Category Archives: mortality

Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light

-induced circadian disruptions in modern aging societies (Hatori et al., 2017)

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While this article could’ve easily addressed the havoc wreaked on most animals (hibernating, migrating, reproducing, etc.) or even many plants by artificial light, the focus is on humans.

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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.

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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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Need vs. Optimization: Omnivores & Carnivores.

Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants AND animals?

To address this, we first need to ask 2 questions:
1) need for what?
2) need vs. optimization?

STORY TIME

Scientists were determining the amino acid requirements of cats by feeding them semi-synthetic diets with various levels of each amino acid, one at a time. Tedious. A lot of cats x a lot of amino acids x a lot of levels of each amino acid = a lot of work. What made it even more difficult (and equally more interesting) was that they didn’t know what they were looking for — this was long before we knew what we know now about biology.

Tyrosine

Funny thing, when they got to tyrosine: below a certain level and their black cats started turning red! At an even lower level, certain neuroloogical abnormalities set in. So, how much tyrosine do cats need? Enough to maintain their beautiful black coats? I think we can all agree that the level which induced neurological abnormalities was too low. What about fur color?

 

What if female cats prefer males with beautiful black coats? So the males have a better chance at reproducing if their diet is at the higher level of tyrosine. I’d say fur color is pretty important in this #context! [how ya like ‘dem apples]

Need vs. Optimization

Note: this occurred over the course of weeks-to-months, not hours-to-days.

Note (2): unlike humans, cats are obligate carnivores. Real, actual, carnivores.

 

 

Arginine

Below a certain level of arginine and the cats looked dizzy, wobbled around, and some of them died.

Not weeks-to-months. Hours-to-days. This is what it’s like to be a carnivore. They NEED to eat meat or die rapidly (this is one of the few examples of an acute nutritional deficiency causing severe toxicity in the entire animal kingdom).

Cats have an inability to downregulate protein degradation and need arginine to dispose of the nitrogens via urea cycle. Humans just reduce burning proteins when protein intake is low.

 

 

Part 2Lobsters are omnivores and arginine is weird.

Lobster tail is rich in arginine (this might be what gives it a bit of a sweet-like flavor). If lobsters are fed an arginine-deficient diet, they go cannibal and eat other lobsters’ tails!

What does this say about lobster arginine requirements?

Need vs. optimization: they’re perfectly healthy, but is preventing cannibalism a “need?”

. .  .   .     .        .             .                     .

 

 

So, I ask again: Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants and animals?

One retrospective study showed stroke victims who had consumed blueberries the day before showed significantly less cognitive decline post-stroke than those who hadn’t. Blueberries. Not green tea, blackberries, or dark chocolate. Blueberries. Do humans need to eat blueberries?

What if this was confirmed in a double-blind RCT? Is preventing post-stroke cognitive decline a need or an optimization?

Which is more important to you?

I didn’t have it in me to put this behind a paywall because while I think the answer is getting simpler & simpler (eg, SunlightHunger-Free Diet[s] and DietFitshot Blue-Blockers, etc.), fad diets are getting weirder & weirder. Just eat like an adult.

If you like my style and would like to see my paywalled stuff (or if you just want to show some support) head over to Patreon! Full access for a five bucks a month 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 links: It’s 2018, join Binance and get some damn cryptoassets or download Honeyminer and get some Bitcoins for free!

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 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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Poor sleep, “dietary disinhibition,” and weight gain

“Dietary disinhibition”

In school, the concept was taught like this: recruit a bunch of people and tell them it’s for a cookie taste-testing project. Give them a form with a bunch of questions about cookie quality (taste, texture, sweetness, etc.) and a plate of cookies.

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SWITCHAROO!

They aren’t there for a cookie taste-test. It turns out that some people experience “dietary disinhibition” wherein if they eat one cookie, they think something like “well, I’ve blown my diet for the day, so might as well just eat the whole plate of cookies” (actually, I’m pretty sure it’s way more complicated than that, but I learned it in a nutrition class, not a psychology class).

It’s not a lot of people — most would just take a bite and fill out the questionnaire — but it’s been replicated in enough settings that it’s probably a real phenomenon.

