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James O'Keefe, MD — How to Train like a Hunter-Gatherer

James O'Keefe, MD — How to Train like a Hunter-Gatherer






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  • Hazda nomads of Tanzania, as have the others have lived the same life they have been living for thousands of years. The Hadza hunt game, gather edible plants and honey, and move from place to place whenever the weather changes, or the wild herds migrate. African Pygmy from the Congo and the San (or Bushman) of Nambia -5% of the San are still huntergathers, lived in Bands of 10 nuclear families nomadically The women gathering plants and fruits and the men hunting w bows and poison tipped arrows. Eg the pix. The !Kung a tribe similar to the San are also called Bushman and are in So Africa eg Namibia. 25% of their diet is one type of nut (see the slide on them) The Hadza Tribe of Tanzania (not from encarta- the info on San and Hadza are from Encarta) A guest article submitted by Katherine Millett Trees almost hid the grass huts. The fireplaces were still warm. When Barbara Zucker-Pinchoff held her palm over a circle of rocks, she could feel heat from the embers. The ground was littered with feathers, mostly from guinea fowl. A group of Hadza people had just left the campsite. They had taken all their possessions with them. About 400 members of the Eastern Hadza tribe (also known as the Tindiga or Kindiga) live in Tanzania today, the only hunter-gatherers who reamain in Africa. It was a mere 12,000 years ago that our ancestors domesticated plants and animals. Until then, hunter-gatherers dominated Africa as they did the rest of the world. Since human beings first appeared in the form of homo habilis two million years ago, according to anthropologist Richard B. Lee, we have been hunter-gatherers for 99 percent of the time. To look at it another way, of the eighty billion people who have walked the earth, 90 percent of them have been hunter-gatherers. The Hadza hunt game, gather edible plants and honey, and move from place to place whenever the weather changes, or the wild herds migrate, or they just feel like moving. In small groups of about eighteen adults and their children, they pitch camps among the rocks and trees of the dry savanna where they live on 1,000 square miles near Lake Eyasi, a salt lake in northern Tanzania. Every two weeks or so, they move to a new campsite. At the Pinchoffs' campsite, three Hadza men stopped by to visit and ended up staying three days. Barbara described their first interaction. One of the guides gave the men a cigarette. They took out the tobacco, put it in a pipe, and lit the pipe with fire they started by twirling a wooden firedrill. It takes less than two hours for Hadza women to build a new camp. They make huts by bending and weaving branches into round structures about six feet high, then covering them with thick clumps of long, golden grass. Or, if the weather is very wet, the women may skip the hut building and choose a dry cave to set up a camp that includes a hearth, cooking vessels, sleeping mats made of animal skins, and tools for sharpening stones and scraping skins. Some rock caves have been used intermittently over thousands of years and are decorated with ancient rock paintings. Whether they sleep in huts, caves or in the open, the Hadza cover themselves only with thin cloths and rely on fire to keep them warm. It takes them less than 30 seconds to start a fire by rotating wooden firedrills between their palms and creating friction in a hollowed-out scrap of soft wood. A couple of days later, the Hadza men were sitting at camp when one suddenly called for silence. "He told our guide that he had heard the bird they follow to honey," Barbara said. "The three of them ran up a hill, and a few minutes later we saw smoke. One of them ran down to borrow a big, metal basin from our cook. A while later, they brought it down full of honey and comb. They had wood in their hair, they had been stung in several places, and they were laughing away. Our guide later told us they make money selling honey, but they seemed very happy to share it with us, with no thought of saving it for cash." The Hadza steadfastly refuse to be "settled" into villages or to adopt the life of sedentary farmers. For seventy years they have resisted efforts by the English colonial government, and later the Tanzanian government, to limit their living space or make them grow crops. From time to time, substantial amounts of money have been spent to move the Hadza into government-built housing and teach them to grow cotton. The Hadza may stay for a short time, while free food is available, but then they return to the bush. The largest resettlement occurred in 1964, when the government of Tanzania provided brick houses, piped water, schools, and a medical clinic, but many of the Hadza got sick or died because of the monotonous diet and the boring lifestyle. By 1979, almost all of them had returned to their old, nomadic ways. The Hadza may be the only tribe in Africa