Summarizing The Latest Research On Nutrition, Health & Lifestyle (Nov 2019-2020)

This post summarizes all the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle research and tips from Issues 1-24 of foundmyfitness.com’s Health Science Digest (November 2019-2020). It covers basic principles and tips without quoting in detail or linking the actual studies and analysis, hopefully making it more practical and useful for everyone who is time constrained. Of course, none of the conclusions or tips are my own and I have not modified or edited them in any way to change the recommendations. However, I’ve omitted the following types of research:

  • news about stuff like rare illnesses (i.e. the efficacy of a new cystic fibriosis drug Trikafta)
  • conclusions that are not actionable (i.e. studies show that people who live to 110 years of age and above have a strong immune system with high levels of cytotoxic CD4 T-cells)
  • most of the COVID-19 related research, since the vaccines are already out at the time of writing this post

So this is basically a cheat sheet version 2.0. Once again, for the original 248 page PDF e-book, head on to foundmyfitness.com. and sign up for membership.

  1. DON’T SKIP SLEEP – a single night of sleep deprivation can increase anxiety levels by 30% and long term sleep deprivation impairs immune function. Poor quality sleep is also linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Even two nights of recovery sleep to counter one night of sleep deprivation does not fully restore memory performance.
  2. RUNNING: GOOD – running lowers our all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer death rates by between 23%-30%. Even running for short periods and for a total of less than 50 minutes a week can help significantly.
  3. TIME RESTRICTED EATING: GOOD – studies suggest that only eating within a specific time window (within 8-12 hours, preferably during sunlight hours) can increase motivation to exercise. It can also help reduce weight, prevent diabetes (improves insulin sensitivity) and heart disease.
  4. AKKERMANSIA MUCINIPHILA SUPPLEMENT: GOOD – Supplementing with the microbial species A. municiphila may reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disorders in overweight people.
  5. FASTED EXERCISE: GOOD – significantly burn more fat, improve insulin sensitivity and increase glucose uptake into muscle if you work out in a fasted state before breakfast every day (only plain water is permitted).
  6. HEARTS NEEDS EXERCISE – primate hearts evolved to endure regular bouts of sustained moderate-intensity endurance activities and is partly dependent upon it for good heart health.
  7. METFORMIN PROS & CONS – metformin is a safe, effective treatment for type 2 diabetes, and also modulates aging processes to improve lifespan and healthspan in many organisms. The downside is metformin prevented gains in lean muscle mass for healthy people 65 years and above who engaged in resistance training.
  8. MOTHER’S INTERACTION: GOOD – mothers should interact more with their infants during play time, it can impact the baby’s oxytocin system via epigenetic regulation. In layman’s terms, this will boost the baby’s social and psychological development.
  9. BRAIN REST: GOOD – aging can be slowed down by balancing brain activity with brain rest. Having daily prolonged neural excitation is a long-term invitation to epilepsy, autism, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’ and schizophrenia.
  10. FORMULA BABIES: ADD COW’S MILK – fatty acids in breast milk provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help an infant’s cognitive development. Unfortunately most infant formulas do not have this MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) but the study shows that adding cow’s milk to formula gives the same benefits as breast milk. For this one please check the full study to understand the MFGM concentrations required.
  11. DAILY AVOCADO: GOOD – eating an avocado a day (on top of a healthy diet) reduces heart disease risk by reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation and increasing lutein levels.
  12. INFLAMMATION: BAD – increased levels of inflammation linked to brain fog, cognitive decline and increase in depression.
  13. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TO FIGHT DEPRESSION – every four hours of physical activity (both high AND low intensity work) per week reduces depression risk by 17%.
  14. HIIT IMPROVES MEMORY – high-intensity interval training (aerobic exercise) is shown to boost memory for older and sedentary adults (60 years and above). Combine aerobic exercise with weight training for optimal healthspan (healthy longevity).
  15. ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS: BAD – soft drinks, chips, cookies and heavily processed foods/meat are linked to poor heart health.
  16. HIGH SUGAR DIET: BAD – a high sugar diet is linked to many gut related medical issues.
  17. KETOGENIC DIET IS BETTER AGAINST THE FLU – a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet is effective against the flu virus and improves survival rates in mice.
  18. SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS: BAD – more screen time exposure in children linked to decreased physical activity as well as poor social, language and literacy skills in middle childhood.
