The last iteration of our genome with regards to the foods we eat seems to have taken place about 50,000 years ago. At that time we were unquestionably small bands of hunter gatherers who did not cultivate dairy animals or grains. History tells us these later “adaptations” did not take place until about 10,000 years ago.
So we are still adapted genetically to the “hunter gatherer” diet, also commonly known as the Paleolithic Diet after this formative time of man’s ascendance. Genetic anthropology has provided us with the gene structures to prove this. In point of fact the last 50,000 years have led to very little known genetic changes compared to our Paleolithic ancestors. Things like eye color and the occasional low level persistence of the lactose gene into post infancy do not change the fact that the bulk of what we eat now is actually not suitable for our genetic make-up. Diary and grin products provide the large mass of protein and carbohydrates that many cultures consume with potentially detrimental results to our telomere length.
Lactose intolerance is a common problem and ranges from mild discomfort to out and out “allergic” type reactions with malabsorption of nutrients and leaky gut syndromes as a result.
Grain intolerance (specifically to gluten) has become a modern day mini-epidemic as the sensitivity of testing procedures for these intolerances improves to the point where fully half of our population may have some variation- minor or more – of gluten sensitivity.
The telomere is pretty much the end arbiter of what we do to ourselves in all forms of stress, whether that stress comes from eating the wrong things, exposing ourselves to excess environmental toxins, sleep deprivation, too little or too much exercise, and so on. While specific dietary information and telomere length is to this point extremely limited, the authors of this book predict it will truly be the “next big frontier” by which people can modify and improve their telomere length in a meaningful fashion.
Currently we know that fiber intake is positively associated with longer telomeres. We also know that excess inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids are bad for telomere length and that Omega 3 fish oils are good for telomere length.
We know that the complex web of insulin signaling and glucose excess directly affects inflammation, free radical generation, and cell death. We know that Vitamin D positively affects telomere length, as do tea-based catechins. But these are singular piecemeal findings that do not equate to a specific diet pattern
We strongly believe that the Paleolithic Diet is the most likely to provide this benefit, since our genetic make-up fits this type of diet to a tee. Studies have supported its positive effects on insulin signaling, oxidative stress and endogenous acid load.
We are confident the end result will not only be longer telomeres, but better health and potentially longer life.