are rich and full of a blood vessels which interface transparently almost with spit. Drugs and chemicals pass easily then enter the blood stream systemically with rapid speed.

Chimps Fix Gut Dysbiosis -- What About You?

'On the basis of his laboratory studies, plus Wrangham's observations, Rodriquez estimated that in each eccentric bout of Aspilia feeding, the chimpanzees consumed just enough thiarubrine-A to kill between 70 and 80 percent of the parasites in their digestive tracts, without harming other, useful intestinal bacteria. Wrangham and Rodriguez also noted that Tanzanian tribespeople have long chewed Aspilia leaves to health stomachaches and a variety of other ills. Hence the two coworkers speculated that the chimpanzee were using the plant as medicine.'

What is the surface area of our gut? Though smaller compared with primates, we traded a bigger, energy-guzzling brain for a smaller-gut, the surface area supported is still relatively SPACIOUS AND ENORMOUS.

The gut ecosystem (hat tip to Brent -- thank you for the term buddy!) is in delicate balance. Excessive negative factors can outweigh the positive factors thereby leading to chaos, entropy and dysbiosis... until re-balance is established. Broad spectrum antibiotics are extremely powerful in negatively throwing off this balance. Antibiotics are found in industrially mass produced beef, pork, chicken, seafood and dairy products and the stuff your physicians gives you for grain-induced acne, viral infections (which antibiotics don't work), and any sniffle/cough/bellyache. The main problem with antibiotics is that they wipe out the good bacteria, leaving behind armies of bad bacteria (Klebsiella, H. pylori, C. difficile, Group B Strep, etc), bad fungus (Candida, etc), and potentially bad microbes including parasites which thrive in the new imbalanced ecosystem. A great part of the immune system and neurologic system are centered in the gut. Below the belt?? Yes.

When the gut is j*cked up by grains, gluten, high carbs, nutritional depletion, antibiotics, metals, Candida overgrowth, liver flukes, parasites...et cetera, a HEEEEEYYYGE part of the human ecosystem, immunity and the brain can be seriously derailed.

Go antibiotic-free meat/dairy and G-R-A-S-S-F-E-D.

See prior posts: grassfed beef.

Medicinal leaves... aint no chimp change for belly dispositions.

Animal Nutritional Therapy

Describing plant chemicals, Sapolsky continues '...in the endless wars between plants and animals, many plants have evolved leaves laced with secondary plant compounds among which substances are cardiac toxins, hallucinogens, antifertility drugs, and growth inhibitors. Such chemicals have no effect on the plants, but they can be deadly poisonous to any animal foolish enough to eat them. Not to be outdone, animals have evolved counteroffensive patterns of behavior that enable them to eat the plants: they may follow up a poisonous meal by eating something that can detoxify the poison. Rats, for instance, often consume clay after eating highly toxic plants; the clay absorbs the poisons.'

'Animals also appear to correct their own dietary deficiencies. In his famous "cafeteria" studies a half century ago the psychobiologist Curt P. Richter broke up a balanced rat diet into its constituent parts, serving up eleven small trays of proteins, oils, fats, sugars, salt, yeast, water, adn so forth. Remarkably, the rats picked out an efficient diet that, with few calories, made them grow at a rate faster than that of the rats fed normal chow.'

Natural Wormicidal Plants

There are a few medicinal plants that have been used by ancient pharmacopractitioners and temptresses... *haa* Worms, flukes, helminths and other parasites occurred routinely in our evolutionary history up until the recent advent of potent synthetic antibiotics and anti-parasite medications. Have you watched Survivor? On the TV show, many lose weight not only from the semi-intermittent fasting but also from nutritional losses and deficiencies from parasite overgrowth. I've read that several contestants required months of treatment upon returning to civilization.

*** Japanese Apricot, Plum: 'Ume' (Prunus mume -- see Wiki)

Side (unripe ume) and below pictures are courtesy of Dave's Garden and SergetheCongriege. Top picture wiki, dried and preserved umeboshi.