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Ketones, Cancer, and the NLRP3 Inflammasome

“Check ‘em all. Do the work. There’s no room for cherry-picking here.

LOOK THE GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH”

A few years back, researchers discovered the pseudo-ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate suppressed the NLRP3 inflammasome (Youm et al., 2015). NLRP3 is notorious for aggravating gout symptoms, so it was like: “Yay! A potentially clinically relevant use for ketone supps!” (I think there might be other applications as well, but that’s for another blog post).

Ketones, NLRP3, and IL-1b

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It’s thought that NLRP3 is around during active flares, so gout sufferers would stay on their regular meds and take ketone supps as needed – this is important because from what I understand, gout flares really suck, some people get them frequently, and ketone supps aren’t covered by insurance [yet?].

 

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Fixing your rhythms makes everything better. Here’s how.

Full article open to everyone over at Patreon! <- link

What’s more anti-cancer than ‘shrooms and isothiocyanates?

CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

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.

Caffeine, large meals, and bright light in the evening induce circadian misalignment. That’s why these are better suited earlier in the day.

Caffeine reduces sleep pressure (which is supposed to start low in the morning and peak shortly after sunset) and delays melatonin onset (Burke et al., 2015). After dinner, make it a decaf or just pass.

 

Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist, and the accumulation of adenosine in the brain throughout the day is thought to be a chemical mediator of sleep pressure. Caffeine also delays and reduces melatonin, which increases your sleep needs, or at least time in bed/darkness.

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Circadian Rhythms. Nobel Prize.

18th Century: French astronomer Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan observed the mimosa plant opened it’s leaves during the day and closed them at night. It would continue to do this even in complete darkness. Thus, a bona fide circadian phenomenon. He didn’t know about circadian rhythms and thought the plants could “sense” when the sun came up, but he was still a genius. He also speculated temperature may have been a factor. Not bad!

 

 

Some of the seminal Nobel Prize-related papers are listed below, but the discovery in brief:

The protein PERIOD (Per) increases over night and decreases during the day. That’s because when another protein, TIMELESS (Tim), reaches a critical threshold, it binds to Per, they enter the nucleus and halt further production of Per. This is the foundation of circadian rhythms. Since these discoveries, made DECADEs ago, we’ve learned it’s WAY more complicated.

 

 

. . .   .     .        .              .

 

 

 

Most of their research was done in fruit flies. You might be thinking, “Yeah, but fruit fly? That’s worse than mouse!”

Polymorphisms in PERIOD cause circadian-related sleeping disorders.

In humans. (eg, Viola et al., 2007, Drake et al., 2015, and Lee et al., 2015.)

 

 

Polymorphisms in many circadian genes mimic certain aspects of self-induced circadian arrhythmia (ie,  skipping breakfast & eating late at night, not getting enough light in the morning & too much in the evening, etc.)… it kills me when I hear about kids playing on their iPads & smart phones late at night. At least get some blue-blockers! (coupon code LAGAKOS is still good for 15% off Carbonshade and Spectra479.)

 

For the rest of this article, head over to Patreon!

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If you’re on the fence considering it, try it out, you can cancel at any time! Also, there is a limited number of positions remaining at the $3 level.

Lastly, I’m open to suggestions; please feel free leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

 

also, reminder, can still get 20% off Kettle & Fire’s awesome broths HERE.

 

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Circadian rhythms & the blues. AND THE GREENS

Open access for all at Patreon! <- linkage

Approximate wavelengths, in nanometers (nm):

680         red
595         amber
525        green
497         blue/green
470         blue

 

 

[Strongly] suggested pre-reading: Artificial light and circadian rhythms: blocking the blues and The Hot Blue-Blocker Experiment

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Study 1 tested the effects of different wavelengths of light exposure (compared to total darkness) from midnight til 2 AM on melatonin suppression on night 1 and melatonin onset on night 2 (Wright and Lack, 2001). Note: there was no light on night 2.

On night 1, they found that 470 (blue), 497 (blue/green), and even 525 (green) suppressed melatonin, ranging from 65 to 81%.

 

 

However, remarkably, on night 2 those same wavelengths had a carry-over effect, delaying melatonin onset by 27 to 36 minutes!

