Category Archives: testosterone

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

Patrons can just click here

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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The importance of entraining skeletal muscle’s circadian clock (and how)

“Literally, every single model of skeletal muscle circadian arrhythmia mimics aging sedentary people who skip breakfast, stay up late, and get sick.”

But first, the human studies that confirm these newer findings aren’t restricted to preclinical models: 1) a randomized CROSSOVER study; two weeks of modest caloric restriction. Same diet; either 5.5 or 8.5 hours of sleep.

In other words, circadian rhythms broke or woke (Nedeltcheva et al., 2010):

 

 

Same diet & energy expenditure + circadian arrhythmia = lose less fat and more muscle. This is basically the opposite of optimal. Large error bars because it was a CROSSOVER study, although it still managed to reach statistical significance.

And this happened despite lower 24-hour insulin AUC (Nedeltcheva et al., 2012). GRAVITAS.

 

 

And in an ad lib setting, “Laboratory studies in healthy young volunteers have shown that experimental sleep restriction is associated with a dysregulation of the neuroendocrine control of appetite consistent with increased hunger and with alterations in parameters of glucose tolerance suggestive of an increased risk of diabetes” (Van Cauter et al., 2007).

 

 

Part 2. THE BETTER PART: The muscle clock, how it works, and how to fix it.

 

 

 

Similar to other peripheral circadian clocks (eg, liver, adipose, lung, etc.), the muscle clock is entrained by LIGHT via the central pacemaker located in the SCN and feeding (via an as of yet unclear mechanism), but also scheduled exercise.

Interestingly, mice who had been subjected to a 6-hour phase advance adapted faster if they exercised early in the active phase (would be morning for humans).

 

 

Much of these data are summarized in a review in Frontiers in Neuroscience (Aoyama and Shibata, 2017).

The muscle clock is entrained by timed exercise but also feeding. This was demonstrated by showing the circadian rhythms in a subset of muscle-specific genes in fed mice were absent in fasted mice.

It is thought that the muscle clock’s function is to prepare us for the transition from the resting/fasting phase (night) to the active/fed phase (day)… and although I like that phrasing, this seems somewhat subjective (and really hard  to test/prove even on a hypothetical level).

 

 

Part 3. The BEST part: impact of various muscle clock disruptions.

Hint: THEY’RE ALL BAD.

 

For the rest of this article (including my interpretation and advice), head over to Patreon!

Three bucks a month for access to all articles and there are many other options. And it’s ad-free.

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.

 

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Artificial light and circadian rhythms: blocking the blues

Check out the above image of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Different biohacking eyewear have different purposes, and it largely depends where on the EM spectrum they act.

If you stare at a computer screen (or iPad, smart phone, etc., etc.) all day, the specialized glasses you may want to look into block out light just south of the visible light wavelengths. These will help with eye strain, headaches, etc. You could use bona fide blue blockers for this, as they block blue and everything south, although it’d be overkill and probably annoying due to visual disturbance. Pixels  and Gunnars are good for this, but they’re not especially great at blocking blue light (with the possible exception of the amber-tinted Gunnars).

Warning: there’s an article floating around on the internet saying it’s useless to block blue light because those computer glasses don’t preserve melatonin secretion. This is a STRAWMAN. Computer glasses aren’t designed to block blue light.
The truth: it’s still important to block blue light at night. If you get eye strain or headaches staring at a computer screen, than computer glasses may be appropriate.

 

 

 

Blocking blue light at night is key for proper melatonin secretion and preservation of circadian rhythms.

Most smart devices emit LED light which has a particular spike in the blue range:

 

If you need to light at night: moonlight or candles > amber or red-tinted bulbs  > low watt incandescent bulb. They should be positioned below eye level as light entering the eyes from above more effectively suppresses melatonin than light from below (with the exception of moonlight LOL) (Glickman et al., 2003).

 

Amber lenses to block blue light and improve sleep: a randomized trial (Burkhart and Phelps, 2009)

 

Wearing blue light-blocking glasses in the evening advances circadian rhythms in the patients with delayed sleep phase disorder: an open-label trial (Esaki et al., 2016)

 

Uvex SkypersGunnarsCarbonshades (probably the most effective blue blockers available) … Solar ShieldsBLUblox (less expensive and pretty cool-looking, too) … Spectra479

 

Spectra479 and Carbonshade are offering a 15% discount with the coupon code LAGAKOS!

