Traffic-related air pollution linked to DNA damage in children

Air pollution was associated with shorter telomeres in children and adolescents in a dose-dependent manner.

The small study found that the more concentrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (which are from car exhaust) were in the air, the shorter telomeres were in children and adolescents.

Telomeres get shorter with each year during the aging process but also with increased DNA damage which can be caused by a variety of factors including compounds in air pollution.

This was a correlative study so causation can not be established. However, a strength of this study is that the telomere shortening was more aggressive with increasing concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the air. Demonstrating that an effect occurs in a dose-dependent manner strengthens any correlation.

Researchers connect brain blood vessel lesions to intestinal bacteria | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Gut bacteria linked to the formation of brain blood vessel lesions which can cause strokes and seizures.

A study in mice showed that removing gram-negative bacteria in the gut decreased the number of brain lesions in mice that were genetically susceptible to them. These type of bacteria release endotoxin (also called LPS) and this stimulates a very strong immune response leading to uncontrolled inflammation. When mice were injected with LPS alone this caused an increase in the brain lesions.

This is further evidence that gut bacteria can affect brain integrity through inflammatory-mediated processes. The lead researchers in this study plan on looking at the gut microbiome in patients that are susceptible to these kinds of strokes and seizures.

Chance of colon cancer recurrence nearly cut in half in people who eat nuts

People with stage 3 colon cancer who consumed two ounces or more of tree nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat tree nuts.

The study did not find any lower risk of cancer recurrence for those who ate peanuts which are a legume and not a tree nut. Nuts are great sources of many micronutrients and both fermentable fiber (which feeds the gut microbiome) and non-fermentable fiber.

The benefit of eating nuts was consistent after adjusting the data for other factors that can influence cancer recurrence, including patient age, body mass index, gender, and genomic changes in the tumor. This study was not a clinical trial so it does not prove causation but it is an interesting finding that provides a framework for future studies.

Determinants of fluid intelligence in healthy aging: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status and frontoparietal cortex structure. - PubMed - NCBI

Omega-3 fatty acid levels in plasma phospholipids linked to improved fluid intelligence and increased gray matter volume in older adults.

As with any correlation study, this link does not prove causation. However, correlation studies fit into a larger body of evidence so it is important to never look at one study in isolation. Other clinical trials have shown that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids increases gray matter volume in healthy, older adults and improves cognitive function.

Other study links:

Breast Milk Contributes Significantly to Babies' Bacteria | The Scientist Magazine®

30% of infants gut bacteria may come from the mother’s breast milk and another 10% has been traced to the skin around the mother’s nipple.

There is a specific type of prebiotic found exclusively in breastmilk called human milk oligosaccharides that have been shown to set up the early infant microbiome. The bacteria around the skin of the nipple also appears to be important for seeding the infant microbiome. While this study did not examine health consequences of breastfeeding, other studies have found that it is important for immune system development and may protect against obesity.

To learn more about the role of breastfeeding in setting up the infant microbiome and more generally about how to have a healthy microbiome during adulthood listen to (or watch) my podcast (video/audio) with microbiome experts Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg.


Erythritol is a pentose-phosphate pathway metabolite and associated with adiposity gain in young adults

Students that gained weight and fat mass over the course of a year had 15-fold higher levels of erythritol in their blood compared to those that did not gain weight or lost weight.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and is used as a sugar substitute low-calorie sweetener. This study also found that it was metabolized through a metabolic pathway (pentose phosphate pathway) important for the production of NADPH which is used to produce fatty acids and subsequent triglycerides, The energy can then be efficiently stored in the form of fat.

Edit: Here is another link to the paper since the link did not work for some people.

High levels of exercise linked to nine years of less aging (at the cellular level)

High levels of exercise linked to nine years of less cellular aging by slowing telomere shortening. Telomeres are tiny caps on the ends of chromosomes that protect our DNA from damage. They get shorter every year and are a biological marker for aging. Exercise is one of the most robust ways to slow telomere attrition and someone that is very physically active may have a biological age that is even 10 years younger than their chronological age.

