Quantum Bullshit

I don't follow Jack Kruse's antics much any more.  Every now and then, however, he comes up in a social media or email note.  He's still at it -- though there is no longer an answer at his practice phone number, so hopefully that means he's no longer actively performing neurosurgery.  From a Krusite on FB:  
Humans are designed to eat an electron dense diet because they have a shortened gut and expanded brain that steepens their energy needs and restricts their sleep needs to 7.5- 8.5 hours. This implies that humans must have evolved around a diet high in electron density from food and their environment.
It is hard to believe Jack has been talking this electron nonsense for going on two years now.  I suppose this is what happens in a community that fails to police itself when it comes to science ... but I digress.

In any case, I have apparently missed the first however many incoherences Jack has created in his EMF series but since he's still on the radar screen, I thought I'd bump this post up.

Folks, all of your food macros contain electrons.  The macros are all converted to acetyl CoA that feeds into Krebs, or they can feed in at various parts along the way and "participate" in the exact same redox reactions in your mitochondria.  The very same.  If there is anyone who has specific questions about Kruse's latest Quantum Bullshit, feel free to ask in comments, but please provide me a Readers' Digest version and/or a short quote.  I simply cannot read this man's blogs.

Original Publish Date:  3/5/12

Being a science geek, I have no clue what the average Joe really thinks when they hear the term "quantum" thrown around.  I imagine that most folks' eyes glaze over other than to think that it must be something really complicated and all that.   And like Entropy dude's blog, one can't possibly be able to understand all those Σ's and such.  I contend that when talking human physiology and metabolism, use of the word quantum is ... well ... an alert that a load of steamin' pre-coprolites is on its way.  

This may not be the most technically accurate definition of what is meant by quantum phenomenon, but it's certainly a workable one for most people.  All atoms have electrons orbiting their nuclei and these electrons can only occupy certain orbits or energy levels.  The closer to the nucleus an electron is, the lower its energy state.  In their "ground state",  electrons will be in the lowest energy level "shells" possible, only occupying a higher level when all lower ones are filled.  Under certain conditions, electrons can be excited and they "jump" up to the next shell.  All good excitement must come to an end, and in short order the electrons fall back down to the energy level from whence they came emitting a photon.    The whole area of quantum mechanics deals with describing these phenomena.  At this level, electrons sometimes behave like particles, and sometimes like waves, and discussions of the wave-particle duality is something used to torture science students through the ages.   But the good news for you and me is that none of this matters to the basics of human metabolism.  

Why?  Because the behavior of electrons in our bodies for the most part is not the stuff of Quantum Leaps, and you won't be needing Al  for your guide.  We certainly do not need to "go there" to explain thermogenesis and uncoupling proteins in your brown fat.  And again we won't require Al's services to guide us through oxidation/reduction reactions.  I've been struggling to understand where all this unnecessary confusion is coming from, and I can only conclude that they don't teach redox chemistry in medical schools.  Hmmph.  Not that I necessarily think they should,  but somewhere along the line these great horizontal outside the box thinkers in our midst should have learned some of the basics ... at least enough to keep them from trying to indoctrinate you with nonsense quantum woo woo.  Let's start by getting something straight -- you don't have electrons running about willy nilly in your body and an electron is an electron is an electron.  Even our "electrical" impulses are not caused by the flow of electrons through a conducting tissue, but rather ions (charged atoms and molecules).  Presumably a neurosurgeon has learned how nerve impulses are generated.  Here's an animated tutorial.   Our bodies are electrochemical systems.  Charge is carried by the flow of ions, not electrons as electrical current is.  Voltages (potential electrical energy) are built and maintained by accumulating ions on one side of a membrane.  When the voltage is dissipated the energy is used to drive some other process in your body.  Here's a short primer on Bioelectricity.

