Category Archives: mortality

Circadian clocks, entrainment, and health

Summary of a presentation by Orie Shafer titled “Circadian timekeeping and entrainment in neuronal clock networks.”

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From the classic Wever study, which put participants in underground dungeons to study circadian rhythms in the absence of sunlight…

and showed there are multiple inputs, both external and internal zeitgebers.

 

 

In this study, in the absence of sunlight, the human circadian rhythm in locomotor activity, bed movements, and rectal temperature was about 25.8 hours:

The study wasn’t perfect, but still cool.

Most people like to simplify and say light is the input, and while it may be the main one, we now know there are also other important inputs such as food intake for the food-entrainable oscillator and exercise for the skeletal muscle clock.

Behavorial rhythms are driven by molecular rhythms. Molecular  clocks are required in small islands of the brain for behavorial, endocrine, and physiological rhythms.” Search for genetically modified models of virtually any clock gene and it’s going to influence a wide variety of processes. Like, circadian rhythms are important for certain aspects of nearly everything. “60% of the time, it works every time” lol

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Deleterious effects of artificial light at night on health and the environment

Evidence summary on how our increasing exposure to artificial blue light is putting us at risk. And actionable steps on what you can do about it.

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It’s not blue light per se, but rather underexposure to natural sunlight during the day and overexposure to artificial light at night (ALAN). Step 1: Do the opposite of that.

 

 

“Bright light occurs naturally as part of sunlight and moonlight and, like all living things on Earth, we have evolved to respond to the daily cycle of light and dark. There is growing concern that the increased exposure to artificial light at nigh is having an effect on our health, wildlife, and the night sky.”

Your eyeballs are pretty awesome. Rods and cones and these crazy cells that respond specifically to daylight. The crazy cells, ipRGCs, respond to light, particularly in the green/blue range of visible and serve, in part, to entrain the central component of your circadian clock in the SCN. This is important and influences many body functions such as sleep, metabolism, immune system, mood, and even certain disease processes.

If you’re more interested in the environmental impact of artificial light (eg, street lamps), book recommendation: The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. If you’re more interested in the human effects: Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.

ALAN-induced clock disruption is said to have “flow-on” negative health effect — there’s no “good news / bad news” to this story (it’s all bad news).

Rock hot blue blockers at night. Use blue light filters on your devices like f.lux and Iris. Sunlight during the day; darkness, moonlight, or firelight at night.

Note those spectral sensitivities – we can see more green/blue than any other colors. Maybe there’s a reason for that?

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CARBOTOXICITY [screaming face emoji]

Noxious Effects of Exaggerated Carbohydrate Intake (Kroemer et al., 2018)

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This blog post is about the above mentioned article. Disclaimer (qualm #1): it is very pro-low carb and refused to include any neutral or negative points about low carb. For example, had it been within the scope of the article, the authors may have said despite excluding the majority of carbohydrate-containing foods, low carb diets actually aren’t restrictive at all. In other words, this is not an unbiased review article.

 

 

Qualm #2: the authors say people have long-recognized the problems of lipid excess and it even has a name, “lipotoxicity.” But these revolutionaries thought the problems of carbohydrate excess need to be recognized so they coined the term “carbotoxicity.” Are we to believe these dorks never heard of “glucotoxicity” even though it was coined before lipotoxicity even was?!

The review is about the molecular, cellular, and neuroendocrine mechanisms that link a prolonged energy surplus to disease and accelerated aging. It doesn’t really distinguish how the energy surplus is established, specifically, but every now and then they throw out there “carbz.” Ignoring that, there are actually some pretty good points.

The history of dietary carbs had three major, transformative steps. The first was the transition from hunter-gatherers to agriculture which shifted the carbs from fruits, seeds, tubers, nuts, roots, and bulbs to a range of cereals (in Europe), rice (in Asia), corn (in Mesoamerica), and potatoes (in South America). And in Weston Price fashion, this was associated with an increase in dental cavities (probably more cause than correlation here).

Acarbose blocks carb digestion, D-glucosamine blocks glycolysis.

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“The Danger of Being an Owl” — sounds scary, right?

^^^ from a recent Vox article. It’s brief, and relatively in line with what I’ve slowly come to think is true about chronotypes. That is, they’re a species-level property. For example, there are morning larks and night owls. There aren’t morning owls.

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Virtually every human study on chronotypes is remarkably consistent: humans aren’t a night-species.

Evening chronotype is associated with changes in eating behavior, more sleep apnea, and increased stress hormones in short sleeping obese individuals (Lucassen et al., 2013)

They basically put all of the results in the title lol. People who stayed up late and skipped or delayed breakfast had higher stress hormones, lower HDL, and were of generally poorer health.

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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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Artificial light at night: effects on breast & prostate cancer

There is now substantial evidence that exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer (Moore-Ede, 2018).

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MOA of ALAN: circadian disruption & phase shifting, melatonin-suppression, and accelerated unsuppressed tumor growth.

 

 

Sunlight during the day is protective. Artificial light at night is harmful.

ALAN-induced melatonin-suppression and circadian disruption increases the risk for certain endocrine-sensitive cancers. While this is most blatantly manifested in shift-workers, it also holds for people who sleep with the lights on and those exposed to, for example, street lamps shining light through bedroom windows at night.

50% increased risk of breast cancer in female shift workers. Up to 200% increased risk prostate cancer in male shift workers.

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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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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.

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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. 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.

That’s all for now!

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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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