In this study, a high level of exercise was defined as 30 minutes of jogging per day for 5 days a week for women and 40 minutes per day for men. Get out there and sweat!

One week of painkillers can increase chances of heart attack, new study finds

Taking common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for only a week may increase heart attack risk by as much as 50% compared to those that do not take them.

Multiple studies have now linked chronic use of these painkillers with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. They mechanisms appear to be mediated through the inhibition of an enzyme known as Cox 2. There have been a couple of mechanisms investigated in animal studies. First, NSAIDs have been shown to inhibit the production of a molecule called prostacyclin that relaxes blood vessels and "unglues" platelets. Second, they have been shown to inhibit the production of nitric oxide (which cox 2 also regulates to some degree).

Other studies have shown that people taking 2 grams of phytosomal curcumin (called Meriva) had pain reduction equivalent to 800 mg of ibuprofen.

I have talked about NSAIDs and heart attack risk as well as phytosomal curcumin on JRE#773 and recently on the Tim Ferriss Show #237.

Nearly one in three drugs found to have safety concerns after FDA approval

Almost one-third of drugs cleared by the FDA have safety risks that are identified only after their approval. Safety risks are defined as those that lead to withdrawal from the market due to safety concerns, a boxed warning, or FDA issuance of a safety communication. The median time for an FDA action to pose new safety risks or withdraw a drug after the drug already hit the market was 4.2 years after approval.

The problem is that many clinical trials used for FDA approval involve fewer than 1,000 participants with follow-up of 6 months or less! Long-term side effects often crop up years later after drugs have been used by much larger numbers of people. Another part of the problem is that clinical trials often cherry-pick participants likely to produce the best results, which is not representative of the entire population.

One out of three drugs posing safety concerns after they have been deemed safe is alarming. It seems as though the process of approving drugs needs to be revised including more comprehensive clinical trials with a longer follow-up and more participants.

Science: Running Is Better Than Every Other Exercise at Making You Live Longer

Runners have 30-45% lower risk of "dying early" compared to non-runners. Every hour people spent running added 7 hours to a person's lifespan.

This study was a review of other large studies and found that runners live on average 3 years longer than non-runners. The data was adjusted for lifestyle factors including CVD, smoking, overweight/obesity, heart health, diabetes, high cholesterol and more.

The greatest benefit, a 43% lower risk of death, was found from in runners who also engaged in other forms of physical activity.

The increased longevity among runners is similar to that observed in other, more broadly categorized types of physical activity.

Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain

Low dose THC from cannabis reverses the aging process in the brain. 12-and 18-month old mice that were given a low dose of THC daily for 4 weeks performed as well as 2-month old control mice on learning and memory tests. The THC treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals.

The mechanism is still unclear. Other studies have found that THC helps clear away amyloid beta plaques from the brain. Additionally, cannabinoids bind to specific receptors called cannabinoid receptors in neurons as well as on immune cells. It is possible that there are multiple mechanisms at play.

Exploring Smart Drugs, Fasting, and Fat Loss — Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Tim Ferriss's newest podcast episode features none other than… me! In this “round 2” episode of Tim’s podcast, I answer questions from guests. This may be some of the most comprehensive coverage I’ve ever done on my general thoughts on lifestyle, health, diet, fasting and time-restricted eating, nootropics, sauna and cold stress, and so much more. It is over 2-hours and 45-minutes long!

HUGE thanks to Tim Ferriss for giving me the generous opportunity to come back on and to all of his fans for sending in some really great questions.

If you’re curious what the episode is about, Tim has put together really impeccable show notes on his blog at They’re beyond good, so make sure to check that out.

#podcast #nootropics #fasting #diet #sauna #hormesis #supplements #sulforaphane #probiotics #aging #longevity #metformin #alcohol #nutrigenomics #cancer #microbiome

We Just Got More New Evidence That Parkinson's Starts in the Gut - Not the Brain

Gut link to Parkinson's disease? Removing sections of the nerve that connects the gut to the brain (vagus nerve) lowering the risk of Parkinson's disease by 40%.

