The Amazing Weekly (6-Day) Protocol to Invigorate Your Energy.
“Fast Track Fast” stands for a technique to invigorate and renew your mitochondria. Mitochondria (Mito) are intracellular powerhouses that produce ATP, the currency of energy in our body. 1/3 of your body weight is made up of the mito within your cells. These little structures sit inside each of your cells, where they convert glucose and oxygen to create all the energy needed to run every aspect of all your cellular functions. They keep your brain running, your hormones secreting hormones, your heart beating, your lungs absorbing vital air, your immune system functioning to protect you from all the virus, bacteria, and molds in our environment, your gut absorbing nutrients and really anything else you can imagine your body would need energy to do anything and everything. You should appreciate your mitochondria and take care of them, but we don’t always get practical ways to do this.
In this article, we will be discussing a protocol founded on solid, event science, to care for your mitochondria. Taking care of your mitochondria can potentially make positive changes in your health and longevity. Studies show mito function can impact the quality and length of your life in almost every way you can consider. A worthwhile effort indeed! We will dig into a few technical subjects such as Autophagy, Mitophagy, Cellular Senescence, and NAD+.
Let’s get into it and make sense of the four-day protocol called “Fast Track Fast”.
“Fast Track Fast” is a four-day program where the first two days are focused on NAD+ loading, and the next two days focused on activating Mitophagy, Autophagy, and cleaning up Senescent Cells. This cleaning/ recycling of mitochondria and old, weak zombie cells is done using Senolytics, and a 24 hour fast from lunch to lunch.”
First, let’s discuss why you might want to supplement with NAD+. NAD+ or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide. NAD+ is a sister to Niacin, which is a vital vitamin that you cannot live without. NAD+ is a critical coenzyme found in every cell in your body, and it’s involved in hundreds of metabolic processes. Maintenance of an optimal NAD+/NADH ratio is essential for mitochondrial function. The maintenance of the mitochondrial NAD+ pool is of crucial importance. From plants to metazoans, an increase in intracellular levels of NAD+ directs cells to make adjustments to ensure survival, including increasing energy production and utilization, boosting cellular repair, and coordinating circadian rhythms. By the time we are middle-aged, levels of NAD+ will have fallen to half of the youthful levels. In recent years, several studies have shown that the treatment of old mice with precursors to NAD+ can greatly improve health. Observed effects include increased insulin sensitivity, a reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction, reduced stem cell senescence, and lifespan extension. 1
Euler-Chelpin, in his 1930 Nobel Prize speech, says, “NAD+ is one of the most widespread and biologically most important activators within the plant and animal world.” 2
NAD+ levels are related to the expression of NF-κB (Tirumurugaan et al., 2008) 6, and low-grade inflammation is a primary driving force of aging. A possibility is that addressing inflammation is the answer to slowing the aging process. Doctors in the know, and scientists in the field all conclude that molecules that maintain NAD+ levels, will allow people to celebrate many more anniversaries. Inflammation is not just linked to aging but is present and involved in almost all disease processes.
NAD+ levels naturally decline with age, and various stressors can deplete your NAD+ at a more rapid rate. Poor restorative sleep and alcohol use are the top two stressors that deplete NAD+; however, any stressor will drain away NAD+. Anytime you have a higher energy demand, immune activation due to infections stress, mental stress, emotional stress, physical stress, structural stress, electromagnetic (EMF’s) stress, and chemical stress are the main “Stress” categories. We cannot avoid these completely, and so, inevitably, our NAD+ levels will be taxed, creating a need to replace NAD+.
In this article titled “Why NAD+ Declines during Aging: It’s Destroyed,” the author states, ’”NAD+ is required not only for life but for a long life…the decline of NAD+ during aging, with implications for combating age-related diseases.” 4
I don’t advocate ignoring underlying stressors driving inflammation and only supplementing with NAD+, but approaching it from both sides… well, you might be looking at the future of medicine.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of metabolic decline (vitality) during aging. Ref. You’re constantly replacing your old, weak, dysfunctional mito with new healthy fresh mito. The population of all the mito of a given cell constitutes your Chondriome. Like your MicroBiome, we have a healthy pool of them or an unhealthy pool, which dictates how functional they are. The average cell in your body has between 1,000-2,000 mito. Again, they turn over as they get old. They are recycled, and it’s a process medicated through a gene expression ruled by mTOR.
The mTOR pathway is a central regulator of metabolism (vitality) and physiology (function). Without getting too deep into mTOR, for now, let’s just leave it at the fact that when mTOR is inhibited, we shift into a cleaning and recycling phase where we see Autophagy and Mitophagy. Autophagy is a Latin word that translates into “self-eating.” Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
Mitophagy is the selective degradation of mitochondria by autophagy. It often occurs to defective mitochondria following damage or stress.10
Remember all the types of stress? These ALL have an impact on the demand for Mitophagy to be activated through mTOR!11 So what activates mTOR and Autophagy? Fasting is the primary activator of this process! We will revisit this soon, but first, we need to talk about senescent cells. What are senescent cells, and how do they have a detrimental effect on health and life span? As they accumulate, due to poor Autophagy (which normally removes and recycles them), into fresh, healthy cells and fresh, healthy mito.
