Best of The Weekly Thread: the real ‘bad’ cholesterol, humans photosynthesis, and a book on breath

Remnant cholesterol and its correlation to increased risk of metabolic syndrome. 

A recent paper published in the prestigious journal Nature titled, “Remnant cholesterol can identify individuals with higher risk of metabolic syndrome in the general population” states that recent research points to remnant cholesterol being the true “bad cholesterol”, and an increase in it has a strong correlation to the development of metabolic syndrome. 

What is Metabolic Syndrome and why does it matter?

Metabolic Syndrome is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type II Diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 

Essentially, as the body ages, especially the more progressively it ages, it becomes less adept at metabolizing lipids and blood sugar, and when this gets to a point where it starts to cause real potential health concerns and problems, it’s deemed ‘Metabolic Syndrome’. 

Once you’ve hit the point of having Metabolic Syndrome, your risk of developing serious health complications and disease goes up significantly. 

Weight gain comes on more quickly, blood lipid profiles worsen, and insulin becomes more and more resistant, to the point of developing full-on insulin resistance, or Type II Diabetes.

When I mentioned, “especially the more progressively it ages” above, with respect to the aging process on the body, what I’m referring to is an individual aging internally (biological age) at a rate faster than their actual age. This is brought on by a multitude of commonly known factors such as poor diet, poor lifestyle, lack of sleep, and excessive stress. All of which, especially when compounded, will increase your likelihood of developing Metabolic Syndrome earlier in life. 

Just as someone’s biological age can increase at a rate faster than their actual age due to the aforementioned factors, one can age biologically more slowly than their actual age when diet and nutrition are good, they largely make good lifestyle choices, sleep well, and mitigate and remove stress from their life effectively. All of which will help you stave off Metabolic Syndrome and the development of disease. 

This paper shows that remnant cholesterol is a strong indicator of overall metabolic health in the body, and thus, provides you a barometer to determine if you are at risk of developing, or maybe have developed Metabolic Syndrome. 

Once you have drawn this correlation, you are then in a better position to analyze your diet and lifestyle and make changes accordingly, or maybe none at all, if your metabolic health seems to be very good. 

How do you find out what your remnant cholesterol is?

Determining your remnant cholesterol is quite easy. Simply take your Total Cholesterol, and subtract both your LDL and HDL Cholesterol. The remaining number, which is essentially your remaining cholesterol, is your remnant cholesterol. 

If you have recent blood work panels, you can go back and determine this number right away. 

NOTE: This should be a blood work panel when fasted, whether you are referring to recent blood work, or referring to future blood work you will be getting done to determine your remnant cholesterol. Blood drawn while fasted will show an accurate depiction of your lipid profile, and provide a more accurate remnant cholesterol. 

For example, let’s say your Total Cholesterol is 230, and your LDL is 120, and HDL is 90. (Measured in mg/dL)

230 (Total) - (120 (LDL) + 90 (HDL)) = 20 mg/dL

A 2021 study suggests that a remnant cholesterol of 24 mg/dL or more indicates a greater risk of stroke and heart disease, and thus, an indicator of poor cardio-metabolic health. And generally, a remnant cholesterol 30-40 mg/dL and higher is considered an indicator of poor metabolic health, and potential for Metabolic Syndrome. 

Anything under that is more ideal, and the lower it gets, the better the indicator of overall positive metabolic health. 

Peeling Back the Layers 

An interesting finding of this study is the difference between male and female in the correlation between high remnant cholesterol and Metabolic Syndrome. 

Men, who, despite being more likely to have higher numbers in the remnant cholesterol range, have a lower correlation between high remnant cholesterol and the development of Metabolic Syndrome. 

Meaning, women have a stronger correlation between high remnant cholesterol and the development of Metabolic Syndrome. So, if you’re a woman reading this, and you know your remnant cholesterol number, it’s probably worth placing greater importance on what this number is potentially telling you. 

In fact, as women age, the incidence of Metabolic Syndrome goes up quite significantly by the decade. 

Below is an outline of the incidence of Metabolic Syndrome in women by age range:

  • Under 30: < 1%
  • 30-39: 2.5%
  • 40-49: 5.9%
  • 50-59: 12%
  • 60+: 21%

Furthermore, the paper draws a correlation between menopause, and the rate of Metabolic Syndrome stating:

“Additionally, with the beginning of menopause, the decline of skeletal muscle mass is accelerated, blood lipids deteriorate, and remnant cholesterol levels are significantly increased, all of which increase insulin resistance, which in turn, leads to metabolic syndrome.”

Basically, what they’re saying is that as women go through hormonal changes, and a reduction of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, they have a greater likelihood of losing muscle mass, which is critical for mitigating Metabolic Syndrome.

In short, women, at some point, you will be faced with inevitable hormonal changes that will negatively impact your ability to maintain muscle mass, which will negatively impact your overall metabolic health. 

This brings us back to a recurring theme of this newsletter blog, and that is…

Lift weights and eat lots of high-quality protein. 

Protein not only doesn’t make you fat, but it actually speeds up metabolism, and the research shows, the more the better, both for supporting exercise recovery, supporting muscle mass, and boosting metabolism. 

The earlier you start the better, as the stronger you are, heading into these inevitable hormonal changes, the less the loss in muscle mass will affect you! 

Men, this also happens to you, so the message is the same. 

I dedicated an entire Weekly Thread to the importance of muscle mass, strength, and protein in your diet for longevity. CLICK HERE to check it out. 