One such plant is a fruit known in Korea, Japan and China as the Asian plum or apricot (Ume, Prunus mume). It can be fermented, dried, pickled and also used as a liquor or vinegar. In Korea, unriped ume is known as maesil and used for over a thousand years for digestion and improve blood alkalinity (here and here).

Several trials (see Refs) have shown the anti-worm and antibacterial properties of Prunus mume. One trial showed no improvement in H. pylori urea breath test results (but 11% were noted as eradication (2 cases of responders)), a frequently implicated microaerophilic bacteria in ulcer and gastritis formation, however another trial showed distinct and significant improvement in H. pylori related chronic gastritis with lower H. pylori bacterial load via endoscopic tissue biopsy and reduced active mucosal inflammation and neutrophil infiltration. Endoscopic data is more accurate than breath testing. Both evaluations were human animal studies (e.g. pharmacognosy). In screening activity of 223 species of Chinese medicines (plant, animal, mineral materials), 31 showed anti-wormicidal properties including Prunus mume as effective against the human liver fluke, known as Clonorchis sinensis (see Wiki).

Applying Food Science (MEAT SCIENCE)
Food science was part of my experience from undergrad in nutritional science that I enjoyed. Other plums (Prunus domestica L.) have been pureed and studied in beef patties and pork sausages as an 'extender' for both flavor and shelf life. Yes. Plums appear to display potent biological antioxidant effects. Plum puree was shown to decrease TBARS (measure of oxidative capacity, especially associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids which become rancid easily) compared with controls (J Food Sci 2008 HERE and my fave Meat Science 2010 HERE). My parents grew up in Taiwan eating a lot of tiny dried SOUR plums and developed quite a habit eating them which my sisters I never adopted... who knew the nutritive value may be as a gut flora enhancer? (Picture below wiki, commerical pickled plum (ume) from China; side picture, what my parents eat, courtesy alibaba.com)

References and Further Reading:
1. Dietary Supplementation with Probiotic Fermented Tetra-Herbal Combination Enhances Immune Activity in Broiler Chicks and Increases Survivability against Salmonella Gallinarum in Experimentally Infected Broiler Chicks.
Jung BG, Ko JH, Lee BJ.
J Vet Med Sci. 2010 Jul 28. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Inhibitory effects of Japanese apricot (Prunus mume Siebold et Zucc.; Ume) on Helicobacter pylori-related chronic gastritis [IN HUMAN SUBJECTS].
Enomoto S, Yanaoka K, Utsunomiya H, Niwa T, Inada K, Deguchi H, Ueda K, Mukoubayashi C, Inoue I, Maekita T, Nakazawa K, Iguchi M, Arii K, Tamai H, Yoshimura N, Fujishiro M, Oka M, Ichinose M.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;64(7):714-9.

3. Immune-Enhancing Effect of Fermented Maesil (Prunus mume Siebold & Zucc.) with probiotics against Bordetella bronchiseptica in Mice.
Jung BG, Ko JH, Cho SJ, Koh HB, Yoon SR, Han DU, Lee BJ.
J Vet Med Sci. 2010 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Fruit-juice concentrate of Asian plum inhibits growth signals of vascular smooth muscle cells induced by angiotensin II.
Utsunomiya H, Takekoshi S, Gato N, Utatsu H, Motley ED, Eguchi K, Fitzgerald TG, Mifune M, Frank GD, Eguchi S.
Life Sci. 2002 Dec 27;72(6):659-67.