 

Circadian misalignment augments markers of insulin resistance and inflammation independently of sleep loss (Leproult et al., 2014)

 

For the rest of this article or if you just want to support the show, head over to Patreon!

Three bucks a month for access to all articles and there are many other options. And it’s ad-free.

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.

 

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Cyclical ketogenic diet and carb refeeds

Potential conclusion (pending full texts): “if you’re gonna keto, no need to carb”

I think these three abstracts are all referring to the same studies.  I haven’t seen the full texts.  My takes are in italics, after each abstract.

Exhibit A. The Effects of an Eight Week Ketogenic Diet vs. a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet on Performance and Testosterone in a Resistance Training Program (Lane, Lowery, Volek, D’Agostino, Wilson, et al., 2015)

Introduction: Our lab recently examined the effects of the ketogenic diet (KD) compared to a western diet regarding strength related performance; additionally, free and total testosterone was evaluated. Individuals on the KD saw similar adaptations in strength and similar changes testosterone. Comparisons of the KD against a cyclic (CKD) in strength, endurance, and testosterone have not been previously demonstrated in literature.

Purpose: Therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the KD versus a CKD on performance and testosterone in resistance-trained males.

Methods: Sixteen resistance trained males participated in the study (age: 23.5 ± 3.3; weight: 187.6 ± 32.6). Participants on the KD consumed 5% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 70% fat for 8 weeks. The CKD group applied the same macronutrient ratio to their diet Monday through Friday, while altering the ratio on weekends (50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, 25% fat). A periodized resistance training program was strictly followed 3 days per week throughout the duration of the study with high intensity interval training implemented on intermittent days 2 times per week by all participants. Participants were placed on a 500 kcal deficit derived from basal metabolic rate determined by the Mifflin St. Jeor equation. One repetition maximum (1RM) strength was assessed on deadlift, bench press, and leg press at baseline with a repeat assessment performed Week 8. Strength endurance was assessed on the leg press at baseline and re-assessed at Week 8. Free and total testosterone was evaluated at baseline and at Week 8. An ANOVA with repeated-measures was used to scrutinize the effects of KD and CKD on dependent variables assuming group (KD and CKD) and time (pre and post) as fixed factors. The significance level was set at p ? 0.05.

Results: There were no differences between groups in the performance tests or testosterone levels detected at baseline (p > 0.05). A time effect was observed for bench press and deadlift 1RM (p < 0.01). There was a trend towards a group by time interaction (p = 0.07) which favored an increase in the leg press 1RM in the KD group. There were no significant differences for leg press strength endurance in both groups. For free testosterone, there were no group or group × time interactions (p > 0.05). For total testosterone, there was a group × time interaction following the diet treatment (p < 0.02). The pairwise comparisons revealed that only the cyclic group decreased in total testosterone (10.3%, p < 0.02).

Conclusions: In regards to performance, a strict KD seems to augment positive strength related adaptations when compared to a CKD. These responses may be explained by sustained total testosterone levels seen in the KD group compared to reductions in total testosterone as a result of the fluctuations in macronutrient intake.

Practical Applications: Individuals attempting to optimize adaptations in strength performance while maintaining testosterone levels should perform a KD compared to a CKD.

My take: no difference between KD & CKD, despite testosterone declining in CKD.  This isn’t surprising because small fluctuations within the physiological range are not expected to affect these outcomes.

When protein and calories are controlled, and the #context is a 500 kcal deficit, not really sure what they were expecting.  Because of the constant deficit, insulin will be low even on the carb-up days, and those carbs are more likely to be burned off than replenish glycogen.

 

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Low carbohydrate diets favorably impact testosterone levels.

It is known.  Carbohydrate restriction improves (lowers) testosterone in women with PCOS.  It works for men, too… but by “works” I mean “increases.”

Decrease of serum total and free testosterone during a low-fat high fibre diet (Hamalainen et al., 1982) 

Intervention pseudo-crossover study: 30 healthy Finnish men in their 40’s were studied on their habitual high fat diet (40%  fat), then put on a low-fat (25%) high fibre diet for 6 weeks, then switched back to high fat.  The high fat diet was also higher in saturates, P:S ratio 0.15 vs. 1.25.

free T

 

Free testosterone levels declined on the low fat diet, but they recovered after 6 weeks of going back to their high [saturated] fat dieting (p < 0.01).

Some observational data: Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise (Volek et al., 1997)

…fat, and in particular saturated fat, is associated with increased testosterone levels [in men]:

observational

 

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