Real Talk The Paleo View

TPV Podcast, Episode 299: Does the Moon Affect Stacy’s Mood?

Ep. 299: Does the Moon Affect Stacy’s Mood?

In this episode, Stacy is convinced that her body and hormones are affected by the moon. What will Sarah say?

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 299: Does the Moon Affect Stacy’s Mood?

  • Intro (0:00)
  • News and Views (0:40)
    • Stacy was at a Beautycounter conference this past weekend.
      • While the conference itself was great, the part that was amazing was meeting some incredible women in person that she’s been working with for over a year.
      • Stacy minored in women’s studies, so helping a team of women to succeed an achieve their goals has been a long-time dream come true for her.
      • While she is successful at her day job and enjoys it, it never directly empowered women for a greater cause, which is what her work with Beautycounter has helped her to do.
      • Stacy was bawling all weekend, realizing she was part of something bigger, and had helped other women find their power and their voice, and was part of a mission that matters.
  • Stacy’s Burning Question for Sarah (8:01)
    • Stacy has been feeling very connected and effected by lunar cycles, which is a weird thing for her to say out loud. After some research, she found information supporting a link to mood and hormones. Lunar cycles are known to affect bodies of water (ie: the tides) and humans are made up of mostly water- so Stacy wants to know, what does the science say related to how the moon affects humans?
      • There has been a lot of interest in the circalunar cycle, especially in the last 5-10 years.
      • We have a circadian rhythm, which keeps track of our 24 hours in the day.
        • It syncs our brain with the “clock” that is in every one of our cells.
      • There is seasonal variation as well- changes in physiology based on the season.
      • We don’t really fully understand circalunar rhythms.
        • These cycles are much stronger in marine animals.
        • There are observations based on rhythm on a 29.5 day cycle.
          • Spawning, gonad growth, reproductive cycles, etc.
          • Research is starting to identify some genetic components to these circalunar cycles.
            • It is analogous to our circadian rhythms- outside stimulus that influences internal factors.
      • There is a good scientific foundation of mechanism and molecular mechanics of the circalunar rhythms.
      • There are behaviors and physiology changes in humans that have been linked to the moon.
        • The old saying, “must be a full moon.”
        • There have been some rigorous studies looking at things like birth rate and fertility and phases of the moon.
          • These two things have not been found to be correlated in the science.
        • There are studies in schizophrenia showing a small increase of violence or aggressive episodes during a full moon.
        • There is also a possible correlation between seizures when thy sky is brighter, not necessarily when the moon is full though.
        • A study done in 2013 looked at lunar cycle and sleep quality.
          • It showed more deep sleep during the full moon.
          • A study that tried to replicate the data didn’t get the same results.
      • It is not tidal effects on humans, as we are an incredibly small amount of water.
        • Tides in the ocean, versus tides in some of the largest lakes in the world.
          • Lake Superior’s tide change due to the moon is about 3cm.
            • Humans are a ridiculously small amount of water compared to this.
      • It could have to do with the amount of light at night being greater during a full moon.
        • We tend not to evolve useless things.
          • Our photoreceptors could be good multi-taskers as well.
        • We have completely messed up how our body detects moon light, and messed up our circadian rhythms by having lights on at night, spending too much time inside, screen time, etc.
          • Indoor lights is a large disruptor of sleep.
        • The bright sun is between 400-130,000 lux.
        • The full moon is 0.25 lux, and half moon is 0.025 lux, starlight is 0.0001 lux.
          • We’re supposed to have a very dim light signal in the evenings.
            • Indoor lighting is between 200-300 lux.
            • Street lights or heavy traffic is about 75 lux.
            • Smartphone and tablet screens are 30-50 lux.
          • There are so many sources of light that we are never in a nighttime environment.
            • We don’t have the ability to sync with the moon anymore.
            • We’ve probably destroyed our ability to study circalunar rhythms in humans.
      • When we do learn more about circalunar cycles, it is unclear how that would inform what we can do in our modern lives to make up for it.
        • Right now we can eat a nutrient-focuses diet, have a rigid bedtime, spend time outside, take activity breaks during the day, use a treadmill desk, nurture in-person relationships, etc.
        • It is challenging to get rid of nighttime light, and is unclear what impact it would have on our health.
      • Ultimately, Sarah is saying that there is evidence that circalunar cycles are a real thing, but they are driven by nighttime light, not tidal forces.
        • Stacy still believes that the moon makes her super emotional!
          • We as a population have a strong cultural bond to the full moon, which can be a driving force.
      • The moon is actually getting farther away from us- the light at night and tidal forces used to be stronger.
        • It could have had a bigger impact back in this time.
      • The most hope for understanding a link between human physiology and human behavior and the lunar cycle is not in big population studies, but in a basic understanding the mechanism of circalunar cycles in sea urchins and corals, and then trying to identifying if those pathways were preserved in mammals.
      • Stacy is not putting this to rest yet- she’s going to be on lunar-watch!
        • Listeners, Stacy needs your emotional support!
        • Please comment and share your particular superstitions with us!
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