Let me be 100% transparent from the start. I can barely contain my excitement about this topic. I am effervescent. . I am the total opposite of cool. This is such a really interesting subject and let’s face facts.. we all harbour a desire to have the longest happiest healthiest lives possible. Right? For us and our pets. I am entering this discussion from a “What we currently know about Humans” and some of the latest research emerging in this field. However……this ties in with what we are seeing anecdotally AND clinically in the pet world. Ooooooo, seriously this is sexy chat, read on.
So yes, this is a minor recap on what we covered in podcast 12, with the benefits of some extra intel to help it all start to make more sense, and give you a basic roadmap to help your pet live up to its potential.
Areas we are going to cover are:
- Lifespan vs Healthspan
- Life expectancy vs Life potential
- Genetics vs Epigentics (in bite sized chunks)
- Factors we can control in our environment to live to our potential. Spoiler alert this is mainly about food, what we eat and how frequently we eat it.
Lifespan vs Healthspan
There’s a raft of conflicting information out there. So let’s boil it down. There are people waving facts around saying dog’s are living longer than ever before.
There are others saying dogs are dying younger than ever before.
Continuing being honest with you, I really can’t be bothered to sift through it all as much more important to me than length of life is Health and quality of life. And what I do know for a fact is that dogs and cats are getting cancer and other (avoidable illnesses) more frequently and younger than ever before, so however long they are living seems to be punctuated with regular medical treatment, procedures and trips to the vets. Yes. I said cancer is avoidable. It’s far from a lottery. It’s a failure of the body’s ability to stop bad cells multiplying. There’s now LOTS of evidence on how to prevent or arrest this process.
So this whole illness epidemic is not acceptable and needs to stop. Full stop. In fact what I really want to write is it’s utterly f8cking unacceptable. It’s a travesty and a tragedy rolled up into a mess. We all have the potential to live healthy lives. I am sure you agree with “what’s the point” of living to 125 if for 50 of those years you are unwell enough to enjoy your life and are simply propped up by pharmaceuticals. Not exactly quality of life. Same thing your pets.
But what if I tell you that things that radically improve health span also radically improve lifespan. SO we can have both. And quite easily. (for humans and pets)
I know, I know most of us to assume (incorrectly) that to improve our health span we have to do a whole host of boring, hard work, denial, emotional suffering, so it simply feels like we are living longer.
What good really looks like here is being able to have a health span that more or less matches our lifespan and to be able to enjoy ourselves whilst we live it. Anyone who disagrees with this may as well stop reading now. Anyone who wants to sign up for the longer happier healthier life party, read on.
(Mark we totally need to cover this in the proposed Dogs and their Humans Biohacking retreat! )
Now we understand Health Span and what we are shooting for, let’s cover life expectancy.
Life Expectancy vs Life Potential
If we look on www.dogbreedinfo.com we can easily check what the average life expectancy is for our particular breed of dog. Similar information is readily available for cats. The important part of this is this is purely expectation. And this is the expectation based on genetics.
So a Spanish Alano bulldog is a super hardy ancient breed and regularly reaches 17. A Yorkshire terrier is one of the longest-lived breeds (genetically) and regularly tops 20+.
Where this gets much more exciting is when we place an “overlay” of the environment on this. The environment has MUCH more influence on life and health span. Guestimates place environment as high as 80% in this equation. I love to plagiarise Chris Kresser who neatly explains this as “Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger”
This means that simply because you may have a family history of breast cancer or other unwanted “syndromes” doesn’t mean the grim reaper is coming knocking at your door. In fact, it’s good to be aware of them so you can keep that unwelcome party pooper off the property entirely. With appropriate action.
My Dad very kindly gifted us Brugada’s syndrome which means I could pop off at any minute due to some misfiring electrics in the heart. There’s no known cure whatsoever. But there are some simple things I can do to virtually eliminate this risk. Had I not known about it I would have literally left my life to fate. Hopefully, I am going to make it to the end of this post otherwise I am going to look like a total charlatan!
So this is exactly the same for your dogs. Just because a certain species of dog is predisposed to this cancer or that kidney issue does not equate, whatsoever, that they will get it.
What it does mean is you need to be aware of these things and manage the dog’s environment accordingly to maximise its life potential.
Next stop, the environment and how we can influence it positively.
