Newsletter #029: Health Benefits of Coffee and Curcumin ☕
Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the humanOS newsletter!
We hope everyone is having a happy and healthy holiday weekend. Here we share our work, as well as the various cool studies and media that captured our attention this week. 🤓
You might remember in previous newsletters, we referred to the SPARK/Biohacker Summit in Toronto, which took place last month. Well, Greg spoke there on the subject of Chrononutrition (the relationship between diet and circadian rhythm), and he just noticed this week that all of the summit talks are now posted on YouTube. 🙌 If you’re keen to better understand Chrononutrition, you should definitely check out Greg’s presentation, linked below! And if you are a Pro user, please refer to the How-to Guide on Chrononutrition for practical tips on how to optimize your food timing.
This Week’s Research Highlights
☕ Coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes - regardless of caffeine content.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm conducted a systematic review of prospective studies examining the association between coffee and type 2 diabetes risk. They included 30 prospective studies (total of 1 185 210 participants) in their meta-analysis. They found that the risk of type 2 diabetes decreased by 6% for each cup-per-day increase in coffee consumption. Compared to those who drank no coffee daily, those in the highest category of coffee consumption (5 cups per day on average) had a 29% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, results were similar for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Researchers at Kent State recruited 69 healthy young adults, who came in with varying levels of sleep quality, and had them complete two cognition trials testing vigilance. In one trial, they were given 237 mL of water, and in the other they were given 237 mL of coffee (containing 100 mg of caffeine). Vigilance was assessed at 30, 90, and 120 minutes after consuming the assigned beverage. Coffee improved reaction time in all three assessments. However, in those reporting poor sleep, vigilance deficits were only partially restored by coffee, and coffee actually worsened inhibitory control in people with inadequate sleep.
Researchers from the University of Surrey and Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf exposed 14 healthy male participants, on two different days, to monochromatic blue light or to blue light with a filter foil (control) for 30 minute intervals. They found that when the participants were exposed to whole-body blue light, their systolic blood pressure was lowered by almost 8 mm Hg. The control light had no effect. The blue light also reduced arterial stiffness, and increased levels of nitric oxide. Mobilization of nitric oxide from the skin may be responsible for the systemic cardiovascular effects associated with blue light.
Researchers in Australia and New Zealand had 16 healthy volunteers, on four separate occasions, take either placebo, curcumin (180 mg), fish oil (1.2 g long-chain PUFAs), or curcumin +fish oil prior to a standard meal at the lab, after which they had bloodwork done at intervals between 0-120 minutes. Compared to placebo, postprandial blood glucose concentrations were significantly lower when they took curcumin (-60.6%) and curcumin + fish oil (-51%). Both treatments also lower postprandial insulin AUC (-26%), compared to when the subjects took placebo.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Mark Bell & Chris Bell: Steroids, powerlifting, addiction, diet, training, helping others, documentaries, and living your best life. Via The Drive with Peter Attia.
- Dan Knights, Pajau Vangay, and Martin Blaser: Wherever My Microbiome May Roam. Via Science Friday.
- Claudia Hammond: MDMA for alcohol dependence, Music and sleep, Interoceptive skills, Parasites and entrepreneurship. Via All in the Mind.
Products We Are Enjoying
Greg’s thoughts: If I told you that I think that mindfulness meditation has had a more positive influence on my health than any other change in my behavior in the last four years, you might suspect that I’ve lost the plot. And you’d probably be right about that. But I’m still convinced that this practice can have remarkable health benefits, and a flurry of recent scientific studies supports this contention. I’ll share thoughts on some of these findings in the future.
I continue to enjoy Sam’s work, and I think he’s one of the most clear-headed public intellectuals there is (you may have noticed that we periodically link to his podcasts). Even though this app was designed by Sam to introduce beginners to mindfulness meditation, I believe that experienced meditators will enjoy it too. He does a terrific job of introducing the core tenets of mindfulness meditation, and his lessons are frequently thought-provoking and even inspiring. If you’re anything like me, this app will help both unveil the turbulent chaos of your mind but also calibrate the compass you need to help you navigate its wild waters.
New humanOS Content
• humanOS Radio: Ketones for Brain Injury? Podcast with Tommy Wood.
This week on humanOS Radio, Greg spoke with Dr. Tommy Wood. Tommy is Senior Fellow in the Pediatrics Department at the University of Washington. Tommy’s academic work focuses on neonatal brain injury, and in the years to come he plans to study how to manipulate diet to minimize the negative effects of such injury.
Brain injury is far more pervasive than most people realize. Every day, about 150 people die from traumatic brain injury-related deaths in the US alone. Worse still, brain injury is associated with numerous negative health consequences, including mental health issues and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Interestingly, there is reason to believe that exogenous ketones may help with this. In this podcast, Greg and Tommy discuss the potential benefits of exogenous ketones for brain injury, whether creatine can help protect athletes against concussion, how dietary fat composition affects the risk of brain injury, and more. Check it out!
Media Featuring humanOS
• Greg Potter: Chrononutrition: Applying Circadian Biology Principles to Optimize Your Diet (presentation begins at 1:29:10). Via SPARK/Biohacker Summit.