that has never paid taxes. James Woodburn, an English social anthropologist, studied the 400 Eastern Hadza people intensively from 1958 to 1960 and revisited them frequently in later years. The following information is derived from his numerous published articles. Another article on the hadza- also called Bushman like the San- The Hadza still live in bands, hunting with bows and arrows, gathering roots, tubers and wild fruits, as man lived 10,000 years ago. About thirty years ago, the Tanzanian government tried to change the lifestyle of the last remaining bands of bushmen who inhabited the inhospitable region of the Lake Eyasi basin. They forced the bushmen to settle down, gave them livestock, grain and tools, and left them to cultivate the land. The settling program was a failure as the Hadza, who had always been hunters, lacked the knowledge or inclination to be successful at agriculture. Once the livestock and grain were gone, they returned to the bush, and regained their primitive status as free people. Today they are still there, although fighting a losing battle against the progress that will eventually force the extinction of a life style which has been almost unchanged since the Paleolithic. The Hadza speak a click-language, they don't have chiefs, houses, or a political system, and they roam the land in small bands with little sense of tribe. Bali may be a dialect. They hunt baboons, gazelles, and dik diks (small antelope-like creatures) which are still available today. They share their land with another remarkable tribe, the Barabaig or Datoga. They are located quite a distance northwest of the Sandawe, southeast of Lake Victoria, Singida, Arusha, and Shinyanga regions, in the Lake Eyasi region. However, pressures from outside are resulting in less land, food and more disease. They are quite possibly the last hunter gatherers. Pygmy -- human subpopulation in which an average stature of less than 152 cm (60 in) is an inherited trait. Pygmy people were described by ancient Greek writers such as Homer and Herodotus. Today Pygmies are found in the tropical forests in central Africa and also in the Malay Peninsula (the Senang people), the Philippine Islands (the Aeta and other tribes), central New Guinea (several tribes), and the Andaman Islands of India. Some groups maintain their traditional way of life based on hunting and gathering, while others have abandoned this way of life to follow a settled agricultural existence. Most often, Pygmies speak the language of their neighbors. African Pygmies—the most numerous Pygmy population, estimated variously at 150,000 to 300,000—are believed to have lived in the Congo Valley before the arrival of other peoples. The best-known tribe, the Mbuti or Bambuti, are the shortest of all human groups, averaging about 130 cm (about 51 in) in height. Non-African Pygmy populations, often called Negritos, may also represent archaic populations. Blood typing and other studies indicate that the African, Asian, Oceanian, and Indian groups are genetically distinct from one another and have independent origins. San (people), ethnic group living mainly in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana and Namibia. In the past, the San have been called Bushmen by southern African whites; they are now often known as the Khoi-San to reflect their cultural affinities. The San speak Khoisan languages characterized by click sounds. Linguistic groups include the Auen, Gwi, Heikum, Kung, and Naron. Traditionally, the San lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers organized in small groups, or bands, of about ten nuclear families. Each group had exclusive rights to a large area of land and usually moved around its rather desolate territory as a unit, changing homesites about once a month as the food supply became exhausted. Women gathered wild plants and fruit, which provided most of the nourishment. Men supplemented the diet by killing animals with light bows and poison-tipped arrows. During the winter, when the overall food supply was reduced, the group’s households lived apart. The San sometimes lived in caves or thatched shelters and wore short aprons and sandals made of skins. The San have lived in southern Africa for thousands of years. Their territory, once extensive, was constricted by white settlers after the early 1700s. In the 20th century many San took up a settled existence, mostly as farmers and cattle raisers, and as a result their cultural heritage is in danger of disappearing. Today, less than 5 percent of the approximately 50,000 San live as hunter-gatherers.
  • O’Keefe
  • O’Keefe
  • O’Keefe
  • Vitamin D for Heart and Mind Low blood levels of vitamin D may have effects beyond your bones. Studies find a greater risk of heart problems and a greater risk of depression in older adults. And though it's not clear why, people taking a vitamin D supplement were 7% less likely to die than those who didn't take a daily supplement in one study. In children, researchers have found more severe asthma when vitamin D levels are low.