Cellular senescence is an irreversible cell-cycle arrest mechanism that acts to protect against cancer. Ref.
Basically, cellular senescence is a permanent state of sleep a cell goes into. This state is associated with a release of inflammatory products, and higher energy consumption, pulling it away from your healthy cells.12 They are zombies in the literal sense!
Production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, is emerging as a common feature of senescent cells irrespective of the senescence-inducing stressor or mechanism (Fig. 1).
Cultured cells usually reach senescence within several weeks after exposure, to senescence-inducing stressors, but remain viable for months after that. Ref
This means these “zombies” will float around spewing inflammation and sucking the life out of your body, by deferring vital energy that would normally be going to healthy cells.
Post fast or the re-feeding is as important as the fast. This is where you would want to activate mTOR which means growth, repair and Stem cells. Stem cells are also vulnerable to becoming senescent. This is a real problem in regenerative medicine today. We are one of the first clinic to begin using stem cells for our patients here in the US and for example if we would aspirate some bone marrow from your pelvic bone then place those stem cells into your knee joint only a certain percentage of those would survive and the others would become senescent essentially becoming useless. Stem cell survival is a real problem for doctors like us and using techniques to provide a better “home” or an environment that would provide the stem cells more support to proliferate and differentiate to repair and regenerate your body. There are a few substances that have been shown to be a great support to stem cells. CoQ 10 and Fucoidan are 2 of my favorite! CoQ 10 is a powerful anti oxidant and Fucoidan is a polysaccharide from brown seaweed. Evidence of both Fucoidan and CoQ-10 with the prevention of stem cell senescence is clear, which allows more stem cells to do the regenerative work on your body. CoQ10 has shown to protect stem cell aging and mechanisms of cell senescence inhibited by CoQ10. Ref Fucoidan Rescues Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Cellular Senescence and increases stem cell proliferation through the regulation of cell cycle-associated proteins. Ref CoQ-10 has been shown to have poor absorption orally, so a suppository route can allow much higher bioavailability of CoQ-10. There is benefit to using these nutrients post fast so that when your new stem cells are released more of them will survive.
So what’s the answer? How do you clear these senescence cells from the body?
It happens to be the same process involved with Autophagy and Mitophagy, where mTOR is involved. Fasting and Senolytics are the best answer to clean, clear, and recycle these “zombie” cells. This is why we stack the most powerful senolytics on the planet with a 24-hour lunch to lunch fast that can be done each week or pulsed as directed by your health care provider. A long 3 day fast is suggested for a more powerful effect. The microbiome should also be considered within this process as the fasting phase is a positive stressor to the good bacteria and can allow for a positive effect to your microbiome post fasting. Adding a good spore based probiotic, butyrate and a high dose melatonin is an excellent way to support this and even give it a boost. You microbiome has a circadian rhythm just like you do and when “gut melatonin”, which is 400 times higher than within the brain, is raised during sleep it is a powerful activator to something called “swarming”. One study ‘Human Gut Bacteria Are Sensitive to Melatonin and Express Endogenous Circadian Rhythmicity’ stated a human signaling that powerfully affects gut microbiome is the secretion of melatonin into the lumen of the intestine. Ref Another study showed “Melatonin specifically increases the magnitude of swarming in cultures of E. aerogenes (good bacteria), but not in E. coli or Klebsiella (bad Bacteria).” Ref This swarming is how your microbiome regenerate. Taking a very high dose of melatonin such as 200 or more mg for a few days may be of benefit. Keep in mind oral melatonin is only 2.5% absorbable. Ref Suppository or liposomal delivery would make better sense. Suppository would deliver the melatonin directly to the large intestines where your microbiome lives! Butyrate and Probiotic’s can be given rectally as a suppository as well which has a huge advantage as its placing the substances right where it is needed.
If you are looking to be better, think clearer, have more energy and function at a higher level, these two aspects of health that lead to better and stronger Mito can’t be ignored. Restoring youthful NAD+ levels, using cellular clean up and recycling such as Autophagy and Mitophagy can be a great strategy. The Fast Track Fast is easy to do and tolerated by most. The Phase can be done once a week four days a month, or less if a less aggressive approach is desired. Some people start at once a week and might consider this for a few months to a year. Others might do a couple months a year as a maintenance. Before you start this protocol, consult your health care provider and use their guidance.
John Lieurance, ND, DC
- Bai et al., (2011) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088772/#R2
- Gomes et al., (2013) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088772/#R5
- Yoshino et al., (2011) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088772/#R9
- Zhang et al., (2016) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088772/#R10
- Tirumurugaan et al., (2008) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088772/#R7