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Episode 120 - Is it Possible That I’m the Most Gorgeous Hypochondriac That Has Ever Lived? with Dr. Adam Ratner

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Adam Ratner, MD, MPH is the Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital and New York University School of Medicine. Adam and Jonathan sit down to discuss what germs are, how they make us sick, and if Jonathan should be cleaning all public spaces he comes in contact with with bleach wipes.

Follow Dr. Ratner on social:

Instagram: @nyulangone

Twitter: @nyulangone @gramstain

For more music from Quiñ head to TheQuinCat.com

Jonathan is on Instagram @JVN. Also Twitter and Facebook.

Catch Jonathan on Queer Eye streaming now on Netflix

Hear ad-free new episodes of Getting Curious plus two weekly bonus episodes only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month, go to stitcherpremium.com/jvn and use promo code ‘JVN.’

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alkaline diets/wash/etc is woo woo...

so i was confused by this too and i researched what the deal was, i am also getting my second bachelors in clinical lab science  (from a real university in nyc) so i feel like i have an understanding of what their gimmick is and what the real science is. 

once you eat anything... your stomach brings it the the ph of your stomach (2.5-3 ph high acidic), now in your stomach and gi tract: digestion brakes down your burger or carrot into tiny molecule (think lego building blocks). so whatever the diet what you absorb isnt the carrot but the basic blocks (sugars, amino acids, fats (trans, saturated, unsaturated). so whatever the ph of the food you eat its, all going to be made into neat lil molecules and brought to you bodies ph asap.
an alkaline anything just means its more basic than acidic, so its basically a basic bitch diet. and the whole thing is based on removing harmful free radicals... which is just fancy for electrons. which are constantly being bound and released by chemical reactions in your body. so they will always be in your body and should be! the misunderstanding comes from confusing damage caused by radiation which chips a free radical off of dna with free electrons found... well everywhere... in your body and all around us. free electrons are what cause static cling! 

ok this is a lil sciency but i think i kept it accessible:

alkaline=basic (no really). the claim is that a basic diet will remove free radicals and have anti-aging benefits.

refresher: electrons (aka free radicals)  are the tiny negatively charged particles found in an atom, removing one creates a slot for atoms to bind to one another by sharing an electron in the empty spot creating a bond. this is how atoms become big molecules.

radiation:  photons at a specific frequency: at 400nm its the color purple, at 600 nm its yellow, at 1cm its a radio wave, at 0.1 its an xray, and at 0.0001 its a gamma ray<thats the bad one!!

gamma rays pass through most things like a ghost but they dont pass through dna. so when you are exposed to gamma rays they may bump into a dna strand and basically chip off an electron. this happens instantly, at the speed of light, so diet could not prevent the radiation "bullet." this harsh removal of an electron causes a disruption to the delicate relationships between all the positive and negative charges of all the atoms which compose dna. removing an electron may be harmless or it may cause dna to "frey," or kind of fold in a different way  (imagine a few magnets stuck together, after removing one they will regroup into a new stable shape/configuration).

cells get damaged all the time, they usually spot the damage and self destruct. if they do not, and the cell continues to be viable enough to reproduce undetected, the damaged cell will create messed up daughter cells = cancer. or other problems, maybe they lose a piece of dna that codes a certain enzyme, or a million other things. 

so drinking basic, or eating basic, i mean alkaline may be healthy for other reasons, but not for this free radical removal. which is what i believe the alkaline thing is about. oh also antioxidants, turns out they are woo woo too for similar reasons (i know i was shocked too). 

sorry for the long technical explanation. but i think once you get the science, you can see for yourself why you couldnt/wouldnt try to adjust your body chemistry to prevent free radicals to obtain the claimed anti-aging benefits.

so to summarize:

1. your body has a bad ass bouncer in your stomach, and they only let you into the rest of the body if your on the list: aka a basic sugar/protein/fat molecule (legos). so everything is brought down to the baseline ph before it enters your blood stream and is actually used by the body.

2. free radicals just means electron which are not bad or good. theyre just tiny lego pieces. all building blocks.

3. free radicals are bad when they are chipped away by radiation from dna, but its not so much the radical as its removal thats the problem. there are claims the freed electron will go on to cause havocock by initiating chemical rxns all over the place. but youll need more than one punny electron to get a bunch of big molecules to do anything.

4. you wouldn't be able to prevent or remedy this free radical release anyway, at least not with diet, only by avoiding gamma radiation. gamma rays can be blocked by! >>> 1.5 ft of lead, 6 ft of concrete or 13 ft of water, so just forget it.

i googled free radicals to make sure im writing everything correctly and i was surprised that even the first few results arent exactly wrong but they def cherry pick available info and have incomplete definitions, they draw conclusions that could have so many other factors involved, they are loosey goosey with the difference between harmful and benal reasons for radicals. all of this makes it a tough topic to explain. And an easy one for quacks to manipulate. I had to spend a lot of time on it myself when i was trying to figure it out.

hope this helps! love the book, just got done, whens the next one out?   xoxox


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