The oligosaccharide stachyose

Two 2022 stachyose papers to follow on to Don’t take Beano if you’re stressed, which studied raffinose. Stachyose is in the raffinose oligosaccharide group with similar characteristics, and its content is usually larger in legumes. First is a rodent study:

“Stress can activate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and elevate glucocorticoids in the body (cortisol in humans and corticosterone in rodents). Glucocorticoid receptors are abundant in the hippocampus, and play an important role in stress-induced cognition alteration.

Corticosterone is often used to model cognitive impairment induced by stress. Long-term potentiation (LTP) deficit and cognitive impairment always coexist in stress models, and LTP impairment is often considered as one mechanism for stress-induced cognitive deficits.

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play critical roles both in normal synaptic functions and excitotoxicity in the central nervous system. D-serine, a coactivator of NMDA receptors, plays an important role in brain function.

In this study, we focused on effects of stachyose, on LTP impairment by corticosterone, gut flora, and the D-serine pathway.

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Data in this study showed that 7-consecutive-day intragastric (i.g.) administration of stachyose had protective effect. There was little effect via intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration.

To disturb gut flora, a combination of non-absorbable antibiotics (ATB) were applied. Results showed that ATB canceled the protective effect of stachyose without affecting LTP in control and corticosterone-treated mice, suggesting that stachyose may display its protective effects against LTP impairment by corticosterone via gut flora.

Further study is needed to uncover the relation between gut flora and the D-serine metabolic pathway.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2022.799244/full “Stachyose Alleviates Corticosterone-Induced Long-Term Potentiation Impairment via the Gut–Brain Axis”

One of this study’s references was Eat oats and regain cognitive normalcy.


A stachyose clinical trial is expected to complete this month:

“In the stachyose intervention group, each person took 5 g of stachyose daily before breakfast. Administration method was 100 ml of drinking water dissolved and taken orally for two months. Each person in the placebo control group took the same amount of maltodextrin daily. Stool samples of the 36 subjects were collected weekly.

Primary outcome measures:

  1. Expression of microRNA; and
  2. Structure of gut microbiota.”

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05392348 “Regulatory Effect of Stachyose on Gut Microbiota and microRNA Expression in Human”


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The misnomer of nonessential amino acids

Three papers, starting with a 2022 review:

“Ideal diets must provide all physiologically and nutritionally essential amino acids (AAs).

Proposed optimal ratios and amounts of true digestible AAs in diets during different phases of growth and production. Because dynamic requirements of animals for dietary AAs are influenced by a plethora of factors, data below as well as the literature serve only as references to guide feeding practices and nutritional research.

10.1177_15353702221082658-table5

Nutritionists should move beyond the ‘ideal protein’ concept to consider optimum ratios and amounts of all proteinogenic AAs in diets for mammals, birds, and aquatic animals, and, in the case of carnivores, also taurine. This will help formulate effectively low-protein diets for livestock (including swine and high-producing dairy cattle), poultry, fish, and crustaceans, as well as zoo and companion animals.”

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/15353702221082658 “The ‘ideal protein’ concept is not ideal in animal nutrition”


A second 2022 review focused on serine:

“The main dietary source of L-serine is protein, in which L-serine content ranges between 2 and 5%. At the daily intake of ~1 g protein per kg of body weight, the amount of serine obtained from food ranges between 1.4 and 3.5 g (13.2–33.0 mmol) per day in an adult.

Mechanisms of potential benefits of supplementing L-serine include increased synthesis of sphingolipids, decreased synthesis of 1-deoxysphingolipids, decrease in homocysteine levels, and increased synthesis of cysteine and its metabolites, including glutathione. L-serine supplementation has been suggested as a rational therapeutic approach in several disorders, particularly primary disorders of L-serine synthesis, neurodegenerative disorders, and diabetic neuropathy.

