Which targeted nutritional approaches can bolster micro-preemies’ brain development?

The volume of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and calories consumed by very vulnerable preemies significantly contributes to increased brain volume and white matter development, however additional research is needed to determine specific nutritional approaches that best support these infants’ developing brains.

Source: Which targeted nutritional approaches can bolster micro-preemies’ brain development? Brain development in very low birthweight preemies lags behind peers born full term — ScienceDaily

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Leg exercise is critical to brain and nervous system health

New research shows that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells. The groundbreaking study fundamentally alters brain and nervous system medicine — giving doctors new clues as to why patients with motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and other neurological diseases often rapidly decline when their movement becomes limited.

Source: Leg exercise is critical to brain and nervous system health: In a new take on the exercise truism ‘use it, or lose it,’ researchers show neurological health is an interactive relationship with our muscles and our world — ScienceDaily

Rehabilitating lactate: From poison to cure

When George Brooks first began investigating lactate, or lactic acid, sports physiologists saw it as a muscle poison that lowered performance. His research over decades has reversed that picture, showing that it is the body’s way of revving up for exercise or to fight disease. Clinicians are now planning clinical trials to use lactate to treat traumatic brain injury and a host of illnesses, including heart attacks, inflammation and swelling.

Source: Rehabilitating lactate: From poison to cure: Once thought to cause muscle fatigue, it’s now being investigated as a treatment for disease — ScienceDaily

Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions

Findings from two new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.

Source: Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: Data represent first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions — ScienceDaily

How the gut influences neurologic disease

A study sheds new light on the connection between the gut and the brain, untangling the complex interplay that allows the byproducts of microorganisms living in the gut to influence the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Source: How the gut influences neurologic disease: Researchers are identifying the key players involved in the gut-brain connection and their role in disease progression — ScienceDaily

Sitting is bad for your brain — not just your metabolism or heart

Studies show that too much sitting, like smoking, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Researchers found sedentary behavior is linked to thinning in regions of the brain that are critical to memory formation.

Source: Sitting is bad for your brain — not just your metabolism or heart: Thinning in brain regions important for memory linked to sedentary habits — ScienceDaily

The Many Benefits of Sauna Use

While not exactly a new thing, using the sauna has been shown somewhat recently to have tremendous health benefits. More and more quality research is coming out demonstrating that regular sauna use is so beneficial for people in so many ways.

 

Then and Now

Sauna is a Finnish word referring to the traditional Finnish bath and/or bathhouse itself. A sauna as thought of today, is originated in Finland. A modern sauna is usually a simple, wooden room, with varying heat sources in the center. The most common heat source is an electric heater, filled with rocks. The way a sauna achieves such high temperatures without harming people is by controlling the humidity and air flow.The lower humidity in saunas compared to steam rooms is what allows for higher temperatures.

 

Benefits

There are many benefits of regular sauna use. Let’s dive right in.

Circulation

  • Heat causes increased blood flow
  • Oxygenation of cells, organs, and tissue
  • Mitochondrial boost
  • Metabolic waste flushing
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

 

Performance

  • Elevated heart rate: As mentioned above a sauna session will elevate heart rate to a level similar to medium intensity exercise
  • Increased levels of IGF-1: Some studies have shown increases by as much as 200%-330%! IGF-1 is a hormone that causes anabolism (muscle growth), and recovery from exercise. Both leading to increased muscle growth
  • Increased insulin sensitivity: Great for overall health and muscle growth
  • Increase in heat shock proteins(HSP): Also aids in muscle growth by preventing catabolism (muscle breakdown) and increasing MPS (muscle protein synthesis)
  • Reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

 

Overall health/longevity

  • 48% lower risk of heart disease
  • Increased insulin sensitivity: Insulin resistance/poor insulin sensitivity is a common factor in many metabolic disorders
  • Increase in FOXO3: Gene associated with longevity and protects against DNA damage
  • Heart rate increase: Regular elevation of heart rate increases heart health
  • Heat Shock Proteins: HSP activate FOXO3 which help to prevent heart, brain, and metabolic disorders. HSP also increase lifespan and are associated with centenarians
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Increases in attention and memory
  • Myelin growth: Myelin is the sheath around nerve cells facilitating signal transmission
  • Neurogenesis: Growth of new brain cells
  • 24% or 40% (depending on frequency) reduction in all cause mortality
  • 27% or 50% (depending on frequency) reduction in cardiovascular death
  • Up to 65% reduction in Alzheimer’s and/or dementia (depending on frequency)
health benefits of sauna use
Inside a sauna

Infrared Sauna

As this technology is somewhat new, less data is available. What has been observed thus far is that full spectrum ( as opposed to only mid or near spectrum) offers the most benefits. Infrared saunas are preferred more and more as there is less heat, so they are more bearable to some. Similar to more traditional saunas, infrared saunas can provide the following benefits:

  • Detox
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Mood enhancement
  • Similar circulation benefits
  • Cell health
  • Wound healing
  • Oxygenation

 

How Much and How Often

Is probably what you want to know now. Most of the data shows that benefits start at a frequency of 2-3 sessions a week, but more robust benefits are observed at a frequency of 4-7 sessions per week. As far as duration and temperature, that hasn’t been determined exactly, but a sweet spot seems to be about 174 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

 

 

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