5. Screening of the wormicidal Chinese raw drugs on Clonorchis sinensis.
Rhee JK, Woo KJ, Baek BK, Ahn BJ.
Am J Chin Med. 1981 Winter;9(4):277-84.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Track My (Inner) B*tch Or Fertility Or Whatever

Track My B*tch

Very cool gadgets out there! Found one for tracking my period for free (monthlyinfo.com) which provides text or email update alerts which can be set to x number days before/after a period or ovulation. Personally, I've had hormone issues after a terrible debacle with a Mirena IUD which released tons of artificial progestin into storage in my fat cells. They all apparently poured out when the IUD was extracted 2+ years ago and only recently abated for the most part. FYI Synthetic hormones S*CK. They are endocrine disruptors and scr*w the adrenals, cortisol, insulin, body fat, libido, bone density, gut/B12 absorption and thousands of other different pathways and biochemical cascades.

Programs like Track My B*tch and Code Red are discussed by Esquire's sex columnist, Ms. Stacey Grenrock Woods and her recent article in the August issue, How to Track Her Period. Digitally.


She is so goooood. I dig her archives.


My friends know I'm awful with my calendar, and worse, knowing when I'm doing things... like ovulating... or about to have my period. Honestly 27-28 day cycles are hard to track.

Anyway. Ms. Woods reviewed the iPhone apps out there for the value of preventing a homicide from the consequences of PMS ('pack-my-suitcase') females syndromes and potential benefits. *haa* Men. Take note. $1.99 is little to pay to stay out of our way.

Track Fertility

For those trying to coordinate the fusion of a sperm and an egg... these are cool devices! I like the neat calendar, export features and data entry (I put in signs of high estrogen days, e.g. SKINNY days, and the estrogen withdrawal days, e.g. FAT-ATTEND-XFIT days).

Concealed Conception

I first read about this concept, concealed conception, in Sex at Dawn and The Red Queen, and realized, yes, humans are quite special. Other than certain bird species, we are one of the few animals with concealed conception where obvious signs of ovulation are hidden and extremely subtle. Yes. Grrrls don't even know. Vague scent and pheromones changes, hair/nail/skin slight luminosity, minuscule waist size declines, mood slightly chirpier, higher testosterone (better strength and performance) are insignificant indications of major hormone and mounting ovulatory action. Hormones. They can ROCK and RULE because they play an enormous role in human sexual evolution and survival. Female hormones vary daily. Or, some conjecture hourly *haa*. See top diagram. It's based on that egg-precursor. Men on the other hand hardly vary staying rock steady except when driving on the freeway and those rare moments of road rage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

G-Free Celebrities: Bill Clinton, Ryan Phillipe, Zooey Deschanel, 'Posh' Beckham, Rachel Weisz, Emmy Rossum...

Fly Like a G6: Far East Movement

Ryan Phillipe: Wheat Allergy

On a recent Men's Health mag issue with SWEETIE Ryan Phillipe 'Break Out of the Box', he talked about having a wheat intolerance and giving up his favorite foods (including beer), after suffering from stomach issues since childhood. My sister read the feature and insisted I post on it... The article reports he prepares home-cooked meals for his kids and wakes up at 6am to make them breakfast. CUTE CUTE CUTE. [YES. How could I miss this? I did not read the article just the relevant... um... . OK anyway. I like male magazines b/c they are short, to the point and really relevant. And, nice articles *WINKY*]

Who recommended going wheat-free to Mr. Phillipe??!

Both my sister 'M' and I were surprised to read that it was HIS DOCTOR. I about fell OUT OF MY PLAIN CHAIR. So yes I am posting this and his shimmering, G-Free, beautiful abs of Mr. Phillipe deserve a spot today. His bod flies like a G6. See his MH fullbody workout. It's functional HIIT and xfit... Another revolution.

Bill Clinton: Wheat and Dairy Intolerant

Chelsea's wedding featured a gluten-free cake from La Tulipe Desserts. Read NYT: HERE.

USA Today HERE reported from the White House chef in 2007, 'Cooking for Clinton was often a challenge because he had allergies to chocolate, dairy and wheat flour... But Clinton could be voracious when it came to desserts.' Well. When you are low fat, low saturated fat, that is what happens. HUNGER.