Unfortunately, the number of clinical studies evaluating dietary supplementation of L-serine as a possible therapy is small. Studies examining therapeutic effects of L-serine in CNS injury and chronic renal diseases, in which it is supposed that L-serine weakens glutamate neurotoxicity and lowers homocysteine levels, respectively, are missing.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/9/1987/htm “Serine Metabolism in Health and Disease and as a Conditionally Essential Amino Acid”


A 2021 review subject was D-serine, L-serine’s D-isoform:

“The N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor (NMDAR) and its co-agonist D-serine are currently of great interest as potential important contributors to cognitive function in normal aging and dementia. D-serine is necessary for activation of NMDAR and in maintenance of long-term potentiation, and is involved in brain development, neuronal connectivity, synaptic plasticity, and regulation of learning and memory.

The source of D-amino acids in mammals was historically attributed to diet or intestinal bacteria until racemization of L-serine by serine racemase was identified as the endogenous source of D-serine. The enzyme responsible for catabolism (breakdown) of D-serine is D-amino acid oxidase; this enzyme is most abundant in cerebellum and brainstem, areas with low levels of D-serine.

Activation of the NMDAR co-agonist-binding site by D-serine and glycine is mandatory for induction of synaptic plasticity. D-serine acts primarily at synaptic NMDARs whereas glycine acts primarily at extrasynaptic NMDARs.

In normal aging there is decreased expression of serine racemase and decreased levels of D-serine and down-regulation of NMDARs, resulting in impaired synaptic plasticity and deficits in learning and memory. In contrast, in AD there appears to be activation of serine racemase, increased levels of D-serine and overstimulation of NMDARs, resulting in cytotoxicity, synaptic deficits, and dementia.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.754032/full “An Overview of the Involvement of D-Serine in Cognitive Impairment in Normal Aging and Dementia”


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Fueling a gut fire

This 2022 article commented on a human / rodent study of gut dysbiosis:

“Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal track. Together with ulcerative colitis, another major type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), these intestinal disorders affect millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide.

Excessive T helper 1 (Th1) and Th17 cell responses have been documented to act as important mediators of CD pathogenesis. An imbalance between regulatory T (Treg) cells and effector T cells in the intestinal tissue microenvironment is crucial to promote gut inflammation in CD.

Lysophosphatidylserine (LysoPS) exaggerates intestinal inflammation by fueling IFNγ-producing Th1 cells via metabolic reprogramming and chromatin modification (panel A). While this work has provided novel functional insights into dysbiotic microbiota–derived LysoPS in CD pathogenesis (panel B), it also raises several questions. 

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By employing multiple animal colitis models, the authors have shown that administration of LysoPS was detrimental in T cell–driven colitis, while having no significant impact on pathogenesis of T cell–independent dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis.

Considering the complex nature of LysoPS in regulating responses of different immune cell types in a given tissue environment under a particular physiological or pathological condition, more research is needed to elucidate the precise role of LysoPS in CD before targeting these multifunctional bioactive lipids to treat human gastrointestinal disorders becomes a reality.”

https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20220723 “Fueling the fire in the gut”


The referenced study:

  • “We identified key metabolites derived from dysbiotic microbiota that induce enhanced Th1 responses and exaggerate colitis in mouse models.
  • Patients with CD showed elevated LysoPS concentration in their feces, accompanied by a higher relative abundance of microbiota possessing a gene encoding the phospholipid-hydrolyzing enzyme phospholipase A.
  • Our findings elaborate on the mechanism by which metabolites elevated in patients with CD harboring dysbiotic microbiota promote Th1-mediated intestinal pathology.”

https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20211291 “Lysophosphatidylserines derived from microbiota in Crohn’s disease elicit pathological Th1 response”


When standard DSS and TNBS models of colitis don’t account for observed effects, other avenues need to be investigated. Relationships with our gut microbiota are complicated.