Environment and How to Influence it
What we put in our or our dog’s mouths is what the body builds ALL of its cells from. Some cells are turned over every 90 days, some every few years. What we do know is like Dr Who we are constantly regenerating. Question, do you think a cell made of waffles is going to be more or less healthy than one made of quality protein and fats?
Yes, Food is the major part of this.
Longevity and health studies are ALL pointing at a quality higher fat diet. As much as 85% fat. Other components to this are limited but quality protein, and very restricted carbohydrate.
One point that is ESSENTIAL here. ESSENTIAL. Is that you or your pet are consuming these quality fats totally away from sugar or carbohydrate (which becomes sugar). Why? Because sugar corrupts fat molecules into BAD cholesterol. Good fats away from sugar are the building blocks of GOOD cholesterol. The type that makes every single hormone in the body and the majority of your brain by weight. YES. SO when your Doctor tells you-you have high cholesterol you need to know WHICH TYPE.
The next part is the frequency of meals. Eating fewer meals less often (very easy when you are on a high-fat diet as the energy is MUCH more consistent) . Ideally, you are having regular periods of up to 16 hours without food. Which is actually quite easy. If you eat at 7 in the evening and finish by 8, it means eating at 12:00 the next day. And you can “cheat” by having plenty of good fats for breakfast as this does not affect the process. More on this in a future blog. This is known as Intermittent Fasting or IF.
(NB : For some females, 14 hours works better and before embarking on any radical changes it’s really advisable to seek the advice of a knowledgeable progressive practitioner)
So if your heart heaves a groan at the idea of forsaking sugary sweets and snacks, or that mountain of museli, imagine replacing that with a huge cup of quality hot chocolate, blended with some grass-fed butter until its frothy and delicious, some coconut milk and maybe a sprinkle of turmeric. I have all my patients use this throughout the day when I am getting them healthy, super lean and lowering inflammation. Believe me, they think its Christmas and Easter rolled into one when I get them doing this! And because they are avoiding sugar, ALL of their cholesterol markers improve and they get RIPPED. With little exercise.
In dogs, switching them onto a quality high fat diet with zero sugar and some antioxidant-rich veggies, we are seeing a reversal of autoimmune diseases, arthritis, gut issues. AND there’s not lots of very exciting chat about it stopping cancer progression and even reversing it.
Why? Cancer feeds off sugar (and in some case a couple of select amino acids), so no sugar equates no tumour growth.
Excited yet? Brain popping with possibilities?
I know Mark and I are super excited to start tweaking the food formulas to selectively help fight certain diseases. Oh wow. Roll it on!
Let’s go back to the frequency, however. This is important as when your body isn’t digesting food two positive things happen. One is it’s not releasing any insulin which is very ageing. But number 2 the body starts some cellular cleaning, like housework and starts checking its own cells. This process is called autophagy. I am not going to go into mitochondrial scavenging at this point but heck there’s some super sexy science here!
The cells which are defective or simply not up to scratch are either repaired or exploded. This prevents cancerous cells from developing. I even know a leading Anti Cancer Research Doctor in the US who is fasting twice a year for a week to prevent any cancer cells from ever making it past base 1. Just exploding them all.
What does this mean for your dog? let’s summarise.
Feeding your dog a quality, high fat, lower protein raw diet is going to dramatically improve its life and health.
Feeding it slightly more but less regularly (so it is consuming a similar amount of calories or slightly less is even more effective) to encourage this body house cleaning is key. So try decreasing to 2 meals a day spaced apart, then try even just one.
The farmer in Australia who had several dogs making it to 30 and beyond was only feeding them three times a week. So every other day. They had virtually zero illness and longer lives.
I understand this may challenge expectations and current belief, but that is what we are all about. Let’s explore this and see where it goes. What we know is: it’s working.
Other elements that fit into the environmental hopper are exposure to chemicals, vaccinations and stress but that’s a whole other article!
Expect much more from us on this subject and watch this space for Bella and Duke evolving with the latest science to better serve you and your pet.
Please comment and give your feedback. We want to learn!
Wishing you happy health spans and longer lives.
I made it!
if you want to discuss your own health, I am now offering a free 20 minute consultation to any of our Bella and Duke Pack. I have a maximum of 3 x 20-minute slots a week, so contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book yours now.Tags: longevity, wellbeing