Tag Archives: circadian rhythm

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 🙂

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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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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])

 

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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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As if we needed another study about breakfast. Or 4.

Exhibit A. Participants were given ~30 grams of whey, casein, or carbs 30 minutes before bed (Kinsey et al., 2014). [side note: the closer it is to bedtime, the less food is needed to mess up your rhythms. Worded another way, if you’re gonna have a big dinner, the earlier the better]. The following morning, you guessed it, they weren’t hungry for breakfast. And they had higher insulin levels. FFS. Worded another way, light early dinner -> lower insulin and more hungry for breakfast, in the morning.

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Dopamine and breakfast.

Light and food in the morning.

Metabolism is gimped at night.

Exhibit B1. Expecting mothers: “Across the whole cohort, night-time, but not day-time, carbohydrate intake was positively associated with glucose concentrations after the glucose load and inversely associated with early phase insulin secretion (P < 0.05)” (Chandler-Laney et al., 2016).

 

 

Evening is not the best time to carb… but it’s not just carbs… and it affects infants, too.

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 full access to all articles and more (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), head over to Patreon! It’s only three bucks a month and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Sunlight, Meal Timing, and Circadian Rhythms.

we’re talking some serious epigenetics

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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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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.
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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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Efficacy of a wide range of things, from sleep & diet to supps & meds, may depend on timing

A study on epilepsy was published comparing gene expression in parts of the brain where seizures developed with adjacent healthy tissue (Li et al., 2017). It was in humans, so they couldn’t really have proper controls, because what healthy person would volunteer to have some of their brain chopped out?

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They found the core circadian rhythm gene CLOCK was reduced in epileptogenic regions of the brain compared to healthy nearby tissue. It could be that this is just the way it is in healthy people, or that the seizure itself reduced CLOCK not vice versa. But the researchers followed-up with animal models lacking CLOCK in either inhibitory or excitatory neurons and showed mice lacking CLOCK in excitatory neurons had a lower seizure threshold and a more severe condition (suggests causation). They had worse seizures in the dark phase, similar to the findings in humans.

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