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Food combination effects

Two 2022 studies, starting with “Increasing bound antioxidant compounds through their reaction with soluble phenolic compounds”:

“Wheat, oat, rye, and rice bran samples were reacted with different concentrations of beverages (green tea infusion, black tea infusion, espresso, and red wine) rich in various soluble phenolic compounds.

  • Green tea infusion was found to be the most effective beverage.
  • pH rather than time and temperature had significant effects on the reaction.
  • Neutral or slightly alkaline conditions (pH 7.0-7.9) and mild temperature (at about 50 °C) were found to be optimum to increase antioxidant capacity of cereal bran samples.
  • Total antioxidant capacity of oat bran treated with green tea infusion at optimum conditions (53.3 °C, pH 7.4, 60.0 min) reached 226.42±0.88 mmol.
  • Free amino groups in cereal bran were also found to decrease 32–95% after treatment.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.12017 “Optimization of reaction conditions for the design of cereal based dietary fibers with high antioxidant capacity” (not freely available)

Hadn’t thought about purposely combining oats with green tea before. I eat whole oats, though, not oat bran.


The same coauthors earlier used an in vitro digestion procedure to investigate combinations of 20 foods purchased from local markets:

“Individual antioxidant capacity of a single compound is not adequate to assess antioxidant potential of food or human plasma. Compounds always present as natural mixtures, and may possess similar, overlapping, or different but complementary effects.

Certain types of foods co-existing in daily diet were investigated in terms of their combined total antioxidant capacity (TAC) determined by the QUENCHER method, which allows physiological evaluation without any extraction procedure. Hydroxyl radical scavenging capacity was also determined in bioaccessible fractions of foods.

Interaction types were determined at each step:

  • Synergism refers to a greater overall effect in the combination of two samples compared to simple addition of their individual effects, which means that TACmeasured is greater (p < 0.05) than TACestimated.
  • The phenomenon in which a lower (p < 0.05) net interactive effect than the sum of their individual effects (TACmeasured < TACestimated), is known as antagonism.
  • Additive interaction occurs when a net interactive antioxidant effect is as same (p > 0.05) as the sum of individual effects.

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  • Seeds and nuts interacted antagonistically with other foods due to the pro-oxidant potential of transition metals on lipid rich system.
  • Protein-phenol interactions masking TACs of phenol-rich foods before digestion could stabilize and regenerate phenolic compounds under gastrointestinal digestion conditions, providing a synergistic interaction.
  • Intestinal conditions promoting reaction between antioxidant compounds and radicals resulted in increases in TACs of foods.
  • Enzymatic colonic digestion caused significant increases in TACs of certain foods.

These findings provide a basis to increase antioxidant activity in daily diet and new food formulations.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2665927122000351 “Effect of food combinations and their co-digestion on total antioxidant capacity under simulated gastrointestinal conditions”


View this second study as representative or hypothesis-generating, but not specifically definitive. No research group will use its resources to investigate even the 190 pairwise combinations of 20 foods, much less all 616,645 combinations.

Also, since food is digested all in the same place and time, contexts for each combination’s synergistic, antagonistic, or additive activities may be influenced by other combinations’ results. See the second study of Dietary contexts matter for a similar investigation.

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Oat product biological effects

Two oat species studies, starting with Avena nuda:

“Oats are a good source of carbohydrates and fibers. They contain more proteins and fats than other grains, and they are packed with vitamins (vitamin E, thiamine, etc.), minerals (Ca, Fe, Mn, etc.), and antioxidants (avenanthramides, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, flavonoids, etc.).

β-glucan contained in naked oats has multiple health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing risk of type II diabetes, and reducing low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels.

There are two key enzymes in the hydrolysis of starch: α-amylase and α-glucosidase. Inhibiting activity of these enzymes can delay degradation of starch and absorption of glucose, thereby inhibiting rapid rise of postprandial blood glucose levels. α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibitors are often used in treatment of type II diabetes.

This study investigated inhibitory effects of free and bound bioactive extracts from naked oats on amylase and glucosidase activity.

