Doctor’s tip: How to suppress the aging enzyme
A recent blog post by Michael Greger, M.D. (nutritionfacts.org) notes that over the past decade, more than 5,000 scientific articles have been written about TOR, which is an enzyme that drives aging and which can also contribute to several diseases. TOR is inhibited by a drug, rapamycin, which is given to people who have had kidney transplants, to prevent rejection. It serendipitously turned out that patients given rapamycin had lower cancer rates.
TOR functions as a regulator of cell growth and proliferation, which may explain why milk drinkers have a higher rate of prostate cancer. Cell proliferation and therefore TOR are important for the growth of baby cows, but of course when baby cows are no longer babies, they move on to other food, such as grass. The theory is that cow’s milk is designed for baby cows but not for human babies, and certainly not for adult humans. Proliferation of abnormal cells is what cancer is all about, so it makes sense that when adults continue to consume a product that encourages cell proliferation, cancer is more apt to occur.
According to Gregor, TOR can play a role in other conditions as well, such as breast cancer, acne and aging. So what to do?
Rapamycin has not been approved by the FDA for any use other than prevention of kidney transplant rejection, but the solution to inhibiting TOR isn’t another pharmaceutical. The following foods decrease TOR activity: broccoli, green tea, soy, turmeric, grapes, onions, strawberries, blueberries, mangos and the skin of cucumbers.
The final word isn’t in on TOR, so watch for the results of further studies (nutritionfacts.org is a good place to begin). But it looks like the “Got Milk?” ads may eventually go the way of the Marlboro Man ads.
Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, now has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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