I don’t know why, but the other day I happened to be looking for some Mung bean sources and I tripped over a few sites that were making miraculous claims for sprouts. Beam sprouts.
Well, sure, they’re good and all, but as I got into it, there turns out to be an ingredient in sprouts that may have some anti-aging health benefits.
One site (here) claimed “…50 times as much of the antioxidant sulfurophane as mature broccoli…”
Another site (UndergroundHealthReporter) goes even further “There is something in the chemical substance of a young growing auxinon which, when you eat it as an anti-aging food, makes the cells of your body reproduce younger cells instead of older cells…”
With claims like these, what was I waiting for?
Mung beans for anti-aging seem to hold magical potential.
But never take anything at face… always do backup research.
So, off into an amazing afternoon of research.
On the PubMed.gov website, we read first about the “Differential regulation of Ku gene expression in etiolated mung bean hypocotyls by auxins….”
None of which sounds particularly interesting until you get to this reference to telomere length because that – as you may remember from our previous chats – has very much to do with aging.
Near as I can figure it, the telomeres are the real key to “running the clock backwards” but let me explain with a few snips from Wikipedia:
“A telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes.”
Now the problem is that telomeres start of longish when you’re young, but they roll down as you age (becoming shorter) as your DNA (like everything else (except maybe tooth enamel) replicates in the aging process.
Or, more technically…
“During chromosome replication, the enzymes that duplicate DNA cannot continue their duplication all the way to the end of a chromosome, so in each duplication the end of the chromosome is shortened (this is because the synthesis of Okazaki fragments requires RNA primers attaching ahead on the lagging strand).”
OK, fine. How does this relate to Ku genes?
Back to Wikipedia here:
“Ku is a dimeric protein complex that binds to DNA double-strand break ends and is required for the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway of DNA repair. Ku is evolutionarily conserved from bacteria to humans. The ancestral bacterial Ku is a homodimer (two copies of the same protein bound to each other). Eukaryotic Ku is a heterodimer of two polypeptides, Ku70 (XRCC6) and Ku80 (XRCC5), so named because the molecular weight of the human Ku proteins is around 70 kDa and 80 kDa. The two Ku subunits form a basket-shaped structure that threads onto the DNA end…”
But that’s just the what of Ku genes. We’re looking for the clock-spring here. And what’s this?
“In many organisms, Ku has additional functions at telomeres in addition to its role in DNA repair…”
Now we leap over to the EMBO Journal and quickly read through “Components of the Ku-dependent non-homologous end-joining pathway are involved in telomeric length maintenance and telomeric silencing.” And from that we get the idea that telomeric length maintenance sure sounds a lot like “age-freezing.” Oh, and reversing aging effects, too once telomere lengthening is figured. Silencing telomere breakdown would quite likely freeze your age.
Here’s an example of Ku gene therapy already in the experimental stage.
Just over a year ago, the University of Kansas City Hospital started work on restoring human hearing by regrowing the tiny hairs in the inner ear that make hearing work.
All very damn interesting, but what are the implications?
Well, for one, there seems to be some agreement that there are lots of auxins in plants while they are in the vigorous growing stage. That pretty well describes sprouting Mung beans. Critters grow like mad.
Secondly, the presence of auxins MAY provide for healing of telomere ends, effectively perhaps lengthening them (and in the UKC work) and if THAT proves out, well then we have a whole pile of new thinking to run through.
What for example?
Well, one of the articles I read made a wonderful observation. If you eat un-grown seeds, they won’t do you much good. You can still get scurvy and so forth. But as soon as a plant – like the humble Mung beans – begin to sprout they are rolling in auxins (supposedly) and this is why fresh sprouts are about one of the most healthy things you can buy.
Well, I didn’t even talk this one over with Elaine. I just jumped on Amazon, picked up a moderate-sized sprouter set, along with 5-pounds of non-GMO organically-grown Mung bean seed. See the Deluxe Kitchen Crop 4-Tray Seed Sprouter by VICTORIO VKP1200. Looks like the right size for us, but we will know more in a week, or so.
When they showed up Wednesday, Elaine and I had a chat about it and she’s now onboard with our interesting little home experiment.
Well, most people (in the West) don’t eat freshly sprouted seeds on a regular basis. Maybe once, or twice, in a week on a sandwich. But it’s not much talked about as an anti-aging strategy except on sites like www.sproutpeople.com.
What we’re not clear on is how many sprouts to eat per day in order to have any possible effect on our health. In medicine, we’re wondering what the minimum effective dose might be.
Initially, we will try to do a handful of sprouts with each meal and aim for a daily total somewhere over half a cup.
If we do more than that, perhaps a second sprouter will be needed.
The other thing that came out of the research was the notion that eating “right out of the garden” may be about the healthiest thing you can do.
Already there has been discussion just in the past six months wondering “What will happen when humans are injected with plant growth hormones?”
Not a bad question, since in 2007 it was reported that “Auxin Hormone Receptor Suggests New Treatment For Human Cancer.”
With 68 staring me in the face next month, I am planning to amp up research and eating modifications in a number of areas, not to mention putting in a serious garden this year in order to “eat fresh” more often.
I figure if there’s anything of benefit in auxins, or plant growth hormones (as opposed to Human Growth Hormones – HGH which really does work to some extent, but the government sits on lots of ideas to move that forward) Government has a very serious business model reason to squash anything having to do with benefits of eating fresh from the garden, especially root veggies and sprouts that may have high levels of telomere maintaining chemicals.
The reasons? Remember my Everything is a Business Model edict, right?
For one, if a large portion of us “grays” start to un-gray a bit and live, oh, 20-30 years longer than actuarial tables forecast, we will bankrupt the declining Social Security System.
But there’s an even more important thing to noodle on: What IF eating no more than 30-minutes from the plant food actually does have lots more of some secret anti-aging substance in it? I mean we’re in open head mode right now, so ask yourself, what happens to the modern American industrial/business model if all of a sudden people demanded nothing but freshly sprouted, or 30-minutes the the plant. Foods?
Would they put up with living in human coops in chicken-like style? I’m thinking that if someone even HINTED to me that living out in the ‘burbs with at least a greenhouse and a good garden would move way all to hell and gone up my priority list.
Sure, I can make a few more bucks living in the ultra high-density 400 square foot box – if I have enough electronics. But if I see evidence that I can live longer (and did I mention the difference between a 5-minute from the vine tomato and ANYTHING in a grocery store?) I might just think living in the box is not what I’d want to do.
Thing is, people don’t think this stuff through.
People lived all over North America without power, air conditioning and so forth. But we have gotten away from underground and semi-underground homes that use little heating or cooling.
And we will eat just damn near anything that shows up in the stores we shop at.
But the good news is that this weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Ure will be out beginning the process of prepping the garden for the year. We will likely start with putting some tomato plants on the seed sprouting mat in the counter-top cold-frame in the greenhouse.
I’ll leave it to the new President today to Make America Great Again.
We’re going to start with something a lot closer to home.
Write when you get rich,
The Old Farmer at George@ure.net