November’s Bulletproof Bullet Points (+ Cyber Weekend)
The holidays are here! Are Black Friday sales emails flooding into your inbox yet?
We’re keeping things nice and simple this year. Here are Bulletproof’s Cyber Weekend deals:
- Friday: 20% off all coffee, drinks, and quality fats
- Saturday: 20% off all quality snacks and proteins
- Sunday: 20% off supplements, tech, and Bulletproof merchandise
If you’re looking for a gift for the biohacker in your life (or you just want to stock up on Bulletproof goodies for yourself) now’s the time to shop! You can head on over to the store here.
November has brought with it a lot of interesting new research. This month’s Bulletproof Bullet Points include a fresh look at mycotoxins in coffee, a patient who fixed her blindness with her mind, and some new antibiotic research. Enjoy!
A thorough inspection of mycotoxins in coffee
A recent study tested 100 different commercial brands of roasted coffee for 18 different mycotoxins. The researchers found mycotoxins in all 100 samples. Here’s the breakdown:
- 34% of samples contained ochratoxin A, the only mycotoxin with legal guidelines for contamination level. The legal limit for ochratoxin A is 5 ug/kg, and of the 100 brands tested, 5 had illegally high levels of ochratoxin A. The most contaminated coffee had six and a half times the legal limit, at 32.4 ug/kg.
- Fumonisin (another mycotoxin), which is unregulated in coffee, ranged from 58 ug/kg to 537 ug/kg.
- Newer, less understood mycotoxins had an odd spread. Most samples had very low concentrations, but when coffee got contaminated, it was hit bad. The highest concentration of emerging mycotoxins was 3,570 ug/kg.
- In general, decaffeinated coffee beans and instant coffee had higher mycotoxin levels than did caffeinated, whole beans.
Most of the samples were within the legal limit for ochratoxin A content, but the researchers note that while we don’t know how much damage low levels of mycotoxin exposure will do, mycotoxins are very carcinogenic and hepatotoxic (toxic for your liver). Mycotoxins also stay in the body for a long time (ochratoxin A is the most extreme, sticking around for ~20 days), so if you drink moldy coffee every day you’re building up those levels. The researchers end their paper by pushing for a large study of people exposed to contaminated coffee. Regulating more than just ochratoxin A would be nice, too.
A blind woman learned to see again – by switching her personality
Every now and then a case study – that is, a study of a single person – comes along and shows just how strange and amazing the human body can be. Case studies usually focus on unusual people, and this one is no exception.
Seventeen years ago, B.T. (scientists call her by her initials to protect her identity) got into an accident that damaged the visual part of her brain, leaving her blind. It looked like a condition called cortical blindness – doctors thought that B.T.’s eyes worked just fine, but the signals they sent to her brain weren’t going through. However, the issue turned out to be something different. B.T.’s case shows how astoundingly powerful your mind can be.
B.T. went into therapy for dissociative identity disorder (the new term for multiple personality disorder) 13 years after her accident. She would regularly switch among more than 10 different personalities, and after some time in therapy, one of her personalities began to be able to see. With training, her sight spread through other personalities and got better and better, and now most of B.T.’s personalities can see perfectly well.
The researchers suspect that the issue was with the pathway along which visual information traveled in B.T.’s brain. It changed from personality to personality, sometimes not reaching the appropriate destination. In those instances she was, for all intents and purposes, blind.
B.T.’s story is an extreme example of how much of an effect your mind can have on how you perceive the world. You can hack your brain by changing the way you think; that’s why gratitude and positivity are so Bulletproof.
Coffee is good for your liver
New research of 1100 patients with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and fatty liver disease found that patients who drank coffee regularly for 18 months showed significant improvements in their liver health. Looks like you can add improved liver function to the laundry list of good things coffee does for you.
The end of antibiotics?
We’ve known about antibiotic resistance for a long time. The more antibiotics humans take and give to animals, the faster bacteria learn to counter our efforts. Bacteria pass genes to one another using horizontal gene transfer, and they’ve spread around resistance to every class of antibiotic except one: polymyxins.
Polymyxins were compromised earlier this month, when researchers discovered bacteria that had grown resistant to a polymixin antibiotic called colistin. Antibiotic resistance will continue to spread, especially if we keep using them as often as we do (in factory-farmed cattle, for example). That means it’s more important than ever to use alternatives to antibiotics. Fortunately, other options are just as effective as antibiotics (sometimes even more so), and many of them don’t devastate your gut the way antibiotics do. A good example is oregano oil, which contains about 70% carvacrol, a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent and doesn’t destroy healthy gut bacteria. Medium chain triglycerides like those in Brain Octane Oil and coconut oil also fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi and keep your gut healthy. With options like those, the decline of antibiotics seems a little less alarming.
That’s it for this month. Thanks for reading and happy holidays!