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The F.X. Mayr Motion – Part I.
Mar 23, 2020
F.X. Mayr

The F.X. Mayr Motion – Part I.

By Olaf Schulz-Lobeck

Although the new decade has just started, negative events such as the coronavirus have already started unfolding all over the world. Many people are afraid of losing their sense of normality and continuity.

Is this all bad?

No, but in times like these, uncertainties create fear. And fear is a great breeding ground for extremism. Did our grandfathers and grandmothers experience similar feelings during the first industrial revolution, which experts equate with the impact of the fourth industrial revolution or “digitization”?

Change, not one of our strong suits as humans, is mostly accompanied by pain (physical, mental). To grow, we must leave our comfort zone. The current coronavirus is a good example. It’s in the process of changing the world as we knew it up till the end of 2019.

Unfortunately, societies tend to change fundamentally not because of some kind of miracle pill, but because of humanitarian catastrophes that have forced some kind of transformation. Progress is a mind game. Whether we accept change depends on our inner willingness.

At F.X. Mayr, we support people thriving successfully in modern times via good health!

To better understand the complexity of “good health” and the effects on our body, mind, and soul, I want to take a quick look at how humans have changed over time, our own evolution process, which is part one of the F.X. Mayr Motion.

F.X. Mayr Motion is a modern sustainable lifestyle movement that supports the individual and his surroundings in the pursuit of health, well-being, performance, and joy. Austrian Mayr Medicine, with over a 100-year track record, is at the heart of this movement. And in 2016, Mayr Medicine came to  China. The core modules include:

Homo sapiens are very different than Australopithecus afarensis, an early hominin that lived around 2.9 million years ago. But it is also true that we are different compared to members of our same species. In the future, humans will likely be very different from what we think of as humans today. What we eat, how we use our bodies, and how we choose to have kids are just some of the many factors that could cause the human body to change over time.

Let me show you three examples of recent changes to the human body. In evolutionary terms, “recent” considers that Homo sapiens were around for 200,000 years on earth and that the earth is nearly 4.5 billion years old.

We are cooling down!

This substantive and continuing shift in body temperature—a marker for metabolic rate—provides a framework for understanding changes in human health and longevity over 157 years.

Julie Parsonnet, a study senior author and professor of medicine at Stanford University, highlights that this cooling down trend is likely linked to a population-wide decline in inflammation and improved standards of living. Many of the infectious diseases that were common in the 19th century would have caused chronic inflammation, which in turn burns calories and increases a person’s metabolic rate, upping their internal temperature.

Living comfortably indoors may also have profoundly impacted humans. Unlike our ancestors, “we don’t have to work terribly hard to be at physiologically neutral temperatures that don’t tax our metabolism,” according to Parsonnet. The shift appears to mean that we need about 150 fewer calories per day to maintain our basic metabolic needs than we did in the past.

But why do we eat more?
(Please see the article: Food – the new body intoxification?)

Humans are not immune to the effects of natural selection. Many of the same pressures that we have faced throughout the history of the human race, like pathogens (bacterium, virus, or other microorganisms that can cause disease) see The Chinese Coronavirus is not the Zombie Apocalypse, still exist and threaten our health today. But our environment has changed dramatically—and that has to have an impact.

Transitions in how we live our lives, such as going from nomadic herder to farmer, then from farmer to industrial worker, often drive these genetic adaptations.

Joshua Akey, a professor at Princeton University, highlights the following two examples:

  1. A recent positive selection is FADS2, an important dietary gene. Different versions of this gene are adaptive in different populations, depending on whether or not they have more meat or plant-based diets. In 2016, scientists discovered that over generations, eating vegetarian diets in India shows a specific mutation of this gene allowing the people to efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from non-meat sources, converting them into compounds essential for brain health.
  2. At the same time, the genes that control lactose tolerance are also increasing. Several thousand years ago, the enzyme that helps people drink milk without getting sick turned off when people reached adulthood. But later, gene mutations that sprung up around the world during a time period of between 2,000 to 20,000 years ago have helped people tolerate dairy well into their adulthood. Researchers estimate that, in East Africa, that genetic change happened as recently as 3,000 years ago, as raising cattle became a larger part of human life.

Our bones are becoming lighter!

Compared to other hominis, human bones are weaker and less dense. In a 2015 study,  scientific research hypothesized that Homo sapiens’ bones started to weaken around 12,000 years ago, around the time that people started farming more. With settled farming, diets changed, physical activity changed, and, in turn, our skeletons became lighter and more fragile.

In a 2014 study scientific research also determined that our skeletons have become much lighter since the rise of agriculture. They argue that the reduction in physical activity, rather than the change of diet, is caused by the degradation in human bone strength. The trend is likely to continue. We are moving less now than ever, the researchers emphasize.

“It’s only in the last 50 to 100 years that we’ve been so dangerously sedentary,” explained co-author Colin Shaw, a researcher at the University of Cambridge. “Sitting in a car or in front of a desk is not what we have evolved to do.”

Humans have the capacity to be as strong as an orangutan, Shaw and his team say. But we are not because we don’t challenge our bones. Only time will tell if our bones will change again to enable us to challenge their strength in the future.

Further changes will happen to our bodies. The only question is what will lead this process? Do humans have the time and passion to be part of the natural evolutionary process or do we need new technologies like gene editing to accelerate it?

The “good” thing is that we don’t know everything! But we do know that our biology never stands still.