The Latest in Health & Medicine

raspberry-handHave you kept up-to-date on the research on nutrition, the human microbiome, and ancestral health lately? If not, here’s your chance to catch up. In these semi-regular posts I include links to recently published articles, videos, and scientific papers that I find particularly interesting and that revolve around topics that are frequently discussed on this site, such as the human microbiome, physical activity, and ancestral diets.

Let me know in the comment section if you have any thoughts/opinions related to the articles in today’s post or if you’ve come across any interesting new research on diet, health, and exercise that you think deserves to be mentioned.

For today’s edition I’ve got a lot of stuff to share, including a couple of videos on diet and the human microbiome.

– Nutrition

Endurance athletes who ‘go against the grain’ become incredible fat-burners

Elite endurance athletes who eat very few carbohydrates burned more than twice as much fat as high-carb athletes during maximum exertion and prolonged exercise in a new study — the highest fat-burning rates under these conditions ever seen by researchers. Read more…

Staffan Lindeberg – Are Western Diseases Normal?

“Dietary Controversies and the role of nutrition in Western Disease”, a seminar at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, on the 6th of November, 2015. Read more…

Consumption of garlic positively affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour.

Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity, perhaps due to its health effects (e.g., antioxidant properties, antimicrobial activity). Read more…

Paleo Living in the Anthropocene: A Call to Action

The real food movement has an incredible opportunity to have a massive impact not only on human health, but in reversing some of the devastating effects our food production has had on the planet. Read more…

Attention Vegans: Plants Know When They’re Being Eaten, New Research Says

For many non-meat-eaters, the decision to go vegan or vegetarian can be a moral one. But for those of you who stock up on vegetables because you can’t stand hurting animals, we have news for you: Plants know when you’re eating them, and they really don’t like it. Read more…

“Everything in Moderation” Is a Terrible Rule to Eat By

Once you give yourself license to eat anything “in moderation,” it easily turns into license to eat anything, and call it moderation. The word has become an excuse, a way to say “screw you, I’m going to eat whatever I want”—all while smugly proclaiming that you live by simple, folksy advice and don’t have to worry about the latest in nutrition science. Read more…

Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

Northern Europeans inherited a larger amount of Yamnaya DNA, making them taller, too. But in southern Europe, people grew shorter after the advent of farming.

Dr. Reich said it wasn’t clear why natural selection favored short stature in the south and not in the north. Whatever the reason, this evolutionary history still shapes differences in height across the continent today. Read more…

Drinking Wine After Working Out? Why The Brain May Crave Alcoholic Drinks After Exercise

Craving a Guinness after a long run? It’s not unusual for athletes, gym rats, cyclists, and other exercise enthusiasts to uncork a bottle of wine or grab a beer from the fridge after a good sweat session. Two new studies have now found it may have less to do with replenishing burned calories and more to do with the brain’s search for reward. Read more…

What your father ate before you were born could influence your health

Researchers in Associate Professor Romain Barrès’ laboratory compared sperm cells from 13 lean men and 10 obese men and discovered that the sperm cells in lean and obese men, respectively, possess different epigenetic marks that could alter the next generation’s appetite, as reported in the medical journal Cell Metabolism. Read more…

When Did Human Beings Start Using Fire? Wrangham versus Cordain

This is an interesting argument (let’s call it the Cordain scenario), but I am not convinced by it. If the increase of human brain was not driven by plentiful calories obtained from cooked underground storage organs, then where did the energy come from? It must have been bone marrow and brains of scavenged animals. But did early members of the genus Homo have access to dependable and plentiful supply of such foods? Read more…

How 1 Woman Transformed Her Diet in Order to Save Her Life

A Paleo diet has not only given me back my health, but it’s allowed me to be present as a mom and wife, and given me the opportunity to impact the hundreds of thousands of people who have bought my books and read my blog. Read more…

Turning Down The Heat When Cooking Meat May Reduce Cancer Risk

If you cook the meat too long, at too high a temperature, the chemical reaction keeps going, creating other compounds. Some of them, known as heterocyclic amines (or HCAs), can be carcinogenic when we consume them in high-enough concentrations. Read more…

– The Human microbiome

Gut flora, Microbes and your Health – “It Takes Guts”

