Our modern way of life depends upon the continued supply of many products, which in turn require raw materials, a robust manufacturing infrastructure, unhindered transportation, active international commerce, and labor. Limit any of these, and our way of life suffers. In times of war, epidemic, political upheaval, or natural disaster, we start worrying about the “supply chain”, which is the complex process by which goods and services flow in the right proportions to manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and then to local stores for our consumption. Without a fully functional supply chain, normally available products become scarce.

Supply chain issues were major problems during the COVID epidemic, with some issues persisting for the next couple of years. We remember the limited supplies of paper goods, where we would go to multiple stores just to get enough. There was no lack of trees to make paper from, but the store shelves were still largely empty because the supply chain could not keep up with demand. In cases of natural disaster, local water is unsafe and bottled water is needed, but it is difficult to transport into those areas and supplies run out quickly. Good water is plentiful, except in the disaster areas where it is most needed. The supply chain is complex, and any kink in the chain stalls the whole process.

You might think of health as a complex supply chain, where our cells depend on a good supply and a free flow of nutrients constantly. We have many nutritional requirements, and if we are deficient in any, no amount of the other nutrients will make up the deficiency. Our internal supply chain has many requirements to keep it running smoothly and supplying our needs. With the Standard American Diet, where we have plenty of food conveniently available, we can still be malnourished even while we pack on the pounds, because we are missing key items in our supply chain.

While we don’t pay enough attention to many of the micronutrients that we need, we over-emphasize the need for protein. Plants, at least when fresh and raw, contain an uncountable number of valuable trace minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients that enrich our internal supply chains. Health-conscious people pay more attention to these nutrients, but even they often get caught up in the supposed need for high protein. So let’s look at the protein-specific supply chain in more detail…

The protein argument breaks down
Protein is manufactured. If you ingest protein, your body can’t just take that protein and slap it into itself somewhere. It instead must break down your dietary protein into its component amino acids, of which there are 20 that we use. Nine of those are considered essential, because they are only available through diet — your body cannot manufacture them. If the particular amino acids your body needs to make a specific protein are available through your dietary supply chain, it can manufacture the proteins that it wants in real time. Since a reserve of amino acids is not stored, the supply chain needs to keep supplied with these raw materials to provide the on-demand manufacturing of those proteins. So the conclusion that our society has adopted is that we must get plenty of proteins in our diet regularly to stay healthy. Plus, since animal product proteins are complete proteins, rich in the nine essential animo acids, we are told to get animal proteins in our diets to fully meet our needs. Double this emphasis if we are trying to build muscle, because that additional muscle mass requires more protein intake. This belief is a major over-simplification of the facts, and a misunderstanding of animo acid utilization. This error can harm the very health goals we are attempting to achieve.

All proteins are not created equal
When your body wants to build a protein, it does not take equal amounts of each amino acid to manufacture it. Any manufacturing facility that makes a variety of products uses different quantities of the raw materials to make each product. A hammer will need a different alloy of metals than would a cooking pot or a spoon, and a pair of shoes would require a different mix of components than a hat. If your body wants to make collagen, which makes up about 30% of your body’s protein and is vital for skin, bones, muscles, and connective tissues, it needs 28.5% of the animo acid glycine, 17% proline, 13.5% hydroxylycine — these three animo acids, out of the 20 that we use, make up 59% of collagen, and none of these are essential amino acids. Of the essentials, collagen consists of 4.6% leucine (the top essential amino acid component requirement), 3.2% isoleucine, 0.9% methionine, and 0.0% tryptophan. It completely skips that last amino acid, so collagen itself is not technically a complete protein.

If we read food product labels, we are told only the protein percentage of the food: this is extremely confusing, because without knowing what protein the food contains, we can’t determine the amino acid percentages of that protein. Of course, a food product label listing all 20 amino acids and their ratios would be excessive for most people, but without that the term “protein” only differentiates that food element from fats and carbohydrates. So, maybe we turn to animal products, where we know the protein content on the label means complete protein. But our bodies have different requirements for each of the 20 amino acids to manufacture our proteins, so why are we so concerned that we get equal portions of all the amino acids? This needlessly steers us to animal protein sources. Remember, we don’t store animo acids long term, so getting more quantity than we need of a particular amino simply means we have to excrete or convert the excess.

You might say, “so what?” Since our bodies deal with the excess amino acids all the time, who cares if we ingest a lot of some amino acid that we don’t utilize? More is better, right? Well, even though this is standard procedure for our bodies, it does not come without a cost. First, it’s extra work: the liver has to do the amino acid extraction, and we often hear from health practitioners that our livers are overloaded as it is. Second, most amino acids can convert to glucose, so while we think that excess protein is not fattening because it isn’t sugar, it certainly can become sugar. Third, protein metabolism is a rather “dirty” process, creating nitrogenous wastes such as urea, uric acid, and ammonia, which the kidneys have to filter out. Kidney hyperfiltration has been shown to lead to kidney function decline due to high protein diets, as shown in a study of studies published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. In this review, the researchers cited overwhelming evidence of the high risk of high protein diets to those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), as well as risk of developing CKD in previously healthy individuals.

