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What would you say if someone told you they were taking BPC-157? What about oxiracetam? Or dihexa, epitalon, and n-acetyl-amidate? And what if they then told you these (barely legal) chemicals were curing their depression, powering their careers, and even lengthening the telomeres of their cellular DNA?
Our managing editor, John Fawkes, takes a deep dive into the little-known Reddit subculture where people are saying exactly these things. If standard wellness is a multi-vitamin and exercise, these folks are in uncharted waters, out well ahead of the science, and the industry. But if you imagine that multi-vitamin on one side, and the nootropics folks on the other, much of the supplements and wellness business of today sits in between. Therefore, r/Nootropics may tell us something about where we are going.
The Cause Of Obesity Lies Down The River
Speaking to the cutting edge of nutrition and health research, a series of posts by a blogger going by the name “Slime Mold” has caught the attention of the very-online health and wellness set.
It’s similar in style to Jeff Noobs’ investigations of vegetable oil as the cause of American health woes, which we highlighted in this space several weeks ago.
The series is long, but this twitter thread provides a synopsis. In it, the author lays out compelling correlational evidence about what is driving the American obesity epidemic.
We all know the story of skyrocketing obesity as a modern phenomenon, commonly attributed to diets high in sugar, oil, and processed foods with a decline in exercise. However, this explanation does not account for a few other key facts:
1) That wild animals are becoming fatter (despite having little or no access to human food)
2) That diets don’t reliably produce weight loss, and that overfeeding does not reliably produce weight gain. In fact, obesity has continued to increase while consumption of sugar and carbs has gone down.
3) That obesity rates worldwide are correlated with elevation: people living in the mountains are less fat than those living at sea level, controlling for all other factors.
The author(s) theory that explains all this is that the driving force behind the obesity epidemic is chemical contaminants. These contaminants could include animal antibiotics, PFAO/PFAS/PFOS, phthalates, lithium, and more.
Industrial use of these chemicals date to the 1970s, correlating with the dramatic take-off in obesity rates. Because they leach into the environment, they also explain the rise in obesity amongst wild animals. Higher obesity at lower elevations is due to the nature of watersheds, with rivers accumulating higher concentrations of contaminants as they flow from the mountains to the sea.
The buildup of these chemicals, in our environment and in our bodies, plus interactions between those chemicals, causes the hormonal dysregulation that drives obesity. The theory also explains how that same dysregulation, in a small percentage of cases, can drive anorexia.
We take all of this with a big grain of salt, and encourage everyone to read, draw their own conclusions, and hold them lightly while seeking further evidence. At the same time, the science of biology is highly complicated, and good explanations have to start somewhere.
If this explanation of the obesity epidemic turns out to be right, then wellness businesses will have a massive incentive to reduce all of the above chemical contaminants from their products. Where water is an input, an NSF-certified reverse-osmosis system is required. The theory also bodes well for antibiotic-free and plant-based animal products. Regardless, stay tuned.
News & Notes
Big problems with turmeric supplements on Amazon, says supplement company NOW, which ran a test in June 2021 and reported the results to ConsumerLab. Many of the 23 turmeric supplements tested contained low active ingredients, some contained fossils fuel derivatives and lead, others were labeled vegan yet had animal gelatin capsules ($).
🧘🏽 Headspace a meditation app, and Ginger, a therapy app, have agreed to a merger. Their combined value will be $3b, with 800 employees.
📸 Celebrity/influencer Bella Hadid (with her 45 million Instagram followers) has joined Kin Euphorics, the non-alcoholic, adaptogenic beverage startup, as a co-founder. A celeb-packed New York Fashion Week launch party followed.
🛍️ Halle Berry’s re*spin and CBD-maker Brown Girl Jane launch a collaboration, called BODY by Brown Girl Jane, a CBD-infused body oil.
🤑 WHOOP, the cult-hit health tracking wristband, has raised $200m at a $3.6b valuation. Whoop didn’t take long to spend the money, announcing the acquisition of PUSH Technology, a strength-training app, the next day.
In a great example of the new model of brands starting DTC before moving to traditional retail channels, The Nue Co., maker of supplements and skincare products, has launched in Sephora stores across the U.S. WellToDo has the scoop.
Apptopia, an app data company, estimates that Peloton usage has decreased by over 40% in the last four months, owing perhaps to a return to more normal activities post-COVID lockdowns.
Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are now in a race to enable the next big hit fast food sandwich using their respective plant-based chicken products, with Impossible launching their product this week. However, this space is not without its social media disinformation.
Social Growth Leaderboard
Call it the Bella Hadid effect – Kin Euphorics had a massive jump in follower growth this week. It raises an important question for wellness company owners: how much of your company would you give up for access to 45 million trusting followers? 5%? 30%?
In other celeb-news, Jessica Biel’s Kinderfarms, fresh out of the gate with their first product, joined our top-10 for the first time. Other new additioins include Mad Tasty, Hyper, and Dame Products.