Sunday, January 20, 2008

Normal Day 29 -- 136.4

The normal BMI range is 19-25. As of today, my BMI is 24.9. It will likely go back up above 25 tomorrow after eating today. Still it is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Yay! I'm NORMAL(ha-ha). We opened a cheap bottle of champagne and I had two glasses while watching the Chargers lose to the Patriots. Too bad, it would have been nice to see our new home team go to the Super Bowl.

A couple of days ago I was remarking on the effect that intermittent fasting has had on my depression. Today, I came across an excellent article that I highly recommend to anyone interested in alternate day fasting or calorie reduction in general ("The influences of diet and exercise on mental health through hormesis", Jan 2008, Aging Research Reviews).

There was more information than I could ethically quote here on my blog without sounding plagiaristic, so you'll have to read it for yourself. However, I will quote some of the snippets that I found interesting in the article:

Hyperphagia and high oxidative stress levels, the harmful by-products of energy metabolism, decrease BDNF levels, while hypoglycemia and intermittent fasting both increase BDNF levels.

Dietary constraints have been shown to enhance learning and memory. For example, either reducing the amount of calories per meal (CR) or every-other-day-fasting (EODF) demonstrated an effect on mental health.

From the standpoint of affective disorders, BDNF has been identified as the most important neurotrophin contributing to the pathogenesis of the depressive disorders. Preclinical and clinical studies demonstrate altered BDNF expression during chronic stress and increased BDNF activity during antidepressant treatment.

Numerous studies have found that there may be a link between abnormal glucose metabolism, particularly an increased risk for diabetes type II and psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia are associated with cognitive deficits and in many instances in severe cognitive impairment. Similar findings have been reported for other psychiatric illnesses, such as manic depression. A study of 203 inpatient manic-depressive subjects, reported a three fold increased rate of diabetes as compared to other psychiatric inpatients and the general US population. Schizophrenia shows the same increasing rates of diabetes as compared to controls. Controlling for the confounding factor of psychotropic medication, many of which are associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and the onset of diabetes, it has been reported that there is an intrinsic relationship between abnormal glucose metabolism and bipolar disorder type I as well as schizoaffective disorders. Interestingly, the association between metabolic dysfunction and psychiatric disorders, especially type 2 diabetes, may be related to a decrease in BDNF expression. Illustrating the relationship between metabolism and genetics, it has been found that a BDNF polymorphism contributes to a genetic vulnerability to the development of eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Rats exposure to a diet high in saturated fat and sucrose, similar in composition to “junk food” consumed in fast food restaurants, show decreased BDNF levels in the hippocampus and deficiency in learning and memory tasks.... Conversely .... omega-3 fatty acids – primary constituents of fish oils – have been found to increase hippocampal BDNF and enhance cognitive function while reducing oxidative stress under challenging conditions.

The finding that exercise increases BDNF levels in the hippocampus – an area vital for learning and memory formation – has provided insight about the molecular mechanisms responsible for the effects of exercise on cognition. BDNF function has been shown to regulate obesity, insulin sensitivity, glucose, lipid metabolism, and oxidative stress levels, the harmful by-products of metabolism. Central administration of BDNF to diabetic mice lowered blood glucose levels and simultaneously increased insulin levels, enhanced thermogenesis, and upregulated the mRNA expression of the uncoupling protein 1 in brown adipose tissue.

Hopefully, I haven't quoted so much much from this journal article that it infuriates someone. But it was encouraging to read that there is research showing correlations between:

Intermittent Fasting and increased BDNF
Depression and decreased BDNF
Anti depressant treatment and increased BDNF

It isn't too much of a leap to assume that intermittent fasting is responsible for alleviating my depression symptoms.

Went for a walk about 30 minutes
Did a few arm & leg exercises on the bench, nothing too strenuous ... just enough to start re-introducing my body to building muscle

tuna & tofu with mayo & chopped red onion
popcorn popped in coconut oil sprinkled with nutritional yeast
1/2 cup of cottage cheese
2 glasses of champagne -- been saving it for today (<25 BMI)

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