If you’ve read spy novels or seen spy movies, you’ve probably experienced a plot where a binary poison was used to create an untraceable, mysterious assassination. Or you may have heard news events of suspected Russian KGB assassinations, where real-life mysterious poisoning occurred, such as the case of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal a few years ago in the U.K. What’s a binary poison? It could also be called a two-part poison, where either one of the elements of the poison are virtually harmless, but the combination is deadly. The first part could therefore be applied to the victim, maybe in a room of other people who also receive the first ingredient, and nothing happens. Later the second element is applied to the victim, who is now poisoned while no one else seems affected. The first element is a set-up for the second, but the bystanders never receive the second and remain healthy.

We are not involved in international intrigue and are unlikely to be binary poisoning victims. But there is one two-part toxic combination that we all need to beware of, because we are all receiving the first element. That first element is age. Those who are well along in years already have this first ingredient well entrenched, and it’s not going away. But it can be neutralized, and in a big way.

In some ways this binary poisoning is occurring all the time, and health officials don’t even slightly suspect foul play. Maybe they should. Instead, they just say we are getting age-related diseases. We have no spy or assassin with malicious intent attacking us, but we unintentionally become our own poisoner, all the while thinking that we are just succumbing to the inevitable effects of age. There are many so-called age-related diseases where this two-part poisoning is occurring, but possibly the most feared, and the one that we often consider as completely unavoidable, is mental degeneration — memory loss, senility, or Alzheimer’s disease in particular.

Part One
As we age, our cells make certain adjustments corresponding to our stage of life. Children need their physical and mental development to be in growth mode, whereas mature adults need stability. Cells do loose ability to maintain the same active metabolism with progressive generations, so the body has to adjust for the lowered metabolic abilities. The immune system has to become more vigilant, as it too loses some of its vibrancy and ability with age. Remember that cells and the whole body reacts to the current environment, and aging does result in internal environmental changes. Amazingly though, the body’s adjustments, if allowed to progress as designed without interference, can take us to a ripe old age, with good health, before being overwhelmed.

The immune system has the most vital and important job of any system in keeping the aging body healthy. It’s a delicate balance. If the immune system is too weak, invaders and toxins can wreak havoc; if too strong, it will itself wreak havoc — the immune system can’t function without causing some collateral damage. Damage then requires further immune system response, in the form of inflammation, to attempt to isolate and heal it. Inflammation is the immune system attacking something, but the attack is blunt and unavoidably causes its own damage.

Part Two
The brain is particularly delicate and susceptible to damage, and once significantly damaged, the aging brain in particular is slow to repair. The immune system is a little like having a big ox guarding you: it isn’t subtle and can be rather clumsy in protecting you, even though it is quite powerful. When protecting the brain, the immune system can do significant damage that older brains don’t have the vitality to overcome. The immune system gets triggered by trauma: surgery, emotional shock, or injury might start a rapid increase in immune activity. It also gets triggered, more slowly perhaps, by chronic toxicity, poor nutrient delivery, and ongoing stress. The result can be the onset of dementia or other cognitive issues, almost like a switch was flipped. The second part of the binary poison has been delivered. No one suspects foul play — it’s just age, they say.

In the spy stories, there is always an antidote to the poison if it is received soon enough. You may not be able to avoid part two of the poison delivery in your life: trauma, injury, or sudden catastrophic news happens. You may not think that age has an antidote, and in a way, that is true. We are all aging — that’s universal. But the impacts of age are largely mutable, even avoidable to an extent. Your chronological age advances, but you can unwind a lot of the impacts of age at any stage. If you are older and haven’t been focused much on health in the past, what you do now will have an exaggerated effect, and you can feel like you are unwinding years of age. The antidote to the effects of age is lifestyle: a full-orbed change in diet, exercise, and environment, both physical and mental. This change does take the “kitchen sink” approach, not just a little tweaking here and there, to get these results. Perhaps that’s not as dramatic as getting the antidote in a spy story, but it does have storybook results.

If you make health your goal in later years, you can make dramatic improvements in your physical health, stamina, and overall ability. You might not think that would be true for your brain and mental health, but some of the most dramatic improvements are possible here. It all comes down to your immune system.

