Category Archives: Exercise

Circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation, and human performance

“Much of the current science on, and mathematical modeling of, dynamic changes in human performance within and between days is dominated by the two-process model of sleep-wake regulation, which posits a neurobiological drive for sleep that varies homeostatically (increasing as a saturating exponential during wakefulness and decreasing in a like manner during sleep), and a circadian process that neurobiologically modulates both the homeostatic drive for sleep and waking alertness and performance (Goel et al., 2013).”

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Acute and chronic sleep restriction degrade neurobehavioral functions, attention, cognitive speed, and memory. Strictly according to the studies (not your n=1), < 5.5 hours is bad, < 7 hours is suboptimal, and ~ 9.5 hours may be optimal. Seems like a lot; who has time to sleep 9.5 hours?!

Above image shows cerebral blood flow (orange) in the same person’s brain during a Psychomotor Vigilance Test performed in the morning and afternoon. Interestingly, most participants perform better in the afternoon and this is associated with more blood going to a different part of the brain.

“Sleep is a ubiquitous biological imperative that appears to be evolutionarily conserved across species.” Mandatory for optimal attention and cognitive performance.

To get the rest of this article (it doesn’t suck, I promise) or if you just like what I do and want to support it, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel any time.

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate links: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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It STARTS with Sleep.

Social jet lag.

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Metabolism of starvation/fasting =/= low carb diet

The Biology of Starvation (intro)

The Biology of Starvation: Renal Gluconeogenesis

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One of the major [obvious] differences in metabolism between fasting and low carb dieting is nitrogen metabolism… because you’re eating protein on a low carb diet, not so much while fasting. During fasting/starvation your body tries to downregulate the urea cycle because you can’t really afford to be ‘wasting’ amino acids/protein. I bet you never thought about the muscle-sparing effect of fat-derived fuels like that!

 

 

“Glucose production in starvation” is important because you need to make all of it and reduce the use of it.

 

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Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate links: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon codeLAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, RealMushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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7 Worst Heart Health Sins (Page 20)

I read this on a magazine cover and my level of impending disappointment rapidly increased as I approached page 20. Aaaaand….

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It wasn’t horrible! Could use some tweaking, but hit a lot of important points and didn’t say “NO RED MEAT EVER.”

1/ You sneak a smoke.

DUH. Smoking cigarettes is the worst way to get your nicotine hit imaginable. Use a patch, chew nicotine gum, suck on a lozenge. Just. Don’t. Smoke. It also ages your skin faster.

 

 

2/ You skip your walk.

BOOM! We all know the power of a good walk, amirite? Get sunlight and fresh air, get off your butt as often as possible!

For the rest of this article, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options.

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Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate links: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers?  Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Start paying attention to REV-ERB alpha

Hey team, remember when I was making wild predictions about REV-ERB alpha?

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“Food for thought: an endogenous ligand of Rev-erb is heme (the iron-binding element in red blood cells). Heme is degraded into bilirubin.  Elevated levels of bilirubin cause jaundice. A treatment of neonatal jaundice is exposure to blue light. Blue light is a major regulator of circadian rhythms and Rev-erb is an executive-level player in this game. The primary mechanisms of blue light appear unrelated in these two models (melanopsin activation vs. bilirubin photoisomerization), but seem intertwined, because heme activates Rev-erb.  Cool.” (From HERE)

and statements:

“Pharmaceutical-grade circadian augmentation = unwittingly better-timed meals? Improved body composition? …they were eating more and moving less. … One possible mechanistic explanation comes from mice lacking Rev-erb in skeletal muscle (Woldt et al., 2013). Mitochondrial biogenesis was impaired and exercise tolerance was reduced in these mice. Spontaneous physical activity was lower; thus, it stands to reason that Rev-erb agonism may improve skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. This isn’t entirely consistent with the drug study, but pretty close.” (From HERE)

 

REV-ERB is really really good for skeletal muscle.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate inhibits activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

 

 

Well, so does REV-ERB alpha! In a new study, knocking down REV-ERB alpha jacked up NLRP3 and pharmacologically enhancing it attenuated NLRP3 (Pourcet et al., 2017). The consequence of this in REV-ERB KO mice injected with LPS was hyper-inflation. No bueno. Mice given the commercially-available REV-ERB alpha agonist “Stenabolic” were protected.