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α-amylase inhibition by free (A) and bound (B) compound extracts from naked oats. The half maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of free and bound compound extracts were 0.09 and 1.33 mg/mL, respectively, higher than that of acarbose (0.03 mg/mL), the positive control.

Low digestibility of naked oats will help facilitate development of low-glycemic foods.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643821010550 “Endogenous bioactive compounds of naked oats (Avena nuda L.) inhibit α-amylase and α-glucosidase activity”

“Low digestibility of naked oats” referred to human capabilities, not to those of our gut microbiota. See A healthspan improvement for more on acarbose.


A second study investigated uses for Avena sativa hull and bran by-products:

“β-Glucan is mainly found in oat bran (OB) along with various phenolic compounds. Oat husk (OH) is a by-product produced during oat processing for food purposes, about 25–33% of its weight.

Ultrafine grinding or micronization is a new technique used for making a super fine powder with a particle size of 1–100 μm and good surface properties. This very fine powder is characterized by higher solubility, dispersibility, and water absorption, which improves quality of target food products. Micronization considerably enhances efficiency of extraction of phytochemicals, and is widely employed to extract natural polysaccharides from different bioresources.

OH is especially rich in insoluble fiber such as cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin, whereas both soluble and insoluble fiber occurs in OB in a ratio of 1:5. OB has a higher soluble dietary fiber content than wheat or rice bran.

The optimal composition, 60–70% of OH and 30–40% of OB, allows for obtaining a product with 60–70% fiber and enhanced antioxidant activity due to bioactive substances and their synergistic effect. The resulting product can be a valuable additive to various food and dietary supplements.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/27/9/2621/htm “Fiber Preparation from Micronized Oat By-Products: Antioxidant Properties and Interactions between Bioactive Compounds”


See Oat species comparisons of the good stuff for more comparisons of their hulls.

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Take β-glucan for new blood vessels

This 2022 cell study investigated yeast cell wall β-glucan’s effects on angiogenesis:

“Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is essential for embryonic development and physiological damage repair, such as wound healing and post-ischemic tissue restoration. It is also essential for pathological processes, such as diabetic retinopathy, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis.

We evaluated physical and functional interactions of β-glucan with HDAC5, including the scratched wound, tube formation, and rat aortic ring assays. β-glucan-induced HDAC5 pathway mediates cell migration and formation of tubes and microvessels in vitro and ex vivo.

β-glucan angiogenesis

Our findings demonstrate that β-glucan-induced HDAC5 phosphorylation is important in endothelial cell angiogenesis. Further investigations into how β-glucan phosphorylates HDAC5 are required. There is also a need to identify a receptor that specifically binds to β-glucan in vascular endothelial cells.

β-glucan could be useful in developing new strategies in therapeutic angiogenesis for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0141813022010273 “Yeast beta-glucan mediates histone deacetylase 5-induced angiogenesis in vascular endothelial cells” (not freely available). Thanks to Dr. Chan-Gi Pack for providing a copy.


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Young gut, young eyes

I’ll highlight this 2022 rodent study findings of effects on eye health:

“We tested the hypothesis that manipulating intestinal microbiota influences development of major comorbidities associated with aging and, in particular, inflammation affecting the brain and retina. Using fecal microbiota transplantation, we exchanged intestinal microbiota of young (3 months), old (18 months), and aged (24 months) mice.

Transfer of aged donor microbiota into young mice accelerates age-associated central nervous system inflammation, retinal inflammation, and cytokine signaling. It promotes loss of key functional protein in the eye, effects which are coincident with increased intestinal barrier permeability.

These detrimental effects can be reversed by transfer of young donor microbiota.

young and aged fmt

We provide the first direct evidence that aged intestinal microbiota drives retinal inflammation, and regulates expression of the functional visual protein RPE65. RPE65 is vital for maintaining normal photoceptor function via trans-retinol conversion. Mutations or loss of function are associated with retinitis pigmentosa, and are implicated in age-related macular degeneration.