 

 

This is why lens color of your blue blockers matters. Orange lenses block blue, although blue/green and even green can still have a detrimental impact. Redder lenses more effectively block in the green range.

If you get up to pee or whatever in the middle of the night, it might be prudent to rock your blue-blockers and/or have a lamp with a red bulb.

The following graphs show you how much light is blocked by different lenses – remember, we want as little transmission up to around 525 nm (according to study 1 [above] and study 2 [below]).

However, for a quick and dirty test you can do at home, the people at Spectra479 put this together:

 

 

 

 

Carbonshade and Spectra479 are offering 15% off if you enter the coupon code LAGAKOS at checkout.

 

Normal gray-lensed Ray-Bans block about 85% of all light. Cool for blocking UV, but you’re still getting about ~15% of blue and green light. That’s too much.

 

 

 

 

 

Spectra479s block 99.8% of 450-510nm, which fully encompasses blue to blue-green.

 

 

 

 

 

Carbonshades block 99.8% of 400-570 nm, which fully encompasses blue to green, so the largest range of protection according to study 1 (above) and study 2 (below).

 

 

 

 

I haven’t seen the spectral transmission data on Carbonshades, although they performed the best on Spectra479’s at-home test.

 

The popular orange-lensed Skypers block 98% of blue light and probably not too much green (as per the transmission data below and Spectra479’s at-home test).

 

 

 

 

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.

For more steps on how to strengthen your circadian rhythms, the potential importance (and relevance) of blocking BLUE/GREEN, and a discussion of the science… head over to Patreon!

Also many more interesting tidbits and some advice, like who might need to upgrade their blue-blockers.

Three bucks a month for access to all articles and there are many other options. And it’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks. Don’t hesitate, there are only a limited number of positions remaining at the $3 level.

Lastly, I’m open to suggestions; please feel free leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

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Ice age fairy tales

Trigger warning: potentially offensive.

Trying to pinpoint an Ice Age Diet is about as complicated as defining a Paleo or Mediterranean diet… it would’ve been completely different depending on when & where, season, family/tribe, etc., etc.  And while the interwebz are full of anecdotes & guesses (educated & otherwise), there seems to be little reliable information and a lot of contradictions.

And anyway, is this really relevant for us today?

#context

Hat tip to Prof Tim Noakes for pointing out the work by Curtis Marean, who showed that our species may have survived the ice age(s) in a warmer climate in Africa, where seafood played a large part in their diet: “Humans would have been able to survive because of rich vegetation that was available in the area.”

Here’s what I came up with, and why I feel like ranting.

I don’t doubt that humans went through periods of low & high plant consumption, but if someone argues that passing through times of low plant consumption is what “elevated” our species or fostered brain growth or whatever; LOGIC: it can be just as easily argued that passing through times of high plant consumption did the same.  Saying “don’t eat plants because #IceAge” is just as flawed an argument.

Alternatively, considering the importance of #context in our modern environment, couldn’t you also argue that low-plant diets are only evolutionarily appropriate during an ice age (where the Earth is theoretically a giant snow ball LOL)?  Also, if plants are somehow unhealthy, how did we survive periods when hunting was poor?  All of the arguments can go both ways.

 




 

I mean, if I lived 10 thousand years ago, I would eat anything I could get my hands on — which would probably look something like a plant-based diet with seafood and whatever else could be hunted, scavenged, etc.  Gotta eat, but why handicap yourself by intentionally avoiding plants – shouldn’t the goal be to spend as little time worrying about this as possible?

If you didn’t have to hunt 24/7, you’d have more time to do other things like acculturation, play, sex, music, story-telling, building traditions, etc., etc.

 

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The BROAD Study or Meat

Is eating meat necessary?  Optimal?

THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU

Hint: it’s more important to not eat processed refined junk foods.

 

Exhibit A. The BROAD study: a randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease, or diabetes (Wright et al., 2017)

Tl;dr: it worked.

 

 

The longer version: it was a low-fat vegan diet supplemented with 50 ug B12 (methylcobalamin) daily.

 

Participants were advised to eat until satiation.

We placed no restriction on total energy intake.

Participants were asked to not count calories.”

 

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