  19. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD EAT FISH, SEAFOOD AND/OR SUPPLEMENT OMEGA-3 – it improves the baby’s IQ by 5-10 points. Dietary and supplemental Omega-3 has strong beneficial effects on infant brain development. It also protects children’s DNA from damage. Conversely, pregnant women who have high omega-6 levels vs omega-3 may contribute to the children overeating later on.
  20. COMBINE SAUNA USE WITH AEROBIC EXERCISE – four to seven times per week reduces men’s risks of dying from cardiovascular related diseases and premature death by 40-50%. Sauna use also reduces risk of pneumonia in healthy middle-aged men.
  21. PROSTATE CANCER CURE – MRI-guided ultrasound completely eliminates prostate cancer in 80% of men.
  22. YOGA: GOOD – yoga slows age related changes associated with memory loss and cognitive decline, similar to physical activity. It also helps to reduce symptoms of depression if done regularly.
  23. ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE ADDICTIVE – more than 50% suffer withdrawal symptoms when coming off these meds.
  24. HOT BATHS: GOOD – twice weekly 30 minute hyperthermic baths (40 degrees Celcius and above) shown to treat most symptoms of depression, except for heart rate variability.
  25. GAMMA WAVE ACTIVITY: GOOD – promoting gamma wave activity in the brain is a useful non-invasive way to treat Alzheimer’s (meditation, yoga).
  26. AIR POLLUTION: BAD – air quality is linked to higher rates of depression and suicide. Supplement more fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) if your air quality is poor.
  27. KETAMINE CURE – ketamine helps to disrupt maladaptive memories to prevent alcoholism and substance abuse.
  28. ICE BATHS – cold water immersion hinders muscle growth but it at the same time reduces cancer risk and increases longevity.
  29. HIGH GLYCEMIC DIET: BAD – diets high in white carbs and sugar may trigger insomnia.
  30. FISH OIL: GOOD – supplement with omega-3 fatty acid rich fish oil to improve night vision and also reduce inflammation. It will reduce heart attack risk (13%) and risk of heart attack death (35%). Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids linked to early onset of coronary artery disease. Fish oil also protects against the effects of air pollution. New research shows omega-3 fatty acids reduce antisocial and aggressive behaviors in children from 8 to 16 years old. There is also evidence to show that it is beneficial in treating depression and protects children’s DNA from damage.
  31. VASCEPA DRUG – reduces the rate of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events by 25% versus a placebo. However, it may cause adverse reactions to people allergic to fish and shellfish.
  32. WEIGHT LOSS TO REDUCE CANCER RISK – women over 50 who lose weight and sustain the weight loss have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.
  33. ENDURANCE EXERCISE: GOOD – high cardiorespiratory fitness shown to increase the brain’s gray matter and prevent dementia.
  34. HIGH BODY FAT: BAD – high levels of body fat (especially abdominal fat) increases the rate of cognitive decline, especially in fluid intelligence. High abdominal fat also increases the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes.
  35. COMBINE EXERCISE WITH FASTING – exercise should continue even during fasting or prolonged hospital stays to prevent skeletal muscle loss.
  36. OVERWEIGHT PREGNANCY: BAD – boys whose mothers were overweight or obese during pregnancy scored 5 or more points lower on IQ tests at age 7. The negative effects were not shown in girls, suggesting that boys are more vulnerable during fetal development.
  37. PREGNANT DIET & EXERCISE: GOOD – overweight women who are pregnant should eat a healthy diet and exercise to prevent child obesity at age 3 by 27%.
  38. MARATHON TRAINING: GOOD -first time marathoners in training can reverse heart related aging by 4 years if they run between 6-13 miles per week for 6 months.
  39. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY – works to reduce social anxiety and stress, similar to exercise and meditation.
  40. AEROBIC EXERCISE: GOOD – 40 minutes of daily exercise at 70-80% of your max heart rate and reduce depression risk by 50%. High intensity exercise in early life promotes stronger bones in adulthood.
  41. BCG VACCINE: GOOD – the tuberculosis vaccine is also effective in treatment of bladder cancer and Alzheimer’s in older patients.
  42. HYPERBARIC OXYGEN: GOOD – long-term hyperbaric treatment (exposure to 100% oxygen at greater than normal pressure) can treat Alzheimer’s and improve brain metabolism.