Prime candidates
In the brain, the immune system gets more sensitive, more vigilant, with age. The microglia, which are macrophages (certain immune cells) of the central nervous system (CNS), are always vigilant and ready to respond to a disease trigger; however, in the elderly, they undergo “priming.” This process is explained in a review article published in Nature Reviews Neurology, which explains, “In response to neurodegeneration and the accumulation of abnormally folded proteins, however, microglia multiply and adopt an activated state — a process referred to as priming.” This makes these cells hyper-vigilant, ready to pounce on any trigger. Note that build-up of abnormally folded proteins is one cause of this priming, because when we look at diet, a key to preventing the potential brain damage from the immune system overreaction is a metabolic function called “autophagy”, which recycles proteins, particularly when they are misfolded or defective, in the low protein environment where such recycling is needed.

Since we are attempting to prevent damage to the brain that often accompanies old age, and we can’t control when trauma or other triggers of this activated, hyper-vigilant immune system will happen, we can only impact how much of this priming occurs, and even reverse it before it triggers. We want to head off inflammation before it gets started, or at least reduce it. This is the good news: the inflammation is preventable and reversible. The brain, like any portion of the body, responds to its environment. We need to take intentional action so we don’t become victims of the two-part, two-stage poisoning of our brains.

Factor this
We have a built-in protection against brain degeneration. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein which promotes the growth, maturation, and survival of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It acts as a neurotransmitter, and it protects neurons from adverse environmental conditions such as hypoglycemia and neurotoxicity. It is vital to long-term memory consolidation. As explained in a review article published in the Archives of Medical Science, lowered levels of BDNF are associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. It binds to TrkB (tyrosine kinase B) which has a downstream effect of increasing the expression of ? cell pro-survival genes. It is found in most areas of the brain, and promotes neurogenesis (growth of new neurons from neural stem cells). Simply put: you want more BDNF production so you thwart part one of the binary poison , because it squelches inflammation and helps your brain to rebuild.

So how do you promote BDNF production and expression, and reduce brain inflammation? This is explained in a review study published in Experimental Gerontology, where researchers from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH reviewed and consolidated research into non-pharmacological methods of neuroinflammation mitigation in an aging population. First they explain the problem we’ve already mentioned about microglia priming: “…when these already sensitized microglia are activated in response to peripheral insults the significant neuroinflammatory reaction that results leads to downstream changes that are damaging to the brain’s synaptic plasticity functions, ensuing in memory impairment.” Then they note that neuroinflammation resulting in memory impairments disproportionately affects aged individuals, so anti-inflammatory actions are of critical importance. They found major research showing that diet, exercise, and what they call “environmental enrichment” are key anti-neuroinflammatory techniques, each of which have great value, and together have enormous impact, even more notably in those of older age. Here’s a closer look at each of those:

Diet takes a bite out of inflammation
Research highlighted in this study shows that many forms of dietary restriction are beneficial in reducing neuroinflammation, including intermittent fasting, protein restriction diets, the Mediterranean diet, and veganism. Of particular importance is avoiding high (animal) saturated fat and refined sugar in the diet, because these cause rapid increases in brain inflammation, much more so in older adults. Dietary restriction techniques were shown to reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of BDNF. They explain that it’s not just caloric restriction or fasting protocols that are needed, because diets high in plant-based foods and low intake of dairy and meats also show neuro-protective impacts. Studies show “a complex role for diet — and specifically diet composition — in cognitive function and aging.”

Periods of fasting give the body relief from constant digestive load and insulin overstaying its welcome. The study finds that fasting regimens resulted in improved age-related motor and memory function, attenuation of age-related protein carbonylation, and partial recovery of mitochondrial electron chain complexes. What are those? Protein carbonylation is the irreversible oxidative metabolic process of destroying the protein and making it harmful to the body, while the mitchondrial electron chain is to generate cellular ATP through oxidative phosphorylation, thus providing cellular energy. Fasting is reducing the bad while preserving the good.

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines to activate the immune system, but this study found intermittent fasting “ameliorated LPS-induced levels of hippocampal pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1-alpha (IL-1?), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1?), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF?)” and prevented LPS-induced reduction of BDNF. By reducing LPS, cytokine immune cells are less active. The study found that the fasting “robustly” reduced oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.

