Newsletter #62: Fresh Air, Farm Dust, and Eggplant Spread 🚜
Welcome to the newest edition of the humanOS newsletter! Hope all of you are enjoying a warm, relaxing, and healthy summer. 🌞 Here, as always, is where we share our work, plus the various studies and media that captured our attention this week.
This Week’s Research Highlights
Researchers examined data on recreational contact with nature and self-reported health from 19806 subjects in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey. Individuals who reported spending at least two hours per week (cumulatively) in natural settings (like parks, woods, beaches, nature preserves) were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being. Positive associations peaked between 200–300 mins per week with no further gain. The pattern of benefits was consistent across age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and existing health conditions.
🏋️ Remaining physically active or becoming more active later in life is associated with a lower risk of death - regardless of past activity levels or existing health conditions.
Researchers analyzed data from 14,599 men and women aged 40-79, who were enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) study. Higher physical activity levels, as well as increases in physical activity over time, were associated with lower risk of death, after controlling for other risk factors. For each 1kJ/kg/day per year increase in physical activity energy expenditure, researchers observed a 24% lower risk of all-cause mortality, 29% lower risk of cardiovascular death, and 11% lower risk of cancer death in these subjects. Benefits were greatest for those with existing high levels of physical activity who became even more active over time, with a 42% lower risk of mortality.
🔵 Exposure to blue light at night alters blood sugar regulation and ramps up sugar intake the next day.
Researchers exposed diurnal rats to blue light at night for one hour, then measured their food consumption and glucose tolerance the following day. After just one night, the rodents exhibited impaired glucose tolerance, altered secretion of insulin, and consumed more sugar the next day than counterparts who were not exposed to the blue light.
It has been known for some time that the dust microbiota of farms is associated with reduced risk of asthma. Researchers modeled house dust microbiota composition in farm and non-farm homes of Finnish and German birth cohorts. In children who grow up in non-farm homes, asthma risk decreases as their home bacterial microbiota composition more closely resembles that of farm homes. This suggests that the protective attributes of traditional farms are definable and reproducible predictors - and could be modifiable.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Rocco Monto: Longevity, 7 Pathways of Ageing, and Increasing Healthspan. Via Dr. Bubbs’ Performance Podcast.
- Lewis James: Hydration and Performance: Evidence Unpacked. Via Guru Performance Institute.
- Charles Brenner: Explaining the Science Behind “Age Better” Vitamin B3 Supplement. Via LLAMA Podcast.
Products We Are Enjoying
Ginny says: I always have to pick up like 2-3 jars of this stuff when I go to Trader Joe’s. Super simple product (basically just roasted eggplant, peppers, and tomato paste with spices) but highly versatile. Makes any veggies more delicious. It is super tasty but not very energy dense (15 calories for 20 g), so you can use a decent amount even if you are trying to rein in your intake of calories/carbs/whatever. Probably cheaper to buy at the store than to order online, but if you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s you can get it on Amazon (along with everything else).
humanOS Catalog Feature of the Week
This week, we’d like to highlight one of the courses from the Ideal Weight Program, developed by Stephan Guyenet. Much of the Ideal Weight Program is centered around nutrition, as you would expect, but research has shown that multiple aspects of our lifestyle play an important role in body weight. Sleep is one of the most important, and perhaps most underappreciated.
In this course, Stephan reviews the basics of sleep and circadian rhythms, then zooms in on how insufficient or misaligned sleep specifically influences body fatness. He looks at a few key studies that have examined the impact of altered sleep on food intake, which largely mirror the findings that we described above. But it actually gets even worse - sleep loss can also adversely affect nutrient partitioning, making it harder for you to hold onto muscle! Fortunately, this is for the most part a solvable problem. Stephan covers realistic ways for you to obtain restorative sleep, and hopefully achieve your body composition (and health) goals.
Want to watch this course with us this week? The first lesson is just 48 seconds long, and should give a quick snapshot of what the course has to offer. Not yet a Pro user of humanOS? No sweat, this initial module is available for everyone, so go ahead and check it out!