Good afternoon Nikkola Newsletterers!
You know how some dogs walk their owners, running after whatever they want to chase while the owner struggles to hold onto the leash while getting pulled everywhere except where they want to go? And then some owners walk their well-behaved dogs, with the dog obediently walking alongside the owner, stopping or sitting wherever the owner commands.
Our minds are a lot like those dogs. We either keep them under control, or they control us.
I tried to create a visual of this as part of a talk I gave for a group of men on Saturday. After multiple iterations, this is what Midjourney and I came up with.
Whatever our circumstances, when we let our minds control us, we inevitably end up somewhere we don’t want to end up. When we keep them under control, we can work our way through just about any circumstance. As you go about your day, ask yourself, “Who’s leading who?”
Enjoy today’s carefully curated newsletter!
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📖 Deep Dives
The Best Methods and Tools for Measuring Body Composition? Understanding and monitoring your body composition is a cornerstone of embarking on a healthier, more fit, and active lifestyle. Unlike the simplistic method of tracking weight, evaluating body composition provides a holistic view of one’s fitness. It delineates between muscle, fat, bone, and water percentages, offering a more nuanced insight into the changes occurring in the body as one progresses through their fitness journey. The conventional way of getting your body composition analyzed might involve visiting a medical or fitness professional. However, with the advent of cutting-edge technology, an array of reliable and user-friendly tools have emerged, enabling individuals to monitor their body composition from the comfort of their home. Keep reading...
How much protein do I need to build muscle? How much protein do I need to build muscle? How much should I eat to maintain it later in life? Without question, the amount of protein you eat each day can have long-lasting effects on your health, fitness, and longevity. To build muscle (or maintain it later in life), at a minimum, you need to: Keep reading (or listen)...
Integrative health is gaining momentum worldwide, but it's not without its hurdles. A recent report highlighted some of the countries ahead of and behind the curve when it comes to natural therapies. In Portugal, non-pharmacological therapies (NPTs) like massage have gotten a regulatory nod, but they're mostly restricted to urban, affluent populations. Meanwhile, Brazil's public health system has formally recognized a variety of therapies since 2006, yet they're seldom prescribed to oncology patients due to low availability in specialized care. In the United States and France, evidence-based guidelines are growing, particularly for treatments like acupuncture and herbal medicines, yet adoption in mainstream healthcare remains sluggish. Across the board, healthcare systems must overcome numerous challenges—from funding and regulation to training and patient experience—to fully integrate NPTs into the medical mainstream, especially for complex conditions like cancer. Integrative health represents a paradigm shift that could benefit both patients and the healthcare economy. Yet, the journey ahead is fraught with obstacles, demanding not just clinical validation but also a revolution in how we view patient care and wellbeing.
Weak muscular system = weak cardiovascular system. In a recent, eye-opening study examining North American adults, researchers have found compelling evidence that muscle quality is strongly linked to hypertension prevalence and systolic blood pressure. Contrary to the inconclusive findings about handgrip strength (HGS), this research definitively shows that higher muscle quality is associated with lower hypertension rates. Specifically, each unit increase in muscle quality corresponded to a 7% reduction in hypertension prevalence. This suggests that resistance training programs should shift their focus from absolute muscle strength to improving muscle quality for better hypertension management. The findings hold promise for offering a new angle to exercise prescriptions aimed at combating hypertension, although further longitudinal studies are needed for confirmation.
In a startling revelation, researchers indicate that young people enrolled in higher education in England are at a slightly elevated risk for depression and anxiety compared to their non-student peers. The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, is a pioneer in documenting this psychological burden among the student population. The researchers leveraged data from the Longitudinal Studies of Young People in England, concluding that this risk appears to level out by age 25. With surging mental health concerns among youth, these findings underscore the urgent need for targeted mental health support within higher educational institutions, not just for immediate well-being but for long-term success as well. Or, just possibly, collages and universities need to stop pushing far-left, fear-mongering, victimhood ideologies. That could create an environment less destructive for mental health.
Resistance training betters the brains of mobility-limited adults. A small study found that in mobility-limited adults, resistance training enhanced executive function. I cannot ever stress this enough...strength training is as valuable for your brain as it is for your body. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the population does nothing with that knowledge until they've developed a diagnosable disease. Don't wait for such a catastrophe. Start now if you're not already strength training.
Higher vitamin D levels, lower cardiovascular disease. That's the summary based on a 14-year study involving 5700 people in Switzerland. Vitamin D is the number one, most common micronutrient deficiency on the planet. And, it's also the cheapest supplement to use (just make sure you buy it from a professional product line, as many vitamin D products contain lactose, even if it isn't on the label).
Creatine for Alzheimer's? The rise of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in the aging population is a looming crisis that necessitates a fresh perspective on treatment and prevention. For years, medical research has been fixated on targeting amyloid-β plaques, with limited success. A groundbreaking avenue is now emerging in the realm of brain bioenergetics. Preliminary research suggests that focusing on brain energy metabolism and creatine—commonly known for its role in sports nutrition—could offer innovative strategies for AD risk reduction and symptom management. While clinical trials are yet to validate these promising findings, the potential for creatine to serve as a therapeutic agent in AD certainly warrants serious consideration.
🌲 Essential Oils
Peppermint, lemon, and menopause. A recent clinical study emphasizes the potent benefits of aromatherapy massage with peppermint and lemon essential oils in alleviating menopausal symptoms. Comprising 63 menopausal and postmenopausal women, the study utilized the Menopause Symptoms Rating Scale (MRS) to gauge the efficacy of these essential oils in reducing both physical and psychological symptoms. Peppermint oil led the way in its effectiveness, especially in addressing somatic and urogenital issues. On the flip side, lemon oil proved particularly useful for combating psychological symptoms like anxiety and mood swings. These groundbreaking findings underscore the viability of aromatherapy as a complementary treatment during menopause, offering a natural and holistic avenue for women to manage this transitional phase of life more comfortably.
🌎 Other News & Stories Worth Reading
California, the Great Destroyer. In 1996, the California legislature created the high speed rail authority. In 2008, voters passed a $33 billion bond to build an envisioned 800 mile project eventually to link Sacramento with San Diego. Fifteen years later, a scaled-down plan from Bakersfield to Merced remains not even half finished. Yet the envisioned costs will exceed that of the original estimate for the entire project. The rail authority now estimates that just the modest 178 mile route—only about a fifth of the authorized distance—will not be completed at least until 2030. Past high speed estimates of both time and cost targets have been widely wrong and perhaps deliberately misleading. Keep reading...
Back to the Future of Food: The way to fix our diet is simple—but it won’t be easy. Over the course of the 20th century, a great transformation took place in the eating habits of the Western world. The foods mostly eaten by our great-great- and great-grandparents, and all of our ancestors before them back to the first Homo sapiens, were displaced by new foodstuffs produced in factories using new technologies and new ingredients. Although this process began here in the West, in Britain and America particularly, nowhere on the planet, not even the tribal reservations of the darkest Amazon, has escaped these changes. Keep reading...
COVID vaccine poll finds more than half of adults are likely to say 'no thanks' to the vax. Among U.S. adults, 52% say they will "probably" or "definitely" not get the new COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor poll. Conversely, 23% of adults "definitely" plan to get the vaccine — while another 23% will "probably" get it. Among the people who said they "definitely" or "probably" will get the new shot, most are Democrats and/or at least 65 years old, the poll found. Keep reading...