In “It Takes Guts” we’ll explore the links between microbes, diet and weight. We’ll discover surprising new information about the food we eat, and the food our microbes love to munch on. And we’ll meet the researchers who are applying what they’ve learned in the lab to their everyday lives, and experimenting on themselves. Read more…

Novel intestinal bacterium provides human gut with healthy compounds

Fibers in our food are thought to be good for health since they are converted in the intestinal tract into the favorable compound butyrate, that is crucial to maintain intestinal health. In contrast, protein is believed to be less healthy since intestinal fermentation of the building blocks of proteins, amino acids, generates undesired compounds. This latter picture is now changing since a novel intestinal bacterium has been isolated by researchers. Read more…

Antibiotic exposure and the risk for depression, anxiety, or psychosis: a nested case-control study.

Recurrent antibiotic exposure is associated with increased risk for depression and anxiety but not for psychosis. Read more…

How The Gut Microbiota Affects Our Health with the Sonnenburgs

Dr. Justin Sonnenburg is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford and Dr. Erica Sonnenburg is a senior research scientist in the Sonnenburg lab where they the research many aspects the interaction between diet with the 100 trillion or so bacteria in the gut (specifically the colon) and how this impacts the health of the host (which in this case is a laboratory research mouse). Read more…

Your Colon May Be Home to an Entirely New Form of Life

A new genetic analysis of human gut bacteria is turning up some really weird critters—so weird, in fact, that some biologists are speculating we’ve found an entirely new domain of life. We should take that possibility with a healthy dose of skepticism. But here’s why it’s even being discussed. Read more…

Gut microbes signal to the brain when they are full

Don’t have room for dessert? The bacteria in your gut may be telling you something. Twenty minutes after a meal, gut microbes produce proteins that can suppress food intake in animals, reports a study published November 24 in Cell Metabolism. The researchers also show how these proteins injected into mice and rats act on the brain reducing appetite, suggesting that gut bacteria may help control when and how much we eat. Read more…

The Link Between Gut Bacteria And Your Kid’s Behavior Just Got Stronger

Ohio State University researchers have found that gut bacteria affect a toddler’s temperament. After examining the stool samples of 77 kids aged 18-27 months, the researchers concluded that it was time to step outside and get some fresh air. They also concluded that mood, curiosity, sociability, impulsivity, and — in boys — extroversion were linked to more genetically diverse bacterial species. Read more…

Acellular carbohydrates: are our bacteria a detector of dietary refinement?

This is a video presentation of a recent hypothesis of obesity and Western disease that could explain the benefits of both low-carbohydrate diets and high-carbohydrate ancestral diets. The hypothesis suggests that the bacterial ecosystem of the upper gut is a sensitive detector of dietary refinement, with potent effects upon health. Replacing life-derived ancestral foods with dense, processed alternatives may be responsible for the collapse in diversity of our upper gut’s flora, paralleled in the mouth by tooth decay. Read more…

Gut microbes trigger fat loss in response to cold temperatures

Exposure to cold temperatures is known to mimic the effects of exercise, protecting against obesity and improving metabolic health. A study now reveals that the beneficial health effects of cold exposure are mediated in part by gut microbes. The researchers found that cold exposure dramatically alters the composition of intestinal bacteria in mice and that this microbial shift is sufficient to burn fat, improve glucose metabolism, and reduce body weight. Read more…

Parasitic worms affect human reproduction

Examining the two most common parasites — hookworm (Necator americanus or Ancylostoma duodenale) and giant roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) — the investigators found that women infected with roundworm were more likely to become pregnant, while women infected with hookworm were less likely. Read more…

How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution

One constant, though, is that people living subsistence lifestyles have tremendous diversity compared to westernized populations—up to 50 percent more species than North Americans or Europeans. That includes not only bacteria but eukaryotes—single-cell protists and large, multicellular worms. Read more…

– Other topics

Want to enjoy the deep, mystical sleep of our ancestors? Turn your lights off at dusk.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a catch. You have to be willing to revert to a Paleolithic pattern of sleep — and that means turning off your electric lights at dusk and leaving them off until dawn. Do that, and in about three week’s time, beginning around six hours after sunset each evening, you will find yourself experiencing a period of serene wakefulness that was once a nightly meditation retreat for all Homo sapiens on Earth. It’s a guarantee. It’s encoded in your genes. Read more…