But what of this electron transport chain?  Surely that is some quantum sheet?  Nah.  Well ... sorta (jump to the end for that stuff), but not really.  One of the things I did in grad school was teach a corrosion lab to undergrad engineering students, and galvanic corrosion is a perfectly simple phenomenon for understanding the "redox" reactions.  Corrosion is simply the term we use for the oxidation of metals, rusting iron being our most commonplace example.  Anyone who's ever put a AA battery in their vi .. erm flashlight .. is well familiar with how this "energy" can be harnessed and used to power other processes.  Another tutorial, this time on batteries.    If you have a few things lying around -- aluminum foil, some ordinary iron nails, copper wire, sand paper and salt -- you can do a Materials Science 101 galvanic corrosion experiment at home.  Save several jars from macadamia nuts for the ultimate paleogalvanic experience, or you could even use coconut shells.  Put about 1t of salt in each jar (more if you like so long as it dissolves and you add the same amount to each) and fill with water, stir to dissolve.  Sand the nails and wires shiny.  Now put the following in the jars:

  1. An iron nail, piece of foil (hang over edge) and copper wire.  NOT touching.  
  2. An iron nail wrapped with foil.  
  3. An iron nail with about a  1" square of foil around the tip.  
  4. An iron nail with copper wire coiled around it.  

See you in a week ;-)    What will happen is that in jar #1 the copper wire will have tarnished, the foil looks probably the same or may have some dull graying, the nail will be a bit rusty.  All three of these metals have been oxidized, their electrons have been transferred to oxygen atoms -- the metal atoms are oxidized while the oxygen is reduced.  Voila, you have just witnessed a "redox reaction".  Over in jar #2 you've probably got a bunch of white cloudy gunk around the foil, and if you remove the nail from the sleeve there's no rust to be had.  This is because iron has a higher "potential*" than aluminum so in this case, aluminum is oxidized and the electrons are transferred through the contact to the iron which is reduced.  It's a little more complicated than that because the reduction reaction is not actually iron in this scenario (it's oxygen and/or hydrogen), but I'm not trying to baffle you with bullshit here and it's a close enough approximation for our purposes.  In jar #3 you may still find an unrusted nail if there's any foil at all remaining on the tip.  Usually the foil will be all but disintegrated by this time.  What you've seen is a "sacrificial anode" in action -- it is common to couple metal structures to such other, more "active", metals to protect them from corrosion.  So long as there's enough reactive metal around, your less reactive metal does not oxidize.  Copper has a higher potential than iron, so over in jar #4 you'll have a ton of rust associated with the nail and if you rinse it off, the copper will have remained shiny.  This time the electrons are being transfered from the iron to the copper.  The galvanic couple "powers" the accelerated corrosion of the nail.  (*Note:  I'm using the generic "potential" here, this is often referred to as the redox potential or reduction potential or oxidation potential depending on the context, and there can be some needless confusion.  All that matters is that the metal with the higher potential is an electron acceptor -- it is reduced -- and the one with the lower one is the donor -- or species that gets oxidized)

When this occurs in your "lab", you get nothing out of it besides a rusty nail and a hankering for macadamias.  If on the other hand, you set up an electrochemical "cell" like in the galvanic corrosion animation, well now you've harnessed that electrical current that can be used to power something else.  That's what's going on in your body on the most basic level.  This link discusses some biochemical redox couples, you might recognize some of the chemicals from the Krebs Cycle.

Oh but ... but ... surely thermogenesis and uncoupling proteins require a quantum view from the 30,000 foot levee accessible only by a ride on Leptin Man's magic quilt?  No.  An uncoupling protein (a UCP-1) anyway, is somewhat like placing a wire across the terminals of a battery.   Instead of the current discharging into something "meaningful" such as a light bulb or a motor, it simply flows through the wire heating it up.  In mitochondria, UCP-1's function is thermogenesis, rather than the current flowing through ATP synthase, it just creates heat.  Thermogenesis -- to increase the temperature of the (warm blooded) organism.  It's nothing quantumly complicated, though I've included a more complicated discussion of the process towards the end of this post.  There are some animations of some of this stuff here.
An uncoupling protein (also called thermogenin) is produced in brown adipose tissue of newborn mammals and hibernating mammals (see p. 834-835). This protein of the inner mitochondrial membrane functions as a H+ carrier. The uncoupling protein blocks development of a H+ electrochemical gradient, thereby stimulating respiration. The free energy change associated with respiration is dissipated as heat. This "non-shivering thermogenesis" is costly in terms of respiratory energy unavailable for ATP synthesis, but it provides valuable warming of the organism.
If you're interested in eating more without moving more to burn more calories, do consider moving to a colder climate.  Take ice water foot baths, cold showers.  Consider taking up membership in the polar bear club ;-)  More power to you if you can get "cold adapted" and your body is forced to expend more energy to keep you warm while you're sitting in the relaxing ice bath at the Inuit Lodge.  If you're lucky to have one of those more resilient metabolisms, perhaps you're even ASP deficient, your body already "blows off" excess calories.  But forcing your body to do this is not changing your metabolism, because if your body continues to do this in temperate climates you're gonna be a sweaty mess most of the time.   None of this requires thinking outside the box -- whatever the heck that means anymore anyway.