When not fasting, the dietary mixture was very important in reducing inflammation. High intake of plant-based foods and low intake of meat and dairy resulted in “improved working and short term memory, retrieval fluency, inhibition, visuospatial memory, attention and executive function and reduced risk of cognitive decline.” Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) significantly reduced circulating C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of overall inflammation in the body. Diet — when you eat and what you eat — is a powerful antidote.

Exercise runs down inflammation
There are many forms of exercise, but basically three types: aerobic, anaerobic, and flexibility. This study shows that each of these has a positive impact on reducing brain inflammation and susceptibility to part-two poison triggers. The effects of aerobic — moderate or high intensity exercise — are most dramatic. The study showed that such exercise improves spatial learning, memory performance, accelerated lymphatic clearance (moving the lymph fluids, like circulating blood, is crucial to keeping body cells nourished and free of toxins), and improves BDNF levels. Aerobic exercise quickly shifts metabolism into a “less inflammatory phenotype” which is especially crucial to the brain. Strength-building, anaerobic exercise changes metabolism as well, with benefits in circulation that last hours beyond the exercise period. Flexibility not only supports strength-building, as muscles need to be flexible to produce effective strength, but also helps move the lymphatic system and calm the brain, as yoga enthusiasts will attest. Thus, all forms of exercise are helpful.

As the study states: “these studies suggest that exercise exerts neuroprotective effects via anti-inflammatory mechanisms and can protect against neuroinflammation-associated cognitive deficits, even when that exercise is initiated later in life, indicating that these mechanisms remain plastic into older age.” You may think of exercise as being purely physical, having little to do with the brain, but research is showing that exercise is as much for the brain as the rest of the body. When you have a sedentary lifestyle, your brain is degenerating at an accelerated rate.

Outer environment affects inner environment
We were never meant to be isolated. Even the most introverted among us need others. We also need our living environment to be inviting. It’s sad that many, in the final stages of life, find themselves in a nursing home facility largely devoid of both. The Ohio State review found that someone’s environment, if full of social networks and good living facilities, will reduce neuroinflammation and thus cognitive decline. Hopefully your future will be full. If you know others who are isolated, maybe you could brighten their day by making them less alone.

It is important to stay active and challenged in your latter years. If you retire, have you removed too many challenges and stimulation from your life? Stay sharp by staying connected and active.

Health is no small matter: it is crucial to how you enjoy life particularly as you age. Fortunately, diet, exercise, and staying connected are significantly within your control, and it’s not too late to start. Brain malfunctioning is a most cruel disease, and many of us would rather face other diseases than that. The brain is delicate and can’t tolerate inflammation well. Protect yours. Especially if you are older and experiencing some early signs of brain degeneration, take heart! Yes, effort is necessary, but what better way to spend your energy than on protecting your health so you can stay in the game of life longer and better.

The spy in the novel is told, “we’ve already given you the first part of the poison. We can give you the second part whenever we choose. Or, we can give you the antidote. Which will it be?” You aren’t a spy, but what lifestyle choices will you make for your life?


Dr. Nemec’s Review

What did the studies show about your brain function as your age? Most importantly, your brain is plastic, meaning it can adapt to the environment, either positively or negatively. This means if you become proactive, even in your elderly years, you can reverse inflammatory damage that has already begun.

To sum up the studies, the most important factor that makes or breaks brain function is BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Look at BDNF as a growth hormone to grow more brain cells — more memory cells, more cognitive cells — so BDNF is the key that unlocks the door to brain health, cognitive function, and memory.

Next, people always want the shortcut: where can I get some BDNF? Do they have a prescription for it? Can I get it in a supplement? Show me what to take so that I can have more. You cannot take BDNF, you cannot take BDNF stimulators. It is made by the body when the body is put under certain optimal conditions to produce health and longevity. As this research showed, diet and exercise are among the most crucial factors — that is very nice to know because you can change those, you can control your diet and your exercise, and in doing so you are the master of your brain destiny, your cognitive future. But there is a catch: you must do this consistently every day of your life. This is not a one or two time quick fix. This is a permanent lifestyle change. Most people do not like the word permanent: they think it takes too much work. Look at this way: for anything great in life you have to work to get the ball rolling, but once it’s moving, it’s very easy to maintain the movement.

