Do Bacteria Cause Hypercoagulation and Aging?

I recently wrote about hypercoagulation, which is the phenomenon of increased activation of blood clotting and decreased activation of clot dissolution, and how it’s connected to aging. I showed how iron is involved in hypercoagulation. There’s likely another player in hypercoagulation, also connected to iron, and that’s bacteria. Do bacteria cause hypercoagulation and aging?

Consider that there’s lots of evidence both that healthy people have bacteria in sites normally considered sterile, such as the blood, and that numbers of bacteria are increased in unhealthy people, for instance those with cardiovascular disease.  People with cardiovascular disease have as much as 40 to 70 times more bacteria in their blood than healthy people, and bacteria, fungi, and viruses have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

How do bacteria fit in with hypercoagulation?

Gram negative bacteria, which are the most numerous and important gut bacteria, have an endotoxin, called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), very toxic stuff.

Tiny amounts of it set off a coagulation cascade.

So, we have the sequence:

Aging -> increased iron -> bacterial growth supported by iron -> shedding of LPS by bacteria -> hypercoagulation.

Increase in venous thromboembolism by age.

If hypercoagulation is characteristic of aging, and caused by bacteria, are bacteria the cause of aging?

We know that aging is also characterized by oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and decreased autophagy.

Bacterial and other infections produce oxidative stress and inflammation; protection of mitochondria can alleviate infectious processes; bacteria can subvert autophagy.

In theory, bacterial invasion could account for many of the manifestations of aging.

Bacteria require iron to grow and reproduce. Most of them produce molecules called siderophores that grab iron from their milieu and sequester it for use by the bacteria.

The bacterial genus Pseudomonas, an ubiquitous organism that causes infections, uses salicylate as a siderophore.

Salicylate is the metabolic end-product of aspirin and is responsible for its pain-killing anti-inflammatory action. It goes like this: aspirin -> salicylate -> iron chelation. In Pseudomonas, the sequence goes like this: salicylate -> iron chelation -> use of iron for growth.

Iron is the center of an evolutionary arms race

Humans and other mammals use the protein called transferrin to transport iron within the body. (Ferritin is used for safe iron storage.)

Transferrin and the iron it transports are at the center of an evolutionary arms race between bacteria and humans.

The frontline of host-pathogen coevolution

Pathogens have to subvert a host’s innate defenses to avoid being killed. Barber and Elde now show that this principle extends to nutrient-transporting proteins, such as transferrin, which binds iron. Without iron, invading pathogens cannot replicate, but iron is sequestered in transferrin, which stops pathogens using it. So pathogens have evolved a succession of transporters that can hijack transferrin’s iron. Over time, the primate transferrin binding surface has coevolved to wrestle iron back from the grip of pathogens.

Aspirin and heart disease

Consider that aspirin prevents heart attacks and cancer. How does it do this?

By following the logic of everything I’ve written above, aspirin prevents blood clots which leads to less heart disease, and it prevents the growth of clot-causing, LPS-shedding bacteria by preventing them from getting iron.

As heart disease is mainly a disease of old people, once again we see how iron and bacteria promote aging.

Summing up

Scientists avidly search for the causes of aging.

They’re overlooking iron and the bacteria that it enables.

Most aging experts insist that aging has nothing to do with the passage of time.

Yet humans have a mechanism for acquiring iron, but no mechanism to get rid of it. Since evolution doesn’t care about what happens to us after reproduction, iron accumulates into older age.

Iron feeds bacterial growth, which leads to hypercoagulation, and perhaps many of the other manifestations of aging.

Iron alone also causes increased fibrin clots, and slower fibrin degradation.

Iron and bacteria are a double whammy causing disease and aging.


PS: Read more in my book Dumping Iron.

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Leave a Comment:

TJ says November 1, 2016

Offtopic – check out stem cell treatment resutls:
case studies start at 4:10

Allan Folz says November 2, 2016

I wonder if the neo-Paleos, ie. HFLC folks, are going to largely ignore this since it doesn’t fit with their neat (and heavy) HF hammer, but IMO this post is huge. I take it as the third leg of the aging & chronic disease stool. Indeed, the entire stool is made of iron.

One leg is sugar -> insulin -> iron
One leg is bacteria -> iron
One leg is straight-up iron (ferritin)

I’ve mentioned it once before, albeit a long time ago, but Dennis, if you haven’t yet, you should check out the Heisenbug blog. He doesn’t write any more, but when he was, he had some incredibly interesting posts connecting a lot of dots regarding chronic disease and bacteria.

Best regards.

    P. D. Mangan says November 3, 2016

    Thanks, Allan.

HeatherTwist says November 25, 2016

I often think about this. I tend to have high ferritin levels, so I used to donate blood (til I couldn’t because of health issues). Somewhere along the line I found out I have mega colon, and also cardiomyopathy, both of which, it turns out, can be caused by Chagas.
Now, Chagas is a protozoa, and it eats iron. It also, I believe, eats taurine. So one would think that with this infection, one would be anemic? Yet I am chronically high in iron. Even after an incident where I lost about 3 pints of blood, my blood count bounced back quickly.
My theory is that the protozoa encourages gut growth just so the host can hyper-absorb iron. The host would also hyper-absorb taurine, but the American diet is low in taurine. The lack of taurine then causes heart issues.
Anyway, there are other factors in the diet that affect iron absorption. And others that affect taurine excretion. Taurine is a big factor in insulin resistance and handling damaged cholesterol … iron is a factor in damaging the cholesterol. I think both of them together are a big part of the “secret” of healthy aging.

Major Bacterial Involvement in Rheumatoid Arthritis - Rogue Health and Fitness says February 3, 2017

[…] a couple of recent articles, we saw that bacteria and iron are accelerants and likely causes of aging, and that the resultant hypercoagulation can be targeted. Etherisia Pretorius (a South African as […]

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