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Can Enhancing Slow Wave Sleep Boost Your Brain Function? Podcast with Kristine Wilckens

All of us know that lack of sleep impairs cognitive performance. But we are now realizing that sleep quality, and how long that you spend in deeper restorative sleep, also plays an important role in brain function.

Today on humanOS Radio, I talk to Kristine Wilckens. Kristine is an assistant professor in the Sleep and Chronobiology Center in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research has focused on how sleep structure can be altered to enhance cognitive function.

In this interview, we review the role of slow wave sleep in learning and memory consolidation, and the kinds of activities that have been demonstrated to promote slow wave sleep. Many of these techniques – like heat exposure – are things that you can experiment with yourself right now. Check out the interview to learn more!

Dietary Nitrate and Health: Effects on Blood Pressure and the Brain

In the last blog, I discussed how dietary nitrate influences exercise performance in healthy people. In this post I’ll focus on dietary nitrate and health, exploring other contexts in which it makes sense to increase dietary nitrate intake. I’ll also touch on whether you should be concerned about consuming a nitrate-rich diet. To cut to the chase, there’s compelling evidence that dietary nitrate-rich vegetables are good for blood pressure, brain health, and more, so I’ll leave you with a list of the most nitrate-rich vegetables.

Dietary Nitrate and Exercise Performance: Benefits of Beetroot

Read the words “nitrate” and “nitrite”, and your mind may conjure thoughts of fertilizers, or supposedly carcinogenic compounds in processed meats that predispose people to cancer. But there’s now a strong body of evidence that consuming nitrates in vegetables confers many favorable effects on health, and we’ve known for over a decade that dietary nitrate often enhances exercise performance. In this blog, I’ll highlight some of what we currently know about dietary nitrate and exercise. I’ll leave you with simple strategies you can use to enjoy the benefits of dietary nitrate supplementation on exercise performance.

Is “Moderate” Drinking Really Healthy? Podcast with Todd White

Alcohol is fun and rewarding for a lot of us. So perhaps it is unsurprising that so much research and media attention has been directed toward the purported benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. We tend to want to believe that our culturally engrained habits are healthy.

But bubbling under the surface has been intense debate about the true merits of moderate drinking, and that has erupted over the past few months. A massive $100-million study investigating the health effects of moderate alcohol was terminated by the NIH in June due to undue influence by the alcohol industry. And a global analysis of the health impact of alcohol use was released last month, ominously concluding that there is no safe level of alcohol. This has cast serious doubt on the popular notion that drinking moderately is good for you.  Should we even be drinking alcohol at all?

I’ve avoided diving into this particular rabbit hole for a long time, because I wasn’t sure what to make of the literature, and because I wondered if my own biases might cloud my judgment. But this is too important and too timely an issue to ignore.

In this article, we will take a hard look into the relationship between alcohol and health. Why might alcohol be healthy? Why might it not be healthy? And what should we do about it? This is a bit of a longer post, but if you hang in there you’ll come away with a better understanding of the health effects of alcohol.

And if you want to learn about a potentially better way to imbibe, don’t miss the podcast at the end with Todd White, a curator of natural wines (we’ll explain what we mean by natural wines later).

But first, let’s talk about alcohol in general: what the research seems to say about it, and what it really says.

Dietary Protein and Cancer: mTOR, IGF-1, and Tradeoffs (Part 2)

In my last blog I focused on dietary protein and aging, introducing several concepts that are foundational to the main subject of this blog: dietary protein and cancer. So, how does the protein you eat influence your risk of cancer? And how might the protein you eat affect cancer if you already have this disease? In addition to addressing these questions, I’ll end by tying together what I’ve discussed as I share my current perspective on these matters.

Dietary Protein and Aging: mTOR, IGF-1, and Tradeoffs (Part 1)

At humanOS, we’re interested in helping people feel, look, and perform as well as possible throughout their lives, so how to stay youthful is often at the forefront of our minds. Think about this: Your age is the primary risk factor for afflictions like cardiovascular diseases, type two diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. But how can you defy these associations as the years go by? Behind the curtains, one thing I’m working on is a course on how you can optimize your protein intake to turn heads at the beach and ensure your musculoskeletal system is healthy and robust throughout life. As I drafted the script, I anticipated an interesting question that will surely be raised in response: yeah, but what about protein and aging? So, I’m addressing this query in the next two blogs. This is a really interesting topic and is definitely worth thinking about.

How to Avoid or Improve Back Pain Podcast with Stuart McGill

About 40% of people worldwide will get lower back pain at some point in life, and on any given day roughly 12% of adults are experiencing lower back pain. This crippling condition strongly influences quality of life, often affecting relationships with loved ones, impairing performance at work, and leading to substantial costs – not only healthcare expenses but also other expenditures due to absenteeism and so on. In today’s episode of humanOS Radio Greg interviews Dr. Stuart McGill about the many causes of back pain and what people can do to overcome their back pain.

Muscle and Health Podcast with Keith Baar

Perhaps you want to feel great about how you look at the beach. Maybe you play a sport in which it’s important to be powerful and strong relative to your weight. Or you might simply be interested in continuing to function well as years pass by. Whatever your goals are, you should be interested in the mass and quality of your muscle tissue. In this episode of humanOS Radio I speak with Dr. Keith Baar, Professor in Residence in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology in the UC Davis School of Medicine, about this important subject, addressing topics such as how to exercise and eat to optimize muscle mass and function across the lifespan.

The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine has been around for decades, so it’s easy to overlook it amidst hype over newer pills and powders. Yet I think it might be the most beneficial, underappreciated, and cost-effective supplement there is – if I could only recommend one supplement for everyone to take (an absurd scenario, I know), it would be creatine monohydrate. That’s a bold statement, so in this post I’ll support my stance. As a result, I hope that you too get to experience the diverse benefits of creatine supplementation.

Stem Cells May Prolong Human Healthspan. Podcast with Mike West

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Mike West, CEO of AgeX Therapeutics. Here, we discuss a variety of important questions related to the science and potential of stem cells to positively influence human health including: The distinction between progenitor cells and stem cells; what goes wrong with stem cells during senescence; current clinical uses of stem cell therapies; what Dr. West’s team is working on at AgeX; and the future of stem cell therapies.