Newsletter #033: Probiotic Supplementation May Protect Against Eczema and Allergic Disease 💊
Welcome to the winter solstice edition of the humanOS newsletter! 🎅🎄We hope everyone is having a happy and healthy holiday season (yeah I know, this isn’t necessarily the healthiest time of year for a lot of us). Here, we’ll share our work, plus some of the cool studies and media that we reviewed this week and that found their way onto social media channels. 🤓
This Week’s Research Highlights
Researchers in Ireland measured vitamin D levels in 4000 people over the age of 50, then followed them for 4 years. They excluded participants who started out the study with depression. In individuals who did not have depression at baseline, the researchers found that vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 75% higher likelihood of being diagnosed with depression over the study period. Why? Vitamin D may protect the brain from structural and functional changes that have been observed to occur in major depression. This finding is particularly relevant since the same research team previously reported that 1 in 8 Irish adults is deficient in vitamin D.
Researchers collected activity and sleep data from students before and after public schools in Seattle delayed school start times by 55 minutes — from 7:50 am to 8:45 am. They found that median sleep duration increased by 34 minutes (from 6 hours and 50 minutes up to 7 hours and 24 minutes). And the extra sleep was reflected in academic performance - more sleep translated to a 4.5% increase in median grades.
Researchers randomly assigned 95 healthy young adults to perform 20 minutes of interval training, three times per week. After six weeks of this regimen, participants showed significant improvements on a test of high-interference memory. Additionally, people who showed greater fitness improvements from the training also exhibited greater increases in BDNF and IGF-1. This makes sense, as BDNF regulates synaptic plasticity, which is crucial for high-interference memory.
💊 Probiotic supplementation, in utero and in early life, may protect against eczema and allergic disease.
Researchers gave the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus to women during late pregnancy and breastfeeding, and then subsequently to their infants until they reached two years old. Receiving the probiotic was associated with a 54% reduced prevalence of eczema at the age of 11, compared to those receiving a placebo. They also experienced less asthma, hay fever, and allergies.
Researchers measured calorie content from 111 randomly selected restaurants in five different countries. 94% of full-service meals and 72% of fast food meals studied contained at least 600 kcal. Unadjusted mean energy content for all countries was 1317 kcal for full-service meals. Notably, this does not include any beverages, appetizers, or desserts that might be consumed concomitantly at such a meal.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Tim Chang: Consciousness Hacking. Via the Kevin Rose Show.
- Dylan Thompson: Why do we need physical activity and how much is enough? Via the University of Bath.
Products We Are Enjoying
Ginny says: This stuff is awesome. It’s a very simple product - just finely ground defatted peanuts - but it’s incredibly versatile. I use it in smoothies, oatmeal, sauces...or even just by itself mixed with a little water or cashew milk (good for dipping apple slices). Since most of the oil is pressed out, it is a lot less energy dense than actual peanut butter, but still loaded with protein, fiber, and other nutrients, making it a smart choice nutritionally as well.
New humanOS Feature
We have updated our integration with Garmin so that sleep data from their wearable devices is now displayed in our sleep graphs. Have a Garmin watch? Be sure to integrate it with humanOS!
New humanOS Content
• Blog: humanOS 2018 – Year In Review with a Focus on Aging (Part 1 of 3). By Dan Pardi.
This week on the blog, we published the first of a three part series of blogs that reflect upon our work from 2018. In this first post, we examine the evolution of humanOS this year, including the array of new features and educational materials that we have rolled out (lots of hard work! 😅).
We also examined some trends from the 45 blogs and 23 podcasts that we generated this year. One of the subjects that we continually revisited was the science of aging and longevity. A lot of people make two key mistakes when thinking about this subject. First, this is a science of old people. Next, it can be perceived as an area of research focused simply on prolonging lifespan - in other words, more years spent in frailty. But in fact, this work is also oriented toward the maintenance of youth and vitality, which is way more compelling. Imagine people over the age of 90 who look, feel, and perform as though they were 40. Sounds kinda crazy… but that could be in the cards for us humans someday soon(ish)! This kind of research may also provide insight into tissue regeneration, and other exciting stuff that will help us not just live longer, but live better.
Media Featuring humanOS
• Dan Pardi: Sleep, Drugs, and a New Way to Track Your Health. By Paleo Magazine Radio.