Now I suppose if you're really into quantum biochemistry, the next time you're in the woods you can strike up a conversation with your deciduous ancestors about photosynthesis.    Meanwhile, here's a nice lay-friendly report on all of this for the rest of you considering installing a walk-in freezer in your home:  Brown Fat: A Fat That Helps You Lose Weight?

I wasn't going to bother with this, but today I learned that Jack Kruse's presentation at the Paleo Summit was one of the top three so it's part of today's encore presentation.  The evening of his first presentation, Jack put the Quack in Kruse with his monumental post:  THE HOLY TRINITY: CT-4.  Fasten your seat belt, Jack is taking us deep into quantum poop terroir folks.
The cold uses a “quantum effect” brought about  by a heightened receptor binding affinity which  supra-sensitizes all receptors to all hormones levels.  It makes us have supra-human abilities.  Those abilities are seen in Sherpa’s, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Phelps.  Cold adapted athletes have amazing capabilities.
No one fueling performance with carbohydrates can match the the feats of fat adapted athletes.  NO ONE.  It takes 24-36 months to get there, but they can expand their VO2 max, REE and RER on REDUCED calories.  If they force feed themselves while cold training (Phelps) unbelievable ability shows up.  These are only seen in cold  environments  when we are perfectly yoked to our circadian cycles.  This is truly a holy trinity for performance.
These abilities have always been known in Himalayan Monks and Sherpa’s too, but most have attributed them to their practice of mindfulness.  There is only one way evolution has found to do these things all at once.  That was using the leptin receptor to be the cold conductor of this hypothalamic pathway.  You can see why now I  disagree with Dr. Rosedale about mTOR and IGF-1 pathways and why I respectfully disagree with Paul.  They all lean on the longevity and nutrition data that is published and is badly flawed.  No one has studied this pathways effect on regular mammalian nutrition or longevity.  Several professional teams I do some things with are now on to this data too.  What researchers have found and published to date is true in warm adapted mammals but not the cold adapted ones.
This, folks, is embarrassing.  I don't suppose he can explain why Kenyans seem to keep winning marathons.  But Jack needs to get back in the Box just long enough to realize something he hopefully learned in medical school -- living warm-blooded beings only stay that way so long as their internal temperature remains within a relatively narrow few-degree range of temperatures.  What is Quantum Biology?  It's usually a term used for the study of electron phenomena that require electron excitation and such.  Now before some smarty pants out there tries to accuse me of ignoring quantum phenomenon in the electron transport chain (where most of the ATP is made in our mitochondria), let me give you a citation there:  Electron-Transport Chains and Their Proton Pumps.  The phenomenon of "electron tunneling" is of the quantum realm.  Although this is from a higher level molecular biology textbook, the discussion of this "quantum" stuff is not too overly complicated:
... The two components that carry electrons between the three major enzyme complexes of the respiratory chain—ubiquinone and cytochrome c—diffuse rapidly in the plane of the inner mitochondrial membrane. The expected rate of random collisions between these mobile carriers and the more slowly diffusing enzyme complexes can account for the observed rates of electron transfer (each complex donates and receives an electron about once every 5–20 milliseconds). Thus, there is no need to postulate a structurally ordered chain of electron-transfer proteins in the lipid bilayer; indeed, the three enzyme complexes seem to exist as independent entities in the plane of the inner membrane, being present in different ratios in different mitochondria.

