Life Priority’s 10 Tips for Better Prostate Health!

1. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise daily!
* Try Muscle Memory™ with nutrients that will support your muscles and heart health*

2. Limit trans-fat consumption.
3. Eat more fish that contain essential fatty acids (EFA’s).
* Use Life Priority Omega 3 Priority™ to help insure your EFA intake*.

4. Eat cooked tomatoes that contain Lycopene, cook with olive oil, and add cruciferous vegetables into your meals. Eat soy and drink green tea for anti-oxidant support. *Use Life Priority Prostate Priority™*.

5. Avoid smoking!  Use Alcohol in moderation.

6. Use a quality multi-vitamin, Life Priority *One Per Meal Lifeguard™*, to help insure the consumption of essential nutrients.

7. Keep a health journal…set daily disciplines and goals!
Take charge and measure your success!

8. Maintain regular physicals with your health care professional. Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression.

9. Develop a good Attitude! Relax-Reduce Stress & enjoy life.

10. “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”! 1184 Antioch Rd. #417 Overland Park, Ks. 66210 800-787-5438

Life Priority, established in 1994, offers supplements that are scientifically-formulated, results-oriented, and GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and are manufactured at USDA and FDA inspected facilities.
*The products and statements made about specific products on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. All information provided on this web site or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new vitamins, supplements, diet, or exercise program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.
*Any testimonials on this web site are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results.

Life Priority Blog Disclaimer


This Life Priority blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this blog should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The claims made about specific products throughout this blog are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Guy’s Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s not an unknown fact: most men only go to the doctor when they are sick. This creates the generalization that men are much too casual or disinterested in their health. We urge that men (and women) get an annual physical so they can address any underlying concerns that may be present in their health so they can be referred to a specialist if need be. We also urge that men become at least a little interested in their health and start following these easy steps to live a balanced healthy lifestyle.

  1. Weight Management Maintain a healthy weight through a well-balanced diet and exercise. The male body tends to change with age as testosterone levels begin to decline. Muscle mass becomes harder to keep and unhealthy pounds can start to add up. Make sure you are continuing exercise and staying active through these periods to avoid drastic changes in your muscle and heart health. Muscle Memory may be a good supplement to add to your diet if you have a need for muscle recovery and enhancement.
  1. Limit Trans-Fat Consumption Trans-Fats are a threat to both our waistlines and hearts. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than one in three men have heart disease. The American diet that is full of processed, trans-fat ingredients doesn’t help this statistic. Arm yourself against heart disease risks by eliminating or limiting trans-fat in your diet. The AHA recommends closing out trans-fat consumption to 1 g a day. So become diligent in removing this harmful and in some cases, fatal ingredient.
  1. Eat More Fish Start consuming more fish that contain essential fatty acids. The two essential fatty acids are Omega-6 and Omega-3. They are essential because our bodies don’t produce them on its own, we can only get them from our diets. Salmon, mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna all contain high amounts of essential oils. There is not set daily recommendation for essential oils, but some health organizations advise 250-500 mg per day. This number goes up if you have coronary artery disease. If you are not consuming enough fish in your diet alone, consider Omega-3 Priority for supplementation.
  1. Lycopene Influence Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives certain foods their red coloring. This antioxidant is known for its anti-cancer properties most notably, prostate cancer. With prostate cancer being the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, it is critical that men take preventative measures. Lycopene can be found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava and pink grapefruit. The most abundant of these sources are tomatoes, and lycopene’s impact is increased when the tomatoes are cooked. If you are a male and not getting enough of these cancer fighting foods in your diet, our Prostate Priority contains 30 mg per serving as well as other ingredients to help maintain healthy prostate functioning.
  1. Take a Multivitamin Not all vitamins are LifeGuard Daily Antioxidant Supplementcreated equal. Before purchasing, it is important to do your research and make sure that you are spending your money on a quality product. When it comes to multivitamins, their function is to fill any diet “holes” that you may have that are inhibiting your immune system operation. Lifeguard is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep diets balanced and immune systems strong for fighting diseases.
  1. Maintain Regular Physicals with your Health Care Professional

As mentioned, men are the worst offenders of doctor visit ducking. It is important that you try to break that habit. A yearly physical can keep you in check and address any concerns should they arise. Men are more susceptible to stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression so please make sure you are getting screened and treated for these and any other health concerns.

Guys, take our advice and incorporate these easy tips to become a healthier man!