'Posh' Beckham + other fem celebs: Wheat Intolerant

G-Free Definition: Problem Not Grain-Free and Full of Cr*p

Personally I believe gluten-free is not enough for an ultimately optimal lifespan and health. Gluten-free products often still are refined, vastly processed and full of high carbohydrates and problem oils (oxidized, pesticide-laden crops of omega-6 canola, safflower, cottonseed, etc) which spike and increase blood glucoses (BG) and promote silent inflammation. Chronic silent inflammation leads to cancer, obesity, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, arithritis, weight gain, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

Gluten free however alone improves stomach and GI symptoms including bloating, constipation, bloody stools, iron deficiency anemia, chronic fatigue, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and gut dysbiosis.

Oats are Heart-Healthy? Iron and Mineral Deficiencies

In 1950 Sharpe and Peacock et al reviewed the effects of phytate in oats (study funded by Quaker Oats) on radioactive iron. They found that oats reduced iron absorption by 2/3 effectively. Obviously this would not pass IRB these days! But their results are quite curious. It's a GEM.

Oats can lead to iron deficiency by chronic consumption via the effects of phytate binding and making minerals unavailable for absorption in the intestines; this trial shows the iron binding effects of oat grains (Free PDF. The effect of phytate and other food factors on iron absorption. J Nutr. 1950 Jul;41(3):433-46.). Below are the meals each containing relative same amounts of radioactive-iron and the resultant radioactive-iron retention over time -- the best retention was the water only + iron. Next was milk only + iron. Milk has calcium which may chelate iron and make bio-unavailable.

Prior post: Pica/hunger and Mineral Deficiencies -- Vast Zinc Deficiencies in U.S. and globally

Grain-free is far better and more evolutionary aligned with our DNA... No oatmeal, no oatbran, no millet, no wheat/barley/rye (GLUTEN), no rice, no maize or corn...


G-Free is a G-OOD START and raises much needed AWARENESS.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Price of a Gallon of Gasoline

'I didn't grow up in Louisiana, and I can imagine those who did are even more passionate about cleaning up this mess than the rest of us. I grew up in Canada, where we have a similar tragedy being carried out right now: the ancient boreal forest in Northern Alberta is being destroyed to collect dirty tar sands oil. Oil that generates three times the global warming pollution as regular crude. As a result, entire ecosystems and indigenous communities are being devastated.'

Ryan Reynolds, Activist, Actor (and ridiculously fine male specimen)
HuffPo blog

Prior post: Provoking Envy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meat Made Us Smart But... Marine-based, BAD*SSED

Meat Made Us Smart?

Making the evo/paleo blogs are the latest headlines... meat made us smart. NPR's article which is excellent: HERE. Love love LOVE NPR's new series. However. Meat. So what? I'm a carnivore and LUST4MEAT but my higher IQ is not attributed to meat. Figure from Richards et al PNAS 2000 and thank you to Stephan for the forward and rich insights HERE and HERE. Update: Richards et al later re-dated the Neanderthal bones to ~33-40 kya, not the stated ~28,500 yrs ago in the original article (Vindija 207 208 data).

Q: What Made Ancient Humans Rapidly DOMINATE the GLOBE?

A: Marine seafood (fauna and flora) including stems, leaves, tubers, berries, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, seals, dolphins, eels... and etc.

*** Summer Reading ***

Been doing some lightweight, softcore summer reading...
(a) MATT RIDLEY, 'Sex and the evolution of human nature: The Red Queen'
(b) 'Sex at dawn', authored by a psychologist and psychiatrist, C. Ryan and C. Jatha
(c) 'Carbs Can Kill!' by a pharmacist/physician, Dr. Robert Su MD, his personal account of complete health reversal (angina/CAD, skin issues, abdominal obesity, sleep apnea) from an MD point of view on a high saturated fat, carbohydrate-restricted (grain-free) diet. He is a fan of Feinman, Volek and the entire body of low-carb, high fat evidence, which he reviews in articulate and simple terms in his wonderful book. He interviews Sally Fallon author Nourishing Traditions (one of my favorite cookbooks) and WAPFer, HERE. Over 1100+ high sat fat, carb restricted cancer, disease and health references are listed conveniently on his site: HERE.