  43. LOW-FAT DIET: BAD – linked to lower testosterone levels in men.
  44. BRAKE DUST POLLUTION: BAD – avoid exposure to brake pad abrasion particles. They may be just as harmful as diesel exhaust.
  45. FASTING: GOOD – fasting reduces inflammation and thus risk of chronic disease, without compromising immune function. Fasting and low carb intake also promotes ketosis which improves brain health in middle-aged adults.
  46. TEA: GOOD – drinking tea three or more times a week linked to longevity, reduced risk of diabetes and cancer, and better cardiovascular health.
  47. SMOKING: BAD – increases depression risk by 2x to 3x.
  48. EARLY LIFE EXPOSURE TO BACTERIAL ALLERGENS: GOOD  – children exposed to allergens and bacteria early in life controls developing allergies later in life by 3x to 10x (i.e. peanut allergies and hayfever)
  49. EARLY LIFE EXPOSURE TO FLU: GOOD – childhood exposures can provide protection from different flu subtypes in adulthood.
  50. Quercetin – this antioxidant found in fruits and veg like kale, cherry tomatoes, apples, broccoli and blueberries significantly lowers blood pressure. However, it may blunt skeletal muscle growth.
  51. SULFORAPHANE: GOOD – available in cruciferous veg like broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower, this compound is beneficial in fighting cancer, autism, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also fights the effects of air pollution.
  52. EXERCISE & THE BRAIN – low intensity exercise activates cognition and attention while high intensity exercise activates mood networks in brain function (although both types of exercise DO improve moods to certain degrees as an end result).
  53. MENTAL STRESS: BAD – Premature graying of the hair is a possible indication of too much stress (mental and physical). Mental stress can shorten lifespan by 3 years.
  54. ALCOHOL & CIGARETTES – drinking and smoking on a daily basis can accelerate brain aging.
  55. CHILD SLEEP – children between 6-12 years old should sleep between 9 to 12 hours every night for optimal mental and physical health.
  56. LITHIUM: GOOD – low-dose lithium (typically used to treat bipolar disorder and drug resistant depression) may be effective in preventing Alzheimer’s.
  57. WESTERN STYLE DIET: BAD – just one week of high intake of refined carbs, fatty meats and sodium and a lack of whole grains, fruit and veg can impair learning and appetite control in the brain.
  58. LOW VIT D: BAD – low maternal vitamin D levels in early to mid-pregnancy can increase the baby’s risk of ADHD. Vertigo is also associated with vitamin-D deficiency.
  59. LONG TERM DIET CHANGES: GOOD – intermittent fasting (IF), Paleo and the Mediterranean diet are all effective for weight loss with IF being the fastest and the Mediterranean diet promoting good gut bacteria. More importantly, choose the one that can be sustained long-term.
  60. DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS – many are contaminated with heavy metals or microbes, and some contain synthetic drugs and other unlisted ingredients. Look for dietary supplement products that have independent testing such as USP, NSF or ConsumerLab.com.
  61. JAPANESE SAKE YEAST – supplement sake yeast as a safe way to promote high quality deep sleep.
  62. BREAST MILK: GOOD – prevents obesity in early childhood.
  63. PARABENS: BAD – babies whose mothers were exposed to parabens during pregnancy are at higher risk of obesity. Check cosmetics, drugs and processed food for parabens.
  64. EATING EARLIER: GOOD – eating earlier in the day (sunlight hours) promotes higher fat burning, which suggests circadian rhythms are a key influence.
  65. HIGH FLAVONOL COCOA: GOOD – drinking this beverage daily reduces symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of blood vessels OUTSIDE the heart and brain).
  66. EVOO: GOOD – extra virgin olive oil maintains its healthy benefits even when used for pan-frying at home as long as temperature is kept as low as possible. Dietary olive oil (uncooked) added to food can also increase healthspan and longevity (i.e. Mediterranean diets).
  67. OBESITY: BAD – it increases the severity of influenza viruses. The negative effects of obesity are similar to the premature aging process.
  68. SUGAR SWEETENED DRINKS: BAD – these beverages increase cardiovascular risk.
  69. DIET DRINKS PLUS CARBS: BAD – consuming artificially sweetened drinks (zero calories) combined with carb rich foods can impair brain and metabolic functions.