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  • The Wonder Vitamin: Vitamin D Most of us know we need vitamin D for strong bones. Now it appears that this nutrient, or rather a lack of it, may play a role in asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes, even weight gain. See why vitamin D may be one of the most important nutrients in your health toolbox, who's at risk for a deficiency, and the safest ways to get enough vitamin D.

James O'Keefe, MD — How to Train like a Hunter-Gatherer James O'Keefe, MD — How to Train like a Hunter-Gatherer Presentation Transcript

  • Organic Fitness: Achieving Hunter Gatherer Fitness in the 21 st Century James H O’Keefe, MD Professor Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City Director Preventive Cardiology, Mid America Heart & Vascular Institute
  • “ The Woodstock of Evolutionary Medicine” Loren Cordain
  • From the emergence of the human genus, Homo, about 2.4 million years ago, our ancestors, for approximately 84,000 generations, survived as hunter gatherers
  • Diabetes: < 1% Hunter Gatherer Native Americans Diabetes;1974: 23: 841-55
  • Native Americans 2011 50% Adults have Diabetes
  • Ancient Instincts Betray Us Moderns Move when you must. Rest whenever you can.
  • Genetic Complexity Roundworm=18,000 genes Human=27,000 genes
  • A Whole New You
    • Exercise alters gene expression in 60% of the 20,000 genes
    • To thrive optimally, we need varied, vigorous daily
    • exercise
  • Exercise-induced Changes in Genetic Expression Improves:
    •  CV + Pulm Health
    •  Musculoskeletal and General Fitness
    •  Glucose, Lipids, Blood Pressure
    •  Autonomic Balance, Mood
    •  Sleep Quality, Immunity
  • Affluenza: (debilitating convenience)
  • RMR = Resting metabolic rate TEE = total energy expenditure EEPA=energy expenditure attributed to physical activity 1 Sedentary office worker 2 Runner running 12.1 km/h Energy Expenditure on Physical Activity Species Sex Ratio (TEE/RMR) EE PA kcal Day range miles Fossil hominids Homo habilis 1.70 983 Homo erectus 1.80 1,214 Homo sapiens (early) 1.80 1,284 Modern Hunters-Gatherers Kung 1.71 903 10 F 1.50 600 8 Ache M 2.15 1,778 16 Acculturated Modern Humans Homo sapiens (office worker) 1 M F 1.18 1.16 306 231 2.4 2.4 Homo sapiens (runner) 2 M 1.70 1,194 11
  • Sattelmair et al.  Circulation. 2011; 124:789-795 Exercise dose dependent CHD risk reduction
  • BP: Lower is Better Because Lower is Normal Age Group (Yrs.) mm Hg Males Females Age Group (Yrs.) Oliver et al. Circulation 1975;52:146-51. BPs in 506 Yanomamo Indians
  • Pygmy ≈100 San ≈ 120 Hazda ≈110 Mean Total Cholesterol (mg/dL) Inuit ≈140 !Kung ≈120
  • Baboon ≈ 110 Howler Monkey ≈ 110 Night Monkey ≈ 140 Wild Primates Mean Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)
  • Wild Mammals Mean Total Cholesterol (mg/dL) Horse ≈ 140 Pig ≈ 100 Rhino ≈ 90 Elephant ≈ 110 Boar ≈ 70
  • Mammals Mean Total Cholesterol (mg/dL) Adult American ~ 209 Horse ≈ 140 Rhino ≈ 90 Elephant ≈ 110 Boar ≈ 70
  • Calories Eaten = Calories Burned
  • Paleolithic Fast Food
  • Physical Activity and Survival* *Studies also show strong link: Between lifetime Physical Activity  Dementia risk
  • Fitness Improves Longevity Kokkinos P, et al, Circulation 2008; 117:614-22
  • Characteristics of a Hunter Gatherer Fitness Program
    • A large amount background daily light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required.
    • Average daily distances covered were in the range of 4 to 10 miles.
