In this second part of his series on sleep, free radicals, and antioxidants, Matt delves into the fascinating connection between sleep and oxidative stress. He begins by recapping the previous episode's discussion on free radicals and oxidative stress, highlighting the recent studies that have revealed one of the functions of sleep: to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals.
Curiosity leads Matt to question why total sleep deprivation often leads to death in different species without a clear cause. The focus shifts to a groundbreaking study from Harvard, where researchers examined oxidative stress and free radical damage in fruit flies subjected to sleep deprivation. Surprisingly, the study revealed that the oxidative damage was concentrated in the gut rather than the brain or other major organ systems. Further analysis unveiled the detrimental consequences of the free radical accumulation in the gut, including DNA damage, cell death, and tissue necrosis. Additionally, the researchers discovered that certain antioxidants, notably melatonin, offered protection and prevented premature death caused by sleep deprivation. Matt emphasizes the importance of considering the findings with caution, as the experiments were conducted on flies and not yet explored in humans. Nonetheless, the study sheds light on the precise mechanisms linking sleep deprivation, oxidative stress, and the gut, providing valuable insights into the profound impact of sleep on overall health.
Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.
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As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.