Our finding that age-associated decline in host retinal RPE65 expression is induced by an aged donor microbiota, and conversely is rescued by young donor microbiota transfer, suggests age-associated gut microbiota functions or products regulate visual function.”

https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-022-01243-w “Fecal microbiota transfer between young and aged mice reverses hallmarks of the aging gut, eye, and brain”


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Unconscious act-outs all the way down

Haven’t curated a study for a while that actually detracted from science. This 2022 human clinical trial that polluted broccoli sprout compounds research provoked me into it:

“Forty-nine participants enrolled, including 26 (53%) females with median use of 20 cigarettes/day. Low and higher-dose broccoli seed and sprout extracts (BSSE) showed a mean bioavailability of 11% and 10%, respectively.

pack years

Participants were treated for 2 weeks with both low and higher-dose BSSE (148 µmol vs. 296 µmol of glucoraphanin daily), separated by a 2-week washout. A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the sustainability of benzene and acrolein detoxification by higher-dose BSSE over 12 weeks is now planned in otherwise healthy, heavy tobacco smokers.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/14/9/2129/htm “Randomized Crossover Trial Evaluating Detoxification of Tobacco Carcinogens by Broccoli Seed and Sprout Extract in Current Smokers”


A few unanswered questions:

  • Why would anyone who had a grasp of the reality of their life in this century still smoke? Could their lack of cognition be helped by anyone other than themself?
  • Why would researchers use a suboptimal, ethically compromised product that delivered much less than sulforaphane’s 70-80% bioavailability? Why did they ignore previous research, and neither find nor develop a product that delivered adequate sulforaphane?
  • Why would researchers not consider combined aspects of known insufficient dose / product efficacy / subject sample size / treatment delivery mode and duration? Because sponsors’ money was available, and will continue – regardless of screwups – with another all-expenses-paid, worthless clinical trial?
  • Do “healthy, heavy tobacco smokers” even exist outside of statistical models?
  • Do researchers feel broccoli sprout compounds research is nothing more than a gravy train to keep money flowing to them? If not, why don’t they act differently?
  • Why do I spend even one minute of my one precious life to highlight their and my unconscious act-outs of unsatisfied needs? Maybe if readers understand these misshapenned agendas, they may understand similar circumstances?

Exercise substitutes?

Two papers, starting with a 2022 abstract of an ongoing in vitro study with rodent cells:

“Exercise mimetics may target and activate the same mechanisms that are upregulated with exercise administration alone. This is particularly useful under conditions where contractile activity is compromised due to muscle disuse, disease, or aging.

Sulforaphane and Urolithin A represent our preliminary candidates for antioxidation and mitophagy, respectively, for maintaining mitochondrial turnover and homeostasis. Preliminary results suggest that these agents may be suitable candidates as exercise mimetics, and set the stage for an examination of synergistic effects.”

https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1096/fasebj.2022.36.S1.R3745 “Exercise mimicry: Characterization of nutraceutical agents that may contribute to mitochondrial homeostasis in skeletal muscle” (study not available)


A second 2022 paper reviewed what’s known todate regarding urolithins:

“Urolithins (Uros) are metabolites produced by gut microbiota from the polyphenols ellagitannins (ETs) and ellagic acid (EA). ETs are one of the main groups of hydrolyzable tannins. They can occur in different plant foods, including pomegranates, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.), walnuts, many tropical fruits, medicinal plants, and herbal teas, including green and black teas.

Bioavailability of ETs and EA is very low. Absorption of these metabolites could be increased by co-ingestion with dietary fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

Effects of other experimental factors: post-intake time, duration of administration, diet type (standard and high-fat), and ET dosage (without, low, and high ET intake) in ETs metabolism were evaluated in blood serum and urine of rats consuming strawberry phenolics. Highest concentrations were obtained after 2–4 days of administration.

