Tag Archives: mortality

Circadian Disruption Impairs Survival in the Wild

…just read that huge disasters, ranging from Exxon Valdez to Chernobyl, may have been due, in part, to ignorance of basic principles of circadian rhythms.  Gravitas.

 

circadian rhythms

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Pharmaceutical-grade circadian enhancement?

Is it possible to improve the amplitude and resiliency of your circadian rhythms?  Is this desirable?  Yes and yes, I think.

Go the fuck to sleep.png

 

Introducing, the aMUPA mice (Froy et al., 2006).  What you need to know about ’em: they have very robust circadian rhythms.  How is this assessed?  Take some mice acclimated to their normal 12 hour light-dark cycle (LD) and place them in constant darkness (DD).  Then take liver biopsies and measure circadian genes to see how well they still oscillate throughout the dark day; this is also known as the free-running clock, and it craps out differently in different tissues depending on a variety of factors.  Most of the time, however, it’ll run for a few days in the absence of light.  Circadian meal timing also helps to hasten re-entrainment.

Note in the figure below: 1) there are two distinct lines of aMUPA mice; and 2) both exhibit a greater amplitude in circadian oscillations during free-running, or DD conditions.

strong circadian rhythms

 

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Angiotensin: more than just blood pressure.

Pathologically low blood pressure can lead to shock & death.  Angiotensin II is there to prevent that, but it does much more.  A bit non-sequiter, perhaps.

This is what I call teamwork: low blood pressure detected by kidneys –> secretes renin.  Angiotensinogen (liver) is cleaved by renin to Angiotensin I.  Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (lungs [among other tissues]) cleaves angiotensin I into angiotensin II.

RAAS

Angiotensin II increases blood volume and restores blood pressure.  Good if you’ve lost a ton of blood fighting a wild beast; not good if you’re an overweight pen pusher on potato chips.  ACE inhibitors reduce angiotensin II, lowering blood pressure.  ACE is present in lungs probably because it deactivates bradykinin.  ACE inhibitors prevent this which might contribute to one of their side effects, a persistent dry cough which makes these drugs intolerable for many.  One alternative is angiotensin II receptor 1 blockers, or “ARBs.”


If anyone in pharma reads my blog (doubtful, unless they are monitoring for people to polonium-laced blow-dart), this will be their favorite post because I think ARBs are an interesting class of drugs.

If diet and weight loss are inadequate, telmisartan might be the next best thing to manage hypertension in diabetics:  Telmisartan for the reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (Verdecchia et al., 2011) –> effective at reducing mortality in patients with diabetes.

Efficacy of RAS blockers on cardiovascular and renal outcomes in NIDDM (Cae & Cooper 2012)  –> reduces morbidity and slows progression of renal disease (both hypertension and diabetes contribute to [irreversible] kidney damage, and frequently occur together, which makes this endpoint particularly relevant).  Hyperglycemia should be managed via diet, of course, and ARBs would need to be tested in people following something other than a Western diet (although said people may not even need treatment in the first place) (just thinking out loud here.  Or typing/whatever.)

But enough about blood pressure (<– boring); on to the more interesting stuff:

It started here: Chronic perfusion of angiotensin II causes cognitive dysfunctions and anxiety in mice (Duchemin et al., 2013)

Then: Candesartan prevents impairment of recall caused by repeated stress in rats (Braszko et al., 2012)

And: Anti-stress and anxiolytic effects of [candesartan] (Saavedra et al., 2005)

[Candesartan] prevents the isolation stress-induced decrease in cortical CRF1 receptor and benzodiazepine binding (Saavedra et al., 2006)

[Candesartan] ameliorates brain inflammation (Benicky et al., 2011)   brain inflammation induced by chronic exposure to artificial lights causes depression-like symptoms (in mice) (probably humans, too)

Finally, a human study: Candesartan and cognitive decline in older patients with hypertension (Saxby et al., 2008)

And then there’s this: Angiotensin receptor blockers for bipolar disorder (de Gois et al., 2013)


No mechanistic stuff because, well, I have no idea how it works.  On one hand, it might seem obvious that stress & anxiety can raise blood pressure, so something that lowers stress & anxiety could lower blood pressure.  Candesartan appears to do both (cause <–> effect?).  There are two unique properties of candesartan to note: 1) it gets into the brain; and 2) it leads to increased levels of angiotensin II (which presumably can’t do much because candesartan blocks the receptor for angiotensin II).  Perhaps angiotensin II targets a different receptor?  ARBs might blunt angiotensin II-induced CRH secretion, leading to anxiolysis, stress-tolerance, and pro-cognitive effects (that speculation was made possible by a thread on Avant Labs’ Forum and a few posts by Jane Plain on CRH [eg, here & here]).