Green Machine: The Power of a Simple Green Smoothie

At first glance (okay, maybe also at second and third) green smoothies can look like the most unappealing thing that you would ever want to ingest, but it may be time to reconsider. Sure, they don’t look delicious, but in reality they can be, and best of all, they pack a nutritious punch. A green smoothie can be your one stop, portable meal that fulfills most of your essential nutrient needs. Here, we highlight a mild recipe for all of you novice smoothie drinkers out there. With tropical fruit to naturally sweeten up the bitterness of the spinach, you would never know that this would be considered healthy. We have also included a scoop of Whey of Life for some added protein. Don’t worry the protein powder won’t alter the taste of your smoothie because our product is flavorless!

Using spinach as the base, you will be supplied with a strong dose of vitamin K and iron, both of which are great for bone health, heart health, and hair and nail strength. Also, vitamin K has been known to have anticancer properties . Throw in some bananas for a potassium boost and the pineapple and mango provide you with a vitamin C cocktail to keep your immune system in check. The added Whey of Life protein will help in re-building your lean muscle mass and equip you with an energy “pick-me-up”. Not to mention, the protein will fill you up and make your smoothie meal seem satisfying.igor-ovsyannykov-223090

When purchasing your ingredients consider visiting your local farmer’s markets. Locally sourced produce tends to be healthier and fresher. Many farmers participating in farmer’s markets often use organic farming methods to grow their products, so you have a better chance of purchasing foods that are void of chemicals and other unsafe modifications. These fresher options taste better overall ensuring that your smoothie will taste great no matter how green and unappealing it may look. Remember, green is good! Now all you need is a blender, try our recipe below and let us know what you think in the comments!

How to Be a Healthier, Happier, Better-Balanced Woman: 6 steps to self-improvement

The downside: with age comes health risks. The upside: many of these risks are easily preventable. With just a little bit of wisdom and a strong dose of diligence you too can become a healthier, happier, and better-balanced woman with these 6 steps.

  1. Practice your Balance & Flexibility

It sounds like a weird thing to “practice” but with the help of a yoga class or some daily stretching, the body begins to stretch neural pathways that can help with balance. The more these pathways are “practiced” the easier they become. Simple stretches can help with posture, gait, and balance, all patterns that can become weaker as we age and can sometimes lead to falls and/or injury.

  1. Focus on Stress Relief & Mood Boosters

This can be different for everyone, but do something that makes you happy that exercises your endorphins. Those tiny hormones in the brain can make all the difference in your day. For one person this may be exercise, reading, dancing, watching a TV show, cooking, eating, etc. the list can go on. Anxiety and depression seem to target women more than men and is most prevalent in years 40-59 so it is important to do the things that make you most happy and to seek help when you need it.

  1. Strengthen your Musculoskeletal System

We’re not asking you to become a bodybuilder, but some resistance training a couple of times a week has been proven to improve joint health and muscle endurance. Osteoporosis becomes more of a health risk to women as they age, and bone density can essentially begin to deteriorate, but these processes can be put off by being active and involving some weights into your regimen. Additionally, ask your doctor if a calcium supplement is right for you to help combat these circumstances.

  1. Immune Boost

Infections and sickness seem to come knocking on our doors more frequently as we get older. Naturally the white blood cell counts tend to decrease putting us at more risk for infections. This measure becomes a little harder to prevent but if you are getting the proper vitamins and nutrients in your diet, it becomes easier to fight off and prevent infections. If you fall a little short in this department don’t worry! A multivitamin supplement or vitamin C supplement can help you reach the recommended daily requirements.

  1. Sharpen your Brain

Dementia becomes another risk factor with age, but again there are some measures that can be taken to prevent or slow this process. Cognitive training is one way to do this. There are professional software programs available to train this, but something as simple as completing a puzzle or playing a challenging game on your electronic device can keep your brain neurons firing. Certain diets, containing high amounts of vitamin B12  and omega 3s have also shown benefits in preventing brain aging. If these are nutrients you lack in your diet, consult your physician to see if they are right for you.

  1. Combat Heart Disease

Many types of exercise can protect your heart. Being active, even just for a little bit of time each day can lower your risk. Exercise and healthy diet are linked to weight loss and lowered blood pressure, both of which can lead to heart disease. Lowering fat intake can help kick heart disease precursors as well. 

Aging is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to hate it. In the grand scheme of things, many great things come with age. These 6 steps are important for any woman at any stage of life so that she can become healthier, happier, and better balanced.

