How To Die Young at a Ripe Old Age

Russell Gardner

Steven Gundry’s book title, The Longevity Paradox: How To Die Young at a Ripe Old Age, caught my eye at a book store a few months ago (2019, 373 pages in hardcover). The store had a sale so it entered my library because I’m at an age where I wish to maintain as much youth as I can for as long as I can, I began practicing its extensive recommendations, now believe his assertions about “leaky gut” (gut permeability), and also persuaded my wife and several friends on its merits. Gundry assisted by Jody Lipper writes colorfully, as seen with “gut buddies” versus “bad bugs—by which he frequently refers to the gut biome, or bacteria inside the gut, principally in the colon.
He asserts this is key to whether our tennis court sized intestinal mucosa only one cell thick keeps its integrity. “… when the wrong molecules or even bacteria cross the border the immune system kicks into high gear … releasing inflammatory hormones called cytokines. [if this happens too often], the result is chronic inflammation, the ultimate cause of the common diseases of aging … Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases … chronic, low-grade inflammation [of human aging] is a symptom, and not the root cause of what really ages us. Instead, aging is the result of a lack of the right bacterial population in your gut, along with a leaky gut that allows bacteria and other particles to pass through the intestinal border between you and them.” (p. 37-8).
The “How To” of the title hinges on what you eat, and my wife and I have remarkably more limited diets compared to before. We no longer allow sugar, grain products except for millet, legumes except for lentils, and cow milk products that contain the A1 form of casein. A new vocabulary term for us includes lectins, “a type of “sticky protein” that plants produce … as part of their survival strategy. [For example over evolutionary time], lectins paralyzed [insects] that ate them…” (p.27). “… lectins bind with receptors … along the gut lining and produce … zonulin, which breaks the tight junctures that hold together your border wall…” (p38)

Gundry, a physician, backs up many of his assertions from the research literature so that I became persuaded of his approach. I'm glad to eat goat and sheep cheese not cow cheese, and can omit most beans, rice, bread, and the like. But I expect that the frequent act of putting substances in our mouths and swallowing has sufficient importance that the Gundry thesis will cause many critical words to emit from the same portals--through those same chewing and swallowing mouths that engage with each other on the Union Terrace.