All 3 were extremely entertaining, enlightening and entirely edifying. Without really arguing the diet point, each of these scientific or sexual-psychosocial or medical/nutritional nonfiction are all for highly descriptive of a behavior or lifestyle written by evolution. (Thanks Dr. Dan for that motto!~) Unfortunately books #1 and #2 don't appear to understand the wild-human diet part... HHHhmmm.

Regarding Sex at dawn, like Melissa who reviewed it earlier HERE at hunt gather love, I agree the authors miss out on romantic love. Where is the LOVE??? Granted... lust does revolve the world around, but again, where's the *heart* sounds.

Also I believe in our human evolutionary history based on our close evo ties to ALL animals, including birds and fish... Ridley argues a better animalistic point that humans are somewhere in behavior (and the genetic studies appear to verify) between the birds and the bonobos/primates... Sexual dimorphism, behavior (mono- v. polygamous depending on fecundity of resources), courtship, songs, pair bonds + affairs, egalitarianism, child/egg rearing, paternity protection, etc. Elaborate shelter construction, prenatal and gestational nesting, omnivorous diet, etc-- Ridley forgot these factors, but I believe these are also common traits.

Biggest Organ

Surprisingly our largest organ which has made the most progressive advances over the last 25 million years... is the BRAIN. Cranial volume has tripled since primates branched off. Neanderthal brains were ~20% larger than current humans. Ancient human brains were also larger but by a smaller fraction, an estimated ~11% larger than currently. An MSNBC 2006 article discusses the microcephalin gene (D variant) which regulates brain size being found in both modern humans and Neanderthals, HERE. Does size matter? I believe so. Above diagram from Trinkaus Richards PNAS 2009, comparing isotope data between Neanderthals, ancient humans and related faunal assemblages.

Author Matt Ridley has tied together an eloquently argued subject that links sexual adaptation, success, survival with human intelligence.

[Smart? He is indeed smart. And funny as H*LL.]

Bigger brains lead to more food.

More food ---> More S*X

More S*X ---> More progeny and so on and so on

Food maybe a relative (Red Queen) euphemism...for any sustenance and nourishment (intellectual, emo, spiritual).

Obviously I've oversimplified and omitted the best thoughts.

Actually the beauty and clarity of Ridley's tight, dense, razor sharp scrutiny of all the lines of evidence and parallels drawn from the wealth of examples from the animal kingdom is how he scintillates the essence of human nature. 'Be different.'

Like a peacock's display, the brain's neurologic display (intelligence, humor, creativity, personality) is the point of attraction that he proposes was selected for over time. It's an interesting contention and makes insanely logical sense.

==>Recap: big brains-->big display-->big S*X-->big progeny

Ancient Humans: More Seafood (More S*X?)

Ridley discusses how bottle-nosed dolphins are perhaps the only other animal (mammal) with intelligence that rivals human intelligence and our complex language skills. However, dolphins brain:body ratios are only ~0.9% whereas humans are vastly higher ~2%. What do ancient humans have in common with our marine cousins, the social pack animal and s*xy/lusty predators, the dolphins?

Neanderthals were incredibly robust, hormonally superb specimens with excellent, dense, powerful bones, and complex communication for large mammal hunts and emerging culture 50-30,000 years ago. Shipman from PennState wrote in PNAS 2008 'Importantly, marine mammals, fish, and mollusks were systematically exploited by both Neanderthals and modern humans throughout the stratigraphic sequences at these caves.'