Information transfer is a fundamental part of life. 

Growing research has shown our cells and DNA use biophotons to store and communicate information. It appears that biophotons are used by the cells of many living organisms to communicate, which facilitates energy/information transfer. 

What is a biophoton?

A biophoton refers to an extremely weak electromagnetic wave or particle of light emitted by living organisms, including plants, animals, and humans. The term “biophoton” is derived from the words “bio” (meaning life) and “photon” (a basic unit of light). Biophotons are believed to be emitted as a result of various biological processes occurring within cells and tissues.

We cannot see these biophotons with the naked eye, however, turn out the lights, and with the right camera, you can see, we all sparkle. 

Understanding more about the role of biophotons and why this is important to our health.

Sunlight contains a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, ultraviolet (UV) light, and infrared light. Some studies suggest that certain wavelengths of light, particularly in the visible and UV ranges, may have an influence on biophoton emissions and cellular processes. It is hypothesized that exposure to sunlight might affect the generation, propagation, or detection of biophotons in some way, potentially influencing cellular communication.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the early research in this area is telling us:

Researchers have conducted experiments that suggest biophotons are involved in intercellular communication. For instance, studies have observed the emission and transmission of biophotons between cells and tissues, indicating a potential means of cellular signaling.

Various studies have shown that different cells and tissues emit characteristic patterns of biophotons. These patterns can change under different physiological or pathological conditions, indicating a potential link between biophoton emissions and cellular processes.

Advanced techniques such as photon counting and imaging methods have allowed scientists to detect and measure biophotons emitted by living organisms. These observations provide empirical evidence for the existence of biophotons and their potential significance.

Light therapy and photobiomodulation, which involve exposing cells or tissues to specific wavelengths of light, have shown promising results in various areas of health and healing. While the mechanisms are not yet fully understood, some researchers speculate that the effects might be mediated, at least in part, through biophotonic interactions.

Finally, it is well accepted that at the core of the central nervous system (CNS) is bioelectricity (yes, we run on biologically produced electricity), which is responsible for many primary functions of the CNS. However, many of the higher functions and mental activities of the brain still cannot be explained such as perception, learning and memory, emotion, and consciousness.

Recently, both experimental evidence and theoretical speculation have suggested that biophotons may play a potential role in neural signal transmission and processing, contributing to the understanding of the high functions of nervous system.


It is undeniable that human beings emit weak, organic light waves called biophotons. Typically, the way the human body works, is that everything serves a purpose. The research and study of the interaction of biophotons and their role in cellular communication is early and still growing, however, it certainly seems to point to a strong correlation. 

On average, it is estimated that the human body contains 40 trillion cells. 

These cells serve all kinds of different purposes and as parts of different tissues such as blood, bone, muscle, kidney, heart, brain, and so much more. 

If biophotons play a role, quite possibly a significant role in making all 40 trillion of these cells communicate with each other, then biophotons play a critical role in every single process in the body. 

Get your sunlight. 

We also know that natural sunlight, when connected to the human body, increases biophoton production and activity. 

This could mean that natural sunlight acts as a natural battery charge of sorts that jumpstarts the communication of all 40 trillion of these cells. 

We already know that natural sunlight exposure is critical to the production of D3, an immune boosting, disease fighting hormone that the human body produces endogenously. It could very well be possible that biophotons not only play a role in this, but also a role in many more processes that can positively impact and benefit our long-term health and wellness. 

There’s a strong chance we’re just at the beginning stages of really starting to unpack why natural sunlight is so beneficial to our health. 

by James Nestor 

"Breath" by James Nestor explores the profound impact of proper breathing on our overall health and well-being. Nestor delves into the fascinating history, science, and practical techniques of breathwork to reveal how something as simple as changing our breath can have transformative effects on our lives.

The book begins with an exploration of the ancient wisdom and practices surrounding breath, from the yogic traditions to indigenous cultures. Nestor then takes us on a scientific journey, examining groundbreaking research on the connection between breath and various health conditions, including asthma, anxiety, sleep disorders, and even facial structure.

Nestor highlights the alarming consequences of our modern lifestyle, which often promotes shallow, inefficient breathing. He explores the negative effects of mouth breathing, the importance of nasal breathing, and how our breath affects our immune system, metabolism, and stress levels. Nestor also uncovers the link between breath and athletic performance, demonstrating how elite athletes can optimize their breathing patterns for enhanced endurance and recovery.

Through interviews with leading experts and his own personal experiments, Nestor shares a range of breathing exercises and techniques. From the power of conscious breath control to the benefits of cold exposure and breath holds, he empowers readers to harness the full potential of their breath for improved health and vitality.

"Breath" serves as a wake-up call, urging us to reconsider the way we breathe and highlighting the extraordinary benefits of conscious breathing. Nestor's engaging storytelling and evidence-based insights make this book a captivating and enlightening read, providing a valuable roadmap for anyone seeking to optimize their breathing habits and unlock a greater sense of well-being.

Finally, what I appreciate most about this book is that Nestor is not some “expert” trying to “show you the way”, or proclaiming any expertise at all. Rather, he is a journalist, objectively researching, and allowing his research to guide him to conclusions. 

Many of the best health and wellness books are written by journalists, and not health and wellness experts. This is also the approach I take to this newsletter blog. I am no expert, rather, just an individual obsessed with continually researching, and testing how to live a more optimal life, and I simply share what I find with you.

CLICK HERE to check out and grab a copy of “Breath” in your favorite medium.