Flaky Fringe or Cutting Edge?

Child Brain

Before getting into what Dave Asprey says, lets take a look at his bio, which does not include any medical credentials whatsoever. Asprey is an expert in computer security, and an entrepreneur and investor in a number of areas, who is said to have spent “15 years and $250,000 to hack his own biology.” This obviously means hack in the good sense — of fiddling with a given system to improve it. The capsule bio says:

He upgraded his brain by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs without using calories or exercise. The Financial Times calls him a ‘bio-hacker who takes self-quantification to the extreme of self-experimentation.’ His writing has been published by the New York Times and Fortune, and he’s presented at Wharton, Kellogg, the University of California, and Singularity University.

In his article (which comes with 25 reference footnotes to scientific studies) Asprey discusses the one factor that is associated with not only obesity, but with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive dysfunction, and that factor is inflammation — a link and a commonality that is said to be present within all of these.

And although Asprey himself is not a health professional, he consults plenty of doctors in search of answers. This time, the expert on call is Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who studies mycotoxins, the toxins or poisons produces by mold and fungi. One of his theories is that mycotoxins cause inflammation that breaks down the “blood brain barrier” and lets systemic inflammatory response syndromes affect the brain, which is where the cognitive functions operate.

Good cognitive function, a brain that thinks clearly, is pretty important in every facet of life, and of course a brain in excellent working order is an asset when it comes time for people to consider their alternatives and make healthful choices, the choices that lead to normal weight through good everyday habits. A person also needs a clear head to engage in the decision-making process that leads to such a beneficial conclusion as, “I’d better go into treatment for this food addiction before I kill myself.”

Dr. Shoemaker defines unsuitable foods as “high-toxin, high-sugar, high-processed, high-gluten, etc.,” and once the body takes them in, a poorly operating digestive system makes the situation worse by reacting to them with inflammation. Poor food choices, plus unmanaged stress, combine to make biological disaster.

What Asprey has christened the “Bulletproof Diet” was designed to minimize this kind of inflammation. He reserves particular scorn for substances that others have recommended as superfoods, for instance Goji berries, of which Asprey says:

Did you know they are actually in the nightshade family like tomatoes and can cause inflammation in a large percentage of people?

First, Asprey says, we should only put high-quality foods into our bodies, because:

Lower quality foods usually have toxins or inflammatory agents in them, which initiates an inflammatory response in the body. The right high quality foods retain high levels of antioxidants and low levels of toxins, which makes them anti-inflammatory by nature.

What some find astonishing is that Asprey’s definition of high-quality food includes coffee (without the usual mold, of course), butter, vanilla, and chocolate. The trick, in all these cases, is that the substance has to be correctly produced, processed, stored, and packaged, to preserve their helpful qualities and avoid the growth of toxins.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Real Superfoods That Destroy Inflammation in Your Brain…,” The Bulletproof Executive, 01/30/13
Image by Isaac Mao.

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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