The Digest - March 5

Only one digest this week: Just started a new job and I'm working on reconfiguring my time management - should be back to a regular schedule by next week:  

  • A study in Finland (no surprise there) highlighted a correlation between use of sauna by men and reduced risk of heart disease. In the study, researchers studied over 2,300 middle-aged men and found that risk of sudden cardiac death was 22% lower after 2-3 sauna sessions per week, and 63% lower (!!!) with four to seven sauna sessions per week. But hold on, don't just run to your nearest sauna and turn up the heat just yet: the studied showed an association (not cause-effect). While the heat from the sauna may have some beneficial hormesis effect, it may just be that people who use saunas frequently generally lead a healthier lifestyle anyway, and are as such as lower risk of heart disease. ^


  • Even though we've talked extensively about high-fat and ketogenic diets for athletic performance, there aren't many studies which have looked at the impact of ketogenic diets in training and events in isolation. In this small study, researchers observed 8 trained male off-road cyclists while they trained on a ketogenic diet and a "mixed" (normal) diet. What the study revealed was that the ketogenic diet stimulated favorable changes in body mass and body composition, as well as in the lipid and lipoprotein (cholesterol) profiles. A significant increase in the relative values of VO2max and VO2LT was also observed after the keto diet. The max workload and lactate threshold were higher on the "mixed" diet (which is why I'm fan of getting out of ketosis when performing power/interval sessions & strength training). The RER ratio was lower at rest following the keto diet, which means that the athletes were burning more fat when at rest vs. "mixed" diet, not just in training (as I often say: aketo diet will teach your body to burn fat both at rest and during exercise). In addition, the level of inflammation was lower even during/after exercise when on a keto diet (lower CK and LDH). ^


  • Last week I was "interviewing" suppliers of water filters for our new home. I'm installing a filter at the main supply inlet from DEWA, and the main reasons for doing so is to remove chlorine and fluoride which are added to the municipal water supply and are extremely harmful to human health. I'll talk about chlorine in a different post. With regards to fluoride, dozens of studies in the past 10 years have implicated it in numerous metabolic and hormonal disordersIn this new British studyfluoride in public drinking water was linked to under active thyroid. This support previous studies which showed that fluoride has a suppressive effect on the thyroid. Note that this is not limited to drinking water, but also to water coming in contact with your skin (bathing/showering). ^


  • Many people with great entrepreneurial ideas shy away from putting their ideas into action because the general perception is that successful entrepreneurs (i.e. billionaires) tend to start at a very young age, even while in college (examples include Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others). But of course, there are plenty of examples of successful entrepreneurs who started in their 30s and 40s and achieved just as much success, as this infographic shows: it's NEVER too late! These include the men behind Costco, Ford, Christian Dior, Intel, Coca Cola, Adobe, Starbucks, AOL, just to name a few... ^


  • I cringe every time I hear a women being told to take folic acid to prepare for pregnancy. It still amazes me that ObGyn doctors are so far behind the research regarding folic acid and its function in the human body. Let me clarify it for you:folate is absolutely essential for human health and is certainly critical for healthy pregnanciesHOWEVER: folate is NOT folic acid! There are 15 (yes fifteen) chemical processes which are required to transform folic acid into its bio-available form, methyl folateIf these steps don't take place, not only would you still be deficient in folate, but you would also have a build-up of unmetabolized folic acid, which is highly toxic and linked to a wide variety of disorders. So what stops folic acid from being converted to methyl folate? It's primarily genetic: there are multiple genes required to produce enzymes for the 15-step process, and depending on which study you look at, between 60% and 70% (yes, the majority) of people do NOT have the genes to successful complete the process. How can that be? Well folic acid does not exist in nature (methyl folate does). So if you're looking to add folate to your diet, then search formethyl folate supplements, and please please avoid "folic acid" fortified foods / supplements to avoid a build-up of unmetabolized folic acid. I bring this up now as I came across this study which revealed that unmetabolized folic acid is ubiquitous and largely explained by folic acid intake from fortified foods & supplements ^