You’ve heard the lament before: Youth is wasted on the young, meaning that the vigor, health, and life enthusiasm of youth is wasted on young people who are largely naive and inexperienced and squander what could be the best years of their lives, rather than the wiser and experienced years of, say, your 40s, 50s, 60s and onwards.
What if you could get that vigor and health back again, but equipped with the wisdom and experience of decades? Would you conduct yourself differently? Would you make better decisions? What would you do to accomplish this?
I believe that we are indeed heading in that direction. Witness what is being reported by people experiencing the Wheat Belly/Undoctored lifestyle, especially with the recent additions of the oxytocin-boosting effects of the L. reuteri yogurt and other efforts, and I don’t believe that it is a stretch to say that people are turning the clock back 10 or 20 years. This is observable in appearance—fewer wrinkles, smoother moister skin, fewer blemishes, but also in other ways such as accelerated healing and increased strength and muscle mass, restoring the muscle lost from our earlier lives.
This conversation would be even more compelling if we had some trackable marker, a biomarker, for aging. I made this point in my original Wheat Belly book:
Aging is inevitable. All of us age. None will escape it—though we each progress at a somewhat different rate. And, while gauging chronological age is a simple matter of looking at your birth certificate, pinpointing biological age is another thing altogether. How can you assess how well the body has maintained youthfulness or, conversely, submitted to the decay of age?
Say you meet a woman for the first time. When you ask her how old she is, she replies ‘Twenty-five years old.” You do a double-take because she has deep wrinkles around her eyes, liver spots on the back of her hands, and a fine tremor to her hand movements. Her upper back is bowed forward (given the unflattering name of “dowager’s hump”), her hair gray and thin. She looks ready for the retirement home, not like someone in the glow of youth. Yet she is insistent. She has no birth certificate or other legal evidence of age, but insists that she is twenty-five years old—she’s even got her new boyfriend’s initials tattooed on her wrist.
Can you prove her wrong?
Not so easy. If she were a caribou, you could measure antler wingspan. If she were a tree, you could cut her down and count the rings.
In humans, of course, there are no rings or antlers to provide an accurate, objective biological marker of age that would prove that this woman is really seventy-something and not twenty-something, tattoo or no.
Nobody yet has a reliable, do-it-yourself-at-home biomarker for aging. Measuring telomere length (the length of “nonsense” genetic code at the end of chromosomes) provides some insight but one, I would argue, that is unsatisfying—how does telomere length correlate to measures of youthfulness such as skin texture, hair thickness, muscular mass and strength, libido and sexual performance, bone density, energy and vigor, or to diseases associated with aging? All unknown. And it is a measure not readily trackable on your own from the comfort of your kitchen or living room. So we revert to traditional, familiar indexes of aging including the one available to all of us: look in the mirror.
But we witness it over and over again: People engaged in this lifestyle look and feel younger. But what precisely does that mean? We know, from the huge experience we have accumulated, as well as the science that exists, that we:
- Experience smoother skin with reduced wrinkles, reduced blemishes (especially skin tags)—This is initially due to the massive reversal of skin inflammation that develops with wheat/grain elimination, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The explosion in dermal collagen that develops with oxytocin provocation then adds to these effects. Reversal insulin resistance accounts for the reversal of skin tags.
- Acceleration of healing—Kids heal faster than the elderly, a reflection of vigor and youthfulness, as well as immunocompetence. Those of us on this lifestyle accelerate healing capacity substantially.
- Reversal of inflammation—We experience it as reduced joint swelling and inflammation, reduction or reversal of various forms of skin rashes, loss of ankle swelling (inflammatory edema). The long-term consequences of these benefits are likely huge, given that inflammation underlies conditions ranging from heart disease, to cancer, to dementia. We can even see it on the face and the eyes, as our countless success stories illustrate.
- Preservation of immunocompetence—Loss of an effective immune response and phenomena such as thymus involution (loss of function of the thymus) are part of aging. This is why the elderly are so susceptible to debilitating, even fatal, effects of the flu or pneumococcal pneumonia. People living this lifestyle find themselves coasting through winters without flu, without pneumonia, without the several annoying bouts of viral illnesses that everyone else suffers.
- Restore youthful muscle and strength—As with all factors in this lifestyle, the experience varies. But some of us experience explosive restoration of youthful muscle and strength. Recall that loss of muscle and strength is a defining factor in aging, with most people losing around 30% or more of youthful muscle mass, the most extreme labeled “sarcopenia” that is associated with frailty and fracture. Reduced stiffness is also part of this lifestyle.
- Preservation of bone density—Women who consume L. reuteri experience half as much loss of bone density as those not consuming it.
- Preservation of youthful libido—In both men and women. We shall be exploring, via clinical trials, the hormonal (e.g., LH, testosterone, estradiol, etc.) associations of this interesting phenomenon. In the meantime, enjoy the substantial boost in interest that many of us experience.
I don’t yet know how far the elements of the Wheat Belly/Undoctored lifestyle will take us. Personally, I look around me at the majority of people in my age group (over 60) and I am grateful that I have found out about these strategies. I move more freely, without pain, I think and react faster, I lift weight at the gym that exceeds that handled by most 30 year olds, I play Xbox and keep up with 14 year olds. And note that nobody here is asking you to submit to thousands of dollars worth of topical treatments, injections, plastic surgery, hormone injections of other artificial means of mimicking youthfulness.
Here are some examples of people who have experienced such age-reversing effects on this lifestyle: