Why We Get Hangovers When We Drink Alcohol

It’s definitely a bad idea if you take more than the recommended dosage of paracetamol (with or without alcohol). As far as I know, the research on whether it and alcohol together cause liver damage is really muddy, mostly because there’s not enough data looking at timing of alcohol intake with taking paracetamol and their relation to toxicity; and paracetamol’s effects with acute and chronic alcohol consumption (research looks a lot at alcoholics) may be different.

If you overdose on the paracetamol and overdo it regularly on the alcohol, I believe that is another discussion.

How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class. Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

Source: How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Aging is very expensive for post-industrial society. The reason why pensions, retirement plans and government stipends like social security exist is because many old people are not physically able to work anymore and have a huge range of medical conditions, all stemming from the frailty of aging, that need to be treated or, more likely, merely stanched and bailed out like a sinking ship.

A cure for aging would minimize these expenses, but now you have more people in the workforce who aren’t leaving any time soon.  The age of retirement gets pushed back, and the retirement planning changes.  There’s also the sociological impact of older people who continue living – lots these days have grandparents who are incredibly racist/bigoted.  I don’t advocate the death of simply because, but there is something to be said for a generation passing the torch so we can evolve.  Which also plays into health aspects, as an older generation is likely to be susceptible to something future generations might not.

There are some very serious implications to keeping people alive longer.

The Truth About Exercising While Pregnant: It’s Okay to Work Hard

Sometimes it seems the only exercise options for pregnant women are easy swimming, gentle yoga, and walking carefully in a field of pillows. But if you’re not satisfied with those, you’re in luck: many activities are safer in pregnancy than bystanders and even your doctor may realize.

…There’s a tip in here for people who aren’t pregnant, too: if a pregnant woman is doing something you wouldn’t normally imagine a pregnant woman doing…chill out.

…Keeping up fitness, even if you’re slow and sluggish for the moment, helps you return next season: you’re only taking a few weeks or months off, instead of a year or more.

Source: The Truth About Exercising While Pregnant: It’s Okay to Work Hard

Oddly, iron deficiency wasn’t mentioned in the article.  Pregnancy can make you anemic because you’re increasing your blood volume by almost 50% in a short time. Anemia will make you tired and short of breath. Standard blood tests will show if you need iron supplements, but it can take a while to get back to normal levels, and exercising during that time will be difficult to impossible, depending on how anemic you are.  This may be why the fatigue hits so early in pregnancy – there are athletes who didn’t realize they were pregnant until they saw their performance declining.

Is this the new iron deficiency?

If you’re lacking energy, easily annoyed, and generally feel sort of off, look to your diet. While iron deficiencies may get all the ink, it’s not the only mineral that could be missing from your meals. Lack of magnesium — a common, but silent, deficiency — impacts about half of the population, data suggests.

Source: Is this the new iron deficiency?

Sources for magnesium?  Pumpkin seeds have the most, but there’s lots of calories in nuts so spinach is the next best source (which is a concern for us on blood thinners).  Sesame seeds, black beans, sunflower seeds, navy beans are safer for us.  You can read more about magnesium here.

Salt, potassium and magnesium are three major things I try to incorporate more than I used to.  I use a Nuun tablet in my water if I’m to be doing something for longer than an hour.

The Fitness Trend of 2014: Pain

The big story in exercise science this year was the super-short workout.

In one particularly useful study from May, scientists found that three brief sessions per day of interval-style exercise — consisting of one minute of brisk walking followed by another minute of strolling, repeated six times — allowed people at risk of diabetes to control their blood sugar better than a continuous 30-minute walk.

Just as important, these short “exercise snacks,” as the scientists called the condensed sessions, were more popular with the study’s participants than the single, longer walk, the scientists reported. They liked finishing quickly.

Source: The Super-Short Workout and Other Fitness Trends

…plenty of other studies this year underscored how wide-ranging the benefits of exercise really are. In various experiments, physical activity was found to lessen and even reverse the effects of aging on human skin; protect against age-related vision loss; improve creativity; lower people’s risk of developing heart disease even if they had multiple risk factors for the condition; increase the numbers of good bacteria in athletes’ guts; raise exercisers’ pain tolerance; and alter, in desirable ways, how our DNA works.

Study: ‘Bad Carbs’ May Not Be That Bad

If you generally eat a heart-healthy diet, then you might have one fewer factor to worry about: the “glycemic index” of the carbs you eat, new research suggests.

In a new study, researchers looked at how people’s health is affected by the types of carbs they eat, using one measure of carbohydrates called the glycemic index. This index is a number, between 1 and 100, that reflects how much a given carb raises your blood sugar levels. For example, carbs such as apples and oatmeal have a low glycemic index, meaning they raise blood sugar less than carbs with a higher glycemic index, such as white bread and corn flakes.

The researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School set out to examine whether healthy diets with a low glycemic index would provide more heart health benefits compared with similarly healthy diets that have a higher glycemic index.

Source: ‘Bad Carbs’ May Not Be That Bad

I wish the sample size were larger, but the results are interesting.

Study: Hunger Associated with Advantageous Decision Making

Three experimental studies examined the counter-intuitive hypothesis that hunger improves strategic decision making, arguing that people in a hot state are better able to make favorable decisions involving uncertain outcomes. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that participants with more hunger or greater appetite made more advantageous choices in the Iowa Gambling Task compared to sated participants or participants with a smaller appetite. Study 3 revealed that hungry participants were better able to appreciate future big rewards in a delay discounting task; and that, in spite of their perception of increased rewarding value of both food and monetary objects, hungry participants were not more inclined to take risks to get the object of their desire. Together, these studies for the first time provide evidence that hot states improve decision making under uncertain conditions, challenging the conventional conception of the detrimental role of impulsivity in decision making.

Source: Always Gamble on an Empty Stomach: Hunger Is Associated with Advantageous Decision Making

Casinos have cheap, all-you-can-eat buffets for a obvious reasons I suppose.

Related read: Study Confirms Hangry: You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry

Study: Sharing Dessert Reduces Guilt

Normally, people do not enjoy being forced to do something. People also do not enjoy the guilt that comes with doing something that is bad for them. Surprisingly, these two wrongs seem to make a right: when people are compelled to engage in vices, they feel better than when they freely choose the vice for themselves. According to a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research, persuading a friend to share a dessert removes the burden of choice from them, reducing their feelings of guilt and making them less conflicted about the decision.

Source: Get ordered to eat a brownie, and you’ll feel good about it

Before you go adopting a more hedonistic lifestyle, consider this webcomic.

Study Confirms Hangry: You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry

A new study links low blood sugar to relationship stress.

We’ve all known people who should have to wear a flashing red “DANGER!” sign if they miss lunch. We instinctively know to steer clear of someone who’s running on empty. A grumbling stomach means a drop in blood sugar, and through excruciating experience, most of us realize that means trouble.

But could the blood sugar/anger connection lurk behind more relationship conflicts than we realize?

Source: You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry, and That’s a Problem

I have a relative who claimed they got hangry but I dismissed it because they were characteristically hotheaded and somewhat dramatic…  The author closes with an interesting hypothesis:

I’d love to see a follow-up study that attempts to track these results against the blood sugar roller coaster associated with fast food-laden diets. I have a suspicion that glucose-related aggression isn’t solely about how much or little food we eat, but also the sorts of food we eat.