Various crucial issues need further research despite significant evolution of urolithin research. Overall, whether in vivo biological activity endorsed to Uros is due to each specific metabolite and(or) physiological circulating mixture of metabolites and(or) gut microbial ecology associated with their production is still poorly understood.

  • Ability of Uros to cross the blood-brain barrier and the nature of metabolites and concentrations reached in brain tissues need to be clarified.
  • Specific in vivo activity for each free and conjugated Uro metabolite is unknown. Studies on different Uro metabolites and their phase-II conjugates are needed to understand their role in human health.
  • Evidence on safety and impact of Uros on human health is still scarce and only partially available for Uro-A.
  • It is unknown whether there are potential common links between gut microbial ecologies of the two unambiguously described metabotypes so far, i.e., equol (isoflavones) and Uros (ellagitannins).
  • Gut microbes responsible for producing different Uros still need to be better identified and characterized, and biochemical pathways and enzymes involved.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.202101019 “Urolithins: a Comprehensive Update on their Metabolism, Bioactivity, and Associated Gut Microbiota”


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Blood pressure and brain age

This 2021 human study investigated associations between blood pressure and MRI measurements:

“We estimated how a validated measure of brain health related to changes in BP over a period of 12 years. The main findings of this study were:

  • All BP measures were associated with older BrainAGE;
  • Associations were stronger in men than women;
  • Associations were not only detected in hypertensive individuals but across the whole BP range; and
  • Individuals with optimal blood pressure (110/70) presented with the lowest BrainAGE.

These findings support the view that maintaining blood pressure in an optimal range (SBP < 115, DBP < 75) across the lifespan starting before mid-life (i.e., in early adulthood and before) is essential to maintain good cerebral health.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8523821/ “Optimal Blood Pressure Keeps Our Brains Younger”


I’m making progress on a New Year’s resolution. Here’s how I started 2022:

bp 2021

Current readings show both lower averages and variability:

bp 2022

~12% decreases in average systolic (111 – 126)/126 and diastolic (69 – 78)/78 pressures over 135 days. 🙂 I measure blood pressure every day right after I wake up.

What caused these decreases? Continuing what I was already doing. The top factor is probably that at lunch every day I take 600 mcg of Vitamin K2 MK-7 along with a gram of flax oil.

I started taking K2 this time last year per Vitamin K2 – What can it do? Apparently its effects are gradual and develop slowly. Vitamin K2 and hypertension may also be relevant.

I came across this study from its mention in today’s video:

Coffee improves information’s signal-to-noise ratio

This 2022 rodent study investigated caffeine’s effects:

“A majority of molecular and neurophysiological studies explored the impact of acute rather than repeated exposure to caffeine. We show that, in bulk tissue analysis, chronic caffeine treatment reduced metabolic processes related to lipids, mitochondria, and translation in mouse hippocampus. In sharp contrast to what was observed in bulk tissue, we found that caffeine induced a neuronal autonomous epigenomic response related to synaptic plasticity activation.

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Regular caffeine intake exerts a long-term effect on neuronal activity/plasticity in the adult brain, lowering metabolic-related processes, and simultaneously finely tuning activity-dependent regulations. In non-neuronal cells, caffeine decreases activities under basal conditions, and improves signal-to-noise ratio during information encoding in brain circuits, contributing to bolster salience of information.

Overall, our data prompt the novel concept that regular caffeine intake promotes a more efficient ability of the brain to encode experience-related events. By coordinating epigenomic changes in neuronal and non-neuronal cells, regular caffeine intake promotes a fine-tuning of metabolism in resting conditions.”

https://www.jci.org/articles/view/149371 “Caffeine intake exerts dual genome-wide effects on hippocampal metabolism and learning-dependent transcription”


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Eat broccoli sprouts for stress

This 2022 review subject was aspects of sulforaphane regulating stress:

“Sulforaphane (SFN) shows great versatility in turning on different cellular responses. This isothiocyanate acts as a master regulator of cellular homeostasis due to its antioxidant response and cytoplasmic, mitochondrial, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein modulation. SFN acts as an effective strategy to counteract oxidative stress, apoptosis, and ER stress, among others as seen in different injury models.