  70. IRON: GOOD – iron supplementation may be beneficial during adolescence to support cognitive abilities. Iron deficiency in children also reduces vaccine efficacy.
  71. EXERCISE FOR ADT & COVID: GOOD – for men undergoing prostate cancer treatment (ADT), aerobic and resistant exercise at least twice a week for an hour over a three month period reduces the treatment’s effects and improves all round health and quality of life. Exercise also protects against deadly Covid-19 complications.
  72. VITAMIN D: GOOD – too much time indoors or having dark skin may require vitamin-D supplementation. Lack of vitamin-D can cause poor bone, health, impaired immune function and higher risk of depression.
  73. INTRAVENOUS VITAMIN-C: GOOD – may be beneficial in critically ill patients who have sepsis and respiratory failure.
  74. LARGE DOSE VIT-C: GOOD – up to 8 grams per day may reduce duration of the common cold by 17% as long as the self-dosing starts as soon as symptoms appear. It also mitigates the body’s stress response thus improving overall immune function.
  75. VITAMIN-C SUPPLEMENTATION: GOOD – vitamin-C shown to support respiratory function during exercise and decrease inflammation to a similar magnitude of some statins. Combine vitamin-C or citrus juices to green tea to increase its benefits. Lack of vitamin-C linked to poor fat burning during exercise.
  76. DAYTIME INTERMITTENT FASTING: GOOD – fasting during the daytime for 30 consecutive days has many health benefits.
  77. EVEYRONE NEED EXERCISE – physical activity in children benefits their cognitive performance. For adults it helps to maintain memory, verbal skills and prevent dementia (at least 3 times per week).
  78. VITAMIN-D: GOOD – low vitamin-D levels linked to higher risk of death from respiratory related diseases like influenza and COVID-19. Majority of COVID-19 patients found to be vitamin-D deficient. It also has a distinct impact on muscle mass and strength.
  79. INTRAVENOUS OMEGA-3: GOOD – omega-3 fatty acids added to intravenous feedings when a person’s gastrointestinal tract is not working decreases infection rates, sepsis and aids recovery.
  80. ZINC: GOOD – Zinc reduces the duration and incidences of common cold. If supplemented for 5 months and above, the incidence of colds drops by 37%. Both zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges are equally effective (dose higher than 80mgs per day). Elderly people should supplement zinc if their levels are suboptimal.
  81. OMEGA-3: GOOD – decreases tobacco cravings in smokers and also slows down aging.
  82. FRUITS & VEG: GOOD – flavonoids (blueberries, cocoa, oranges etc. etc.) support the body’s immune system and reduce Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
  83. VO2 MAX – maximal oxygen uptake testing is a reliable predictor of 5 year mortality risk. Increase aerobic capacity for better longevity. Aerobic exercise also counters the harmful effects of sugary diets. Sauna use also works to mimic aerobic exercise.
  84. TYPE 2 DIABETES: BAD – increased risk of death if contracting COVID-19.
  85. HERPES SIMPLEX 1: BAD – linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
  86. MAGNESIUM: GOOD – higher levels of magnesium (found in nuts and green leafy veg) linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Magnesium also supports the body’s synthesis of vitamin-D.
  87. EXERCISE & BREAST CANCER – Weekly exercise of at least 150 to 300 minutes (moderate intensity) or 75 to 150 minutes (high intensity) reduce breast cancer risk in women.
  88. HIGH FAT DAIRY: GOOD – consumption of full fat milk, yogurt and cheeses linked to lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure (basically, don’t buy low fat options).
  89.  SPICES: GOOD – spices can reduce the inflammation caused by meals with high carb and high saturated fat content.
  90. FRAGMENTED SLEEP: BAD – fragmented sleep leads to increased inflammation and heart disease across age, gender, ethnicity and BMI (and even smoking, blood pressure and sleep disorder factors). Fragmented sleep is also an early-warning indicator of Parkinson’s in older men.
  91. LOWER SALT INTAKE: GOOD – new studies show lower salt intake improves gut health and blood pressure. Likewise, a high sodium diet increases cognitive issues.
  92. PERCHLORATE: BAD – this water pollutant is harmful to thyroid health and is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, fetuses and nursing infants.
