From Getting Up and Active to Staying Sharp and Social to Modern Multivitamins, Here are the Year's Highlights from the SciLife™ Blog

Time flies, doesn’t it? As 2018 comes to a close, it’s a great time to stop and reflect on how we’ve all added life to our years over the past 365 days. Here at SciLife Biosciences™, we’ve had an awesome time learning about our readers, researching and sharing key insights into healthy living, and discussing tips and tricks for how to make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Curious to know what kinds of topics generated the most interest among our readers on the SciLife blog this year? Here are some common themes we noticed among the most popular posts.

Our Readers Are Eager to Get Moving

Two of the most popular posts of 2018 were The Damaging Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle and Training Hard? Pay Attention to Glycogen for Optimal Athletic Performance. Which is awesome, because these were a couple of the most fun posts to write.

Highlights from these posts are listed below.

On Not Sitting Still

  • Sedentary lifestyles are on the rise, and the side effects are nothing to shrug off. In one study, “The cells of the sedentary participants—that is, those who exercised for less than 40 minutes per day and spent at least 10 hours per day doing something inactive—were biologically 8 years older than the cells of the participants’ active peers.”
  • Not getting active on the regular may contribute to a host of other conditions including obesity, some forms of cancer, and mood disorders.
  • Getting some movement in your day can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other—even walking just 2.5 hours a week can improve your condition and endurance.

On Properly Fueling Up Your Workouts

  • Glycogen is stored glucose that our body first accesses to power up physical activity.
  • Glycogen plays a number of important roles in the body: For one, “our brains require glucose to function optimally. Glycogen is also necessary and ideal for intense workouts as it is can become available for use more quickly and requires less oxygen when producing that energy” than stored fatty acids.
  • Not having enough glycogen in your system when you go to get an intense workout in may cause a number of setbacks in your training; on one end of the spectrum, “glycogen depletion may reduce work output and duration,” and in extreme cases, you could experience hypoglycemia in the form of “body tremors, weakness, anxiety, sweating, slurred speech, and eventually coma.”
  • For best results, fuel up on carbs before a workout, then follow up with a combination or carbs and protein after a workout.
  • Your body will store about 1,800–2,000 calories as glycogen at a time, which “can fuel 1.5–2 hours of strenuous exercise.” If you’re exercising for longer than that at a given time, have a high-carb snack on hand to keep you going.

Our Readers Care About What They’re Putting in Their Bodies

It doesn’t come as a shock to us that our readers are looking to fuel their bodies right. Helping others stay on top of their nutritional game is what we do, after all.

To this end, we got a lot of love for Vitamin B12 and the Aging Brain and Do Lectins Cause Chronic Inflammation?

Here are some takeaways from those articles.

On the Importance of Vitamin B12 When it Comes to Brain Health

  • Vitamin B12 is not only foundational in maintaining overall health (it’s “needed ‘to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and carry out other functions’””), it’s one of the few key nutrients our bodies require that “cannot actually be made innately by the human body; it has to come from an external source—ie, food or supplements.”
  • Specific to brain function, studies suggest that being deficient in vitamin B12 may “lead to a number cognition-related symptoms including trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, feelings of disorientation, dementia, and changes in mood.”
  • Vitamin B12 in supplement form may be easier absorbed by some individuals than that found in naturally occurring sources.

On Lectins and Reducing Inflammation

  • Lectins are “part of the protein family” and come in a variety of forms: “They can often bind to cell membranes and are found in many foods, including grains, beans, nuts, seeds and potatoes.”
  • Scientists are not in full agreement about the role lectins play in causing inflammation, however, there is one major conclusion that stands out in the research : “As long as you’re preparing your food properly, you will eliminate the lectins that may cause damage.” (You can start by soaking your dry beans and grains.)

Our Readers Are Science Nerds

We talk about telomeres a LOT over here at SciLife, and we love the fact that so many of our visitors are just as interested in learning about groundbreaking science and the impact it can have on our lives.

In 2018, two of our most-read posts—A No-Nonsense Guide to How Telomere Length Correlates to a Long, Healthy Life and Coffee, Aging and Telomeres—include breakdowns of 21st century cellular science, discussions we’ll be having for years to come.

Check out some highlights from these posts below.

On Telomeres and How They’re Related to the Aging Process

  • Telomeres are the protective end caps on each of our DNA strands and are “a key to understanding the question of aging”; as Nobel Prize-winning research from 2008 suggests, “There is a correlation between aging and telomere length: the shorter our telomeres, the clearer our signs of aging tend to be.”
  • The aging process of our cells—and its relationship to telomeres—goes a little something like this: “When our telomeres begin to shrink, our cells enter a permanent state of arrested growth known as senescence. At that point, those cells stop dividing and replicating. With this in mind, it seems cellular aging is natural because our cells are created with a limited capacity to replicate.”
  • Certain psychological and environmental factors may prematurely shorten telomeres.
  • Telomerase enzymes can help build back telomeres, but, as Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn points out, taking a telomerase supplement may increase “the risks of certain and rather nasty cancers. So even if you could buy that Costco-sized bottle of telomerase, and there are many websites marketing such dubious products, the problem is you could nudge up your risks of cancers.” (Our own VitaYears™ Anti-Aging Multivitamin instead contains nutrients like “vitamins C, D, E, and B, carotenoids, lutein and lycopene” which “have been associated with longer telomeres.”)

On How Coffee Plays a Supporting Role for Your Telomeres

  • A 2015 study on nurses, coffee consumption and telomere length found that “higher coffee consumption is associated with longer telomeres among female nurses.”
  • Caffeinated beverages—and especially coffee—may contribute to stalling the aging process due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Drinking coffee has also been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, sight impairment, and more.
  • Keep java consumption to the morning hours to ensure the caffeine doesn’t keep you awake at night (not getting enough sleep could completely counteract all other efforts to stay on top of your health game).

Our Readers Want to Stay Social

The web can be a great resource for discovering new support-filled communities and inspiring content related to your interests and lifestyle. In 2018, we gave you two awesome posts full of curated blogs, social accounts, and more to help you add life to your years.

Check ‘em out here: Nutritionists on Twitter: Great Expert Tips in 140 Characters and Living Your Best Life After 40: Blogs, Podcasts and Experts to Follow.

Join Us in 2019 for an Even More Game-Changing, Health-Affirming Year

While it’s true that 2018 was an awesome year, we’re even more excited about the plans we have for 2019! Come visit the SciLife blog regularly for all the latest updates, and make sure you check out the SciLife store to discover new products for how you can make the rest of your life the best of your life. Happy new year to you and your family! We’re so glad to have you as part of this community of readers, learners, and health nerds.