The ER is a complex membrane system, involved in several cellular processes including lipid synthesis and distribution, and Ca2+ storage and signaling. The ER is highly dynamic and changes according to cellular demand (e.g., hypoxia, mitochondrial dysfunction, or oxidative stress), leading to accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in ER lumen, known as ER stress.

ER stress is buffered by unfolded protein response (UPR) activation, a homeostatic signaling network that orchestrates recovery of ER function by decreasing the burden of misfolded proteins. If stress signals continue it could lead to apoptosis activation.

Studies highlight a close interrelationship between ER stress and oxidative stress, two events driven by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species. Responses to stress inevitably perpetuate, and act as a vicious cycle that triggers development of different pathologies, such as cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and others.

The PERK/Nrf2 pathway communicates oxidative stress and ER stress:

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SFN couples oxidative and ER stress to promote cellular redox homeostasis. Further studies in animal and human models are required to elucidate pathways and proteins involved in differential responses orchestrated by SFN, emphasizing that responses will depend on cell type and kind of pathology, as well as SFN concentration.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320522002545 “Role of sulforaphane in endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis through regulation of the antioxidant response” (not freely available) Thanks to Dr. Alejandro Silva for providing a copy.


Every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser has more on UPR.

Brain changes

This 2022 human study investigated healthy young adult brain changes using MRI and epigenetic clock technologies:

“We aimed to characterize the association of epigenetic age (i.e. estimated DNA methylation age) and its acceleration with surface area, cortical thickness, and volume in healthy young adults. It is largely unknown how accelerated epigenetic age affects multiple cortical features among young adults from 19 to 49 years. Prior findings imply not only that these dynamic changes reveal different aspects of cortical aging, but also that chronological age itself is not a reliable factor to understand the process of cortical aging.

accelerated epigenetic age vs brain features

Seventy-nine young healthy individuals participated in this study. Findings of our study should be interpreted within the context of relatively small sample size, without older adults, and with epigenetic age assessed from saliva.

Additional and unique regional changes due to advanced and accelerated epigenetic age, compared to chronological age-related changes, suggest that epigenetic age could be a viable biomarker of cortical aging. Longitudinal and cross-sectional studies with a larger sample and wider age range are necessary to characterize ongoing effects of epigenetic cortical aging, not only for healthy but also for pathological aging.”

https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac043 “The effects of epigenetic age and its acceleration on surface area, cortical thickness, and volume in young adults” (not freely available) Thanks to Dr. Yong Jeon Cheong for providing a copy.

Who Americans are

A 2022 review of an Admiral Hyman Rickover biography:

“Why is the US populated by so many unreasonable, opposite, entrepreneurial thinkers? We’re not a race as much as we are or we’re descended from a collection of people from around the world who somewhat uniquely decided to risk everything (including their lives) to cross oceans and borders in pursuit not of security, but freedom.

Americans aren’t (name your country) as much as they’re outliers from those countries who had the drive and courage to make the ultimate entrepreneurial leap: starting over in an all-new place. Rickover was one of them.

He made sure that seagoing accommodations were far better for submariners who operated his nuclear subs relative to the horrendous conditions that prevailed in the diesel submarines of the past. He said ‘Don’t tell me what’s going great. I only want to know what’s going wrong.’

His family escaping horrid poverty didn’t look too appealing upon arrival at Ellis Island, but that’s the point. The U.S. won the so-called War on Poverty in the late 18th century by virtue of principles of freedom that it was founded upon. Poverty isn’t cured by handouts as much as freedom is always the answer.”

https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2022/02/24/book_review_marc_wortmans_excellent_admiral_hyman_rickover_818373.html


I didn’t have positive expectations of an interview forty years ago with Admiral Rickover for a position on his staff. I was selected for being top of my Supply Corps class, but wasn’t the Type A personality he wanted for his purposes.

