NEW

The Wild Health Take: Week Two

Each week Dr. Carl Seger listens to your favorite podcasts to summarize the data and give you our precision medicine take.

Who: Andrew Huberman Ph.D., Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine with special guest Dr. Wendy Suzuki

When: May 23, 2022

Title: Boost Attention & Memory with Science Based Tools

1. External stimuli and experiences are converted to memory via four pathways: novelty, repetition, association and emotional resonance. The hippocampus, a seahorse shaped brain structure, is responsible for taking facts and events and creating long term memory.  The hippocampus defines our own personal histories and ultimately defines us as individuals. New research about the hippocampus suggests that it is also the brain structure responsible for imagination. Not only does it convert experiences to memories, but it also puts them together in new hypothetical ways. The hippocampus is important for the association of events and details for past, present or future.

2. “One Trial Learning” studies have proven that there is a pathway whereby experiences can bypass the four aforementioned pathways and become a memory after just one encounter. This usually occurs with negative experiences and is a protective function to help us remember potential dangerous experiences to avoid recurrence in the future.  

3. Exercise: aerobic exercise releases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which travels to the hippocampus to help new brain cells grow and encourage a more robust hippocampus. A correlational, longitudinal study performed on “low-fit”, “medium-fit” and “high-fit” individuals suggested the “high-fit” participants in their 40s had, on average, 9 years of improved memory and cognition by their 80s, than the low and mid-fit counterparts. The minimum amount of exercise in “low-fit” 30-50 year olds is 35 min of “cardio” exercise, 2-3 times a week for improvement in memory tasks. For medium fit people, the study showed that every drop of sweat counted and that there was a dose response curve suggesting that the more exercise, the better your mood, memory and cognition. Whatever activity you prefer that will increase your heart rate will achieve the benefit. Performing your exercise at roughly the same time daily will make it easier due to circadian rhythm anticipation.

4. Meditation: studies are showing that a 12-minute body scan daily meditation is the minimum threshold of a practice that will provide benefit.  This showed significant improvements in stress response, mood and cognitive performance. Sound, visual or walking meditations are a promising counteraction to stress, with stress and anxiety currently at all time highs. One of the most important things that gets “worked” in the brain is building the habit of focusing on the present moment, which is so impactful for managing anxiety. We don’t know exactly what circuits are at work here, but we can enjoy the present moment instead of worrying about past or future moments.

5. Attention: People are using a lot of different compounds (caffeine, Ritalin, Adderall, Modafinil) to help with attention, often without a prescription. Three tools to use to improve attention capacity: exercise, meditation, sleep.  These can help you learn, retain and perform better. Out of the 3, sleep is the most physiological and necessary to boost attention.

How:

Exercise and meditation can improve memory formation and cognition. Encouraging at least 35 minutes of cardio exercise 2-3 times per week can improve cognitive function and memory with a dose response curve. Adding 12 minutes of daily meditation shows benefits in stress response, mood and cognitive performance.

Who: Tara Brach: Nourishing Our Spirit in Times of Collective Fear

When: May 25, 2022

What: In this time in our society there are an abundance of negative events occurring. It’s natural to fear what is to come. No matter what’s ahead, there is more to who we are and what’s possible in our lives, than living it with painful anticipatory emotions. How do we face a scary future while remaining present and savoring the moment at hand? The truth is, we can’t get rid of a threatening future, but there are two pathways that can provide freedom which are outlined in this podcast.

TWO PATHWAYS

  1. Pathway of full presence of “what is”: mindful awareness, being completely and bravely here
  2. Turning your attention to the light: whatever arouses a sense of love, strength and openness while turning towards our basic goodness

PATHWAY 1: PRESENCE: WHAT IS (Recognize & Allow of RAIN)

  1. Listening and feeling present moments, which may be as simple as pointing them out.
  2. Entrain: get to know presence by pausing even longer and noticing quality. This allows us to be open and available.
  3. Neuroscience comes into play here as we attach to our brain’s negativity bias. We must take in three breaths or 30 seconds of breathing to soak in the positive emotions. No matter what your patterns are in life and brain, they can be changed. How we pay attention matters. Where attention goes, energy flows.

