Thursday, May 15, 2014

I'm Back in the U.S.S.R. and You Don't Know How Lucky We Are 3/3 nootropics and probiotics

Russians are known for drinking a shit ton and dying from alcohol poisoning in the streets. They are also known for Communism,  a crazy sorcerer who haunted family members of the Russian Czars and really sad literature.

From Wikipedia

A study by Russian, British and French researchers published in The Lancet scrutinized deaths between 1990 and 2001 of residents of three Siberian industrial towns with typical mortality rates and determined that 52% of deaths of people between the ages of 15 and 54 were the result of alcohol abuse.[11] Lead researcher Professor David Zaridze estimated that the increase in alcohol consumption since 1987 has caused an additional three million deaths nationwide.[11]

In 2007, Gennadi Onishenko, the country's chief public health official, voiced his concern over the nearly threefold rise in alcohol consumption over the past 16 years; one in eight deaths was attributed to alcohol-related diseases, playing a major role in Russia's population decline.[9] Men are particularly hard hit; according to a U.N. National Human Development Report, Russian males born in 2006 had a life expectancy of just over 60 years, 17 fewer than western Europeans, while Russian females could expect to live thirteen years longer than their male counterparts.[12]

In June 2009, the Public Chamber of Russia reported over 500,000 alcohol-related deaths annually, noting that Russians consume about 18 litres (4.0 imp gal; 4.8 US gal) of spirits a year, more than double the 8 litres (1.8 imp gal; 2.1 US gal) World Health Organization experts consider dangerous.[13]

Also they hate gay people and female punk bands.

One of the interesting effects of drinking too much is that it makes you real freaking stupid. Like it kills brain cells but hey for some of us we have enough of those that it doesn't matter. Case in point all my favorite alcoholics: Stephen King, Earnest Hemingway... um Mel Gibson and Lyndsay Lohan.

Of course I've also read that alcohol can help boost  your brain power if you do it regularly. I'm guessing this is liquor and not the sugary types like wine and beer and probably through some sort of ketogenic mechanism. Read more here

Nevertheless it is no surprise that these people would develop something to be brain sparing or even brain enhancing like nootropics.

Now I am in no ways an expert on the topic of nootropics and have just barely started scratching the surface of these things. I sort of got into them about a year and half or so ago by listening to Dave Asprey talk about them on the Joe Rogan Experience and decided to give some a shot.

Huperzine A, GABA, and Noopept have been the only ones I've used but I do plan to experiment more with these. Russia is perhaps best known for developing a few of the more popular nootropics in the racetam family Noopept and Phenylpiracetam

From Wikipedia
There is no universally accepted mechanism of action for racetams. Racetams generally show negligible affinity for common central nervous system receptors, but modulation of central neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine and glutamate, has been reported. Although aniracetam and nebracetam show affinity for muscarinic receptors, only nefiracetam demonstrates nanomolar interactions. Modification of membrane-located mechanisms of central signal transduction is another hypothesis.[2]
I honestly don't really known anything about neuroscience or brain chemistry. Although, it is a newer area of interest I need to read further up on. Either way it is fun to play around with this stuff but I always have to weigh my pros- and cons.

There are some other interesting nootropics that seem to come out of this particular region. I guess they are being used for things in regard to Alzheimers and dementia or whatever. No wonder since it seems as if you are living the hard partying lifestyle all the time then you are going burn some brain cells. However, as stated before this may also not be the case either way Noopepts is awesome and I've used it before. I'm not limitless but recall of information is intense and I would say for the most part I wouldn't say it is always necessary to take.

I feel like noopept had a sort of residual affect on me. If I took for a few days I don't feel like if I skipped a day my memory was still operating at a higher capacity.

However, I will say that cleaning up my diet had almost equal benefit on this. When I started eating healthy and also making sure I wasn't under eating I didn't feel as foggy as well.

Which that of course launches us into the next topic of interest surrounding E.Europe and Russia. Probiotics and Digestive Health.