It was still instructive to talk with a person who thoroughly understood what he wanted and how to get there.

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A healthspan improvement

Two 2022 publishments, starting with an excerpt from an informative interview with the Director of one of the three Interventions Testing Program centers:

“A paper submitted this week is one in which we tried a combination of rapamycin plus acarbose. Rapamycin works very well in male and female mice, while acarbose works significantly in both sexes but has a much stronger effect in males.

What we found in males is that when you give rapamycin and acarbose together, you do better than either rapamycin by itself or acarbose by itself. That combination of drugs together gives male survival a 29% boost.

That’s the largest percentage increase we’ve seen in males or females. This combination is the best thing we’ve ever had for either sex.

When you give acarbose and rapamycin together to females, they don’t do any better or any worse than on rapamycin alone. This is not too surprising because acarbose gives only a small effect in females. We expected it wouldn’t have a big boost over rapamycin alone in female animals, and that’s what we found.”

https://www.lifespan.io/news/prof-richard-miller-on-the-intervention-testing-program/


The study mentioned above:

“C57BL/6 mice were fed a cocktail diet containing one-half the dose of each drug compared to full dose cocktail diet and control diet. Half-dose drug cocktail was just as effective as full dose in preventing age-related cognitive impairment, but was less effective in other physical performance tests. Half-dose cocktail also had no effect on reducing pathological lesions.

Rapamycin was the major contributor for the cocktail’s effect on suppressing cognitive impairment. Decreased neuronal activation and impaired cognitive performance during aging occurs in both humans and rodents. Chronic mTOR attenuation by rapamycin has shown benefits of restoring deficits in neurovascular coupling response and cerebrovascular dysfunction in aging rodent models.

C57BL/6 female mice fed chow with acarbose performed equally well in grip strength as females fed chow with cocktail. That this sex-dependent result in strength performance was not seen in cocktail treated mice suggests that rapamycin and phenylbutyrate contributed in some way.

grip strength

HET3 4-way cross is a useful strain to help validate effects of the cocktail on aging parameters in C57BL/6 mice. HET3 mice were tested in the same manner, age, and timing as C57BL/6 mice, but only with the drug cocktail compared to control chow.

grip strength het3 mice

Grip strength force was normalized by body weight measured on the testing date so that peak force was expressed relative to body weight.

The drug cocktail was very effective in delaying progression of age-related pathology in all organs examined. We view this as a vital component of the study since mice were treated for only three months.

Administration of a cocktail has a major advantage over any individual drug tested in this study. A combination of three drugs previously shown to enhance lifespan and health span in mice is able to delay aging phenotypes more effectively and more robustly than any individual drug in the cocktail when started at middle age and given for a short period of time.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-11229-1 “Short term treatment with a cocktail of rapamycin, acarbose and phenylbutyrate delays aging phenotypes in mice”


It makes evolutionary sense for male mice to benefit more from anti-aging treatments than females.  Per How well do single-mother rodent studies inform us about human fathers?

“The Rattus and Mus genera used in almost all rodent research aren’t part of the 6% in which fathers also provide offspring care.”

There probably isn’t an evolutionary advantage for male mice to live much longer after sperm donation. Female mice don’t cache sperm.

It’s similar to studies in which treatments only benefited subjects who started out deficient. This interview hinted at how females’ healthspans and lifespans were already evolutionarily protected, with only male mice benefiting from 17α-estradiol treatment.

Female protection may have limits in humans. For example, most whale species don’t experience menopause. In those that do, like Orca, menopause is thought to be evolutionarily determined in order to keep females’ children from competing for resources with females’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s a hypothesis, though, as those species’ male lifespans aren’t adequately measured.

Rodent research and development on interventions and doses continues. 37 months is a human equivalent to this study’s 3-month treatment. What will effective anti-aging treatments be for humans?


More strange birds

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