Summer Hydration 101: Hydration Through Supplementation

As we continue this health journey with you, we want to highlight our second pillar of health success. With summer practically here and the temperatures rising, hydration has never been more important. Drinking water and keeping hydrated can seem like a monotonous task that we don’t really give much thought to, but in the grand scheme of things, hydration is what keeps us alive.

The institute of medicine recommends that men drink 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages per day and women should intake 9 cups (2.2 liters) of beverages per day. These numbers of course are different for everyone and depend on activity level, living climate, and overall quality of health.  

Our bodies use water in a variety of ways, many of which are essential for life:

  • Carrying nutrients and oxygen to our cells
  • Flushing bacteria out of our bodies
  • Aiding in digestion
  • Normalizing blood pressure
  • Stabilizing the heartbeat
  • Cushioning joints
  • Protecting organs and tissues
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Maintaining electrolyte balance

Summertime poses a threat to our hydration levels as people begin to spend more time outside and in the sun. The increasing temperatures and humidity levels put us at risk for dehydration and  heat illnesses. When we are losing water (sweating) and not replacing our deficits, we disrupt many of our bodies normal functions and can start experiencing serious side-effects that can lead to worse conditions. Weakness, low 

Young woman drinking water after fitnessblood pressure, dizziness, confusion, and dark-colored urine are all signs of dehydration that can easily be prevented with proper intake of fluids.

For most of us dehydration is 100% preventable yet we always seem to fall short at drinking the recommended amounts. There are a handful of healthy ways to add flavor to your water like fruit infusion, sugar free flavorings, or even water soluble supplements. Life Priority offers a handful of mixable supplements so you can receive your nutrients while remaining hydrated! Drink up friends!


Muscle Memory

Productive Sleep


Whey of Life


Enzymes or probiotics? Which is more beneficial to our health? While both are indispensable for digestive health, they both have separate characteristics that make them unique. Both of them operate in the same system but have different functions.


If you think probiotics only exist in a yogurt that Jamie Lee Curtis promotes then let us catch you up to speed. Probiotics are live, friendly microorganisms that confer some sort of health benefit. They are present in many foods (like yogurts) and they do most of their work in the small and large intestines. In the small intestine, they aid in immuneraspberries-1925178_1280 support. In the large intestine probiotics support digestive health. These microorganisms influence health and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They don’t necessarily digest food, but they aid in improving nutrient utilization in the resident microflora. Our bodies contain good bacteria that keep the GI environment clean and operating correctly. Without probiotics, these bacteria do not work as effectively and that is when digestive issues occur. Probiotics naturally exist in a very limited amount of foods so it is very likely that most of us aren’t getting our daily dose from our diets alone.

Some specific health benefits of probiotic supplementation include:

  • Diarrhea treatment
  • Improved brain functioning
  • Improved Cholesterol (lowering LDL)
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome treatment
  • Fights against infection
  • Possible improvements for patients with psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are produced and secreted by the GI system to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to accomplish digestion and the absorption of nutrients. They work across the entire GI system in both, the large and small intestines. They initiate the digestive process by breaking down food into smaller particles. There are multiple variations and strains of digestive enzymes that are responsible for breaking down certain food groups. Amylase is an enzyme that is released in the mouth that degrades carbohydrates. Similarly, the mouth releases lipase that is responsible for fat break down. As we move through the GI tract, the stomach produces proteases and

abdomen-1698565_1280cellulases. Each aid in digestion of proteins and fibrous materials in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, respectively. Lastly, the pancreas releases specialized enzymes that further digest all that we intake. Without these enzymes we would never be able to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. Digestive enzymes also provide significant support for food intolerance. Since digestive
Fitness woman having pain in stomach enzymes are naturally occurring in our bodies, you may be wondering where the supplement forms come from. Digestive enzyme supplements can be sourced from many plants and animals. Essentially, enzymes are proteins in our bodies that aid in food break down. Very different from probiotics, digestive enzymes are essential and necessary for digestion.
But if they already exist in our bodies, why do we need to take a digestive enzyme supplement? If you are someone who suffers digestive conditions or just wants overall improved digestive function, then digestive enzymes may be helpful to you.

Some specific health benefits of digestive enzyme supplementation include:

  • Soothes digestive stress/indigestion
  • Improves immune function
  • Improves overall digestive function
  • Aids in treatment of pancreatitis

We can’t really argue that one is better than the other, but one thing is for sure, both digestive enzymes and probiotics are crucial to prime digestive functioning. If you want to make a small adjustment to better your overall digestive health, consider taking a supplement for one or both of these. Here’s to having great gut health!