There is a fourth reason: excesses in some amino acids have been clinically shown to reduce lifespan and healthspan. Methionine an amino acid found in high concentrations in eggs, dairy products, meat, chicken, and fish also can reduce longevity unless restricted. Restriction studies have shown that significant reduction of this one essential amino acid significantly improves average lifespan. One such study, published in Scientific Reports, finds with methionine restriction, a lifespan extension of up to 42%, with improved glucose homeostasis, decreased oxidative stress, and perhaps most importantly, increased activity of pathways involved in protein degradation and recycling. Enough studies have been conducted on methionine restriction that it is starting to get mainstream attention. Another study, published in Biomedicines, explains how methionine is involved in the supply of methyl donors like S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), which in turn increases oxidative stress; thus, methionine restriction aids longevity by lowering the stress on the body.

But the pattern continues with restriction of some other essential amino acids. Isoleucine, which is in high concentrations in eggs, dairy products, and meat, also can reduce longevity unless restricted. This was demonstrated in a study published in Cell Metabolism, where researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted an animal study with three groups: those with a normal diet, those with a low protein diet that restricted most animo acids, and one that just restricted isoleucine by two-thirds of normal. Each group was of older adults, as the experiment wanted to see how protein changes can affect those in their latter years. Of the three, only the isoleucine-restricted group showed major differences: they lived up to 33% longer, reduced excess belly fat even without a change in their exercise levels, and scored better on all 26 measures of health that the researchers recorded. They also had lowered risk of developing cancer! They were leaner as they lost excess fat, and were less frail than others of similar advanced age. Their weight loss happened without increased exercise, and they maintained steadier blood sugar levels even while eating more calories. Finally, the males had less prostate enlargement — something you older men might appreciate.

Why would reduction of isoleucine have such a sizable impact? It’s just an amino acid; yes, it is one of the essentials, but what’s special about this one? When the body’s supply chain is providing plenty of isoleucine, along with leucine and valine, the protein manufacturing process kicks into higher gear. This may sound great if you think you need more protein synthesis because you are doing a lot of muscle building, but there is a dark side: it activates the mTOR (that’s “mammalian target of rapamycin”, so let’s just stick with mTOR) signaling pathway. That pathway advances the aging process and stimulates growth — and stimulating growth in a mature (over the age of 35) body isn’t such a great idea. Growth in a body that doesn’t need to grow further is pushing the biological clock forward and inviting the uncontrolled growth of cancer. Thus, less active mTOR signaling ties directly to longevity.

Putting a wrench in the gears…
Well, why would restriction of any particular essential amino acid have such an impact on longevity? Aren’t we messing around with the body’s supply chain, taking out a critical component and causing disruptions in the process? Exactly! Sometimes putting a kink in a process is downright harmful, but other times leads to creative solutions. In this case, reducing an essential amino acid that the body can’t simply synthesize forces it to get creative. If it can’t get the amino acid the easy way, it scrounges elsewhere. That scrounging leads to something called autophagy, which is the intentional breaking down of existing protein in the body to obtain its amino acids. But wait — doesn’t that mean bad things happen like breaking down muscle mass? No, autophagy prioritizes finding defective, undesired proteins in the body that it not only can afford to destroy, but that relieve the body of junk. Proteins get broken down and reformed all the time through normal metabolism, and if this doesn’t happen vigorously, misfolded, malformed proteins, which are getting in the way of normal body functioning, stick around. Human bodies are great recyclers, but they prefer not to go to the effort if all the amino acids they need are conveniently provided. So essential amino acid restrictions, by inhibiting the normal supply chain, forces creative alternatives to occur.

And, as we’ve seen, your body’s proteins do not use all amino acids equally, not by a long shot. So, as those that are not needed in high quantities become readily available, they create additional oxidative stress loads on your body. There may be other reasons why certain amino acid restrictions improve longevity that we haven’t discovered, but the research is clearly showing that they are effective.

The pattern is the same in all these studies: the very amino acids that are high in animal products are detrimental to longevity. Plant diets are frowned upon because they generally have lower protein content, and what protein they contain often is incomplete, lacking some amino acids. Is it possible that the ratios of amino acids in plant-based diets, while low on some amino acids, matches the proportions that the human body needs? We assume that animal products have the correct ratios, but we are seeing that plant aminos are better balanced for our needs. A plant-based diet provides the aminos that we really need, while simultaneously not overloading us with those we don’t need in high quantities.