Oh yeah, ARBs also prevent cafeteria diet-induced weight gain, insulin resistance, and ovulatory dysfunction [in rats] (Sagae et al., 2013).  And are sympatholytic like bromocriptine (Kishi & Hirooka 2013).

“The Angiotensin-melatonin axis” (Campos et al., 2013).

just sayin’

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Circadian disruptions impact behavior and metabolism in a tissue-specific manner.

The control of circadian gene expression is complex, with layer upon layer of suppressors and enhancers, numerous transcription factors, and a lot of interactions.  A gross oversimplification: Clock and Bmal1 are positive regulators of circadian gene expression; Per and Cry are negative (you don’t really need to know any of this).

 

Some pretty cool progress has been made in examining the effects of global and tissue-specific deletion of circadian rhythm-related transcription factors.  Bear with me :)

For example, global Bmal1 knockout mice (ie, mice that don’t express Bmal1 anywhere in their whole body.  Zero Bmal1.  Nil.) (Lamia et al., 2008).  These mice are obese, and exhibit impaired glucose tolerance yet improved insulin sensitivity.

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Look AHEAD – Nutrition Disinformation 2.0

The day you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived.  Results from the Look AHEAD study have been published.  When I first wrote about this study (HERE), it had been prematurely halted because the intervention was providing no benefits.  Everybody was in a state of shock and awe because Low Fat didn’t save lives.  But that was before we even had the data.  

Reminder: the “intensive lifestyle intervention” consisted of a Low Fat Diet & exercise.  The results?  Yes, they lost more weight than control, but they also took more Orlistat (of which I’m not a fan, see HERE for why):

orlistat

Orlistat = pharmaceutically enhanced low fat diet. 

Their normal diets were not healthy, but neither was low fat –>

med use

Medication use increased drastically in both groups.  The pundits have gone wild because medication use was lower in the intensive Low Fat group at the end of the study, but this is Nutrition Disinformation 2.0.  Eerily reminiscent of the recent Mediterranean Diet study, the conclusions are the same: keep eating poorly and the need for medications will increase.  You can call it a lot of things, but not “healthy.”  The alternative –>  How to define a “healthy” diet.  Period.


Significant adverse events:SAE

The only thing to reach statistical significance was more fractures in the intensive Low Fat group, but you didn’t read any headlines that said “Low Fat breaks bones.”  Imagine if that happened on low carb [sigh]  The next closest thing to statistical significance was increased amputations in the intensive Low Fat group :/

gem:History of CVD

Translation: if you were healthy at baseline, then you could tolerate a low fat diet.  Otherwise, not so much.  This is exactly what happened in the Women’s Health Initiative.

Ha

needless to say, none of the “possible explanations” they considered were Low fat diet Fail.

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How to define a “healthy” diet. Period.

Whether you’re strictly adhering to a diet or just doing your own thing, if year after year your GP is prescribing more and more medications to stave off morbidity and keep you intact, then the diet you’re following is most likely Fail.  The same is true if your body weight is creeping upward or your quality of life is creeping downward.lunchables

The glaring Fail of all 3 diets in the recent Mediterranean Diet Study for the medications criteria threw up a huge red flag.  As a brief refresher, at baseline and 5 years later, prescription medication usage was as follows:

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Mediterranean Diet Fail – Nutrition Disinformation, Part I.

Do not get your hopes up, do not pass GO!  do not collect $200.  The Mediterranean Diet.  Fail.

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet (Estruch et al., 2013)

This is one of the biggest diet studies we’ve seen in a while, and no doubt it was a very good one.  It very effectively put the Mediterranean Diet to the test.

I felt compelled to write about this study out of fear for the nutrition disinformation that it would likely inspire.  The Mediterranean Diet is associated with all good things, happiness, red wine and olive oil; whereas the Atkins Diet is associated with artery clogging bacon-wrapped hot dogs and a fat guy who died of a heart attack.  Nutrition disinformation.

If you ran a diet study with 3 intervention groups for 5 years, and by the end of the study everybody (in all 3 groups) was on more prescription medications, would you conclude any of the diets were “healthy?”  If so, then we should work on your definition of “healthy.”

Study details: big study, lasted roughly 5 years, and the diet intervention was pristine.  Mediterranean diet plus extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) vs. Mediterranean diet plus nuts vs. low fat control.  They even used biomarkers to confirm olive oil and nut intake (hydroxytyrosol and linoleate, respectively).  Compliance was good.

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Paleotard, meet potatotard, Op. 132

(credit to Dylan and Woo, respectively, for introducing me to those terms)

Empty calories – the potato

While it has a decent amino acid profile, with only 3 grams of protein it’d take a diabetic amount of potatoes to fulfill your daily protein.  By “diabetic,” I mean about a thousand grams of starch.  potatoes are just as glycemic as white bread.

potato

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Inflammatory, trans, or linoleate?