Another study showed that injecting clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein into mice’s stomachs and intestines. Days later the mice had aggregates of alpha-synuclein in their intestines that had spread via the vagus nerve to the brain. Months later their brains had many alpha-synuclein aggregates in their brains that negatively affected their motor function.

Additionally, gut bacteria have been shown to be significantly different between healthy people and individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Clearing Out Old Cells Could Extend Joint Health, Stop Osteoarthritis - 04/26/2017

In a preclinical study in mice and human cells, selectively removing old or senescent cells from joints could stop and even reverse the progression of osteoarthritis.

Learn all about not only how clearing away senescent cells can improve osteoarthritis but how it can extend healthspan up to 25% from one of the authors of this study on my new podcast! She also talks about different strategies of removing senescent cells such as fasting.

You can find the podcast on YouTube and iTunes/Stitcher. The video has helpful annotations that help define and explain complex terms and also shows references to studies discussed!



Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions

A new meta-analysis found no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease but did find that a Mediterranean diet (41% fat) supplemented with at least 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of nuts lowered the risk of cardiovascular events by 30% compared to a low-fat (37% fat) diet.

A Mediterranean diet consists of extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, oily fish, and nuts which contain polyphenols, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids which are known to attenuate inflammation and thought to prevent coronary thrombosis.

Judith Campisi, Ph.D. on Cellular Senescence, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Cancer & Aging

New podcast! Dr. Judy Campisi talks about the role of cellular senescence in the aging process and cancer, what causes senescence, and how viable lifestyle interventions (ie. fasting) and certain compounds (ie. rapamycin) that can clear senescent cells may be plausible life extension strategies.

Cellular senescence is so important when we discuss aging and cancer because as our cells accumulate damage, which naturally happens as we age (even as a consequence of the energy generating processes and immune cell activation), there's only so many outcomes that we can expect. The first possibility is that the cells can die. The next is that they can become senescent where they stop dividing but stay alive all-the-while secreting molecules that influence surrounding tissue… or the worst of all possible outcomes, the cells can really go off the rails and become malignant.

What's interesting is that, while accumulating senescent cells is inevitable, there are varying strategies of how to tackle senescence and this is of great interest to the field of aging. There are ways to clear out senescent cells with drugs or even dietary and lifestyle interventions.

Not only are there ways to kill senescent cells, there are also ways to influence what sort of molecules they produce, possibly limiting the inflammatory ones… even without killing them.

Finally, of course, we can also try to prevent them, which poses the question of what causes them in the first place. As we'll learn from Judy, there's more than one so-called phenotype exhibited by senescent cells and they arrive at these different cellular phenotypes as a consequence of different types of cellular stress or dysfunction.

Judy is a professor of biogerentology at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and a co-editor in chief of the AGING Journal.

Having read many of her publications and listened to her speak publicly, what excites me about her work is that she is exploring some of the central features of aging, especially when it comes to the role of cellular senescence in the aging process and development of cancer.

You can also find this episode on iTunes (where it should be showing up shortly) under the podcast name "foundmyfitness."

#senescence #aging #mitochondria #cancer #longevity

Premature lambs kept alive in 'plastic bag' womb - BBC News

Premature lambs were kept alive and appeared to develop normally for weeks using an artificial womb that looks like a plastic bag.

The artificial womb contains a mixture of warm water and added salts, similar to an amniotic fluid with a machine hooked to the umbilical cord to deliver oxygen. After 28 days, when their lungs had matured enough, the lambs were released so they could start breathing air.

This system is designed to closely mimic the womb in order to help very premature newborns develop their lungs and other organs since ventilators can damage lung development.