Anti-Inflammatory Benefits with the Niacin Flush

Are you aware of all of the benefits that niacin can offer? More often than not, many people seek out flush-free niacin because of the intense side effects that can occur in some (reddening of the skin, heat sensation, itching) all due to the increased blood flow response. If you have ever experienced how intense the niacin flush can be, you know fan.jpgwhat we’re talking about! While this reaction is different for everyone, and some don’t experience it at all, it still turns people away from using a high dose of plain niacin and instead, seeking out a delayed release niacin supplement that minimizes the flush effects.

Scientists and Designer Foods creators Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw have studied and researched the effects and benefits of consuming a high dose plain niacin supplement, and have even been taking it themselves for several years. They have experienced first hand niacin’s benefits especially regarding its anti-inflammatory properties associated with the niacin flush variety.

In multiple papers and letters Durk and Sandy explain that the niacin flush is actually a vascular protective mechanism. At the cellular level, prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is the molecule responsible for the event of niacin flushing. Studies have shown that PGD2’s synthesis occurs in the heart and that the enzymes involved in PGD2’s production are at the center of this vascular protective mechanism.

Circulatory System.pngThe vascular system or circulatory system is made up of all of our veins, vessels, and capillaries that carry blood and other nutrients to our organs so that they can perform all of their actions and processes to keep us alive. The anti-inflammatory/ vascular protection that occurs with a flushing niacin supplement is related to reducing the risk of atherosclerosis which is at the root of many health concerns and conditions (2). Excess amounts of plaque in the vascular system can lead to heart conditions, stroke, alzheimer’s, and many more complications. In addition to its lipid-lowering ability, the niacin flush has also been connected with a reduced risk of type II diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and even male pattern baldness.

It is important to stress again that the immediate-release or plain niacin, that induces a niacin flush, are most successful in promoting the anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have shown that niacin of the flush-free variety did not have any anti-inflammatory effects. In one study a patient was prescribed extended release niacin in order to doc rx.jpgincrease his good cholesterol. After no changes for 6 months it was found that the patient had opted for a cheaper, off brand of niacin that actually ended up being flush free. The doctor, after finding this out, made sure the correct prescription was filled, and the patient started to see changes in his cholesterol in as early as 12 weeks.  

As with any supplement, some caution should be exercised when taking high dose plain niacin. In some cases, this variation can cause liver problems, so getting your liver checked periodically is necessary. As mentioned, the flushing skin response may be too intense for some individuals. Like everything we take, the effects are different for everyone, so listen to your body and consult with your doctor.  

If you are someone who is wanting to include more niacin in your diet, please consider these products:


Muscle Memory




Why the Niacin Flush May.Sandy Shaw

The Value of Niacin


Circulatory System.png

When is the Best Time to Take Your Muscle Memory?

Muscle Memory is a cutting edge arginine supplement, created from many years of science research. Little do many of us know though, is that the science isn’t just in the nutrient itself. We think, “Okay I have a new supplement, I just need to make sure I take it everyday,”–this usually ends up being first thing in the morning or right before bed for most people. This actually isn’t the correct logic when it comes to Muscle Memory consumption.

According to our Scientists-Designer Foods Creators, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Muscle Memory is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach. Arginine acts as a growth hormone releaser, and when taken orally, this amino acid should be taken at least 45 minutes before consuming food. When amino acids are consumed, either by food sources or supplement sources, they must transport across our brain’s  blood barrier to initiate their physiological processes. These amino acids, which are in many foods, have to essentially compete to gain transport across the blood brain barrier. When you take Muscle Memory with a meal, the arginine that you are supplementing may not access passage across the barrier because there are many other amino acids as a result from consuming a meal. By isolating the intake of arginine, this ensures that passage occurs and the growth hormone (also referred to as GH) release process, that has many anti-aging properties, occurs properly.

As aging occurs, the release of GH becomes more and more limited. A few G
H release benefits include:

  • Accelerated wound healing
  • Ability to maintain strength gain
  • Improvement of skin elasticity
  • Improved immune support
  • Muscular strength
  • Kidney health
  • Relief of musculoskeletal aches and pains

The idea behind Muscle Memory is to prolong  the high spikes of GH release that we experience in our younger years. Muscle Memory isn’t a GH supplement, bWoman Sipping Coffee While on Bedut the arginine, choline, and vitamin B5 in the supplement naturally initiate GH’s release and all of the body’s regulatory features and processes that occur around this physiologic mechanism. In order to receive the full benefit of the GH release, Durk and Sandy suggest that Muscle Memory be ta
ken at bedtime because about an hour and a half after you go to sleep is when the biggest GH release occurs if you are older than mid-20s. Additionally, Muscle Memory can be consumed 45 minutes before engaging in peak-output exercise. Mirroring the body’s natural GH release patterns with Muscle Memory use, allows for the best chance of accelerating this overall process and reaping all of the great, anti-aging benefits.

As Durk puts it, “ Muscle Memory makes your endocrine system look like that of a younger person.”


Durk & Sandy Muscle Memory Interview

Why you should take Lift & Muscle Memory on an empty stomach

Productive Sleep doesn’t have to be just a dream.

Introducing Life Priority’s Productive Sleep™
Good sleep doesn’t have to be just a dream.™ Get more power
from your nap!™ Get more out of the sleep you get.™

By Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw

Hundreds of substances, both natural and synthetic, have been tried over the past few thousand years as sleep-inducing agents. Many were successful in inducing unconsciousness. Why, then, did they generally fail to provide the user with a feeling of rested refreshment the next morning? The answer is complex, but the bottom line is that no one substance can perform the very complex task of helping you to have a more refreshing nap or night’s sleep.

SLEEP is far more than a daily period during which you lapse into a lengthy state of unconsciousness. It is a highly programmed mental state that engages all parts of your brain in a complex pattern of activity. “… sleep is no longer considered a passive resting state, but rather an active brain state essential for neuronal plasticity.”1 If all has gone well, you awake with a sense of refreshment and well-being, having been prepared for a new day by a night of productive sleep.
New research has reported beneficial effects on cognition (particularly memory) of daytime naps, as well.

Our new sleep formulation Productive Sleep is designed to equip your brain with supplies of sleep-enhancing natural substances to help make it easy to just let go and slip into a daytime nap or nighttime sleep without a struggle, even at the end of or during a day that may be full of hard work and stressful events. Then, after you fall asleep, Productive Sleep helps your brain navigate nature’s restorative sleep pathways.
We designed Productive Sleep for our own personal use because there are a lot of things to worry about these days and we really need good sleep. Productive Sleep works for us. Several of our best friends have reported enthusiastically on the effects of Productive Sleep.

1. Lepousez and Liedo. Life and death decision in adult neurogenesis: in praise of napping. Neuron. 71:768-71 (2011).

What Does Good Sleep Do For You Besides Produce a State of Restedness and Energy When You Wake Up?
Underneath the surface of feeling rested and ready to proceed with a new day’s activities is where all the action is, the complex biochemical processes resulting from a night of the right amount of physiological sleep. Not surprisingly, there is much yet to be learned about how sleep works, but some things are becoming much clearer. A major result of sleep is now known to be a process of re-experiencing memories and restoring them into long-term storage.1–4 Another important process involves the creation of new adult-born neurons (neurogenesis)5 that allows two (known) critical brain areas to continue to produce neurons throughout life. These new neurons are particularly important for vigorous youthful function as compared to old early-born neurons.

“… sleep is no longer considered a passive resting state, but rather an active brain state essential for neuronal plasticity.”

 Sleep Preserves Memories
A new study5 along with a commentary on that paper6 reports that the sleepiness that often follows a meal and results in a daytime nap has been found to contribute to synaptic plasticity by …
promoting dampening of potentiated synapses during awake state to minimize their energy consumption, reduce their physical volume, and prevent their strength from saturating. Thus, synaptic depression or downscaling during sleep may recalibrate synaptic weights down to a more responsive range. In parallel to this homeostatic process, sleep has been shown to contribute to memory consolidation. Notably, repeated reactivation of activity patterns evoked during learning [when awake] has been observed during slow-wave sleep both in rats and humans.6
This reactivation is called “replay” and may be essential to the preservation of memories in long-term storage.

“The results suggest that sleep—even as brief as a nap—facilitates the reorganization of discrete memory traces into flexible relational memory networks.”

Improved Reactivation of Information Acquired During the Wake State Via The Power Nap
A new study6A reports on how learning a skill can be improved by an afternoon nap. People learned to produce two melodies in time with moving visual symbols by pressing four keys in time with repeating 12-item sequences of moving circles. Then, when an EEG indicated that a subject was in slow wave sleep during an afternoon nap, one of the melodies was covertly presented 20 times over a 4-minute interval. The performance of the melody presented during the nap (called the cued melody) was found to be played more accurately when the subjects awoke. In subjects who also practiced the two melodies but slept during the afternoon nap without a cued melody, the average playing after awakening improved as well, in correlation with the amount of time spent in slow wave sleep, but not to the degree of improvement shown by those exposed to the cued melody during slow-wave sleep.

