The key to health and longevity may be slowing down the engine of aging, mTOR. When you are young, mTOR promotes healthy growth. But after development, mTOR speeds up the aging process.
Overactive mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin, can promote obesity, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Some people, however, use mTOR for bodybuilding. Learn the easiest way to slow down aging and the foods that activate or inhibit mTOR. Is there a proper balance?
Table of Contents
- What is mTOR?
- mTOR and Fasting
- Protein Restriction Vs Caloric Restriction
- mTOR and Cancer
- Mitochondria and mTOR
- mTOR and Acne
- Milk and mTOR
- Foods that Inhibit mTOR
- What is mTOR Bodybuilding?
mTOR, “mammalian target of rapamycin”, is a serine/threonine kinase responsible for metabolism and cell growth (1, 2). mTOR (TOR) is also known as the mechanistic target of rapamycin. It is activated in response to nutrients, growth factors, energy, and stress.
The discovery of mTOR changed the way we understand cellular growth. Before, cellular growth was thought to be a random process that happens when nutrients are available. Now it is believed to be a highly regulated process controlled by mTOR pathways.
mTor is believed to play a key role in aging.
mTOR and Aging
Aging is (3) like a speeding car without brakes. In childhood, mTOR is an engine of growth. But in adulthood, TOR is an engine of aging.
You start life racing through the aging process to reach reproductive age. When aging speeds past development your body to breaks down.
Theoretically, the over-activation of the mTOR pathway causes aging. Aging damages organs, eventually leading to death.
Traditional medicine increases the years spent in poor health. Conversely, rapamycin may be able to slow TOR activation and thereby the aging process. How can you naturally slow down TOR and slow down aging?
“The only thing that’s been proven in the history of science to radically improve lifespan is moderate caloric restriction in an environment of micronutrient excellence.” Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Glutamine is one of 20 amino acids found in the diet used to make proteins. When glutamine is available, cells grow. When it is unavailable, cells start the process of autophagy.
mTOR and Autophagy
Autophagy is a Greek word, auto meaning “self” and phagy meaning “to eat”. Autophagy literally means to eat oneself.
When your body determines that there isn’t enough food to eat it goes into survival mode. It starts searching your cells looking for anything you don’t need. Damaged or useless cells are converted into fuel or materials to renew cells.
Caloric restriction is praised as a fountain of youth and can extend (6) the human lifespan by up to five years.
Caloric restriction has many potential health benefits, along with some potential problems.
Symptoms of caloric restriction include (7):
- very low blood pressure
- loss of libido
- menstrual irregularities
- bone loss,
- cold sensitivity
- loss of strength
- slower healing
You can get many of the benefits of caloric restriction with protein restriction, without the side effects.
The benefits of caloric restriction may come from protein restriction. Further, protein restriction is easier to sustain as you don’t have to cut your total food intake.
A comprehensive comparative meta-analysis of dietary restriction found that the proportion of protein intake is (8) a better indicator or longevity than the degree of caloric restriction.
Protein restriction may be (9) even more effective than dietary restriction because it suppresses both TOR and IGF-1. These are two factors believed to be responsible for the benefits of caloric restriction.
Not all proteins have the same effect on mTOR. What proteins speed up the aging process?
Leucine and mTOR
One amino acid, leucine, has shown to have (10) the greatest effect on mTOR.
Leucine is found (11) primarily in animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. Conversely, plant foods including fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains; have much less leucine. You would need to eat (12) about 9 pounds of cabbage or 100 apples to get the same amount of leucine.
Leucine restriction helps explain (13) why the longest living populations, such as Okinawan Japanese, eat primarily a plant-based diet. In fact, only 1% of their diet consists (14) of meat, dairy, or fish. Or about one serving of meat per month.
The longest living population, however, is (15) the Adventists of Loma Linda, California who also eat a plant-based diet.
What are other risk factors for high TOR activity?
mTOR appears to play a prominent role in cancer growth as it is (16) responsible for regulating cellular growth and proliferation.