Loneliness May Warp Our Genes, And Our Immune Systems

So the shock of social isolation could fuel inflammation in the body. And the immune system may affect a region of the brain processing fear and anxiety. “Inflammation can change people’s experiences of the social world and what they’re thinking,” says Naomi Eisenberger, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study. That could make us more apprehensive about social interaction and lead to more isolation. Read more…

Stored fat fights against the body’s attempts to lose weight

The fatter we are, the more our body appears to produce a protein that inhibits our ability to burn fat, suggests new research. The findings may have implications for the treatment of obesity and other metabolic diseases. Read more…

Inflammation linked to weakened reward circuits in depression

Persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. The findings bolster the case that the high-inflammation form of depression is distinct, and are guiding researchers’ plans to test treatments tailored for it. Read more…

10 Ways Successful People Stay Calm

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are 10 of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress. Read more…

Science says that technology is speeding up our brains’ perception of time

Every year, it feels like time speeds up a little more. One day it’s Easter and then before you know it, some high school friend’s posting on Facebook about how there are only five more Fridays before Christmas (seriously, what the hell).

But it turns out it’s not just another downside of getting older – a psychologist has found evidence that our constant use of technology is making our brains more efficient at processing information, and as a result is tricking us into thinking time is passing faster than it really is. Read more…

Is Postpartum Depression a Disease of Modern Civilization?

Working with UCLA’s Martie Haselton, Hahn-Holbrook has been exploring the evidence from diverse sources to argue that postpartum depression is linked to early weaning, deficient diet, inactivity, not enough sunshine, and lack of family support. Read more…

Addicted to Distraction

“The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention,” Nicholas Carr explains in his book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” “We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.” Read more…

Comments

  1. I’m not convinced that it’s cooking that made us human. Why? Because the slope of the brain expansion curve has been set off before the evidence of large fire exploiting. Second, DHA , the key nutrient foe brain expansion starts to be degradated at 60 C degrees, and if it’s true that a large consumption of that made us human it suggests that it’s not a burned steak that allowed such brain expansion and far less cooked starch. The same error, it’s more about nutrients than calories themselves and starchy tubers are just backup foods when meat was not available rather than an inportant key nutrient for brain expansion. Tubers don’t have the nutrient density of meat, especially organ meats as described by the table from Lalonde, and furthermore they lack of DHA, B12 and aminoacids like taurin, carnitine, carnosine etc…how can they made us human? And the last evidence is that at the transition of agriculture every stuff was cooked, but starch from grains was not enough to sustain big brains, indeed it shrinked together with the body size and health.

  2. Another clue comes from Neanderthals, who even had biggers brains than Sapiens and it’s very unlikely that they could provoke and keep fires. Try to do it in the wet europen winter with their technology…

  3. The problem is that paleonthologists lack of nutritional knowledge and nutritionists lack of evolutionary education. You have to combine both to have a better picture of the issue.

    • Absolutely. Unfortunately, nutrition and medical students learn very little about mismatch diseases, evolutionary biology, ancestral diets, evolutionary health promotion, etc.

  4. ““Everything in Moderation” Is a Terrible Rule to Eat By”

    Not really. It’s an approach that keeps us from becoming overly rigid about dietary choices, similar to the 80/20 rule promoted by Mark Sisson on Mark’s Daily Apple. The problem is that “moderation” is such a vague measurement and can mean different things to different people, but most people have at least an inkling as to which foods should be consumed infrequently in limited amounts. Whether they do or not is an individual decision. At the bottom of it, it’s all about exercising a little self-control.

  5. Regarding the epigenetics inheritance, it’s astounding but someone misunderstands the actual meaning, probably by ignorance or much worse in bad faith. Genetics and epigenetics are not our destiny. They may be seen as a gun, but if you don’t push the trigger (environmental factors and bad habits, i.e. diet etc..), the gun can’t work. Your genetics and epigenetic markers are there to tell you to follow what evolution “meant” for us, not to keep your bad habits hoping in luck and drugs.

  6. I suggest this excellent post by Sisson. It’s difficult and many times misleading rely just on epidemiological data, and it’s true for the cooking method as well.
    Correlation is good to make hypothesis but doesn’t necessarily imply causation

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-bad-is-charred-meat-really/#axzz3uEX9T0lW

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