“Our [Lau et al, 2011] results make clear that sleep is important for the abstraction of generality.”

The authors explain that prior studies have shown a strengthening of spatial associative memory from learning-related cues presented during slow-wave sleep. Thus, the new study extended the earlier findings by showing that “auditory cues can selectively change the ability to perform a distinct type of sensorimotor skill memory.”6A

The researchers did not test during other stages of sleep, noting that slow wave sleep “has been recognized as being critical for systems memory consolidation.”6A
Another paper6B reported on a daytime nap study in which subjects had to learn the English meanings of Chinese characters with overlapping semantic components called radicals. When they were later tested on new characters that they had never seen before but which shared the same radicals, they had to show that they understood the general concepts represented by the radicals; the participants that took naps, whether they took place immediately after learning or following a delay, performed better. “The results suggest that sleep—even as brief as a nap—facilitates the reorganization of discrete memory traces into flexible relational memory networks.” “Our results make clear that sleep is important for the abstraction of generality.”6B

Sleep and Neurogenesis Part of the neurogenesis process is the production of new neurons, of course, but also the paring of the population of new neurons by controlled death (apoptosis) of some of these newborn cells. This complex process is just beginning to be understood. The new paper5 found that while the apoptosis of newly born neurons is constant over time in mice allowed unlimited access to food, the number of apoptotic neurons is increased strongly after eating when food is restricted to a limited time period (4 hours). Thus, the new neurons are being constantly turned over. However, a postprandial nap (sleep following a meal) also resulted in a potentiation in the rate of apoptosis in the new neurons. This was experimentally shown by preventing the animals from sleeping after a meal, which resulted in the prevention of apoptosis of the newly formed neurons. The regulation of the process of apoptosis is critically dependent upon LEARNING taking place in the newborn neurons, with learning supporting the survival of these neurons. The critical period of learning is 14 to 35 days after cell birth for promotion of survival, while immature (7 to 13 day cells) and cells older than the critical period are not affected.5

“It is only when sensory experience is associated with learning or with postprandial sleep, two processes that involve top-down inputs to the OB [olfactory bulb], that it can affect apoptosis.”6
Interestingly, the process in the olfactory bulb of neuronal birth, apoptosis of some newborn neurons, and the survival of the rest is all a part of the process essential for optimal olfactory exploration and for correct odor discrimination. As the authors of the commentary paper6 explain, during the awake state olfactory experience “tags” a subpopulation of newborn neurons from which a select group will be actively supported to survive during subsequent sleep where they will receive a “reorganizing” signal.

In summation, “sleep is no longer considered a passive resting state, but rather an active brain state essential for neuronal plasticity.”6

1. Maquet et al. Be caught napping: you’re doing more than resting your eyes. Nat Neurosci. 5(7):618-9 (2002).
2. Mednick et al. The restorative effect of naps on perceptual deterioration. Nat Neurosci. 5(7):677-81 (2002).
3. Lau et al. Relational memory: a daytime nap facilitates the abstraction of general concepts. PLoS ONE. 6(11):e27139 (2011).
4. Payne. Sleep on it!: stabilizing and transforming memories during sleep. Nat Neurosci. 14(3):272-4 (2011).
5. Yokoyama et al. Elimination of adult-born neurons in the olfactory bulb is promoted during the postprandial period. Neuron. 71:883-97 (2011).
6. Lepousez and Liedo. Life and death decision in adult neurogenesis: in praise of napping. Neuron. 71:768-71 (2011).
6A. Antony et al. Cued memory reactivation during sleep influences skill learning. Nat Neurosci. 15(8):1114-6 (2012).
6B. Lau et al. Relational memory: a daytime nap facilitates the abstraction of general concepts. PLos ONE. 6(11):e27139 (Nov. 2011).
Reduced Capacity for Sleep With Age
Another paper7 reports differences in sleep capacity with age in a study of 18 older subjects (12 males, 6 females, 60–78 years, mean age 67.8 ± 4.3 years) and 35 younger subjects (17 males, 18 females, 18–32 years, mean age 21.9 ± 3.3 years). All subjects were healthy and had no sleep complaints or sleep disorders.

“Sleep is no longer considered a
passive resting state, but rather
an active brain state essential for
neuronal plasticity.”