Plants are the universal answer to health
So, if plant-based diets provide a better amino acid mix, one which is attuned more closely to our needs, shouldn’t scientific studies reflect that? Yes, they do, and in abundance. One was published in Nutrients, where researchers reviewed results from multiple peer-reviewed studies about protein needs and vegetarian diets, using sample data from EPIC-Oxford, Nutrient, and AHS-2 databases. AHS-2 is the Adventist Health Study, and Adventists are people with the highest longevity in the world. The researchers’ prime conclusion: “There is no evidence of protein deficiency among vegetarians in Western countries.” That’s exactly opposite of what you often hear about protein. The researchers were passionate about the popular misconceptions regarding protein for vegetarians: “We recommend that further study on protein in vegetarian diets shift away from unnecessary questions about protein adequacy, to a comparison of overall nutrition quality and implications for long-term health with plant-based protein-rich foods vs. animal-based protein rich foods.” This was a polite way of saying that the popular beliefs about protein are simply wrong.

How did they support such strong conclusions? They note that vegetarian diets generally mix their proteins from different plants, and that this mixing usually takes care of any real amino deficiency in the diet. Mixing nuts and seeds with vegetables is sufficient to meet all the protein component requirements. Also, plants can be eaten in large quantities, increasing the amino acid intake; especially if you are eating low-sugar plants. Plants offer greater bioavailability of their nutrients, so we can more effectively get the amino acids we need.

The list of reasons to avoid animal products is long, but to sum it up: they oversupply the body’s supply lines with components that cause trouble in such quantities, both toxic components and valuable nutrients that become toxic at excessive levels. Plants, however, generally provide the right nutrients at the right levels to maximize health. The fact that plants generally have lower protein levels is a positive in a society such as ours, where relative affluence makes meat and the availability of “complete proteins” common fare. Our personal supply chains are overloaded with these proteins, beyond the point of health benefit, and it’s vital to our health that we reconsider our real protein needs. And that’s easy: just go with a plant-based diet.

 

Dr. Nemec’s Review

This research reminds me of the biblical story of the people of Israel who, when in the wilderness for 40 years, depended on the manna from heaven that God provided each day. It was wonderful how God supplied the manna. They could take as much as they wanted — as much as they could eat in that day — but if they took anything extra, anything to save or store up beyond their immediate needs,it would rot. Isn’t this an interesting analogy?

What the protein and amino acid research is showing is that more is absolutely not better; rather, is very detrimental to one’s long-term health. In a world and especially a country that is so swayed by media over the years that has promoted high protein diets for strength and vitality, it’s important to understand the concept that more is not better, but in fact, damaging to long-term health.

Baking the perfect cake
Let us use another analogy. Let’s say you visited a friend who had baked a cake, and that cake was the best cake you have ever had in your life. You were so impressed with this cake that you asked your friend for the recipe so you could make a cake that would turn out the exact same way. Your friend explained that the cake would require the exact same ingredients in the exact same amounts, with no variation whatsoever. But your friend when on to say, absolutely do not use an excess of these four ingredients, because if you do, it will surely not taste good.

Then you try making the cake, but you don’t have the precision measuring utensils needed to combine the precise quantities; after all, your friend was a chemist who measured quantities down to the gram, instead of the usual measurements of teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups. So you make the cake which you’re very excited about because, to the best of your ability, you matched the quantities. You bake the cake, you take your first bite, and you’re so disappointed: it does not taste the same. It’s not even close, and you’re totally confused — you followed the measurements exactly, except for minor changes. Why did it turn out like this, you ask?

The answer? You used a little too much of those four ingredients you were told not to. Now let’s combine these two analogies: the one about the manna from heaven, being supplied in sufficient quantity, but no excess — and baking the cake.

What does this mean? The body keeps a certain amount of amino acids circulating in an amino acid pool so that the body has access to what it needs when it needs it. What we do not want in this circulating amino acid pool is an excess of the four amino the acids that have been proven to drive inflammation and disease like cancer — these amino acids are predominantly found in animal products. The most notable four include glutamine methionine, leucine, and isoleucine.

This has also been demonstrated with fasting. The more you restrict these four amino acids, the greater the longevity, the greater the level of health, and the less likely is the possibility of disease production, like cancer.

The study that most strikingly showed it was the protein in the animal products that did the damage — which means it was the glutamine, methionine, leucine, and isoleucine — was shown when the calorie-restricted group where all members are required to keep their caloric intake to approximately 1500 calories a day. And those members continued to eat animal protein in significant amounts, just cutting out most carbs.

When they did research on this group, they found that they had the same likelihood of getting cancer as standard Americans. So this proves it’s not the calorie restriction that increases longevity by decreasing the chances of diseases like cancer, but it’s the selective amino acid restriction that causes the anti-aging and anti-disease profile.

