Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed
Biologically speaking, life started when some complex chemical molecules in the primordial soup in high energy environment of the hot deep-sea plumes mimicked a biological cell and divided into two. Biological division of a cell is the starting and crowning point of life. Progressively thereafter, the high energy environment led to the explosion from simple single-cell life to complex multicellular forms that include mammals. There are over a trillion cells in the human body and the growth in the growing years and ageing in waning years still takes place at the cell level through healthy division, sluggish division or mutation as the case might be.
When a fertilized egg cell divides at the starting point of conceptual life, slight imperfection in division known as mutation causes genetic variations leading to a wide array of biodiversity. The body remains youthful as long as the adult cells continue to divide efficiently. However, brain cells do not divide as the production of new cells could result in the loss of memory. The synaptic connections continually reformat that maintains the brain health and function. This reformatting takes place during sleep at night and deeper the sleep, better is the mending of the brain. Similarly, cells of the heart muscles also do not divide, possibly because the fresh cells created might not be strong enough to contract to the required extent as the old cells for sustaining the required pressure in the blood vessels. It is now considered that about 3% of the heart cells do divide but that is not enough to repair the damage suffered in a heart attack. If a way could be found to induce the heart cells to divide, it could lead to the repairing of the damage to the heart suffered in an heart attack without any surgical intervention. Rest all cells in the body continue to divide during the life. Progressively with age, cells become sluggish or stop to divide that causes ageing. The retired cells reside next to the active cells which in due course become sites for inflammation that causes myriad problems and damages to the body tissues.
It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration.
Human Growth Hormones (HGH) operate at cell level and stimulate active cells to prolong their life of efficient division. The body produces its own growth hormones which provide a good index of ageing in advancing years. Although, one could take HGH as supplements also but this is not as effective in prolonging youthfulness as the body’s own energized growth hormones.
The central idea of this article is that there are ways through which one could stimulate body’s own growth hormones. This secret was revealed during the biological experiment of the procreation of the sheep ‘Dolly’ in 1996 by a team of British scientists. They picked two genetically different types of sheep and started with an egg cell of one sheep but enucleated it by removing the nucleus, leaving only the proteins inside the cell membrane. Then they took the differentiated adult cell from the mammary gland of the second sheep and inserted the nucleus of this adult cell into the enucleated cell of the other sheep. They were trying to grow the clone of the sheep that had provided the adult cell. Cloning of a mammal from its adult cell had never been achieved before this experiment.
During the course of the frustrating experiments, hundreds of attempts led to no breakthrough as the adult cell did not start dividing to replicate life. What they observed in these failed attempts provides a very intelligent clue to the secret of the cell division. When there was excessive protein food around the adult cell nucleus, the cell would grow bigger and bigger, become sluggish and not divide. On the other hand when there was too little protein food, the adult cell became emaciated and died. When they accidently hit upon the optimal level of the protein food, the miracle happened and the cell started dividing that led to the development of 'Dolly'. The sheep lived about six years and produced 5 lambs.
These observations provided an evidence that excessive food protein or very low food protein suppress growth hormones leading to lethargy, inactivity or death of adult cells in human body. It points to the secret of finding an optimal level of food protein to stimulate the health of the body cells. The individuals who consume excessive food suffer from inactive cells which becomes the cause of various health issues and faster ageing. The starvation on the other hand causes early death of body cells leading to the loss of muscles and bone mass that advances the process of ageing.
It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration. Translating it into a daily routine the requirement can be achieved if one takes the last meal of the day along with the required amount of water in the late afternoon at say 5p.m. and the only second meal of the breakfast at 9a.m. Except these two timed meals one observes intermittent fast. Apart from energizing growth hormones it has other spectacular health effects. Between 5p.m. and sleep, say at 9p.m., the food gets digested and there is no need for the heart to continue to pump the blood into stomach during the sleep. When one goes to sleep with all the food digested, the heart, kidneys and the brain all can sleep at night. The sleep is undisturbed and one gets up very fresh the next morning. This quality of sleep is conducive to synaptic reformatting and the repairs in the brain. This routine can improve health, check or slow ageing and increase active hours adding vitality to life.
As a general guide, eating moderately especially in advancing years is a recipe for better health. Most health issues arise from eating excessively especially the unhealthy food. We heard a golden rule from the elders to stop eating, leaving some appetite unsatisfied. Energizing body's own growth hormones is an effective way to slow down ageing and prolong healthy life. Although the humanity continues to make spectacular advances for treating diseases there ought to be sufficient development for promoting a style of life that supports good health in the first place. A flurry of fads, exacerbated by the globally connected social media, often sponsored by vested interest-groups continue to add confusion to what to eat and how much to eat. An intelligent recourse to eating less and selectively would save resources, increase food security and above all promote health and extend useful life span adding to the well-being of the human society. Eating less is the end secret.
The writer holds a PhD degree from Stanford University, California USA. He is a former Federal Secretary and has been CEO/Chairman of OGDCL and Chairman NEPRA.