The authors report: “Total daily sleep duration, which was initially longer than habitual sleep duration, declined during the [3–7 days of the] experiment to asymptotic values that were 1.5 hr shorter in older (7.4 ± 0.4 SEM, hour) than in younger subjects (8.9 ± 0.4). Rapid-eye-movement sleep contributed about equally to this reduction [in the older subjects].” Thus, the authors concluded that under conditions of sleeping freely (with no conditions of constraint), both daytime sleep propensity and the maximal capacity for sleep are reduced in older subjects, with the obvious implication that older subjects may be more likely to experience insomnia or have other sleep problems. The researchers report studies documenting changes in the quality of sleep across the lifespan that includes decreases in nighttime sleep, polysomnographically assessed reductions in slow wave (NREM sleep stages 3 and 4), and increased daytime sleep. However, as the authors note, the understanding of what these changes mean is limited. For example, if older people need less sleep than younger ones, then less sleep might be appropriate. It is certainly the case that infants need a great deal more sleep than adults do.

  1. Klerman and Dijk. Age-related reduction in the maximal capacity for sleep—implications for insomnia. Curr Biol. 18:1118-23 (2008).

The Sleep-Wake Cycle—Some Facts
The complexity of the sleep wake cycle—what is currently known of it—would be impractical for review here. Instead, we provide some key features of current understanding.
One excellent review8 of the sleep-wake cycle provides the following facts:
(1) There are two basic forms of sleep: slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is sometimes called paradoxical sleep because of the atonia (paralysis) of postural muscles along with twitching and episodic bursts of sacchades of quick conjugate eye movements that accompanies it.
Our comment: Although your muscles are normally immobile during REM, you can of course have dreams full of physical action. In some sleep disorders, muscular activity breaks through and can become part of the action during REM, e.g., you can dream you are kicking somebody and wake up to find you have kicked something or somebody.
(2) The review identifies several populations of wake-promoting neurons in the hypothalamus, including those in the basal forebrain, lateral hypothalamus, and tuberomammillary nuclei. Some of these neurons contain acetylcholine, which participates in arousal input to the cerebral cortex during waking. The lateral hypothalamus is identified as a possible “wake switch” that allows the hypothalamus to control the transition from sleep to wakefulness by firing at the start of the transition. Neurotransmitters involved in the waking process include adrenergic, histaminergic, dopaminergic, and cholinergic.
(3) The orexin neuropeptide (also called hypocretin) is an important waking factor. The review mentions that there are only a few thousand neurons in the lateral hypothalamus that express this neuropeptide. The brain disorder narcolepsy, where humans and some animals, such as dogs and even mice, can fall asleep suddenly in the middle of performing an action, is due to a deficiency in orexin. A human autopsy study on narcoleptic individuals was said to show a reduction in the number of orexin-containing cells by 85–95% as compared with normal individuals.8
(4) Natural substances that are involved in the induction and maintenance of sleep include GABA, glycine, acetylcholine (responsible for the muscle atonia during REM, for example), adenosine (caffeine and other methylxanthines are adenosine antagonists, which is one reason they can keep you awake), and certain prostaglandins. Curiously, prostaglandin D2 has been identified as a potent inducer of sleep but is also the prostaglandin released by niacin that causes flushing.
Our comment: The time profile of the release of prostaglandin D2 when inducing sleep may be different from the very short-term effect it has during niacin flushing. We don’t know. Though we both find the niacin flush to induce a transient feeling of well-being, it doesn’t put us to sleep. We do, however, take a dose of niacin at bedtime. Still, it is interesting to note that the drop in core body temperature that occurs at the onset of sleep is associated with increased cutaneous (skin) blood flow. The niacin flush also increases cutaneous blood flow.

  1. Murillo-Rodriguez et al. Mechanisms of sleep-wake cycle modulation. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 8:245-53 (2009).

Sleep Deprivation Impairs cAMP Signaling in the Hippocampus
Many studies have examined sleep-deprived animals and people to help identify sleep mechanisms and to develop treatments for cognitive problems associated with sleep deficiency.
One recent paper9 identified impaired cAMP (cyclic AMP) signalling in the hippocampus of sleep deprived C57BL/6J male mice (2–5 months of age). cAMP is an important participant in learning and memory including the process called long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. The reduced cAMP in the hippocampi of the mice was associated with increased levels of phosphodiesterase-4, an enzyme that degrades cAMP. Thus, the treatment of the mice with a phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor drug rolipram “rescued” the sleep-deprived deficit in cAMP signalling, synaptic plasticity, and hippocampus-dependent memory. It is interesting to note that phosphodiesterase inhibitors are used in the treatment of many diseases. For example, Viagra is an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-5, which degrades cGMP that is required for male erection.
The researchers explain that “circadian oscillation of cAMP in the hippocampus has recently been linked to the persistence of memory, so such drugs [phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors] may also be useful in treating memory deficits associated with alterations in circadian rhythms.” They didn’t mention jet lag, but that is certainly an obvious situation experienced by most, if not all, readers of this publication, in which disruption of circadian rhythms can result in memory deficits.

