In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, the focus is on inflammation and how it’s related to fasting, cancer and even Covid.
If you want to know how your immune system works, Dr. Miriam Merad most definitely is the expert to ask. So I did. She’s an internationally acclaimed physician scientist who’s doing groundbreaking research on how our immune system fights common and recurring infections.
Dr. Merad leads the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine (PrIISM) at Mount Sinai, New York. Her research lab recently found that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections.
However, our immune systems respond differently to stressors like fasting, diets and levels of activity.
“We are not all equal,” says Dr. Merad. “So, we have to really understand that it’s important to stratify people, and this stratification comes from teamwork with computational and quantitative immunologies and quantitative biologies. Some ethnic groups have different type of gene organization, that we can now identify, and sometimes it’s spontaneous mutation.”
We also get into Dr. Merad’s recent findings on COVID-19 (why some patients develop severe forms of the virus and some don’t) and her research on cancer immunology.
Her findings are fascinating, and she’s an engaging guest. Her research helps us better understand human immunology, a topic she’s always been captivated by.
“We, as a human species, are alive today because we were able to survive millions of years of exposure to threats,” Dr. Merad says. The only reason we were able to survive is because our immune system protected us. “It is our best doctor.“
I appreciate her holistic approach to her practice and her research, and I really think you’ll find something in here that inspires you.
Enjoy! And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts
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Follow Along with the Transcript
- Dr. Miriam Merad: icahn.mssm.edu/profiles/miriam-merad
- Dr. Miriam Merad’s Lab: labs.icahn.mssm.edu/meradlab/
- You’ve written more than 200 papers in big visibility journals, and people have cited your work thousands of times. How did you get here? – 1:42
- The big puzzle of the immune system is to be able to recognize what’s dangerous from what’s not dangerous. – 7:55
- When did humans start to eat so often? – 10:39
- Your chronic inflammation would go down when you fasted, but it wouldn’t affect your ability to fight off a virus or a bacteria. – 14:27
- Food is important. And usually these people die of infection before dying of extreme fatigue or organ failure. – 21:13
- You mentioned that you went from being a frequent snacker, until you started intermittent fasting. What do you normally eat?= 24:39
- We believe that this renewed energy that I felt was, in fact, due to the fact that I didn’t have this burst of inflammation – 27:09
- Glial and macrophage are cells that are present in every organ. Let’s talk about macrophage. – 32:19
- In the draining lymph node, you have all these very sophisticated immune cells, the T cells and the B cells that make antibody, the ones that are going to kill and get rid of the CoV-2 virus in COVID-19. – 35:54
- People who have a dysfunctional kidney. All these diseases, they have one common, strong theme, which is chronic inflammation. – 41:04
- All of lesions that we’ve observed and studied from patients that died of COIVD had been able to get rid of the virus, so there was no virus left, because it’s really this excess inflammatory response, strikingly. So the virus triggered something, of course, but the virus was not responsible for organ failure and organ damage. The lung were clear of the virus and they were destroyed by inflamed cells. – 44:26
- This is the conundrum, this is the moonshot of this century, is how you drug the immune system so that you do not compromise or you keep the beneficial effect without compromising our ability to fight infection, the cancer cells, and you prevent the damaging affect, which is excess inflammation. – 52:01
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