The health of your digestion and diet play a huge role in your cognition whether it be your speed of thought or even certain states of mind.

from Psychology Today

We are never truly alone. On our skin, in our gums, and in our guts live 100 trillion organisms, altogether known as the microbiome. These beasties comprise 90% of the cells of our bodies, though these cells are so tiny in size that it appears our own human cells predominate. It is only recently that we have begun to study these organisms with any depth. Most of them live within the gut, and cannot be cultured, and only with the advent of advanced genetic testing have we been able to have a better understanding of the variety and numbers of microbes we’re dealing with. They are Bacteria, Archaea, and even some eukariotic parasites, protozoans, and fungi.
What do they have to do with psychiatry? It turns out way more than we might have suspected. The gut and brain have a steady ability to communicate via the nervous system, hormones, and the immune system. Some of the microbiome can release neurotransmitters, just like our own neurons do, speaking to the brain in its own language via the vagus nerve
What is the direct evidence these gut microbes affect the brain? Most of the evidence is in mice or rats, but scientists have shown that rats raised germ-free have different production of key brain neuron fertilizers that help with neuroregeneration, neuroplasticity, and repair than do rats that are (like most animals) colonized with gut bacteria.  This same brain fertilizer, BDNF, is necessary in the human brain as well. BDNF being low in the wrong place at the wrong time is implicated in clinical depression, chronic anxiety syndromes, and other psychiatric disease. Other differences in germ free mice include changes in the shape and expression of certain neurotransmitter receptors, NMDA and 5HT1A. These receptors are also important in the regulation of mood, anxiety, and a malfunctioning NMDA receptor is part of the pathology of psychosis, as seen in schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Certain strains of probiotics can increase the availability of tryptophan, the key precursor to making serotonin. 

So yeah digestion and those funny little gut bugs that reside in your stomach are pretty important. They play a huge role even in our cognition and etc.

So how does the whole probiotic thing and Russia come into play?

Well bacteria is not anything new and has always existed, fermented foods have been staples of many cultures for long periods of time. But it seems like Russia has been slightly ahead of us (The U.S.) in regards to their research on Probiotics and the importance of good digestion.

For example we have the GAPS Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D. I've never done this diet so I've got no idea how affective it is but if you were to read about it on the internet you would think it was a gift from god.

The book is interesting and it is a dietary plan that address digestive health in the connection to autism and for some its been used for their autoimmune conditions.

This is one of those things that hasn't been tested clinically since for the most part their is no financial incentives and... it is probably really freaking hard to test a diet on its affects on conditions. I would imagine this would be because A.) you have no idea what part of the diet is having what affect and B.) There is so much individual variability from person to person that testing something as broad as a specific diet would be to difficult.

Obviously, I am not a scientist or a researcher– or even know how to interpret scientific studies. Instead I rely on what I would consider my common sense.

Of course just because that diet came from a Russian born doctor doesn't stop with Russia's fascination with bacteria.

It appears the very person who discovered probiotics Eli Metchnikoff was wait for it... Russian? So the guy who discovered these things was Russian and it which would maybe give that particular country an increase interest in the research of those amazing microbes.

From Wikipedia
The original modern hypothesis of the positive role played by certain bacteria was first introduced by Russian scientist and Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff, who in 1907 suggested that it would be possible to modify the gut flora and to replace harmful microbes with useful microbes.[24] Metchnikoff, at that time a professor at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, proposed the hypothesis that the aging process results from the activity of putrefactive (proteolytic) microbes producing toxic substances in the large bowel. Proteolytic bacteria such as clostridia, which are part of the normal gut flora, produce toxic substances including phenols, indols and ammonia from the digestion of proteins. According to Metchnikoff these compounds were responsible for what he called "intestinal auto-intoxication", which would cause the physical changes associated with old age.[25]

 Very, very interesting if I do say so myself. But E. Europe had other notable people to contribute to the early research of this stuff. How about my beloved Germany who actually started using probiotics as a treatment for disease prior to the invention of antibiotics. Amazing, considering that this is exactly where the research is heading again in terms of medicine and if you don't simply Google antibiotic resistance and you'll know that this is an issue.
During an outbreak of shigellosis in 1917, German professor Alfred Nissle isolated a strain of Escherichia coli from the feces of a soldier who was not affected by the disease.[28] Methods of treating infectious diseases were needed at that time when antibiotics were not yet available, and Nissle used the Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 strain in acute gastrointestinal infectious salmonellosis and shigellosis.
So it is very interesting to see that these E.European were ahead of the game once again in medicine/pharmaceuticals. Yet, It seems as if for the most part some of these discoveries aren't deemed valued or are dismissed until re-discovered by some North American researcher.
 So there you go. It is all over: part 1 & part 2

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