  1. Vecsey et al. Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signalling in the hippocampus. Nature. 461:1122-1125 (2009)
    Melatonin May Prevent the Memory Deficits Associated with Total Sleep Deprivation in Rats
    A key sleep-promoting substance is melatonin, produced in and released from the pineal gland. It is known to have effects on circadian rhythms and immune function and to have antioxidative and neuroprotective properties.9
    After total sleep deprivation for five days (using an apparatus that forces the animals to stay awake and in motion in order to avoid being dumped into water), the expression of SIRT1 (sirtuin 1) and COX (cyclooxygenase, which occurs in two forms: COX1 and COX2) were drastically decreased in a recent study.9 SIRT1 is an important regulator of neuronal plasticity and is highly neuroprotective, among other things, and a deficit in its expression can lead to cognitive impairment and oxidative stress.9 SIRT1 is also the famous longevity protein found in studies in some animal models of aging to increase lifespan. The expression of SIRT1 is increased by the equally famous resveratrol, found in red wine, tea, and cocoa.
    During the five days of total sleep deprivation, the experimental rats received either no melatonin or various doses of melatonin (5, 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg of body weight) via intraperitoneal injections once daily. All of the tested doses of melatonin caused a significant increase in the activity of SIRT1 and COX as compared to controls receiving no melatonin. Effects were more significant at the higher doses of melatonin. The animals subject to total sleep deprivation that received no melatonin showed impaired performance in the Morris water maze test. Interestingly, while the animals totally sleep deprived were impaired in finding the hidden platform in the Morris water maze, they took nearly identical lengths of time (compared to the sleep deprived but melatonin treated animals) to reach a visible platform. Thus, the authors conclude, the total sleep deprivation caused a spatial learning deficit rather than causing some sort of sensorimotor disability.
    We have not included melatonin or 5-hydroxytryptophan in this formulation because we wanted the formula to be useful for enhancing short daytime naps. Melatonin, tryptophan, or 5-hydroxytryptophan can be used to very good effect when taken at bedtime.


  1. Hung-Ming Chang et al. Melatonin preserves longevity protein (sirtuin 1) expression in the hippocampus of total sleep-deprived rats. J Pineal Res. 47:211-20 (2009).
    Regulation of Proinflammatory Cytokines by the Circadian Clock Protein Cryptochrome
    A growing number of papers exploring the mechanisms that help explain detrimental effects of sleep disruption or deprivation are being published. Another new one,11 noting the increased susceptibility of people suffering from sleep deprivation to inflammation-associated diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer, led researchers to examine the effects of double knock out (knocking out both CRY1 and CRY2, the genes for CRY, the core clock component protein cryptochrome, in mice and in knockout cells. The bottom line was that “the absence of the core clock component protein cryptochrome (CRY) leads to constitutive elevation of proinflammatory cytokines in a cell-autonomous manner. We observed a constitutive NF-kappaB and protein kinase A (PKA) signalling activation in CRY1-/-; CRY2-/- cells.”11
    As the researchers explain, “secretion of cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL-6 has been reported to display circadian oscillation in macrophages, where ~8% of transcriptome [molecules acting as transcription regulators] is under circadian regulation. Clinical evidence and sleep-loss studies have identified physiological connections between the circadian clock and immune system.”11
    Just another reason to get good restorative sleep!


  1. Narasimamurthy et al. Circadian clock protein cryptochrome regulates the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 109(31):12662-7 (2012)

Toward Better Sleep Quality
We know of no sleep-promoting remedy, including our own, that has actually been tested experimentally for its effects on all these cognitive and emotional processes that have been reported to take place during sleep. Fortunately, you can detect how well you slept by how you feel and perform when you wake up and later during the day. That’s a pretty reliable test for good quality sleep. It also has the great advantage of not requiring you to wait for the FDA to approve anything!

 “If you sleep till noon, you have no right to complain that the days are short.”
— Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia
© Copyright Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw, 2013

To Your Health!

Life Priority, established in 1994, offers supplements that are scientifically-formulated, results-oriented, and GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and are manufactured at USDA and FDA inspected facilities. rev. 9.3.2013
Information provided for educational purposes only. *These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.