The ordered transfer of electrons along the respiratory chain is due entirely to the specificity of the functional interactions between the components of the chain: each electron carrier is able to interact only with the carrier adjacent to it in the sequence shown in Figure 14-26, with no short circuits.
Electrons move between the molecules that carry them in biological systems not only by moving along covalent bonds within a molecule, but also by jumping across a gap as large as 2 nm. The jumps occur by electron “tunneling,” a quantum-mechanical property that is critical for the processes we are discussing. Insulation is needed to prevent short circuits that would otherwise occur when an electron carrier with a low redox potential collides with a carrier with a high redox potential. This insulation seems to be provided by carrying an electron deep enough inside a protein to prevent its tunneling interactions with an inappropriate partner. ... 
... Since the 1940s, several substances—such as 2,4-dinitrophenol—have been known to act as uncoupling agents, uncoupling electron transport from ATP synthesis. The addition of these low-molecular-weight organic compounds to cells stops ATP synthesis by mitochondria without blocking their uptake of oxygen. In the presence of an uncoupling agent, electron transport and H+ pumping continue at a rapid rate, but no H+ gradient is generated. The explanation for this effect is both simple and elegant: uncoupling agents are lipid-soluble weak acids that act as H+ carriers (H+ ionophores), and they provide a pathway for the flow of H+ across the inner mitochondrial membrane that bypasses the ATP synthase. As a result of this short-circuiting, the proton-motive force is dissipated completely, and ATP can no longer be made. ... 

... This observation suggests that respiratory control reflects a simple balance between the free-energy change for electron-transport-linked protonpumping and the free-energy change for electron transport—that is, the magnitude of the electrochemical proton gradient affects both the rate and the direction of electron transport, just as it affects the directionality of the ATP synthase (see Figure 14-19).

Respiratory control is just one part of an elaborate interlocking system of feedback controls that coordinate the rates of glycolysis, fatty acid breakdown, the citric acid cycle, and electron transport. The rates of all of these processes are adjusted to the ATP:ADP ratio, increasing whenever an increased utilization of ATP causes the ratio to fall. The ATP synthase in the inner mitochondrial membrane, for example, works faster as the concentrations of its substrates ADP and Pi increase. As it speeds up, the enzyme lets more H+ flow into the matrix and thereby dissipates the electrochemical proton gradient more rapidly. The falling gradient, in turn, enhances the rate of electron transport.

Similar controls, including feedback inhibition of several key enzymes by ATP, act to adjust the rates of NADH production to the rate of NADH utilization by the respiratory chain, and so on. As a result of these many control mechanisms, the body oxidizes fats and sugars 5–10 times more rapidly during a period of strenuous exercise than during a period of rest. ...

Natural Uncouplers Convert the Mitochondria in Brown Fat into Heat-generating Machines

In some specialized fat cells, mitochondrial respiration is normally uncoupled from ATP synthesis. In these cells, known as brown fat cells, most of the energy of oxidation is dissipated as heat rather than being converted into ATP. The inner membranes of the large mitochondria in these cells contain a special transport protein that allows protons to move down their electrochemical gradient, by-passing ATP synthase. As a result, the cells oxidize their fat stores at a rapid rate and produce more heat than ATP. Tissues containing brown fat serve as “heating pads,” helping to revive hibernating animals and to protect sensitive areas of newborn human babies from the cold.

I'm willing to bet that even the least scientifically inclined amongst you dear readers understood more of the above excerpts than they did of Dr. Duvet's Holy Trinity manifesto.

Do you think your electrons are tunneling any differently through your mitochondrial protein complexes while eating a banana on the North Pole in January or chomping on coconut on the Equator in June?  Didn't think so.

I suppose it's not rocket science ...

That said, I'm going on vacation in a couple of days.  The resort has a "cold plunge" that I plan to make good use of while I'm there to uncouple me from the  indulgences and adult beverages.  I'll report back ;-)  If it's anything like every vacation I've taken since 2007, I'll be wearing the same pants on the plane ride home with equal comfort and fit to when I left.  (Paging Captain Girdle ... you're needed in the quantum suite ... stat!).


