LLAP is a common acronym used in abbreviated texting. Most of us recognize that phrase originating with Spock on Star Trek, ‘Live long and prosper.’ In Spock’s native language, Vulcan, it is, ‘dif to heh smusma.’ In real life, Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) last tweet was, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” What does it mean?
Quick research shows that it is mirrored in other languages than Vulcan. Peace be upon you is the rough translation from Hebrew, ‘Shalom aleichem’ and Arabic, “Salaam Alaykum.’ For those of you who speak Klingon, ‘nI’jaj yInlIj ‘ej bIchepjaj (nIdjahdj yInlIdj edge bitchehpdjahdj),’ and translates as “May your life be long and may you prosper.”
How do we achieve long life and prosperity? We want to enjoy a long life. Enjoyment comes from having both wealth that exceeds our needs and health to do the things we want to do. In reality, I believe that most of us want good health. Never-ending medical bills and reliance on others inhibit our happiness at a time in life when happiness should be paramount.
Chronic low-level cellular inflammation leads to nearly every disease we know. An article last year (2019) by Mount Sinai, researchers stated that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases.
There has been a lot of study and public interest in recent years on fasting and its health benefits. I do a 72-hour fast every month to improve my immune system. Dr. Valter Longo of the USC Leonard Davis School introduced the 72-hour fast as a method of resetting our immune system.
The long-term fast resulted in our bodies expelling non-functioning DNA and cells. The beginning of a starvation period prompted the body to get rid of everything that was not helping us to survive. Very recently, the 72-hour fast was incorporated with chemotherapy treatments. Chemo, by itself, and a 72-hour fast, by itself, yielded similar results. However, the biomarkers of combining both chemotherapy and a 72-hour fast were remarkable – exceeding either treatment used exclusively.
Our immune system is needed to keep us healthy, particularly as we age. Age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and more, are awaiting us unless we take proactive measures to stop them.
The Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published an article about caloric restriction and improved health. Nutritionists tell us that we need 15 calories per pound of body weight to maintain our health. Caloric restriction is ten calories per pound per day. My caveat with caloric restriction is that it has to be balanced nutrition. Simply restricting total calories without balanced nutrition opens the door for other health hazards.
In studies with mice and humans, caloric restriction and intermittent fasting improved inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Intermittent fasting (18 hours daily) reduced the release of pro-inflammatory monocytes into the bloodstream. Inflammation and the increased risk of disease in the body, increase as the number of monocytes is generated.
Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction put monocytes into a ‘sleep mode’ reducing their ability to excite the inflammatory processes. I would not be surprised to find that intermittent fasting and caloric restriction (with balanced nutrition) become a preferred method of treatment for some diseases soon.
Humans throughout history have faced periods of starvation and plenty. Our bodies had adapted to the short-term (days to weeks) periods when food was not available. Metabolic switching is a term used to describe the body’s response to scarcity and plenty.
We stored energy from the food we eat. That energy is used daily for the activities we do. When faced with a challenge of scarcity, our bodies switch from a sugar-based fuel to a fat-based fuel. That is one of the reasons why the Atkins and Keto diets are so effective with fat loss.
From a health perspective, the switch from sugar-based fuel to a fat-based fuel increases the resistance to stress and suppresses the inflammatory response. Researchers see decreased blood pressure, resting heart rates, and blood lipid levels.
A study by the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust compared the results of 100 overweight women on an intermittent fast diet and those on a restricted-calorie diet. Both groups had the same weight loss. The intermittent fasting group had better biomarkers of insulin sensitivity and lost more belly fat.
More recent studies by the same institute tested brain health and a longer-term calorie-restricted diet. Testing yielded improved memory on a wide variety of cognitive tests over two years. A fasting-mimicking-diet (FMD) allows people to eat certain foods while on a fast. Typically a fast is a water-only – no food.
My interpretation is laxer – foods that cause a metabolic response in the body should be avoided during a fast. Water, unsweet coffee, and unsweet tea are fine. One could argue that a single lime squeezed into a glass of water and sipped over an hour would not cause a metabolic response from one calorie. I could not argue with them.
Everyone should consult their physician before beginning any new lifestyle with either a calorie-restricted diet or intermittent fasting, especially if they are on any prescription drug. Fasting is not something that most people can start cold turkey. It is a lifestyle and not a diet. You may experience hunger pains (many times, it is caused by dehydration) and irritability (caused by many things). It takes the body two to three weeks to accommodate to a new lifestyle.
The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. Some people find that incrementally moving into a new lifestyle works better. Eat a little less each day and extend the period of not eating a little more each day.
If you want a chance to live long and prosper, intermittent fasting and/or caloric restriction might be possible solutions to consider. It might not increase your wealth, but you won’t be spending as much money on medical bills. LLAP!

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