  • Workout Hard/ Recover Easy
    • Hard days were typically followed by easy day
    • Every day a variety of physical activities had to be accomplished to provide for the basic human needs
    • Hunter-gatherers’ daily at least 600 to 1,200 calories/d on physical activity
    • Moderns typically burn 300 calories/d
  • Rest and Recover
    • Ample time for rest, relaxation, and sleep was generally available to ensure complete recovery after strenuous exertion.
  • High-intensity Exercise
  • + Deep Rest
  • = Peak Fitness
  • The Power of Napping
    • Study of 23,000 Greek adults
    • Regular naps reduced Heart Deaths 30%
    • A 20 minute nap reduces Stress
    Archives of Internal Medicine; Jan 12, 2007
  • Walking Pace and Mortality Risk   Manson et al. N Engl J Med 1999; 341:650-658
  • Interval Training
    • High-intensity interval training sessions 2 to 3 times weekly
    • Intermittent bursts of high level intensity exercise with intervening periods of rest and recovery
  • Subcutaneous & Abdominal Fat Loss after 15 wks of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise J Obes. 2011; 2011: 868305. Published online 2010 November 24. doi:   10.1155/2011/868305
  • Get off the Streets
    • Walking and running were done on natural surfaces such as grass and dirt, often over uneven ground.
    • Today we walk and run on unyielding concrete and asphalt
  • Expensive Running Shoes = More Injuries (plantar fascitis, hamstrings, Achilles’ tendonitis)
  • Pheidippides
  • Pheidippides
  • Marathoners  Increased Coronary Atherosclerosis
  • Myocardial Scarring 3x More Common in Chronic Marathoners 50 – 70 year olds n=102 marathoners n=102 controls
  • Chronic Marathoners Had Increased Risk of CV Events During Follow up
    • Coronary event rate during 2-year follow up which was higher in the marathon runners than in controls (P < .0001).
    • Chronic marathoners: higher systolic blood pressures and increased aortic stiffness compared to controls
    • Marathons over age 50 might be candidates for close scrutiny of their cardiovascular health and future CV risks.
    • Breuckmann F et al. Radiology. 2009 Apr;251(1):50-7.
  • Go Outside and Play with your Friends*
    • Virtually all of the exercise was done outdoors in the natural world.
    • Outdoor activities will help to maintain vitamin D levels, improve mood, and facilitate daily exercise.
    *Mantra of Leatrice O’Keefe to her 6 children for the second half of the last century
  • James H O’Keefe MD Vitamin D Deficiency: CV Risk Factor
  • Being active outdoors in nature induces instant relaxation in 84% of people
  • Strength Training
    • Strength-building exercises are essential for optimizing musculoskeletal and general health and fitness.
    • Strength and Flexibility Promotes Resilience and Injury-proof
  • High Intensity Intervals
  • Functional Fitness
  • Sun Protection from the Inside Out
  • Just Dance
    • Ceremonial and celebratory dancing, Multiple X’s weekly (1 to 3 hrs each)
    • Dancing is an ideal form of exercise: improves fitness, reduces stress, enjoyable/social
  • Exercise with a Friend
    • Much of the physical activity was done in context of a social setting.
    • Some exercise benefits
    • due to social bonding.
  • Get a Dog
    • Humans and dogs co-evolving for 135,000 yrs
    • Dog and human genomes adapted to
    • cooperate via outdoor exercise
    • Dog ownership improves exercise
    • compliance, fitness, and weight.
  • Prescription: 1 Dog, taken for a walk At least twice daily Refill: prn
  • If your dog is overweight, you aren't getting enough exercise.