Learning to drive
Let’s go to a simple analogy; when you learned to drive a car. It took a lot of work and a lot of intensity. You had to make sure you were 100% present , and that you knew all the rules of the road and were very observant to what was going on around you. You were so consciously aware, it was actually draining since so much attention and focus was in each moment because you did not want to hurt someone or hurt yourself. Many people will recall when they were learning to drive. It was fearful and wonderful at the same time. They were concerned that they would damage the car, hit something, or even worse, hit someone. They drove with extreme attention, and this was very physically taxing by the end of the lesson. They were excited and also somewhat drained.

Now let’s fast-forward six months. Driving is no longer work because you’ve developed a subconscious program written on the hard drive of your brain of how to drive, and now it’s not work anymore. You enjoy all the pleasure of driving without any of the pain that you had initially. Fast-forward six months more and you can carry on a conversation on a cell phone while driving and you don’t even know how you got from your home to your office because you were so engaged in the conversation — it seemed like time stood still. You went from point A to point B with no conscious awareness. You were totally into the conversation and consciously oblivious to the surroundings around you. Isn’t that amazing? It takes no energy or effort to drive anymore because it’s become a program in your subconscious mind. This is the way it works to get any great change in your life.

So back to BDNF. The research has been confirmed. BDNF is increased when you switch to a plant-based diet and downscale animal products, This is confirmed, not hearsay; not possibly, but absolutely: next when you put aerobic, cardiovascular, high-intensity exercise into your daily routine you increase blood flow. You increase neurological stimulation, and you increase the production of BDNF. This is done with high-intensity short-duration exercises that don’t take a lot of time, but you get a tremendous amount of value for the time invested.

The New Two
These two practices could be your new subconscious programming, but to get them programmed you must take six months of intense focus — without backing down, without making excuses — to get yourself on a diet high in raw living greens, low-glycemic vegetables, fruits, and raw living plant fats. This is the ideal diet for anti-aging and maximum brain function, cognitive ability, memory maintenance, and long-term health.

Also, in the next six months, you must get yourself on an exercise routine that’s done a bare minimum of three times a week; ideally, it’s done every day. The nice thing about high-intensity, short-duration exercises is that they can be done in cycles of 1 to 2 minutes and do not take long at all.

This is what we’ve been teaching at Revolution New Medicine for the last 40 years. Let me share one of our patient success stories….

We had a patient, brought in by family members, who was in advanced stage dementia — so much so they didn’t even recognize their family members. After doing our initial work up, we saw the weaknesses, the inflammatory responses in the body and the causes of this inflammation. The patient was placed on our treatment and teaching program which included therapies to rid the body of inflammation, and the most advanced therapy for brain function balancing. Along with this diet and exercise, recommendations were given and followed through until the subconscious program was established. This patient in a matter of six months woke up. They recognized their family members. They carried on normal conversations. Once again they had become their old self, which hadn’t been exhibited at all for over a year.

Of all the symptoms, conditions and diseases we’ve seen over the last 40 years improve, the most rewarding is this. It is one thing to die from a disease, but it is much worse to die not knowing who you are, who your family is, and having your family have to take care of you 24×7 because you’re completely disabled cognitively.

There is a point of no return when the damage to the brain becomes so extensive it cannot repair any longer. So I always say, it’s better to be proactive than reactive and it’s better to catch a condition in its beginning stage then its end stage — this is extremely applicable to cognitive function, memory, and long-term health and vitality.

So make a commitment that you’re going to do the work needed to establish a subconscious program where it becomes second nature and effortless to eat the food and exercise daily. Not only will you live longer, you will live better — and most importantly, you will live being cognitively active, living life to the full, remembering each moment of it, and enjoying your family, friends, and your relationships every day of your life.

So we close with this saying, which has very deep meaning:

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead…
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die…

Now is your time to wake up!

Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:

  1. Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
  2. Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
  3. Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Revolution New Medicine but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
  4. Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Revolution New Medicine along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.