Spermidine-rich foods may prevent liver cancer, extend lifespan

Spermidine, a compound very high in fermented soybeans called natto, prevented liver cancer and extended lifespan by 25% in mice. Spermidine is also pretty high in fermented cheeses and mushrooms.

Spermidine causes damaged cells to be cleared through a process known as autophagy which has itself been shown to extend healthspan of animals.

In this study, mice had to be fed spermidine from weaning in order to get the 25% lifespan extension. Those mice that were fed spermidine starting in early adulthood only had a 10% increase in lifespan.

With beetroot juice before exercise, aging brains look ‘younger’ | Wake Forest News

Drinking beetroot juice prior to exercise makes brains of older adults perform more efficiently and similar to a younger brain. Beets are high in nitrate which gets converted into nitric oxide and is thought to increase blood flow to the brain.

The study included people over the age of 55 with high blood pressure that took a beetroot juice containing 560 mg of nitrate or placebo three times a week for six weeks.

Umbilical cord blood could slow brain's ageing, study suggests

Learning and memory problems were reversed in aged mice after infusion with a protein found in human umbilical cord blood.

Human umbilical cord blood has high levels of a protein called TIMP2 whereas old people do not have high levels of it. When this protein was injected into old mice, it increased the activity of a group of genes that improved neuronal activity within the hippocampus and made it more able to adapt to new information.

Only future clinical studies will illuminate whether this new research will have any relevance to aging humans.

Is soda bad for your brain? (And is diet soda worse?): Both sugary, diet drinks correlated with accelerated brain aging

People that drank two or more sugary beverages of any kind per day were more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus. Researchers also found that higher intake of diet soda, at least one per day, was associated with smaller brain volume.

In a second study, researchers looked at whether participants had suffered a stroke or been diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, there was no association between sugary beverage intake and stroke or dementia. But people who drank at least one diet soda per day were nearly 3 times as likely to develop stroke and dementia.

While none of this data proves causation, there is a growing body of research showing that excess refined sugar does increase inflammation which crosses the blood-brain barrier and acceleration brain aging. Regarding the diet soda, there have been studies linking artificial sweeteners to disruption of the gut microbiome which also causes inflammation which may lead to brain aging.

Cycling to work can cut cancer and heart disease, says study - BBC News

A new study found that people that biked around 30 miles per week because they rode a bike to work had a 41% lower risk of dying from any cause, a 45% lower incidence of cancer and 46% lower heart disease risk over a 5-year period.

Walking more than 6 miles per week was also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

This study shows an association and does not prove causation. However, the study did adjust for a wide range of health, demographic, and behavioral factors and still found the significant association between cycling and lower risk of death.

Gut microbes contribute to age-associated inflammation, mouse study shows

Disruption of the gut microbiome and gut barrier may be the primary cause of age-related inflammation which accelerates the aging process.

This study showed that older mice have imbalances in the bacterial composition in the gut which then leads to the breakdown of the gut barrier and the release of bacterial products that trigger inflammation and impair immune function.

We know that inflammation has recently been identified as the key driver of aging in 4 different age groups including elderly, centenarians, semi-supercentenarians, and supercentenarians. We also know that lack of fermentable fiber starves the gut microbiome and causes the bacteria to eat the gut barrier which is made of carbohydrates and this results in the breakdown of the barrier and inflammation.

For more information on why fermentable fiber is so important for the gut microbiome and what good sources are...listen to my podcast with gut experts, Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg.



Is Komodo dragon blood the key to new antibiotics? - BBC News

Komodo dragon blood contains a compound called DRGN-1 that contains antimicrobial activity against drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA and promotes wound healing by promoting the migration of skin cells to close the wound.

So far, these studies have only been done in mice but DRGN-1 is a potential candidate for clinical studies in humans.

Circadian Rhythms Influence Treatment Effects | The Scientist Magazine®

Timing medications to the body’s internal clock could improve their effectiveness and reduce side effects.

Just one example...patients with ovarian, endometrial, or metastatic bladder cancer who received treatment with one drug at 6:00 a.m. and another drug 12 hours later experienced less toxicity and greater tumor response and survival than those who received the drugs in the reverse sequence.