  • Sexual Activity
    • Prototypical Organic Exercise
    • Linked to health, well-being, longevity
    • Correlated with reduced risks CV disease, prostate cancer, improved immunity
  • Sex is Exercise: If Nothing Else
    • 30 minutes vigorous sex burns up to 200 calories—about 2 miles on a treadmill
    • @ Orgasm pulse = 120-150 BPM, Systolic up to 200 mmHg
    • Increases in Testosterone, Prolactin
  • High Intensity Interval Training (Tabatas)  8 to 10 Intervals  20 seconds of maximal effort  10 seconds rest  Total Workout Duration = 4 minutes
  • 5 Types of Exercise for a Balanced Routine
    • Aerobic
    • Interval (Anaerobic) Training
    • Strength Training
    • Core Exercises
    • Stretching
  • Hunter-Gatherer Modern Equivalent Caloric Expenditure Activity Activity (kilocalories / hour) 176 lb Male 132 lb Female Carrying Logs Carrying groceries, luggage 893 670 Running (cross country) Running (cross country) 782 587 Carrying meat (20kg) Wearing backpack back to camp while walking 706 529 Carrying young child Carrying young child 672 504 Hunting, stalking animals Interval Training 619 464 Digging (tubers in field) Gardening 605 454
  • Hunter-Gatherer Modern Equivalent Caloric Expenditure Activity Activity (kilocalories / hour) 176 lb Male 132 lb Female Dancing (ceremonial) Dancing (aerobic) 494 371 Carrying, stacking rock Lifting weights 422 317 Butchering large animal Splitting wood with axe 408 306 Walking – normal pace Walking – normal pace 394 295 (fields & hills) (outside on trails, grass, etc) Gathering plant foods Weeding garden 346 259 Shelter construction Carpentry, general 250 187 Tool construction Vigorous housework 216 162
  • Train to Live
    • Except for very young and the very old, all individuals were, by necessity, physically active
    • almost their entire lives.
    • Stay Fit or Die
    • Everybody dies, but not
    • everybody Lives: Train to “Live”
  • Thanks!
    • cardionutrition.wordpress.com
    • DRJamesOKeefe (twitter)
    • Forever Young Diet and Exercise (Amazon.com)
    • [email_address]
    For More Info:
  • Native American Family Inuit Family Icelandic Family Mongolian Family Brazilian Family African Family S Peruvian Family Aboriginal Family
  • Lifestyle to Preserve Telomeres
    • Sleep 7 to 8 hours each night
    • Exercise 45 to 60 minutes/day
    • Avoid tobacco
    • Maintain ideal weight, BMI (18.5 to 25)
      • Waist size < half your height in inches
      • Body fat: < 22% for women, <16% for men
    • Stress reduction
    • Bio-identical hormone replacement
  • Inflammatory Diet Increases Oxidative Stress, Shortens Telomeres Avoid! Do
    • Excess calories
    • Refined carbs
    • Fast foods
    • Processed foods
    • Sodas
    • Trans fats
    • Saturated fats
    Follow Healthy Diet Drink Green Tea Supplements: Vitamin D and Omega 3 If alcohol used: 1 drink/d with eve meal
  • Copyright restrictions may apply. Autier, P. et al. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:1730-1737. Vit D Reduces Mortality
  • Rx: Sunshine, 10 to 15 mins daily Vit D 3, 2000 IU/d
  • From the emergence of the human genus, Homo, about 2.4 million years ago, our ancestors, for approximately 84,000 generations, survived as hunter gatherers
    • One analysis estimated the rate of sudden cardiac arrest among marathoners is approximately 1 per 100,000 participants.
    • The final 1-mile of the marathon course represents less than 5% of the total distance of 26.2 miles yet accounts for almost 50% of the sudden cardiac deaths.
    • Redelmeier et al. BMJ 2007; 335:1275-1277.
  • 3000 yr-old Egyptian Mummies: 50% have atherosclerosis
  • Agriculturists vs Foragers ↑ Sugar ↓ Essential Nutrients ↑ Grains ↓ Fiber ↑ Calories ↓ Potassium ↑ Saturated Fats ↓ Omega-3 Fats ↓ Monounsaturated Fats
  • Daily Intake Moderns Foragers Cholesterol 200-300 mg 500 mg Fats 30% 35% Saturated Fats 14% 7% Omega-3 110 mg 660 – 3000 mg
  • Daily Intake of Nutrients Moderns Foragers Vitamin C 90 mg > 500 mg Sodium 5 gms .5 to 1 gm Potassium 1 to 3 gms 6 to 10 gms Fiber Sugar 10 to 20 gms 25% of calories 40 to 100 gms 2% of calories
  • Life Expectancy in the U.S. 2-5 year decline in life expectancy
  • Diabetes and Reduction in Lifespan JAMA 2003;290:1884-1890 -11.6 yrs -14.3 yrs
  • Functional Fitness