The Weekly Thread: human photosynthesis, hinge on those hips, the importance of nasal breathing, and growth comes from pain.

Last week I discussed how human beings produce biophotons of light at the intracellular level that when connected to the natural photons of light from the sun, help us to produce more energy at the cellular level through the increased production of bioelectricity. 

This idea of using natural light to produce energy could be considered a stage of photosynthesis. 

Now, I’m not saying humans can produce all of their energy from water, minerals, and natural light like plants, however, it does appear that the more we understand about all of these facets, and how they help us produce energy at the cellular level, it does appear that this idea of “human photosynthesis” is very real, and something we’re only beginning to understand. 

I came across an article this week from an author, who makes the claim (with plenty of clinical studies referenced to back said claim) that DHA is an absolutely critical nutrient for the eyes, and their ability to better absorb natural light photons to produce more electricity that runs the entire central nervous system. 

What is DHA

DHA “docosahexaenoic acid”, is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is a crucial nutrient that plays a vital role in the structure and function of our bodies, particularly in the brain, eyes, and heart.

DHA is considered an essential fatty acid, meaning our bodies cannot produce it in sufficient quantities, so we need to obtain it through our diet. It is primarily found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in algae-based supplements.

In the brain, DHA is highly concentrated in the cell membranes, particularly in the regions responsible for memory, learning, and cognitive function. It is involved in the development and maintenance of brain cells, and it supports overall brain health.

Additionally, DHA has been linked to cardiovascular health. It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps lower triglyceride levels, and promotes healthy blood vessel function, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Pregnant women are often advised to consume sufficient DHA for the proper development of the baby's brain and eyes. DHA supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding may also support infant cognitive development.

In short, it’s a pretty important nutrient, and most noteworthy, is that we need to consume it from outside sources to get adequate amounts of it. 

DHA, The Eyes, & Natural Light 

The eyes have photoreceptors. Photoreceptors are specialized cells in the retina of the eye that are responsible for detecting and responding to light. There are two types of photoreceptor cells in the human eye: rods and cones.

Rods are highly sensitive to light and are responsible for vision in dim light conditions, such as night vision. You have an estimated 91 million rods on the retina of the eye, and they are important for detecting motion and providing peripheral vision.

Cones, on the other hand, are responsible for color, vision, and visual acuity in bright light conditions. There are three types of cones that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light, allowing us to perceive a wide range of colors.

These photoreceptor cells convert light energy into electrical signals, which are then transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve, ultimately resulting in visual perception.

Photons from the sun hit the retina and are converted to an electrical signal that the brain can then translate. DHA is vital to this process. This is another reason wearing sunglasses does more harm than it does good.

How much DHA do we need?

We’ve discussed DHA alone, however, EPA is another essential omega 3 fatty acid that is found with DHA in as mentioned above, fatty fish, or in a fish oil supplement. You can also get DHA and EPA in other grass-fed meats, just not at the levels you can in fatty fish like Salmon. 

Research shows we need an omega 3 fatty acid level of 8-10% in our red blood cell membranes, which amounts to about 1,000-2,000mg of EPA & DHA per day for an individual to achieve therapeutic levels. Research also shows the average individual is around 4% EPA & DHA concentration in red blood cell membranes, so most of us, aren’t getting enough. 

Furthermore, there can be issues with wild-caught fish having heavy metal toxicity, and farm-raised fish are nowhere near as nutrient dense. 

I do recommend eating a serving or two of wild-caught fatty fish per week, however, to achieve truly therapeutic amounts of EPA & DHA in your cell membranes, and get that 1,000mg-2,000mg per day to get there, you need to take a high-quality fish oil supplement.  I take 3 softgels a day of the True Grace High Potency Fish Oil, which is distilled to be free of heavy metals and contaminants, and is also derived from a sustainably sourced population of wild Alaskan Pollock, whereas most fish oil supplements are not derived from environmentally sustainable sources. Three softgels per day will give you 1,200mg of EPA and 900mg of DHA. From there, I do eat a lot of regeneratively raised grass-fed meat along with wild-caught fish to supplement the rest of my omega 3 fatty acid intake.

Movement #2: Hip Hinge 

Last week I began a segment where I outline key movements to incorporate into your life on a daily or weekly basis to keep you functionally strong, flexible, and mobile for life. 

Note, I say “movements” and not “exercises”. What I’m outlining are specific types of movement for life, and then I outline various exercises you can do within that type of movement. Everything I will outline and provide video links for are movements that require no more than a single kettlebell, and can be done anywhere, and don’t need to be part of an actual exercise regimen. 

If not part of an exercise regimen, just work these movements into your life and day throughout the week. 

These movements are ideal for kids and young teens to work on specific mobility and reduce risk of injury in sports, all the way up to the eldest of adults. 

Hip hinge movements primarily involve flexing and extending at the hip joint while maintaining a neutral spine. Some common exercise movements that involve a hip hinge are:

(Links to video demonstrations will be provided at the end of this segment.)

1. Deadlifts: Whether using a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells, deadlifts require a hip hinge to lift the weight from the floor and return to an upright position. 

2. Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs): Similar to deadlifts, RDLs emphasize the hip hinge pattern while targeting the posterior chain, including the hamstrings and glutes.

3. Kettlebell Swings: This dynamic exercise involves a powerful hip hinge to swing the kettlebell between the legs and up to chest level, using the momentum generated by the hips.

Remember to maintain proper form and technique while performing these exercises.

CLICK HERE to watch an example of Single Arm Deadlifts. 

CLICK HERE to watch an example of Single Leg RDLs.

CLICK HERE to watch an example of Kettlebell Swings. 

“Breath” 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.

Avoiding Pain Means Avoiding Improvement 

Good things come from pain. 

And digging into pain results in growth and improvement. 

The more you dig into the pain of exercise, the stronger, healthier, and fitter you get, along with a host of stress and anxiety relieving benefits. 

Having that hard conversation you need to have results in growth in relationships of all kinds. 

Consistently sitting through the pain of a cold shower or hot sauna will reduce risk of disease and help you live longer.

Good things come from pain. 

Conversely, most of our suffering comes from the avoidance of pain. 

Avoid the pain of hard exercise will sooner or later result in health issues and cause extra suffering. 

Along with a buildup of stress and anxiety that you don’t burn off, which will definitely cause more suffering. 

Avoid the tough conversation for too long, and resentment and distrust build. 

Growth and improvement come from pain.