We know that circadian rhythm regulates metabolism, hormone production, neurotransmitter production and more. This article covers another area that circadian rhythm also regulates: drug metabolism. Interesting read!

Increasing honesty in humans with noninvasive brain stimulation

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was used to increase honesty and decrease cheating by 50% in humans. Fuel for sci-fi!

Interestingly, the tDCS treatment only increased honesty when the participant had a material gain for themselves. It had no effect on whether a person would cheat to help others.

tDCS is a noninvasive method that can excite neurons by applying weak electric currents to the scalp. It was applied to a brain region previously identified to be associated with honesty in 145 participants (double-blinded experiment).

Vitamin B diminishes effects of air pollution-induced cardiovascular disease

First clinical study of its kind shows that B vitamins can reverse negative effects of fine particle pollution on cardiovascular disease markers.

Participants that were given vitamin B supplements for 4 weeks before exposure to concentrated air pollution for 2 hours reversed the bad effects on the heart rate by 150% and total white blood count by 139%.

Long-term consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage during the growth period promotes social aggression in adult mice with proinflammatory responses in the brain

Long-term consumption of a sugar-sweetened beverage in early age increases corticosterone and promotes social aggression in mice. Corticosterone is a stress hormone known to modulate social aggression.

The consumption of a high sucrose solution also changed the activation levels of many genes, including inflammatory genes, in brain regions associated with aggression.

This study shows a clear cause and effect in animals; however, the association between aggressive behavior and sugar consumption in humans remains controversial. Studies have found associations between refined sugar intake and aggression/hyperactivity while others have not. Future clinical studies may help shed some light.

Intestinal bacteria may protect against diabetes

High levels of a compound produced by gut bacteria called indolepropionic acid may protect against type 2 diabetes in humans. Indolepropionic acid increases with increasing fiber intake and is associated with lower levels of the inflammatory biomarker, CRP.

The study measured serum metabolites of 110 randomly selected participants at baseline and at a 5-year follow-up. Indolepropionic acid was also associated with better preservation of β-cell function. The study also found that several forms of phosphatidylcholine were also inversely associated with type 2 diabetes.

To eat or not to eat (before exercising): That is the question

Fasting before exercise increased the expression of genes in adipose tissue that signify that stored fat is being used to fuel metabolism in overweight men but eating a meal 2 hours before did not. There was also greater fat oxidation (burning of fat) during exercise in the fasted state.

One potential caveat is the meal was composed of refined carbohydrates and sugars (ie. cornflakes, bread with jam). It would be interesting to see if the same results hold true for either a high-fat meal or a meal rich in fiber (ie. vegetables). The question it the food type or just the signaling pathways that feeding, in general, activates despite food type that is inhibiting the activation of these genes in adipose tissue.

Low-dose penicillin in early life induces long-term changes in behavior

Low-dose penicillin taken late in pregnancy and in early life increased aggression, impaired social behavior and anxiety-like behavior, increased inflammation in the brain, and led to permanent changes in the gut microbiome in mice. Concurrent supplementation with the probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1, prevented some of these alterations.

βeta-lactam antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed drugs given to infants and children. Several clinical studies have shown an association between early life antibiotic use and an increased risk of developing allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases, obesity, and poorer neurocognitive outcomes later in life.

How Vitamin C May Help Cancer Treatments Work Better

Intravenous vitamin C (IVC) that was given to patients with lung cancer nearly doubled the shrinking of their tumors after chemotherapy and radiation. Around 93% of the people receiving the intravenous vitamin C are responding to chemotherapy and radiation, compared to 40% who usually do. The intravenous vitamin C may also show encouraging results in a small sample of people with glioblastoma.

