2014-12-22

Study: Sweeteners cause diabetes through changes in gut flora

I previously wrote about my experiences with glucose intolerance:

A study has now found:

Diabetes: The Sweetener Paradox


[T]he scientists adjusted the drinking water of the animals by adding the maximum recommended daily consumption dose of saccharin, aspartame or Sucralose. The control animals drank sugar water or unsweetened water. After eleven weeks, the researchers repeated the glucose tolerance test – with a clear result: during the experimental time period, all sweetener-drinking mice developed glucose intolerance, whereas none of the control mice did.

[...]

[T]he researchers administered high dosage of the broad-spectrum antibiotics ciprofloxacin and metronidazole, which act on Gram-negative bacteria, to both the leaner and obese animal subjects. During the antibiotic treatment, the animals continue to drink sweetener-containing water. Already after four weeks of therapy the researchers were barely able to detect glucose-intolerance test differences between the fatter and leaner animals drinking sweetener and the control animals. [...]

"These results suggest that the sweetener-induced glucose intolerance is caused by changes in the gut flora and the different proportions of its bacterial representatives”, the study authors conclude.

A further test was used to confirm this assumption: the scientists transferred the bacteria of the gastrointestinal flora of sweetener-drinking mice to microbe-free control mice. Already six days after the faecal transplant these mice were also suffering from glucose intolerance.

Original publication of study (Nature, September/October 2014):

Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota

2014-12-19

Vitamin D-3 test results

I previously posted how:
As of December 19, 2014, I have been targeting a Vitamin D-3 intake, in pill form, of 7,000 IU per day, for over two months. My other sources of Vitamin D-3 ought to be negligible (little or no exposure to sun). My D25OH test results have been as follows:

Sample DateResultAverage Daily Change
October 8, 201427.15 ng/mL/
November 12, 201449.71 ng/mL+0.64 ng/mL/day
December 12, 201458.71 ng/mL+0.30 ng/mL/day

I have three hypotheses for why the average daily change has dropped off towards the third test:
  1. Body adjusts. Perhaps the body makes use of more Vitamin D-3 when more is available in long-term storage. This would be excellent news - it would mean a person can continue to take a consistent amount without worrying too much about overshooting the 60 - 80 ng/mL range. As long as the intake is within reason, the body will use more if more is available.
  2. Pill inconsistency. Perhaps reported pill content is unreliable. All my intake of Vitamin D-3 has been in the form of pills from GNC, but the pills have come in a variety of different form factors. I began with 7 x 1,000 IU per day; then I had to switch to 17 x 400 IU because a larger pill was not available locally; then I switched to 1 x 5,000 IU + 2 x 1,000 IU when Jana returned from a trip to the US, and brought a supply from GNC there. If pill content is inconsistent and unreliable, that would be bad news; staying in the 60 - 80 ng/mL range would require frequent blood testing.
  3. Daily variation. Perhaps there are daily fluctuations in metabolism that might cause results to vary by a large amount, depending on when the sample is taken.
I'm leaning towards either the first or the second hypothesis. Of the two, I'm very much hoping for the first. For now, I'm continuing to take 7,000 IU per day. In January, I plan to do a 4th blood test. I'll be able to take my daily 7,000 IU in the same form factor as between the 2nd and 3rd test, so my intake should be consistent. The results of the fourth test in January may then provide further evidence. If average daily change drops further, that will speak in favor of hypothesis 1 - the body is using more as it gets more. If average daily change remains the same as between 2nd and 3rd test, that will be in favor of the second hypothesis - pill content may be unreliable. If daily change returns to what it was between 1st and 2nd test, that would suggest hypothesis 3 - large daily variation.

I should note that my average mood and enthusiasm have improved consistently with D25OH blood level. There are differences from day to day, but I now feel much more enthusiasm for work and general activity than e.g. last month. Since this is not a blind study, it continues to be impossible to rule out placebo, but the improvement has been consistent with my long-term level climbing up.


Edit - February 15, 2015:

I have continued to take Vitamin D-3 in the same form factor at 7,000 IU per day, and got tested again. Updated table with latest results:

Sample DateResultAverage Daily Change
October 8, 201427.15 ng/mL/
November 12, 201449.71 ng/mL+0.64 ng/mL/day
December 12, 201458.71 ng/mL+0.30 ng/mL/day
February 13, 201571.35 ng/mL+0.20 ng/mL/day

This seems to support hypothesis 1 - the body adjusts, which is good news.


Edit - May 15, 2015:

I have continued to take Vitamin D-3 from the same GNC bottle, one pill of 5,000 IU per day since my last update in February. New latest results:

Sample DateResultAverage Daily Change
October 8, 201427.15 ng/mL/
November 12, 201449.71 ng/mL+0.64 ng/mL/day
December 12, 201458.71 ng/mL+0.30 ng/mL/day
February 13, 201571.35 ng/mL+0.20 ng/mL/day
May 14, 201567.68 ng/mL-0.04 ng/mL/day

Amazingly, 5,000 IU per day was not sufficient to maintain a stable level of 70-75, and I have dipped a bit to 67.68. I did not expect that.

I will continue at 6,000 IU per day for a few months.

2014-12-13

On moral relativism

An overly rational person, such as myself, can spend decades wondering about a basic question, such as:

"What is bad, and what is good? Can we even tell the difference?"

It turns out this is not so hard.

Love is good. That which comes from love is good. Caring is good, so is compassion.

The opposites of love could be considered: hatred; fear; indifference; not caring. Those are bad.

There we go. That wasn't so difficult.

Too bad it took me a few decades.



I posted the above some place on Reddit, and was surprised by the immediate vitriol I received. I can sometimes get deeply upset about people, but in this particular case, it was so mind-boggling I couldn't even stay angry. People were literally upset with me because I said "love is good". Of all the things that I could say - that's what they were upset about. :)

Another person observed this:

"A lot of people here are stuck in a backlash from the moral absolutism of church, etc... In that frame of mind, I'd imagine a statement like 'love is good' sounds more disingenuous than profound."

That was certainly the case for me.

I've seen Arthur C. Clarke quoted as saying: "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion."

I rejected Catholicism and Christianity that I was raised in; and with it, anything that reminded me of it. I didn't reject it because of its love teachings. I rejected it because it's used as a vessel for guilt and hate and sexual repression. However, all that guilt and hate and repression comes bundled with the love teachings; so I associated those with the hypocrisy of religion and discounted them, as well.

It's weird how we can go through life claiming something as obviously stupid as "there's no objective good or bad", while at the same time passing all sorts of judgments that require us to tell the difference.

We have virtually all people coming together and agreeing that e.g. overt racism is bad, genocide is bad, rape is bad, corporate greed is bad, no police accountability is bad, political corruption is bad. Yet, for those of us inoculated from religion, it's hard to see the common thread that connects the bad things: they're mostly lack of love.

And even though our lives are made worthwhile by the passions and relationships we love, we stop short of saying love is good, because who says that kind of thing? Sappy religious types say that. And fuck them, right? :)