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I haven’t written a post in a while — mostly because I’ve been swamped writing other things (grants, papers, dissertation, etc.). During that time, I finally published my first first-authored paper, which I will discuss here. You can find the full article, titled Skeletal muscle mitochondrial adaptations induced by long-term cigarette smoke exposure, on the AJP Endo & Metab website (or contact me).

Does fat cause diabetes?

Disclaimer: We all have a bias in this debate. Sometimes I agree more with the low-carb crowd, but other times I can’t stand the low-carb dogma. I can’t be perfect in this analysis, but I will at least explain my rationale.

This topic doesn’t need a long introduction. The big debate that has persisted in nutrition for decades is simple: Does the high consumption of dietary fats induce insulin resistance, per se. The “per se” part is the most important nuance in this question. I think we can say with a good amount of certainty that overeating is a direct…

Gee, has it been a long time since I was able to write on Medium. I’ve been swamped with lots of stuff that I will hopefully be able to post on here eventually. A lot of what I’ve been up to involves learning R, writing a few manuscripts, collecting data, and progressing with my degree.

In any case, I’d like to discuss the latest research in ketone metabolism as published by Petrick et al. in the Journal of Physiology. This project appears to be some low-hanging fruit that I’ve wanted to do for some time (ah, the joys of being…

How we’ve bastardized our understanding of the physiology of lipids for the sake of simplicity

The study and understanding of dietary fatty acids in human health and disease is of undeniable importance. Fats provide humans with a crucial form of energy and mode of transporting numerous nutrients through the body, rendering fats an essential nutrient — we need to eat them to survive.

The conventional categorization of fatty acids distributes these vital nutrients into two major groups — saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are long chains of single-bonded carbons due to each carbon in the chain being fully saturated with hydrogens which gives them the characteristic of being solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats, on…

Ketone bodies and their use as a metabolite for the brain and neurons is probably the most-studied aspect of ketone physiology. It’s well known and established that ketones have an important role in the treatment of a few neurological conditions. That also makes compelling interest to explore other medical conditions that may be impacted by the use of ketones or a ketogenic diet. …

Sorry it’s been a while, y’all. I had a pretty major move and other life things happen. Hopefully things clear up again.

So, I have a question to start off this post. What is the most significant risk factor for chronic disease (cancer, diabetes, neurodegerative disease, cardiovascular disease, etc.), morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality?


How I feel as I’m writing this post

That kinda sucks, right? You can’t really do much about ageing. You’re going to get old no matter what; and even IF time travel becomes a thing, your body would still age in a chronologically-forward, only the environment around you would change. …

A few days ago I discussed some important energy-sensing pathways in biological systems that can play major roles in the development of human diseases. I was told by a friend that I should follow that post up with another post on how to activate those pathways.

Really, the best way to activate these energy sensing pathways is through intermittent caloric restriction and exercise. Not all-out exercise or fasting, per se, but that would do the trick. …

One of the things I personally find fascinating about all life forms is the universal ability to sense cellular energy status. All biological systems have multiple ways of detecting low levels of cellular energy-containing molecules (e.g. ATP, NADH, etc.) and downstream feedback mechanisms to increase the production of energy-producing molecules and restore cellular energy balance. More intriguing is the role of these energy sensors in health and disease, and when these sensory pathways are beneficial or harmful.

Rafalski et al., 2012

Required biology review: Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s main energy source, produces energy when one of the phosphate ions is cleaved from the…

Sorry it’s been a while, guys. Life has had me pinned down pretty bad lately. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track.

So, berberine, Metformin, and AMPK.

Berberine is a pretty interesting supplement. It’s been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, and can be a useful adjunct therapy for quite a number of chronic conditions; from high blood pressure to diabetes and hyperlipidemia to cancer and so on. The fact that it has uses for all of these conditions that are all closely related with minimal to no side effects makes berberine a very interesting…

The general model that people use when people talk about entering ketosis is this:

Carb restrict→ ↓glucose→ ↓insulin:glucagon ratio→ ↓glycogen→ ↑ketones

Or, to be put in another way:

McGarry & Foster, 1976

People have stated time and time again that in order to a state of ketosis, glycogen stores need to be depleted. It’s sort of a dogma that’s become routinely expressed as one of the necessary conditions to induce endogenous production of ketone bodies in humans. The argument here is that glycogen stores are used up in order to maintain blood glucose for the first few hours of carb restriction (whether carb restriction…

Stephen Decker

Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst. A lifelong student in health, fitness, philosophy, and all things under the sun. Love ideas, but love sharing ideas more.

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