Remember that oral doses of vitamin C (even liposomal) can not achieve the same plasma concentrations that IVC can, which are between 800 to 1,000-fold higher. Other studies have revealed mechanisms by which the IVC works including the production of hydrogen peroxide which selectively kills cancer cells. Normal cells can detoxify the hydrogen peroxide but cancer cells cannot. The IVC also inhibits glucose from being taking up into the cancer cells since it competes for binding to glucose transporters.

The multitude of both animal studies and clinical studies on intravenous vitamin C seem like it may be a very promising cancer treatment particularly with the standard of care treatment. I look forward to seeing the results of larger trials.

‘Young poo’ makes aged fish live longer

Gut bacteria from young fish were transplanted into old fish and it extended their lifespan by 37%.

The gut microbial diversity of killifish decreases with age just like humans. At 16 weeks of age which is the end of their lifespans, the fish that were transplanted with the young microbiome were as active as 6-week old fish.

The mechanism by which having a young microbiome increases lifespan is unclear but may have to do with reprogramming the immune system since gut bacteria are a major regulator of the immune system.

Whether microbiome transplants from young animals from other species such as mice have any effect on lifespan needs to be tested.

Gordon Lithgow, Ph.D. on Protein Aggregation, Iron Overload & the Search for Longevity Compounds

New podcast! I speak with Dr. Gordon Lithgow, professor of gerontology at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Gordon uses the tiny nematode worm, C. elegans, to interrogate questions involving the aging process and lifespan extension.

In this podcast, Gordon and I discuss...
• The role that protein aggregation plays in the aging process and neurodegenerative diseases, how heat stress activates genetic pathways, including heat shock proteins, in worms and humans that lower protein aggregation and extend lifespan in worms.
• How too much iron can lead to protein aggregation and how vitamin D can prevent it.
• A program, directed by Gordon, called the Caenorhabditis Intervention Testing Program which tests potential longevity compounds that may extend the lifespan of several different species of worms. This serves as a broad, early exploration that may potentially help us to find ways to enhance human longevity as well.

▶︎ iTunes:

▶︎ YouTube:

▶︎ Stitcher:

Fat's Influence on Cancer | The Scientist Magazine®

Half-million new cancer diagnoses yearly are related to obesity and 10-15% of cancer deaths are attributed to obesity.

A type of immune cell called macrophages were found to accumulate and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines near dead adipose cells in the fat tissue in breasts. This adipose tissue inflammation is significantly higher in obese women compared to lean women and may create a microenvironment that promotes tumor growth.

Reprogrammed skin cells shrink brain tumors in mice

Adult skin cells were reprogrammed into stem cells and engineered to deliver a tumor-killing drug that shrank brain tumors 20- to 50-fold in mice. In addition, the survival times of treated mice nearly doubled.

Scientists are exploiting the fact that neural stem cells are attracted to cancer cells because they emit a signal that is similar to a damaged neuron. The stem cell migrates to the cancer cell in order to repair the damage. If these stem cells are engineered to deliver a drug that can kill the tumor, it is a highly specific way of only selectively killing the tumor cells without damaging normal cells. In this case, in the brain.

The drawback has been that it is hard to get neural stem cells but with new technology that can turn a skin cell into any type of stem cell, this overcomes that barrier.

This research is still far off from being applicable to humans but is a huge step in that direction.

Harms of nighttime light exposure passed to offspring

Nighttime light exposure epigenetically changed genes in sperm and ovaries of hamsters and caused their offspring to have immune dysfunction and impaired endocrine activity.

Disruptions in circadian rhythm have been shown to have many negative health consequences such as increased type 2 diabetes risk and cancer risk. It has been known that circadian rhythm regulates roughly 15% percent of the human genome but the fact that it also can epigenetically change genes, including those in sperm and egg DNA, means that some of these negative health consequences may be passed on to future generations.

Does Vitamin D decrease risk of cancer?

Women who were given 2,000 IU vitamin D3 and calcium supplements (1500 mg) per day for 4 years had 30% lower risk of cancer compared to women taking a placebo.