PATHWAY 2: ATTENTION TO THE LIGHT

  1. Consider that there’s something enriching in your future. Allow yourself to be excited for the future. Choosing happiness can be difficult in times of negativity, but it is an option which gladdens the mind.
  2. “Don’t let the awfulness of the future rob you, or them, of the love that is here.”
  3. RAIN can also be used in positive moments. You can do this spontaneously or with intention.

How:  Don’t let the fear of the future rob you of loving today. This is a positive mantra to live by. We can place our efforts in two ways:

1) Be in the present in our positive moments by leaning into them. Either take 3 deep breaths or :30 seconds to soak in that feeling.

2) Bring attention to light, love and happiness. Put forth the effort to seek these qualities, even in dire situations.

Embracing these practices will help prevent painful anticipatory emotions that keep up from a present heart.

Who: High Intensity Health with Mike Mutzel

Resistance Training + Intervals Better for Fat Loss, Heart Health Than Standard Cardio

When: May 23,2022

  1. A recent study found in cardiac patients who have previously suffered a cardiac event, high intensity interval training is safe and more effective than cardio training.
  2. Increasing the intensity increases favorable outcomes such as electrophysiologic and anthropometric measures like HRV.
  3. The study found resistance training paired with aerobic exercises improved cardiovascular biomarkers which can be protective. Also, a decrease in waist circumference by reducing visceral fat and obesity compared to the group doing continuous cardio for the same duration alone.
  4. Visceral adiposity is linked with poor outcomes for those who have experienced cardiac events. Obesity has been linked to sudden death due to arrhythmic disorders.
  5. Heart disease was the number one cause of mortality.

How: Superset weight training and cardio to get the most benefit to heart health and fat loss.

Who: Rhonda Patrick’s Found My Fitness  Intestinal Permeability: the Bacterial link to Aging, Brain Barrier Dysfunction & Metabolic Disorder

When: 5/31/2022

  1. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) helps transport lipoproteins, mainly triglycerides, to other cells.  It’s important to transfer lipopolysaccharides to other cells because they are a great source of energy, but cells cannot make triglycerides. There are several types of lipoproteins: VLDL, LDL, sdLDL. As the lipoproteins transport to other cells, they become smaller and more dense.  LPS binds two lipoproteins through a lipid interaction which is a protective mechanism the body has to prevent lipopolysaccharide from causing sepsis. Lipoproteins are recycled which helps decrease LDL.  If an LDL count is high, a statin can help by increasing the number of LDL receptors to help recycle these lipoproteins and subsequently decrease LPS after statin use.
  2. LPS Brain Health: LPS can break down tight junctions in brain cells and can put microglia cells in attack mode.  Blood-brain barrier is key for aging.  Nearly 50% of all dementias, including Alzheimer's begin with breakdown of the smallest blood vessels in the brain. LPS also causes depressive symptoms.  Tryptophan can be converted into serotonin or kynurenine.  Exercise and a healthy brain will convert this to serotonin which regulates good mood and cognition.  If there is inflammation and stress on the brain, it can be converted into kynurenine, instead, which is associated with depression. Exercise can help alleviate depressive side effects.
  3. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is good for brain and heart health.  Too much LPS can cause whole-body metabolic dysfunction by binding to toll-like receptors. This can lead to inflammaging immune cells, insulin resistance, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and depression. Overall stress will increase gut permeability.  Suppression of chronic inflammation slows aging, increases quality of life and improves cognition.  
  4. Obesity shortens lifespan by up to 14 years.  Extreme obesity (BMI between 40-45) is associated with a 7 year decrease.  Morbid obesity (BMI between 55-60) is associated with a 14 year decrease in life expectancy.
  5. Omega-3 decreases gut permeability. Omega-3 increases IAP (Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase) production which helps destroy LPS in the gut.  In addition, IAP reduces migration of gut bacteria.  Not getting enough Omega-3 from seafood (EPA and DHA) has led to roughly 84,000 deaths per year. Those with a high Omega 3 index of 8% or more have a 5 year increased life expectancy compared to those with 4% or less. Low omega-3 index (less than 4%) has similar life expectancy to a smoker with high omega 3 index (greater than 8%)

How can we apply this information:

We can apply this information by fully understanding our current lab levels and where we need balance.  Having a normal lipid profile also means your LPS is functioning properly.  This goes hand in hand with having a consistent exercise routine to keep brain health which converts tryptophan to serotonin.  Lastly, having a well rounded diet with seafood with high omega-3 levels will ensure a proper balance of LPS and promote life longevity.