Unknown said…
I used to apply quantum physics to my diet but lately I have had more success with string theory
CarbSane said…
Or string cheese ;-)
Danny Roddy said…
How do I like Unknown's comment?
Anonymous said…
I took my first ice foot bath last night, as I read on a (non-scientific) site that it can be helpful for varicose veins, by increasing the blood flow to the lower legs.

Any of you scientific types have an opinion on this, before I make it my nightly practice?
LeonRover said…
Tapping into "dark energy" whose particles are generically sardons - these decay into hardons and then into hadrons.

It's the latest thang - sardonic field theory.
I was wishing I could do that very thing!! haha
CarbSane said…
I would think this should help circulation provided you don't chill your tootsies too much. Blood flow should increase to the cold extremities in an effort to warm them up.
CarbSane said…
I forgot to caution you, however, not to snack while doing this. That would divert all your blood to your stomach and you might lose a foot that way.
Lesley Scott said…
when I saw that Leptinman was on deck at the Paleo Summit, I held off watching until I read your take first so I would know what to wear: my standard LL Bean duck boots, by knee-high wellies, or my full-on fishing waders for fording the fjords of BS. Looks like it'll be the waders.
Anonymous said…
Yikes, Evelyn! Thanks for the heads up.
CarbSane said…
Hey Danny ... I'm inclined to +1 this! Hilarious ivat! I don't think blogger allows reactions on comments :( I don't have reactions on my posts. Turn on that function? Dunno...
MM said…
Wow, that is thoroughly disturbing that Kruse is in the top three. I suppose it's too much to hope that people are just listening to him purely for amusement value. Does that mean people are buying this drivel?

Anyway, have a great vacation!
Ole said…
On the topic of dubious theories of electricity. Have you looked into "earthing"? Is there any way that sleeping on a grounded mat can impact the body positively? I can't seem to find anyone trustworthy discussing it. I'm personally skeptical, but a lot of people seems to report positive results...

I'm considering just buying a mat and test it for my self...

Would love to hear your opinions :)
Tsimblist said…
I would love to hear them too.
Sanjeev said…
there's a group of people out there who'll do anything for a week and as long as it doesn't kill them, they'll report anything positive during the week as attributable to the treatment. In many cases I bet the reported relief would not show up on objective tests. They convince themselves it exists as an ego defense mechanism to justify spending the time & money.

as far as I know the only published studies have been in "peer reviewed" journals set up by alt-med organizations.

I came to real skepticism pretty late, and I've been suckered by stuff in the past but my first reaction was "blech". It didn't help that several acquaintances that habitually do a different type of "detox" or "cleanse" or rail against "big pharma" recommended earthing it to me (one recommended "oil pulling" in the same discussion).


varying quality comments... YMMV
Sanjeev said…
> habitually do a different type of "detox" or "cleanse"

a different type every month or 2
Unknown said…
His bit was on the first day. By the end, it seemed there was less response all around. Video fatigue?
Sue said…
Top 3 - you got to be kidding!!! Thank goodness there is still a sane place left that I can go to - MDA and Paleohacks have gone to shit.
Sanjeev said…
here's the correct quantum description of the situation:

there's a black hole in the skull where the brain should be and a white hole spewing Horking radiation where Dr. K's tongue should be.

Since my spelling is s0 bad sometimes, let me emphasize, that's, HORKing radiation ... because after all, it's Dr. K
Tsimblist said…
I ran across the earthing thing a few years back while researching barefoot running. I did some digging to try to find some good research and came up empty too.

I did find this article which talks about how Lance Armstrong's 2003 Tour de France team used earthing sheets to aid in their nightly recovery during the race:

Since we had recently purchased a new mattress to help with my wife's sore back and it didn't help, I decided to give the half sheet product a try. My wife noticed tingling in her legs for the first couple of nights and then no more. But it didn't help with her back.

I can't say that I ever noticed anything, but I don't have any health issues either. We still use it though because I enjoy the placebo effect of recovering from workouts with the same technology that Lance Armstrong did.
Tsimblist said…
Here is a quote from Evelyn's Bioelectricity primer link that may be earthing related.