You can eat as much as you want when it’s plant-based — there is no limit to RAW leafy greens, RAW vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, raw seeds and nuts. These do not have an excess of the four amino acids. But we definitely want to limit in our diet all animal proteins, including dairy, eggs, meat, chicken, turkey, ham, fish because they are extremely high in these four amino acids.

So simply by switching to a plant-based diet that’s predominantly living, uncooked, and raw, and avoiding grains, cooked carbs, and starches, you increase your longevity and decrease your chances for disease automatically.

So every ingredient is an amino acid, and if you take an excess of four of them — leucine, isoleucine, glutamine or methionine — it will in a sense turn rotten by turning on inflammation pathways and a disease growth metabolism. This is what happens in the human body at the cellular level when it comes to excesses of protein; there is a perfect mix of amino acids like a combination that opens the lock of total health, and this mix cannot be altered — most importantly not with any excess in these four key amino acids — otherwise it becomes toxic and detrimental to your long-term health.

In America, we’ve all grown up with the mentality of “more is better” and “abundance is the sign of an affluent life.” But when it comes to diet and especially amino acid ratios, this is absolutely the opposite of the truth. What have the studies shown?

1. There is a perfect ratio of amino acids to make every protein in the body, and proteins are essential for health. They are what is necessary to make enzymes which are the key to your health and longevity. Enzymes speed cellular reactions, and in doing so allow your metabolism to function at the highest level to digest, absorb, and excrete the nutrients needed to allow you to stay alive and thrive. Following the importance of enzymes comes a long list of other essential biomolecules that are made from proteins, including neurotransmitters, hormones, and a high percentage of cellular communication signaling molecules. All of these essential functions follow the perfect recipe mix which, if followed, makes the ideal enzyme, neurotransmitter, hormone, etc.

2. The perfect ratio of these amino acids that builds the vital proteins’ structures cannot be altered by excess in any of four key amino acids, because if it is altered with excesses, those excesses open the door for most all disease, because the excesses produce more inflammation at the cellular level — and inflammation is the root of almost every single disease in the body. Also, as the research has shown, excesses accelerate mutation and cancer cell formation.

3. Research is very strongly showing that calorie restriction, especially amino acid restriction, extends longevity greatly. When it comes to food, less is more: the less you eat, the more efficient your body becomes at using old, worn out, and potentially damaging cellular structures, recycling them to meet the amino acid deficiency. There is nothing better than this, because this supplies the perfect ratio of amino acids to build every protein in the body, not producing excesses at all. This also provides a secondary and extremely powerful benefit known as autophagy, which efficiently uses every single molecule of a worn out cell to build new healthy cell structures instead of inflaming the body, toxifying the body and stimulating cancer cell growth by adding more of certain amino acids that can produce inflammation and abnormal growth. This is absolutely the best of both worlds: you get the ideal recipe of amino acids while letting your body choose the recipe ingredient amounts, and you get recycling of old, damaging protein structures to complete the recipe — thus producing no toxic excess and efficiently detoxing old cellular proteins that would be extremely hard on the body to excrete. So, instead of excreting, the body reuses and rebuilds the most efficient structures possible.

4. What diet do you think makes this efficiency, this perfect recipe, the perfect ratio of amino acids occur? What diet do you think insures conservation and ultra health at the cellular level? A plant-based diet, not an animal-based diet of excess. As the research has shown, no one plant has all the amino acids, so as you eat a varied plant-based diet, you not only get the best possible ratio, but you also get other vital components that ensure total health and longevity, like phytonutrients and biophotons (energy of living food). Biophotons are a whole other, but very important, topic of health promotion.

5. What do you think the original plan for man was? Well, there are two major beliefs. The first is: Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, where God told them to eat green plants for food, and that this food would be the food for every living creature. The other is the hunter-gatherer caveman beginning where the primary diet is carnivore, adding plants as available. So the question is: which one is right, which one is best? All the research presently is focused around plant-based diets for longevity and anti-aging because of the amino acid efficiency, the phytochemicals and phytonutrients that strongly boost the immune system naturally. They contain the essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates that naturally come from plant-based food in their ideal form, which is never meant to be cooked, never meant to be denatured, oxidized, or glycated with heat.

Like anything in life, we have to choose to believe something so we have a guide for our lives. Let us all make sure that we choose correctly, not based on our upbringing, not based on popular belief, but based on science and research into health and longevity.

We will end with another saying from the people of Israel as they were led by Moses, who was the voice of God to the people — the prophet of God, who heard the voice of God. Moses gives these instructions to the people:

You choose today: life or death, blessing or cursing — you choose.

And we will reiterate same thing to you today: choose correctly and your diet will enable you to live a long, healthy, vital and very functional life physically, mentally, emotionally and cognitively. This truly is living life to the full.

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.