As much as I’d like to say this is the nail-in-the-coffin, omega-6 causes irreversible fatality, I have a confession.

I believe it’s the empty calories, not the inflammatory omega-6 devil linoleate.  Biscuits, cookies, processed foods of all shapes and sizes are simply the delivery vehicles for industrially modified and probably “trans” fats that started out innocent enough as soybean oil or omega-6 vegetable oils.

linoleate is the quintessential omega-6 fatty acid and is found at high levels in vegetable oils.  just like the omega-3 linolenate found in soybean oil, processing of the oils usually damages them – turns them into trans fats and/or oxidizes them (by “oxidizes” I don’t mean fat burning, see pictorial below)

So despite the impeccable statistical anvil thrown at these data, which seem to clearly implicate linoleate, I don’t think it’s the linoleate.  H E double hockey sticks, we probably don’t get enough normal unmodified linoleate.  Unless you’re cracking shells, even “raw” almonds are Pasteurized.  

unshelled nuts

don’t sanitize your food.  your meat needn’t be burned, nor your nuts Pasteurized.

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diabulemia

This isn’t a “magic bullet,” it’s a buckshot aimed at a barn door.

Yes, I think sugar and empty calories, and the associated hyperinsulinemia are the bane of anyone with obesity or any sort of hyperplastic fat tissue disorder.  And yes, this is the worst type of evidence to support such a stance, but when you’ve got lemons, well…

Make no mistake, diabulemia may as well be spelled DIE-abulemia.  It’s not a laughing matter.  But yeah, well, lemonade, etc.  So here it goes

Diabulemia

Type I diabetics have low insulin and are lean; type II diabetics have high insulin and are not.  Insulin injections in either population promotes hyperplastic fat growth.  Sounds scary, right?  It is:

insulin

This poor soul unfortunately restricted his insulin injections to only two sites.  Make all the jokes you want, but the effect is obvious…  this is happening everywhere in hyperinsulinemic heavyweights (not just two specific sites).

CHO III Picture 279

 So what do Type I’s do when they want to lose some fat mass?  Stop jabbing themselves with insulin. Unfortunately, it’s really that simple.  Type II’s and anyone with excess or hyperplastic fat tissue can do the same with low carb or keto, although this would be a great benefit to their overall health.  But for Type I’s… not so much – they need insulin to prevent the horrific manifestations of ketoacidosis, which includes but is not limited to: death.

Type I’s are hyperglycemic because of low insulin; insulin therapy prevents diabetic ketoacidosis, a deadly condition.  But for those who simply choose to selectively reduce their insulin dosage, they: 1) don’t die; 2) lose fat; and 3) get hyperglycemic and incur all the damage that ensues (retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy).  Furthermore, they’re walking on thin ice – DKA is lurking.  It is just as stupid yet more dangerous than using tapeworms to lose weight.

tape-worms

Type II’s are hyperglycemic because of insulin resistance; a condition that is pathologically neutered via carbohydrate restriction.  Type I’s who reduce insulin injections to decrease fat mass are doing just as much damage as Type II’s who DON’T reduce carbohydrate intake.


Diabulemia is akin to an eating disorder.  Biologically, the lack of insulin allows fat to be released from adipose tissue with gravitas, and it prevents glucose from being stored in any meaningful capacity.  You’re literally pissing calories here, burning ’em like crazy there; all of which is a helluva lot easier than “eating less moving more” … which is why diabulemics do it (because they have the option [unlike the rest of us]).  Diabulemia is good from a fat loss perspective, but will most definitely contribute to severe and possibly deadly complications down the line.   Carbohydrate restriction, however, is a win-win-win… (for everyone except The Man, so perhaps it’s a win-win-win… fail)

This isn’t a “magic bullet,” it’s a buckshot aimed at a barn door.


Humans aren’t big rats, but here it is again, anyway:

Leptin deficiency causes insulin resistance induced by uncontrolled diabetes (German et al., 2010)

I’m ignoring the brunt of this paper and only focusing on the positive control groups.  [Positive controls… meaning they were included because they would definitely exhibit the expected response.]

Force rats into a state of diabulemia, and their insulin levels plummet, blood glucose soars, and they become ravenously hungry (open squares in the graphs below).German I

But lo and behold, fat mass atrophy ->German II

Eat less move more?  Well, they certainly didn’t “eat less…” (see above) … and:German III

nor were they “moving more.”  Low insulin seems to have a way to bypass that whole “eat less move more” thing (eg, Metabolic rate per se).

 

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater works if the baby is fat and the bathwater is insulin.  (no, not a fat baby.)

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