A soil bacteria discovered by Scientists in the 1970’s on the Pacific Island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) was found to secrete a unusual compound. The compound was named after the island as “Rapamycin” and it has the ability to bind to complex proteins such as mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). This finding eventually led to the understanding that our bodies are regulated to some degree by the mTOR pathway. When there is excess energy in the forms of glucose, insulin and amino acids mTOR tries to direct those energy into building more tissues and muscle (anabolic). When there is a lack of stored energy to work with we go catabolic (break down fats and recycle proteins) as the mTOR signaling drops. Balancing the time we spend between anabolic and catabolic is a complicated processing involving dietary hacking like keto and time restricted feeding.
A quick summary restating the above with whiteboard illustrations can be helpful to grock this concept. Dr. Eric Berg has a great 2 minute video explaining how mTOR is the master controller of protein synthesis for our body.
We can actually manipulate the mTOR pathway through supplements, herbs and mushrooms. Some interesting substances to consider using are rapamycin, resveratrol, quercetin, berberine and tumeric all of which inhibit mTOR and push our bodies into a deeper state of autophagy (cellular repair). This state of autophagy is neuroprotective, cardioprotective, immune boosting and anti-aging. There are also mushrooms such as chaga, reishi, turkey tail and lions main which are high autophagy and easy to source in powder form to add to coffee. I’ve found cinnamon which is part of the astragalus family of herbs to be the quite beneficial as an antioxidant and tasty.