The difference in cancer rates between groups did not reach statistical significance. However, blood levels of vitamin D were significantly lower (32 ng/ml) in women who developed cancer compared to women that did not get cancer and had higher vitamin D levels (42 ng/ml).

The average vitamin D level in the women's blood at the beginning of the study (33 ng/ml) was higher than the usual target levels that currently range from 20-30 ng/ml. This suggests that higher vitamin D levels than are currently recommended may be needed to decrease the risk of cancer.

Japanese man is first to receive 'reprogrammed' stem cells from another person

Japanese man received 'reprogrammed' stem cells from another person and they slowed the progression of macular degeneration.

Skin cells from a donor were reprogrammed to become stem cells and then turned into a certain type of retinal cell that was transplanted onto the retina of the patient who has age-related macular degeneration. So far the man's vision has not declined which means it might be working.

The use of donors to make reprogrammed stem cells is new but the idea is to create a stem cell bank where people that have the same antigen type can be recipients of the stem cell therapy. Very exciting times ahead!

'Medicinal food' diet counters onset of type 1 diabetes

A diet high in fermentable fiber (fruits/veggies) produced compounds called short-chain fatty acids which had a beneficial effect on the immune system and protected against type 1 diabetes in animals.

The fermentable fiber is broken down by bacteria in the gut to acetate and butyrate which not only improves the gut barrier but also reduces pro-inflammatory factors and prevents the immune system from attacking the body's own cells (immune tolerance).

The researchers are hoping to apply these findings to clinical research next.

Human Gut Microbe Transplant Alters Mouse Behavior | The Scientist Magazine®

Fecal bacteria from humans with IBS caused anxiety, depression, and inflammation when transplanted into mice. Bacteria transplanted from healthy humans into mice did not have the same effect.

Three weeks after the fecal transplant, mice given the gut bacteria from IBS patients also had higher gut permeability. Distinct bacterial species and metabolites derived from humans correlated with the anxiety behavior in mice.

It has previously been shown that inflammatory molecules produced as a consequence of gut permeability can cross the blood-brain barrier and lead to anxiety and depression. Additionally, the vagal nerve connecting the gut to the brain may also be at play here.

Vitamin D Has Been Linked to Autism Prevention in Animal Studies

A supplement containing the active form of vitamin D was shown to prevent autistic-like behaviors in mice that are predisposed to them. The active vitamin D was given to pregnant mice during the first trimester and this prevented deficits in social interaction, basic learning, and stereotyped behaviors.

While this study did not find a mechanism, I published a study in 2014 suggesting that low maternal vitamin D may increase the risk of autism because vitamin D controls the production of serotonin. Serotonin acts as a brain morphogen during early brain development and it shapes the structure and wiring of the developing brain. Low brain serotonin during development has also been linked to autism.

It is unclear what maternal vitamin D levels are optimal but I like to shoot for levels between 40-60 ng/ml based on all-cause mortality studies. Levels above 30 ng/ml are considered sufficient. I like to measure vitamin D levels even after supplementation to make sure that I am getting the right amount (not too low or high). I take between 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, depending on the season. I did a short podcast a while back talking about vitamin D dose, optimal levels, best form to supplement with and other popular questions. If you have questions I recommend listening to this 30-minute podcast.

Link to my vitamin D-autism publication:

Link to vitamin D podcast:

Drug 'reverses' ageing in animal tests - BBC News

A new experimental drug was able to rejuvenate stamina, organ function, and regrow hair in old mice by selectively clearing away senescent cells. Still much more to do before this may be relevant to humans but exciting!

Senescent cells form after cells have accumulated too much damage. They are cells that are no longer functioning but are not dead either. They secrete many proteins including proinflammatory molecules which cause damage to nearby cells and accelerate the aging process.

I have a new interview/podcast with an expert on cellular senescence coming soon!

Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive decline

Daily tea consumption (green, black or oolong) was associated with a 50% reduced risk of cognitive decline and a 86% lower risk in people genetically predisposed (ApoE4 gene) for Alzheimer's disease.