"The third type of electrical signal in humans, the surface electrical potential, is about as strong as the electrocardiogram but changes more slowly over time. The origin and significance of the surface electrical potential in humans are not yet known."
CarbSane said…
I'm kinda bummed I missed that presentation :( I've never really looked into it. I love walking around barefoot so I guess this gives me more of an excuse to do so ;)

@Tsimblist, love the placebo effect line!
Ole said…
I guess I just have to buy a mat and test it for myself :)

But I don't think using the ground connection in the power outlet necessarily is a good idea. It probably has a lot of noisy, it is possibly only a virtual ground (if that matters), and in case of short circuits it might even be dangerous.

The best option is probably a earthing electrode or maybe a radiator or a gas pipe can be used.
Gabriella Kadar said…
If varicose veins are like they are for anatomical reasons, how can anything change anything?

My daughter had them sclerosed about age 16. The ones that were sclerosed stayed like that but other veins developed varicosities. (She didn't inherit them from my side, (wipes sweat from brow) that's for sure.) She's an athlete and the varicose veins are not from standing around for hours and hours. Now that she's 28 years old, the government health coverage won't pay for treatment. It's very expensive to get these things treated on private.
Gabriella Kadar said…
I sleep in a Mayan hammock. So I guess I'm doing the opposite of grounding. My back relaxes really well and when I get up in the morning I'm feeling great. But I have a super sick back and eventually as the day goes on, my back hates me anyway.
OnePointFive said…
UK advertising standards ruling on an advert for grounding mats in 'What Doctors Don't Tell You magazine.' Seems they have a sense of humour.

"We considered that many of the claims being made for the efficacy of earthing would be 'ground breaking' As such, they would require a high level of substantiation, such as a body of scientific research including clinical trials conducted on people, in order to substantiate them."

Since the advertiser had not supplied this, the ASA ruled that the claims were misleading and that some claims were for medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
The ad breached the CAP Code on five counts

The Nightingale collaboration brought the ad to the attention of the authorities. They're a UK 'organisation' set up to challenge spurious health care claims in ads/the internet etc ( they're doing very well challenging adverts in this particular mag)

BigWhiskey said…
So, dear Evelyn, would you advice NOT to go out in this blizzard soon after a meal?
Gabriella Kadar said…
Sleeping on the ground was fine during the 'younger years'. I's too old for that stuff. My bed has a hard mattress. I tried to convince myself that people sleep on hard ground all over the world, adjust. Then I bought the hammock. No more numb arms, no more waking up listening to international radio, no more hobbling to the bathroom in the morning. I miss Radio Australia, Deutsche Welle, Radio Africa... etc. But I really prefer a restful night's sleep.
Unknown said…
Sleeping while surrounded by earth gave me incredible vitality and eternal youth, unfortunately it also created an insatiable desire for warm blood and left me allergic to garlic and holy water.
CarbSane said…
Exactly. Between having some liters of fluid sucked out of circulation (Shanahan) and shorting your EMF's, you're likely to drop dead :D
Indeed, and as someone who lives in Count Dracula's first port of call in England one can verify as a fact that a crucifix placed near a turntable playing a vinyl album improves the treble quality. Long may this blog poo poo the woo .
Jane said…
Charge transfer in the living matrix (Oschman 2009)
The living matrix is defined as the continuous molecular fabric of the organism, consisting of fascia, the other connective tissues, extracellular matrices, integrins, cytoskeletons, nuclear matrices and DNA. The extracellular, cellular and nuclear biopolymers or ground substances constitute a body-wide reservoir of charge that can maintain electrical homeostasis and “inflammatory preparedness” throughout the organism. Recent research has emphasized the significance of charge transfer in relation to the scavenging or neutralization of free radicals delivered to sites of injury during and after the oxidative burst. Evidence comes from studies of the role of electrons in mitigating the consequences of inflammation when living systems are connected to the earth (earthing). ...

I suspect this is what Kruse means. You never know, with Kruse.
blogblog said…
Neurosurgeon meets Rocket Scientist.

Nigel Kinbrum said…
Does your browser not display embedded YouTube videos? 'Cos Evelyn already embedded the video that you just linked to. It's been there for two days!
Ayegood Friend said…
total failure you total morons