I’m geeking out about REV-ERB alpha & SR9009. And fwiw, I don’t think anything will actually fully replace the benefits from actual physical activity and/or exercise, although it’s very hard for some people; eg, COPD, CHD, etc. In those populations, if they can’t exercise enough to really improve their condition, something like this might help. But I’m sure perfectly healthy people are going to try it. If you do, let us know in the comments!

For more about this fascinating research and how it can work for you (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month gets you full access and there are many other options.

It’s ad-free and you can quit if it sucks 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

UPDATED Affiliate links: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Regulation of Circadian Behavior and Metabolism by Synthetic Rev-erb Agonists (Solt et al., 2013)

Rev-erb alpha modulates skeletal muscle oxidative capacity by regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy (Woldt et al., 2013)

SERcadian Rhythms

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The power of a good walk.

I walk a lot. Usually after meals; sometimes for sunlight & exercise, other times just because it’s a habit and I like doing it. Sometimes even twice a day (eg, after breakfast and lunch).

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But seriously, it’s way healthier than I thought. This has been in-and-out of the news a few times over the years, but I was always like, “duh,” until I finally looked at the numbers. In some cases glucose & insulin excursions are down 20, 30, even 50%! (mostly depending on the distance covered, but also speed) (but mostly distance).

LOL there are like, a million studies titled “breaking up prolonged sitting improves everything” haha

And since the effects are acute, a lot of well-controlled RCTs — the flipside of that is you have to do it every day… my opinion is that total glycemic exposure over the course of your life is an important metric (more on the MOA below); and with the rise of continuous glucose monitoring systems, this will be proven true.

Exhibit A. The biggest intervention (VERY long walks, 5-6 hrs/d), but most profound results (Manohar et al., 2012)

 

 

 

Exhibit B. Prolonged sitting vs. a 30-minute walk vs. 1.5 minutes walking every 30 minutes throughout the day (Peddie et al., 2013). Both of these interventions are very doable, imo.

In this study, the total daily exposure was 49, 47, and 30 mM / 9 h. 90 seconds of walking every 30 minutes cut glucose by almost half. HALF. Insulin also dropped precipitously. If you work a sedentary job, MAKE TIME FOR THIS. EVERY DAY. GO NOW.

For the rest of this article (it’s good, I promise!) and much more (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for all access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

 

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Brain Health, Easy Steps

Open to everyone at Patreon! <- link

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

Tl;dr: sleep, sunlight, seafood, and exercise. Maybe some others. No industrial foods.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) comes up a lot, so I’ll just tell you now, it’s like brain-fertilizer.

Sunlight promotes dopamine synthesis in your brain (eg, de Lima et al., 2011). Dopamine, via D5 receptor, has a lot of direct effects on memory and learning, but also stimulates BDNF (Perreault et al., 2013). Take a walk outside after breakfast and/or lunch. Bonus: vitamin D is also good for the brain and exercise after meals promotes +nutrient partitioning.

At night, you need melatonin, and for that, you need darkness. In my experience, it’s harder to control sleep onset & duration than time in darkness. T.S. Wiley recommends 9.5 hours of darkness. That’s a lot, I know, but I have a lot of respect for Wiley and she explains it well in Lights Out!

The studies on melatonin supps are mixed (eg, 1, 2, 3, 4) but those on crappy sleep aren’t (eg, 1, 2, 3), so come on fam, at least get some blue blockers (if you choose Carbonshade or Spectra479, use coupon code LAGAKOS for 15% off).

The positive influence of exercise on brain health seems to have many mechanisms, BDNF being one of them (Seifert et al., 2010). Myokines from exercising muscles have a part in this (Philips et al., 2014), so does beta-hydroxybutyrate (eg, Sleiman et al., 2016 and Marosi et al., 2016). Possible role for exogenous bHB supps?

 

 

Niacin boosts BDNF (eg, Fu et al., 2014). Fortunately, it’s fairly abundant in the diet, but if you wanna try something new, nutritional yeast can add cheesy deliciousness to just about anything.

