Reinventing Foods: The New Alchemy
by Robert Anton Wilson
from The NeuroNomicoN: The Journal of True Illuminism
Volume 1. Number 1., July 1996
Long ago, back in the dark ages around 1920 actually, one of the high-fruit/vegetarian fad diets of the period was promoted with the slogan, “You are what you eat.” The amazing thing about this seemingly simple-minded over-generalization is that modern science has tended to confirm it (although not the diet that inspired it).
Everything you eat or drink has effects on every part of your body, and on the integrity of the body-as-a-whole. Even more exciting: everything we eat and drink also effects our “minds,” which are functions of our brains. French-fried potatoes are as “psychedelic” as LSD, although in a very different (and long-range) fashion. As neuroscientists have discovered the links between our brain chemistry and our experiential/perceptual world, the avant garde third of the population is turning on to “Designer Foods” or “food supplements” that contain the seeds of a new 21st-century alchemy.
As Judith Hooper and Dick Teresi wrote in The Three Pound Universe, “Everything we know from subatomic particles to distant galaxies, everything we feel from love of our children to fear of enemy nations is experienced and modeled in our brains. Without the brain, nothing, not quarks, not black holes, not love, not hatred would exist for us.” And what the brain experiences as our “reality” depends on the chemicals that serve as its language. In this knowledge lies the possibility of higher intelligence and even longer life.
Since the 1960s, when a few young and radical scientists raised the idea, increasing numbers of neuroscientists have been talking of “life extension,” “prolongevity,” “rewinding our biological clocks,” even of eventual immortality. The more we learn about brain chemistry, the more plausible the goal becomes. Thus, books like Ettinger’s The Prospect of Immortality and Harrington’s The Immortalist made only a small stir in some futurist circles when they came out in the 60s, but as research advanced and results become more promising, the idea spread to the mass media. In 1982, Life Extension, A Practical Scientific Approach, by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw became an international bestseller, and “health food” and vitamin stores began selling more and more compounds such as vitamins C and E and amino acid supplements. The pace has accelerated every year since then.
EVOLUTIONARY TURNING POINT
We are at a major evolutionary turning point, because we are actually learning how to feed our brains on the nutrients that rewind and rejuvenate our biological clocks. For instance, growth hormone (called GH by scientists) tends to produce many of the qualities we consider youthful clear skin, high energy, preferential production of muscle and bone rather than fat, rapid healing of wounds, “sparkle and bounce,” and general immunological efficiency (ability to fight off diseases). We loose all this as we age because our brains no longer send the signals telling the pituitary gland to release GH. The most recent research, reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, shows that elderly men, deficient in GH, given high doses of GH soon appear, by several important measures, to possess the health profiles of men 20 years younger as if they had “lost” 20 years of aging.
Is it possible to reset this biological clock and “persuade” the brain to start sending those GH signals again? Yes, and the answer lies in the careful formulation of the amino acids arginine and choline plus specific vitamins and minerals that act to maximize the use of the substances. Once the brain gets enough arginine and choline, it begins sending the signals that release GH.
This formula is the secret of POWERMAKER II, a food supplement designed by American research scientists Pearson and Shaw, who brought life extension into the mainstream with their 1982 bestseller on the subject. Pearson and Shaw have developed a vast knowledge of nutrient metabolism, and follow current research with an intensity matched by few other practicing scientists, constantly revising their formulations as new research dictates. They recently were honored by the American Aging Association, for significantly raising public awareness of the possibility that biomedical aging research will increase the functional lifespan. POWERMAKER II is used by powerlifting champion Les Cheney and other atheletes, who have discovered that it helps build stronger muscles without any of the problems of anabolic steroids. Others simply use POWERMAKER II to slow down the effects of aging and give themselves more years of productive, energetic living. Pearson and Shaw’s work on GH is being hailed as one of the great contributions to anti-aging research.
The very name “alchemy” contains another key to long life. “Alchemy” comes from the Arabic al-kymiya, which derives from the Chinese kim-iya, which designated the ephedra sinica plant. This plant is the source of ephedrine, a chemical which does indeed improve the user’s chances of achieving a long life by reversing the natural tendency of humans to grow more obese as they age through the promotion of preferential fat burning via a process known as brown fat thermogenesis.
CHANGES IN CONSCIOUSNESS AND PERCEPTION
Two recent articles in a medical journal suggest that ephedrine was in fact the mysterious “Soma,” which was praised so extravagantly in early Hindu scriptures because of the dramatic changes it allegedly produced in consciousness and perception. Ephedrine is the major ingredient in THERMOGEN TEA, a popular weight-reducing agent also designed by Pearson and Shaw, who once again seem to have created one of the potions that the alchemists never found or, as the ethmology of ephedrine suggests, found and lost. Thus, with GH boosters and ephedrine, we are definitely on the trail of longevity the Hermeticists sought. As for “True Wisdom,” the second major goal of the alchemists, we may not have the exact formula yet, but we do have some compounds known to boost mental efficiency. Lecithin, for instance, a natural source of choline, increases general IQ of retarded persons, although it seems less effective with persons of average or superior intelligence. Choline works equally well with persons of all intellectual levels and, with the proper co-factors, increases the brain’s ability to focus, to concentrate, to solve problems and, particularly, to enhance speaking and writing performances.
