#32: 💊 Why Does MDMA Cause a Hangover But Psilocybin and LSD Don’t?
Plus: The Only Blue Zone in the USA
In this note:
🔵 Loma Linda, CA - America’s Only Blue Zone
💊 Why Does MDMA Cause a Hangover But Psilocybin and LSD Don’t?
📚 Four Aunties and a Wedding
🔵 Loma Linda, CA - America’s Only Blue Zone
Loma Linda, a suburb of San Bernardino, is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles and has around 25,000 residents. What makes it so special is that its residents live up to 10 years longer on average than other Americans.
The Question is Why?
Residents of this community have a strong social connectivity, prioritizing their engagement with friends and family. This social connection lays the framework for living healthier and longer lives, as loneliness puts older adults at a higher risk for chronic health conditions.
Unlike other global blue zones such as Icaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy, Loma Linda lacks the Mediterranean aesthetic and beautiful landscapes often associated with Blue Zones.
Loma Linda being a blue zone is almost entirely due to the lifestyle habits of its residents.
Loma Linda has a large population of Seventh-Day Adventists, who typically adhere to a vegan or vegetarian diet, with whole foods like nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables which have nutrients that are key to increasing longevity.
Nearly 99% of Adventists do not smoke and only about 6% drink alcohol. Both behaviors have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and early death. Adventists also prioritize exercise, and get outside often for walks with others in their community.
Want to Live Like a Blue Zoner?
America’s only blue zone city is proof that daily lifestyle habits can lead to longer and healthier lives.
One big thing you can do is invest in your relationships and the people who give you energy, both mentally and physically. Beyond longevity, long-standing research has shown that people nearing the end of life who reflect on their happiness attribute it mainly to the strength of their social connections—no matter where they live. It’s quality over quantity, so even having as few as three connections helps.
Consider joining a sports league, a social club or a book club to find people who share your interests.
💊 Why Does MDMA Cause A Hangover But Psilocybin and LSD Don’t?
The high of MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy or Molly) makes you feel heightened levels of joy, bliss, relaxation, closeness to others and emotional openness. After that high comes the MDMA hangover. Often called a “crash” or “comedown” which is a combination of physical and psychological negative states.
The hangover is essentially the opposite of the MDMA high which can make users feel antisocial instead of sociable and tired instead of energetic. Users feel exhausted, their sleep pattern is interrupted and therefore it’s hard to get to sleep.
Those people with resilient serotonin systems may not experience such a drastic crash, however taking higher doses of MDMA, drinking or using other drugs simultaneously can worsen the comedown and hangover.
The reason the MDMA Comedown is so brutal
The MDMA hangover occurs because of the mechanism of action of the drug and how it affects neurotransmitters in the brain.
MDMA is a serotonin agonist and reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it activates the serotonin receptor, floods our brain cells with serotonin, and then the serotonin is not taken back up into the cell after it is used.
After several hours of activation, the serotonin receptors are fatigued and the brain becomes significantly depleted of serotonin. This contributes to the negative side effects (comedown) that users experience several days after a dose of MDMA. As the brain starts to replenish serotonin, users will start to feel normal again.
Why doesn’t this happen with LSD and Psilocybin?
LSD and Psilocybin are also serotonin (5-HT2A) receptor agonists. These drugs activate the serotonin receptor but do not block serotonin reuptake, like MDMA does. This means that the circulating serotonin can be taken back up by the cell and is not lost.
Therefore, after a high ends there is not a depletion of serotonin.
LSD and Psilocybin can still lead to intense highs and heightened energy levels, which can make a user feel tired after the drug’s effects have worn off.
Can you prevent an MDMA hangover?
There is no way to avoid it entirely, but users can take preventative measures. There is no current scientific evidence that supplements help ease the MDMA hangover, as no clinical trials have been conducted, but the anecdotal evidence from the internet is compelling. First, as always, it is important to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and hydrate. After an MDMA trip, it is also recommended to take 5-HTP, a supplement which the body converts to serotonin, along with vitamin B12, vitamin C and magnesium.
📚 Book of the Week
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Saturo
3 / 5 Stars
The sequel to Dial A to Aunties is hilarious and is the easy beach read you need this season. I give it 3 stars. At one point the antics of this Indo-Chinese family are simply absurd and unrealistic, but I suppose that is also part of the charm. Luckily the story wraps up before things get too out of hand.
⚡️ Check this Out
In the biohacking book, "The Spark Factor," Dr. Molly Maloof explores glucose spikes & energy balance. She found that many breads can cause blood sugar spikes when eaten alone.
She recalls a middle school experiment where she held a piece of bread in her mouth for a long time, and surprisingly the bread turned sweet in her mouth due to saliva breaking down carbs into maltose & fructose.
Maltose and fructose are two main sugars in grains & oats, which have a high glycemic index, causing rapid blood sugar spikes.
Turns out that oat milks took some heat on this topic in 2020 as oat milks are generally thought to be the healthy alternative to lactose-based milks. However, due to the high concentration of maltose and fructose, they can cause big blood sugar spikes.
To avoid big glucose spikes with oat milks in your morning coffee, try drinking a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it first, eating a balanced breakfast before your coffee, or exercising after.