Category Archives: Sun

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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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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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: more easy steps

When describing the length of one of his students’ fingers, the great classical guitarist Andres Segovia said “she has more long fingers than anyone else” — he meant longer fingers… English wasn’t his strong suit haha

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Maximize sunlight exposure, minimize artificial light (or at least get some hot blue blockers). Get at least some physical activity. Those are the basics. Moving on…

Tl;dr: Beef heart, calf liver, and maybe some supps 🙂

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 isn’t approved for the treatment of anything, but hear me out.

We have about a gram of CoQ10 in our entire body, concentrated in the mitochondria of highly oxidative tissues (Saini, 2011). It is found at around 60-110 ug/g in heart (eg, Ercan and El, 2011Aberg et al., 1992).

 

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Sunlight is anti-cancer: get some

Some important points: there is a lot of evidence that low melatonin mediates the carcinogenic effects of circadian arrhythmia. One of the classical observations was that melatonin-depleted blood from women exposed to bright light promoted tumor growth in a model of human breast cancer and rat liver cancer (Blask et al., 2005). This is also the study that elucidated one possible mechanism: tumors take-up the n6-fatty acid linoleic acid and convert it to 13-HODE, which drives proliferation. Melatonin inhibits this (and more).

Free full article on Patreon!

 

 

There are also data in both humans and rodents that bright light exposure during the day protects nighttime melatonin secretion against artificial light-induced suppression (eg, Kozaki et al., 2016).

 

This was confirmed by showing bright daytime light exposure protected sleep quality in people exposed to artificial light at night (Rangtell et al., 2016).

FYI Rodents exposed to light at night are screwed (Blask et al., 2014):

 

 

 

So, daytime light preserves & protects nighttime melatonin secretion. Melatonin-replete blood inhibits tumor growth. And to connect all the dots: daytime light exposure inhibits tumor growth in some pre-clinical models cancer (eg, Dauchy et al., 2015).

 

And for all you Walburgers, melatonin inhibits aerobic glycolysis in tumors  (eg, Hevia et al., 2017 AND Mao et al., 2016)!

This isn’t a free pass for you to use artificial light at night. Ideally, you should use no artificial light at night. Or dim red ones. Or at least rock some hot blue blockers.

Nocturnal light pollution and underexposure to daytime sunlight: complementary mechanisms of circadian disruption and related diseases (Smolensky et al., 2015)

Doxorubicin resistance in breast cancer is driven by light at night-induced disruption of the circadian melatonin signal (Xiang et al., 2015) (same for tamoxifen [Dauchy et al., 2014])

 

For full access to all articles and much more (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), become a Patron! Five bucks a month for full 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 feel free to leave a comment or email 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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SERcadian Rhythms

The amino acid L-serine may be the next melatonin. A new study showed administration of 3 grams ~30 minutes before bedtime advanced melatonin onset dramatically, almost instantly. It didn’t increase the concentration of melatonin, just onset (Yasuo et al., 2017). For a higher concentration, you’d need AM sunlight and PM blue blockers or actual mel supps (preferably the former) (eg, Burke et al., 2013).

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Important and interesting caveat in the L-serine story: it only worked if the participants received bright light in the morning.

 

In the figure below, “day 1” is no AM light and “day 2” is yes AM light. In both the L-serine and placebo groups, there is a phase advance on day 2 because of the AM light treatment. The advance is markedly greater when the participants received 3 grams of L-serine:

 

Using rodent models (which mimicked the human effect almost exactly), GABA-A receptors were implicated.

Interesting for a couple reasons.

 

 

GABAnergic agents like benzo’s and alcohol don’t really put you to sleep; they knock you out, which isn’t proper sleep. This suggests a non-circadian effect of L-serine; however: 1) GABA-A prevents light-induced SCN activation; and 2) serine advanced melatonin onset (specifically only when combined with light in the morning).

Anyone gonna try L-serine?

To learn more about this fascinating discovery or if you just like what I do and want to support it, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access to all articles and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment or email 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 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. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

 

 

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Two important blog posts which may hint at how this happened: LIGHT timing for circadian entrainment and Melatonin sensitizes the system.

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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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This study on melatonin supps proves everything about LIGHT is true

Open to everyone on Patreon!

Acute melatonin administration in humans impairs glucose tolerance in both the morning and evening (Rubio-Sastre et al., 2014)

If you like what I do and want to support it, consider becoming a Patron! Five bucks a month for full 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 feel free to leave a comment or email 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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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“LIGHT for thought”

There are some things you can control and many more you can’t (eg, circadian disruption, alcohol, BRCA, etc.). It’s impossible to know how much circadian arrhythmia contributes to cancer risk, but the epidemiology is strong and some of the mechanistic work makes sense. It has to do with LIGHT and melatonin.

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Tl;dr: a robust circadian rhythm and proper melatonin peak at night mitigate a lot of other factors. If there’s artificial light at night, then there’s no melatonin, and that’s like, SHIELDS ARE DOWN! And it doesn’t take a lot to shut ‘em down.

There’s also a dietary angle, but it’s borderline one of those things you can’t change (unless you try really really hard) (more on this below), or at least not nearly as fast as you can fix melatonin (see HERE).

 

In 1978, Cohen and colleagues made a few seminal observations (Cohen et al., 1978). In their words,

“(1) Pineal calcification is commonest in countries with high rates of breast cancer and lowest in areas with a low incidence; the incidences of pineal calcification and of breast cancer are moderate among the black population in the United States.

(2) Chlorpromazine raises serum-melatonin; there are reports that psychiatric patients taking chlorpromazine have a lower incidence of breast cancer.

(3) Although information is lacking on breast cancer, the pineal and melatonin may influence tumour induction and growth in experimental animals.

(4) The demonstration of a melatonin receptor in human ovary suggests a direct influence of this hormone on the ovarian function, and possibly oestrogen production.

(5) Impaired pineal secretion is believed to be an important factor triggering puberty (early menarche is a risk factor for breast cancer).”

 

The dark side of light at night: physiological, epidemiological, and ecological consequences (Navara and Nelson, 2007)

 

 

And further observations, for example, that urinary melatonin is prospectively inversely associated with breast cancer (Schernhammer et al., 2008) and total blindness is protective against breast cancer (Flynn-Evans et al., 2009). Total visual blindness is associated with a variety of other problems, but they’re less likely to succumb to artificial light at night-induced melatonin suppression.

 

For the rest of this article 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 articles and there are many other options. There is a limited number of spots left at the $3 level so sign up soon! You can cancel at any time.
And it’s ad-free 🙂

Discounts: still looking for some hot blue-blockers? Carbonshade and Spectra479 are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS. And for some delicious organic broths/stocks, Kettle & Fire is 20% off HERE.

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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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