The mechanism for the cognitive benefit is unclear and may include catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine which are all anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant activity. However, caffeine itself cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor as well.

While this data is an association and does not prove causation, the data was adjusted for many different factors that affect health and it still found the 50% and 86% reductions.

The health factors that were adjusted for in the analysis included age, gender, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, depression, ApoE4, physical activity, social and productive activities, vegetable and fruit consumption, fish consumption, and daily coffee consumption.

With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users

A new study finds that 1 in 5 individuals that are given a 10-day opioid prescription will become long-time opioid users.

The study also found that for those people given a 30-day opioid prescription, they had a 45% chance of using opioids for the next year.
According to the CDC, 91 people die of an opioid overdose every day in the US.

Better sleep feels like winning the lottery

Improving sleep quality may lead to mental and physical health improvements "comparable to a moderate lottery win."

The study included around 30,500 people and those individuals that reported improved sleep quality over an 8 week period had a 2 point increase in a survey used to monitor psychological well-being in patients. This same increase in well-being was found after somebody has won a jackpot of around £200,000.

While this study does not establish causality, many other studies have found that sleep is very important for mental and physical wellbeing.

FoundMyFitness by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. on iTunes

New audio podcast on refined sugar! Learn how refined sugar has been shown to impair the brain's ability to repair itself after traumatic brain injury, how it causes brain inflammation and memory problems, how it accelerates aging, how it affects hormones, how cutting it out can have profound effects on metabolism in just 1 week, and more!

Vitamin C effective in targeting cancer stem cells

High-dose intravenous vitamin C has previously been shown to selectively kill cancer cells by increasing hydrogen peroxide and now it has been found to potently kill cancer stem cells.

The new study screened a variety of compounds in order to find those that were most potent at killing cancer stem cells, which are the most resistant to any type of cancer treatment. Interestingly, vitamin C was found to be 10 times more potent at killing cancer stem cells (cultured in a dish) than 2-deoxyglucose, a drug that prevents cancer cells from using glucose via glycolysis. While this study was done in a culture dish, other studies have been done in animals and humans.

It is important to realize that intravenous vitamin C increases blood levels that are 100-500 times higher than levels that can be achieved with oral ingestion. It is this VERY-high concentration of vitamin C in the blood that results in the generation of hydrogen peroxide that selectively kills cancer cells because normal cells effectively remove it but cancer cells cannot.

Also, early phase 1 clinical trials showed that the combination of high-dose, intravenous vitamin C with standard chemotherapy or radiation was well tolerated and improved patient outcome. Larger clinical trials are now underway.

Other study mentioned:

People less focused on recurrent bad feelings when taking probiotics

Healthy people given probiotics for 4 weeks had decreased feelings of sadness and rumination compared to placebo.

The strongest finding was that participants perceived themselves to be less distracted by aggressive and ruminative thoughts. Studies have shown that the tendency to engage in ruminative thoughts can turn a mood into depressive episodes.

People were given 2 grams per day of the Ecologic®Barrier probiotic containing 2.5 billion bacteria per gram of the following bacterial stains: Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Lactobacillus acidophilus W37, Lactobacillus brevis W63, L. casei W56, Lactobacillus salivarius W24, and Lactococcus lactis (W19 and W58).

How exercise -- interval training in particular -- helps your mitochondria stave off old age

Aerobic high-intensity interval training increased mitochondrial capacity in younger people by 49% and 69% in older people after 3 weeks. It also improved insulin sensitivity and increased mitochondrial proteins and ribosomes (which make new proteins) in muscle cells.

The volunteers engaged in aerobic high-intensity interval training (cycling at >90% of peak oxygen consumption) for 3 days and 2 days per week of treadmill walking (45 min at 70% of VO2 peak) or strength training. Those individuals that did strength training increased muscle strength and improved insulin sensitivity.

Good reason to mix up the exercise routine with aerobic high-intensity interval training and strength training.