Choline is itself converted into acetylcholine, a ubiquitous neurotransmitter that has been known to improve comprehension and memory as well as muscle tone. Choline is combined with fructose, copper, and B vitamins, in a product called MEMORY FUEL another fruit-flavored powder that is pleasant to drink, non-addictive, legal everywhere, and similar to certain stimulant drugs but without their long-term nefarious effects. The co-factors are necessary, incidentally, because none of the chemicals mentioned are themselves neurotransmitters (the brain’s own signaling devices). Pearson and Shaw have made a particularly important contribution by ascertaining the proper co-factors for a number of brain chemicals. To release a neurotransmitter, a scientist must first find the chemical that starts the synthesis of the neurotransmitter and then the co-factors that carry the process through to the actual release of the substance. Thus, the naturally occurring amino acid phenylalanine plus the proper co-factors in proper proportions causes the brain to produce the neurotransmitter noradrenaline, a powerful stimulant.
The good news: You can get all the phenylalanine you need without extensive hunting in medical supply outlets. It appears, with all the co-factors necessary to produce noradrenaline, in two products now available, BLAST and FAST BLAST, which include caffeine to enhance the stimulant effect. A milder version, for people who are doing intellectual work with an emergency deadline but who don’t want to get too “wired,” is called RISE & SHINE; it contains phenylalanine plus co-factors but no caffeine.
All these products are sold as powders that mix with water or fruit juices, making a drink that most people find delicious.
INCREASING SEX DRIVE
You might also be interested to know that choline+arginine+the proper co-factors= increased sex drive. These compounds, you may remember, are the major ingredients in POWERMAKER II, which many are using not only to just turn fat into muscle and live longer, but also to enjoy a more zestful sex life. It doesn’t cure impotence, but if everything else is functioning properly, POWERMAKER II makes sexual experience more intense, especially if one is already using MEMORY FUEL. For maximum sex boost, take POWERMAKER II about 45 minutes before going to bed together.
Although the effects may be similar, there is an important difference between manipulating the brain’s own chemicals with the body’s own trigger chemicals and attacking the brain with alien compounds that only create a simulation of the natural “high” of healthy functioning. The difference Between the new legal compounds and illegal drugs is much more important than any superficial similarities. After a brief “flash,” followed by stimulation, cocaine causes the brain’s noradrenaline and dopamine levels to drop drastically, which is why, when it wears off, cocaine users experience “lows” and depressions that cause them to take more and more of the stuff, leading to addiction (or at least addict-like behavior…). Phenylalanine on the other hand, stimulates increased production of noradrenaline and permits release over an extended period. There is no “low,” no depression, no crash, and no compulsion to take more and get “high” again.
Durk Pearson defines the major difference between these new “designer” brain fuels and traditional hard drugs as follows: “Designer Foods are non-addictive. They’re absorbed quickly by the body. It’s nothing more than normal processing of nutrients. And because neurotransmitter production is increased, rather than supplies being depleted, dose reduction has no toxic side-effects as is the case with most drugs the effects don’t diminish even if taken over a long period of time.”
The late Norbert Weiner, founder of the science of cybernetics, defined brain malfunctions (emotional and/or mental “illness”) as “disturbances in the traffic” — the traffic of brain chemicals, that is. Few forms of emotional/mental stress have been correlated with actual brain damage in the gross sense, but people with such problems do not perceive/feel/think like the healthy norm. The problem, as Weiner suggested, seems to lie in traffic jams or misdirected traffic among the brain chemicals. Most of the conspicuous symptoms of aging also correlate with “disturbances in the traffic” between brain chemistry and immunological system, and between those and other body systems.
UNCLOGGING BRAIN TRAFFIC
No matter what diet you eat, these “traffic problems” will probably catch up with you eventually, simply because of air and water pollution, and the other toxins in our environment. But several vitamins, minerals and amino acids have been found to be useful in fighting off and reducing the effects of these pollutants, and Pearson and Shaw have combined them all in a formula called SUPER RADICAL SHIELD (SRS), which is designed to finesse the metabolic pathways. Through correlated strengths and strategic bioavailabilities, SRS contains many compounds that have been proven in nutritional studies to contribute to the longer life of experimental animals. “If we took nothing else, we would take our SUPER RADICAL SHIELD,” Pearson and Shaw have said.
Since recent medical research indicates that even heavy smokers escape some of the dangers of the habit if they take a form of vitamin A called beta carotene every day, Pearson and Shaw also designed a BETAMAX CAROTENE capsule, for those who haven’t yet quit smoking. (There is also a hefty dose of this beta carotene in SUPER RADICAL SHIELD).
“Better living through chemistry,” which started out as a commercial slogan of the Dupont corporation, became the motto of the pot-smoking youth revolution of the 1960s. Now as the epochal discoveries made by brain scientists in the last two decades begin to yield safe, effective commercial products of the sort that we have been describing, it has an entirely new meaning. We are the first generation to have the knowledge to reprogram our brains, which means that we are also learning to reprogram our bodies, since every body function is determined by brain chemistry.
You really ought to try some of these new brain fuels and have fun with your new head! Who knows? The new alchemy may not only give us longer life, and True Wisdom but also the traditional Hermetic goal of Perfect Happiness.