Science Digest
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Every two weeks, I send members my Science Digest—a curated collection of research summaries featuring the studies we found the most interesting, with notes, comments, and related links.
Hi, I'm Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Each of us comes with our own unique susceptibilities to age-related diseases. But I believe that each of us can take the genetic program we've got and use it just a little bit more optimally — and we owe it to ourselves to maximize that potential. In the Science Digest, we explore the science of how everyday choices like what we eat and what we do can help us live a little bit better. Each digest story is a breadcrumb ushering you through the maze of scientific discourse toward practical everyday health strategies.

By becoming a member of FoundMyFitness premium, you'll receive the Science Digest every-other-week covering the latest in my exploration of recent science and the emerging story of better living — through deeper understandings of biology.
Twice per month, I send members my Science Digest
A curated collection of research summaries featuring the studies we find most interesting, with notes, comments, and related links.
The latest issues sent to Premium Members discuss:

  • Ketogenic diet, by replacing glucose with ketones as an energy source, lessens alcohol cravings among people with alcohol use disorders.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death by up to 23 percent, especially in people with high triglyceride levels.
  • Women see a 24 percent drop in premature death risk with just 140 minutes of weekly activity – half the time men need for similar benefits.
  • Aging undermines the brain's capacity for maintaining working memory, with subtle declines in neuron activity and connectivity in the prefrontal cortex.
Cannabidiol restores the gut microbiome in cocaine users, weakening memory of the drug's reward, according to a study on mice.

Cocaine affects nearly every organ system in the body, including the gastrointestinal system, drastically altering the gut microbiome. It also increases dopamine levels in the brain, creating a memory of the dopamine reward and strengthening the association between the drug and the pleasurable feelings it produces. A recent study in mice found that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, restores the gut microbiome in cocaine users, reversing memory-associated cocaine addiction.

Researchers gave adult mice either cocaine + placebo or cocaine + cannabidiol. They collected fecal samples before and after the drug treatments to analyze changes in the gut microbiome.

They found that the mice that received cocaine + placebo developed a strong preference for environments where they received the drug that lasted even after its cessation, indicating they had a memory of the reward. These mice also experienced long-lasting reductions in their gut microbial diversity. However, the mice that received cocaine + cannabidiol showed a reduced preference for the cocaine-associated environment after drug cessation and exhibited greater gut microbial diversity, with more beneficial microbes and fewer harmful ones.

These findings suggest that cannabidiol reverses changes in the gut microbiome caused by cocaine and helps reduce the memory of cocaine’s rewarding effects. Beneficial activities like exercise and hard work also boost dopamine levels but without the massive peaks associated with cocaine use. Learn more in this clip featuring Dr. Andrew Huberman.

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Chronic loneliness increases stroke risk by 56%, independent of depressive symptoms or social isolation.

Loneliness, a pervasive emotional state that adversely affects mental and physical health, increases the risk of many chronic health disorders, including cardiovascular diseases. A recent study found that loneliness increases the risk of stroke by as much as 56%.

Researchers analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study, which included adults aged 50 years or older who were stroke-free at the start. Participants ranked their loneliness on a scale of three to nine, with scores above six considered “high.” Researchers tracked the incidence of stroke among the participants over 10 to 12 years.

They found that higher loneliness scores at baseline were associated with an increased risk of stroke, with a one-point increase in loneliness score corresponding to a 5% higher likelihood of stroke. Participants with high loneliness scores were 25% more likely to experience a stroke, even after accounting for social isolation without depressive symptoms. Notably, participants with consistently high loneliness over time were 56% more likely to experience stroke than those with consistently low loneliness.

These findings suggest that chronic loneliness is a major risk factor for stroke, independent of depressive symptoms or social isolation. Addressing loneliness may be crucial for stroke prevention, and regular assessments of loneliness in clinical settings could help identify people at higher risk.

Interestingly, sleep and loneliness are inherently linked, and poor sleep increases the risk of stroke. Not getting enough sleep triggers the onset of a “loneliness phenotype,” driving people who are sleep-deprived to avoid social interaction. Learn more about the effects of sleep on feelings of loneliness in this clip featuring Dr. Matt Walker.

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Nearly one-third of adults are physically inactive, an increase of 8% since 2000.

Insufficient physical activity increases the risk of many chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Unfortunately, physical inactivity is rising globally, worsening health outcomes and increasing healthcare costs. A recent study found that nearly one-third of adults worldwide don’t engage in sufficient physical activity – an increase of almost 8% over the past two decades.

Researchers analyzed physical activity data from more than 500 studies across 163 countries and territories involving more than 5.7 million people. They defined insufficient physical activity as not doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination per week.

They found that the global prevalence of insufficient physical activity in 2022 was 31.3%, a 7.9% increase since 2000 and a 4.9% increase since 2010. Insufficient activity was more common among females and adults over 60. Interestingly, the prevalence decreased in about half of the countries (primarily high-income Western countries) but increased in the remainder.

These findings suggest that physical inactivity is increasing worldwide, especially among females and older adults. Physical activity, especially vigorous exercise, increases VO2 max, a measure of cardiorespiratory fitness. Evidence indicates that increasing VO2 max from low to normal may extend life by more than two years, while raising it from low to high normal may extend life by approximately three years. Learn more about the effects of vigorous exercise in this episode featuring Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

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We mine the data, you reap the benefits...
Compelling study piques my interest
Our team looks for studies that offer new or surprising results or bolster earlier research. We aim to identify research that stands out because of its innovation or significant findings.
Team analysis
We examine the chosen study closely, checking its methods, findings, and relevance. This step ensures we fully understand the research and its contribution to the field.
Found merit-worthy
A study passes our process if it meets our criteria for quality and pertinence. This means the research is solid and valuable to you, our Premium Members.
Published in issue with thoughtful commentary
We summarize the selected studies in our biweekly Science Digest with comments explaining the findings. This helps our readers grasp the significance of the research and its implications.
Here’s what members have to say about our Science Digest
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Thomas Tomazin
Rhonda, you help me take control of my personal health. I do not have a healthcare provider that stays up to date on current research or latest treatments. Your Q&A and Science Digests help me to optimize my health and for that I am eternally grateful!
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Sharon Regina
I've been a premium member since 2019 and continue to find value in both the members' Q&A and the weekly Science Digest [...] The Science Digests include curated summaries of the latest information on healthspan/longevity science and, similar to the FMF podcasts, the FMF team distills everything into an understandable language for us non-scientists.
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Robin Judice
I look forward to your Science Digest updates. I follow science literature on health and aging fairly closely, but you always share research that was not on my radar. Your synopsis of the research offers succinct and clear overview. I often take these links and do further reading. Very helpful.
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Stephen Margison
I look forward to the Science Digest email to keep me abreast of latest health news that I can implement. It is an excellent read.
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Arturo Castelo
I look forward every month to your Q&A and Science Digest. I have learned so much and the fact that we can ask you questions is so cool for me.
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Anker Bell
The Science Digest has become the best way for me to discover the latest insights into improving health.
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Noreen Thompson
I am a Holistic RN, and Rhonda Patrick’s FoundMyFitness Science Digest consistently provides accurate information with searchable references on interesting topics. I highly recommend premium membership to access all the content!
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Jackie Hutchings
Invaluable, indepth information which has changed they way I live. Investing in your health is probably the most important thing you can do to live a full and happy life. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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Mike Nelson
The Science Digest is one of the very few e-mails I actually look forward to receiving. I love hearing about the latest health and fitness research and trust Rhonda to filter through the info that will be of most benefit to me.
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