Above diagram, again, from Trinkaus Richards PNAS 2009. Obviously clear ancient humans were Marine Carnivores and Neanderthals were Herbivore Carnivores (?with possible broad spectrum sourcing including legumes and grasses).

Marine-sourced food is the most highest concentrated sources of omega-3 (marine veggies ALA, marine protein EPA DHA). Most fish or marine mammals don't produce it; THEY EAT IT. From sources concentrated up the food chain starting with algae and phytoplankton up the network, nitrogen and carbon atoms gradually change and can be measured a millenia later.

Omega-3 is BRAIN food.

We are what we eat: Stable 15N 13C Isotope Profiling

Right diagram, courtesy Prof White at Cornell for Geobiochemistry and stable isotopes in paleontology. Nitrogen concentrations up the food chain and marine food networks are laced with more complex hierarchy compared with terrestrial. Carbon is also concentrated up the food chain with again marine sources richer and with higher density carbon atoms compared with land-origin sources. Plants diversified and evolved during the early Miocene 25 mya from Calvin cycle only plants (C3) to more advanced plants that adapted to less water losses (via heat and/or via aridity) with an extra carbon altering step to malate (in the mesophyll vein) before entering the Calvin cycle (C4 plants). During cooling temps or droughts or fires that displaced lush forests and woodlands, grasslands, legumes and grains filled in then eventually flourished (C3 and C4 plants). See Left diagram.

As we can see from Prof White's diagram (right) that Neolithic Europeans who consumed less meat and seafood and more vegetables (C3, C4) had lower density 15N and 13C, compared with marine carnivores: (a) historic Eskimo hunter-gather-fishermen and (b) mesolithic Denmark people.

Go back and examine the 13C data (under 'Big Organ' or HERE) from Richards and Trinkaus PNAS 2009. C13 density is lower for Neanderthals compared with ancient humans yet about the same levels as other carnivores and omnivores (wolf, fox, respectively) and terrestrial small-large herbivores they were known to hunt and consume.

Data exists as early as 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals foraged small grain grasses, legumes and cereals in a small but non-neglible manner. See prior post.

Personally I think it is quite plausible that Neanderthals sourced their food in a very wide way that excluded much marine-based resouces, as indicated by the lack of density in the 15N and 13C isotope evidence.


I dunno.

Perhaps Neanderthals with their larger brains and early utilization of marine-based foods had a staggering boost in intelligence which translated to a more immense broad-spectrum resource utilization of legumes, small grains and cereals before ancient man got a clue (circa 12,000 years ago, neolithism).

Perhaps Neanderthals failed to figure out how to ferment and displace toxic legume and cereal-containing phytic acid? Ambient warm temperatures are required for fermentation. Perhaps this did not occur sufficiently (and/or by serendipity) until the last glacial maximum ended ~ 16 to 12,000 yrs ago as temperatures rose again finally.

Can a race over-innovate?

Can a race over-innovate to extinction? Esp when the other race is eating omega-3 fish oils by the ton having more s*x and more progeny?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



YES yessss... [slam table emphatically]

I finally have a blogroll... Sorry it took so long!

Theme: healing our immunity, gut and hormones via paleo/evo, stress-reduction lifestyles and reversing neoLETHAL damage.

When I say 'paleo' it is like an all inclusive resort... I like all things 'paleo...' equal opportunity, no discrimination. Discriminating, yeah like an anal/ocd pharmacist.

Latin derivation of 'paleo' is 'old' and I mean ANY and ALL THINGS OLD back to our protobacterial origins and our fish ancestors. Older than your YOUTH SPIDERMAN UNDERPANTS.

Paleo to me is paleontological, paleontology, paleozoic era (540 mya), paleoscene epoch (65 mya, emergence of primates), paleolithic, paleobio, paleoecology, and so on.

Have to admit when I started this 'paleo' thang, there weren't clear defs. Still aren't.

Thank you Dr. Dan for the picture *BIG SMILEY*