  93. BREAST MILK FOR IBS – prebiotics in human breast milk can help boost gut health in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
  94. FAST MIMICKING DIET: GOOD – significantly improves the efficiency of chemotherapy while reducing damage to healthy cells in breast cancer patients. Fasting also works but is harder to adhere to.
  95. LEAN BEEF: GOOD – replacing dietary carbs with lean beef may aid heart health.
  96. BDNF: IMPORTANT – BDNF is a growth factor that is critical for cognitive, brain, behavior, memory and many other functions. Regular aerobic and high intensity exercise helps control BDNF production. Medical issues related to BDNF include alcoholism, depression and suicide, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.
  97. PRO & PRE-BIOTICS: GOOD – consumption has beneficial effects on the gut-brain function and mental health. Prebiotic sources include bananas, raw onions and garlic. Probiotic sources include yogurt, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut. May help type 2 diabetes and obesity as well. Most probiotic supplements do not contain enough bacteria and may not be stored properly. Stick to natural sources and/or choose a trusted brand +  trusted vendor.
  98. VEGETABLE OILS: INEFFECTIVE – replacing saturated fat with high linoleic acid vegetable oils shows no improvement on heart health.
  99. DANCE: GOOD – dance prevents the harmful effects of aging in older adults (63 to 80 years old). While comparable to other forms of cardiovascular exercise in terms of physical activity, dance differs in terms of cognitive and coordination skills required.
  100. RED LIGHT THERAPY: GOOD – significantly improves eyesight and/or prevents vision decline in adults over 40.
  101. BPA: BAD – high BPA exposure linked to worse asthma in boys. Avoid plastic use wherever possible as BPA replacements may also carry similar risks.
  102. ALPHA LIPOIC ACID SUPPLEMENTS: GOOD – promote weight loss in obese people who are otherwise healthy.
  103. HIGH CAROTENE: GOOD – carotenoid rich fruit and veg like red and yellow peppers, carrots and tomatoes reduce visceral fat in obese men.
  104.  AUTISM RISKS HIGHER – if the mother has asthma or other immune disorders that are active during pregnancy. Sulforaphane (found in cruciferous veg) may help this condition.
  105. EARLY LIFE ANTIBIOTIC USE: BAD – alters child behavioral development negatively. To be avoided as much as possible.
  106. SOLUBLE FIBER: GOOD – whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes improve body weight and metabolism in overweight and obese adults.
  107. CAFFEINE DURING PREGNANCY: BAD – even low dose intakes that are officially recommended are dangerous. Pregnant women should avoid caffeine completely.
  108. UBIQUINOL: GOOD – supplementation may protect bones and aid muscle during both low and high intensity exercise.
  109. MEDITATION: GOOD – meditation and other similar mindfulness techniques effective in stress reduction.
  110. ANTICHOLINERGIC DRUGS: BAD – commonly prescribed for Parkinson’s, allergies, dizziness and incontinence. They increase the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Avoid if possible, be careful in drug selection.
  111. WILD BLUEBERRY EXTRACT: GOOD – improves metabolic function and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults (45 to 65 years).
  112. BLUEBERRIES: GOOD – contains strong antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Also reduces irritable bowel diseases.
  113. COFFEE CONSUMPTION: GOOD – reduces metastasis and death risks in people with colorectal cancer.
  114. CALCIUM RICH NASAL SPRAY: GOOD – reduces spread of COVID-19 particles by an average of 75%, outperforming surgical masks. Another advantage is that it is usable in public with minimal/zero contact with the face.

Foundmyfitness is one of the best sites out there in terms of the latest science in nutrition, health and life extension. Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s guests are among the elite in their respective fields. A lot of useful information is provided for free, but the Science Digest is only available to premium subscription members. In addition to the bi-monthly Science Digest, premium members also enjoy other benefits such as genetic report analysis, live Q&A sessions and exclusive content. There are occasional promotional offers + free content, so sign up for their newsletter first and see for yourself if you think it’s worth it or interesting.

I am neither a doctor nor am I affiliated with Foundmyfitness in any way, so please consult your doctor if you are planning to act on any of the research above. If you found my summary useful, please comment, like or share it. It the response is good I will post future follow-ups including recipes and snacks based on it. Thanks for reading!

Note to regular readers: I’ve been a little busy working on my other websites but for 2021 onwards I’ll be making longer and more useful posts here at least twice a month.

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