#36: 🧠 Eating A High-Fiber Diet May Prevent Alzheimer’s
Plus: The Science of DMT
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🧠 Eating A High-Fiber Diet May Prevent Alzheimer’s
💥 DMT: Nature's Psychedelic
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🧠 Eating A High-Fiber Diet May Prevent Alzheimer’s
A groundbreaking discovery from the University of Nevada Las Vegas suggests that modifications in our gut microbiome, influenced by our diet, could potentially impact the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
The gut microbiome represents the diverse collection of microorganisms inhabiting our digestive tract. These microorganisms play a significant role in various aspects of human health, including metabolism, immunity, and even mental health. An unbalanced gut microbiome affects brain health through the secretion of toxins and short-chain fatty acids, which modulates gut permeability and numerous immune functions.
Our diet is what connects our brain and our gut. The foods we consume can drastically influence the composition of our gut microbiome, shaping our health in profound ways.
Observational studies indicate that Alzheimer’s Disease patients have reduced microbiome diversity, which could contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.
How to increase microbiome diversity?
Our gut microbiome like to eat fiber. And not just any fiber, they like to feast on fermentable (soluble) fibers.
Fermentable (soluble) fibers can increase the number of the friendly gut bacteria and balance their populations. When the friendly-gut bacteria digest fermentable fibers, they produce by-products of short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which is known to have powerful health benefits such as cancer-protective effects in the colon.
In addition to fermentable fibers there are two more types of fiber, viscous and insoluble.
Viscous fibers, which can lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and reduce blood sugar after meals by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
Insoluble fibers, which speed the passage of waste through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestine relatively intact and your body does not absorb any of its calories.
How much daily fiber is recommended?
Unfortunately in many countries today, such as the U.S. and Australia, many people consume less fiber than recommended by nutritionists.
In a study published last year of 3500 Japanese people, it was found that the groups who ate diets higher in fiber had a lower risk of developing dementia.
Total dietary fiber intake should be from 25-30 grams from food, not supplements. If that seems like a lot, here is an example of how to get there:
1 Apple = 4 grams
1/2 cup kidney beans = 7-8 grams
1/2 cup garbanzo beans = 7-8 grams
1 cup carrots = 3-4 grams
1 cup of strawberries = 4 grams
Adding fiber to your diet is not just about physical health; it's about protecting your cognitive health. This study serves as a potent reminder of the old adage, "you are what you eat” and that you are in control of your daily food choices.
DMT: Nature's Psychedelic
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in many plants and some animals. On a chemical level, DMT belongs to the tryptamine family, which also includes molecules like serotonin and melatonin, both crucial to human mental health and well-being.
DMT has a deep history of being a crucial ingredient in traditional shamanic practices across South America. One of the most well-known is Ayahuasca, a mixture of two plants: the pounded bark from Banisteriopsis caapi vines and leaves from Psychotria viridis, the latter of which contains DMT. The Ayahuasca brew is still used today by indigenous communities in the Amazon for spiritual and medicinal purposes.
Synthesis of DMT
DMT was first synthesized in a laboratory setting in 1931 by British chemist Richard Manske. However, its psychedelic properties were not recognized until the mid-20th century. The pioneering work of Hungarian chemist and psychiatrist Stephen Szára in the 1950s demonstrated DMT's psychoactive effects, bringing this compound to the attention of the scientific community and sparking decades of research and debate.
Why Do People Take DMT?
People primarily take DMT for its intense psychedelic effects. These include profound alterations in sensory perception, a distorted sense of time, and experiences of ineffable spiritual or mystical states. Some individuals seek out these experiences for personal exploration or spiritual growth, while others may be motivated by curiosity about the mind-altering effects of psychedelics.
What Does a Trip Feel Like?
Dr. Rick Strassman researched DMT between 1990 and 1995, injecting 60 volunteers with DMT. His book, aptly named, “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” recounts these sessions and Strassman’s research.
Many report that DMT has shown them the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. An ego-death or loss of “self” is often experienced, and many report interactions with a “being” or an “other.” While many users enjoy positive, transformative experiences with DMT, it's important to remember that it can also lead to uncomfortable or distressing experiences.
A DMT trip can last up to 30 to 45 minutes when smoked, and up to 4 hours if ingested. When smoked the effects are felt almost immediately, but if consumed by way of Ayahuasca, it has to pass through your digestive system first, and the first effects may kick in within 30 to 45 minutes.
How Does it Work?
Scientifically, DMT is known to primarily affect the serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to its dramatic impact on perception and cognition. However, the full mechanism of action and its implications on consciousness remain subjects of ongoing research.
Strassman’s book makes the bold case that DMT is naturally released by the pineal gland in the brain, and facilitates the soul’s movement in and out of the body. He also claims that DMT is an integral part of the birth and death experiences, and is released during dreaming.
However, scientific evidence is not consistent with Strassman’s ideas. The pineal gland’s principal function is to produce melatonin and regulate circadian rhythm. It has been shown that very minute concentrations of DMT have been detected in the brain, but are not sufficient enough to produce psychoactive effects. More research is needed to understand the origin of DMT in the brain, and how stress and near death experiences can alter states of consciousness.
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