Niacin is also a precursor to NAD+, and this company really REALLY thinks NAD+ is the bomb (see their website for a round-up of the science). Rodent studies have suggested nicotinamide riboside is better at boosting brain NAD+ than niacin (eg, Collins and Chaykin, 1972), but as mentioned above, niacin isn’t hard to find via diet.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like the taste, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

For the rest of this article (which includes advise on foods & supps), or if you just like what I do and want to support it, head over to Patreon! Three bucks a month for access to all content and there are many other options. Sign up soon as the number of spots at the $3 level is limited. It’s ad-free and you can cancel at any time.

 

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An interesting theory on the treatment of muscle cramps

Being the nerd I am, after experiencing a few days of painful muscle cramps (which I wrote about here), I went to Google like a madman.
Here’s what I learned from the experience and subsequent Googling.
Most things I wrote in the original post still stand. But there are a ton of completely different types of muscle cramps; those associated with cirrhosis, MS, pregnancy, dialysis, idiopathic nocturnal, etc.
Number 1 mandatory advice: do all the long-term stuff like broths, (20% off Kettle & Fire!) potassium, mag, etc (even though all of these things have mixed findings; they might work for your specific type of cramp and are unlikely to cause harm). But for immediate management of painful cramping, you may need to bite the bullet and take a muscle relaxer or benzo or something.
A lot of this post is inspired by a crazy theory touted by a new anti-cramp product (targeted at yet another type of cramp, “exercise-associated muscle cramp” [EAMC]), but the explanation of it’s mechanism is super-interesting.

I still stand by the previous interventions, except according to a few case studies and a lot of anecdotes, pickle juice can work within 1-2 minutes! That observation was part of the basis of developing this product. Some people think the acidity in pickle juice activates gastrointestinal TRP receptors (see below), and I’m totally cool with all kinds of vinegar
But I digress.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like the taste, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

There are a limited number of spots left at the $3 level, so join soon! You can cancel at any time.

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

 

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Ketosis in an evolutionary context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis.  They’re also situated near the top of the food chain.  Coincidence?

During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all.

Starvation ketosis

 

Starvation ketosis

Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation.  We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively.  And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline.

Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..?

Observation: chronic ketosis is relatively rare in nature. This doen’t mean animals evolved a protective  mechanism against ketosis.

 

 

Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain.

ketones age

The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones.  A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986).  If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this?  …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence?  Maybe they’re myths.  Maybe not.




 

Ketosis in the animal kingdom

Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure.  No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism.  In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003Hayes et al., 2012).

 

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Endurance Performance Doesn’t Decline on a Low Carb Diet

The new study by Zinn and colleagues doesn’t debunk ketoadaptation. And the authors agree!

In brief, it was 5 ~50-year old recreational endurance athletes. They’ve been training a lot for a very long time. In other words, one way to view this study is the opposite of n00b gainz. Experienced exercisers don’t typically make gains in 10 weeks without drastically changing their training program or increasing protein intake – neither of which occurred in this study.

 

 

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Long-term fat adaptation.

Ketoadaptation

More on physical performance and ketoadaptation

A timeline of ketoadaptation.

 

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Protein & exercise, man. Protein & exercise.

-Basically, any beginner can make decent gains upon starting a new exercise regimen… it’s actually hard not to. Noob gainz.

-What’s easier than doubling exercise volume? PROTEIN.

Protein Supplementation to Augment the Effects of High Intensity Resistance Training in Untrained Middle-Aged Males: The Randomized Controlled PUSH Trial (Wittke et al., 2017)

Four groups: 1) high intensity training (HIT); HIT + high protein diet (HIT+P) (1.6 g/kg/d); HIT + high volume (HVHIT); and control. Baseline protein intake was ~1.2 g/kg, so it was about a ~33% increase.

Duration: 22 weeks, which is long enough to actually make some measurable noob gainz.

Results:

 

 

Exercise alone (HIT) wasn’t particularly effective but doubling the volume worked.  What’s easier than doubling the volume?  PROTEIN.  Protein is better than doubling the volume for n00b gainz in LBM.

 

 

More gainz in leg & arm muscle mass and strength.  Doubling the volume was slightly better for fat loss. CICO? Energy intake declined slightly in HIT but remained stable in HIT+P & HVHIT.

My take? Protein is way easier than double-volume high intensity training.

 

 

Protein & exercise, man. Protein & exercise.

 

 

 

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