- mTOR is inhibited by the drug rapamycin, which is used (17) to prevent rejection of kidney transplants. Thereby patients receiving rapamycin had a decrease in cancer incidence.
- 15 patients diagnosed with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a type of skin cancer, were placed on rapamycin for a kidney transplant. Within three months of being on rapamycin, the skin lesions disappeared (18) in all 15 patients.
- High TOR activity is (19) found in 100% of advanced prostate cancer patients.
- TOR (20) appears to play a role in breast cancer. High TOR expression is associated with much more aggressive breast cancer and a lower survival rate.
When TOR activity is (21) inhibited, mitochondria become elongated. Conversely, when mTOR is activated, mitochondria become fragmented. Increased fragmentation of mitochondria is a possible risk factor for some cancers.
Learn more about mitochondria health in the article How to Maximize Your Mitochondria.
Acne is (22) prevalent in about 85% of teenagers in industrialized countries. In the US, half of men and women still have acne in their twenties. Conversely, in non-industrialized locations like Okinawa, Japan, acne is rare or non-existent.
Acne appears to be a symptom of over-active mTOR signaling. Overactive mTOR signaling is a risk factor for serious common Western diseases. Therefore, acne could be an early warning sign of more serious health problems.
Excessive mTOR stimulation induced by the Standard American diet first appears as premature puberty and acne. But later in life, it may promote obesity, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Milk consumption is a major contributing factor in mTOR activity.
Mammalian milk is (23) an endocrine signaling system unique to each specific species. Milk activates mTOR, promotes cell growth and proliferation, and suppresses autophagy.
Why does milk consumption promote growth and aging?
Milk is designed primarily for infants who need higher mTOR activity to constantly signal cells to grow and divide. What happens when a person consumes milk throughout their entire lifespan?
In those who continue to drink milk, mTOR activity remains high. They continue aging fast past maturity and have higher rates of cancer.
Cow’s milk, with 3 times more leucine than human milk, is specifically designed for an infant cow. Infant cows grow up to 40 times faster than human infants and end up weighing several hundred pounds.Cow’s milk, with 3 times more leucine than human milk, is specifically designed for an infant cow. Infant cows grow up to 40 times faster than human infants and end up weighing several hundred pounds.
Plant-based diets are not only low in mTOR promoting proteins, but they can also inhibit (24) mTOR activity.
Many plants have natural inhibitors of mTOR, these include:(25)
- green tea
mTOR inhibition may offer the best explanation for why plant-based diets are (26) associated with lower risk for many cancers.
Sulforaphane and mTOR
Sulforaphane rich vegetables, like broccoli, are possibly the best foods for slowing down mTOR activity. Sulforaphane is (27) a potent inhibitor of cancer cells because it targets downstream elements of the TOR pathway.
Sulforaphane has also shown to help with the following:(28)
- oxidative stress
- lower antioxidant capacity
- mitochondrial dysfunction
- brain inflammation in children with ASD.
- It can even cross the blood-brain barrier to exert its protective force.
What is the best source of sulforaphane?
Broccoli sprouts have (29) at least 10 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. Conversely, broccoli supplements do not have any significant sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts can be grown at home easily and are a bargain for its health benefits. Why not give it a try?
mTOR is often touted for its growth promoting abilities for physical training. One method is to temporarily restrict protein by either fasting for 24 hours or to practice protein fasting.
Protein fasting initiates autophagy and recycles cellular waste. Then after protein fasting, you promote mTOR activation and growth by eating more mTOR promoting protein. Thereby you reduce your risk of chronic disease and your body grows more efficiently.
To learn more about protein fasting read What Is Bulletproof Protein Fasting – And How To Fast Correctly.
- We need the right amount of mTOR activation for normal growth.
- Protein restriction is easier and as effective as caloric restriction at down-regulating mTOR.
- Animal protein should be limited if your priority is reducing your risk of cancer or other chronic diseases.
- mTOR promoting proteins should be used only when your body needs growth. If you are finished developing and you are inactive, mTOR will more likely promote cancer.
- If your goal is health and longevity then consider eating a vegan diet.
- What about mTOR interests you? What do you want to learn?
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