How to improve your family's circadian rhythms
An evidence-based protocol for stabilizing and strengthening circadian rhythms and optimizing wellbeing at all ages, beginning in the womb.
I created this protocol as part of my certification process through the Quantum Biology Collective.
I encourage you to take their course if at all interested in applying this circadian material professionally! Here’s where you can learn more:
The following protocol I created sums up everything we have been talking about here at Brighter Days, Darker Nights in one simple list of ideas.
Like everything published here, this protocol is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any medical condition, nor to replace medical advice offered by qualified health care providers. Any application of the material provided is at your own discretion and is your own, sole responsibility.
For a downloadable and printable version, either become a subscriber for free, or if you are already a subscriber but haven’t downloaded your copy yet, just email me and I’ll send it to you. Here’s the protocol, complete with evidence from peer-reviewed literature.
Protocols for taking care of your family’s circadian rhythms
Protocol: Avoid folic acid and choose real-food folate and folate cofactors (real-food b-vitamins, choline, DHA, magnesium, serine, vitamin D, and zinc) instead.
What it does: Supports circadian rhythm, supports reproductive health, protects DNA, prevents b12 deficiency and related newborn jaundice
Research: Fustin, J., Ye, S., Rakers, C., Kaneko, K., et al. (2020). Methylation deficiency disrupts biological rhythms from bacteria to humans. Communications Biology, 3:211; 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-0942-0 Kennedy, D. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients, 8, 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068 Lyon, P., Strippoli, V., Fang, B., and Cimmino, L. (2020). B Vitamins and One-Carbon Metabolism: Implications in Human Health and Disease. Nutrients, 12, 2867. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092867 Niculescu, M. and Zeisel, S. (2002). Diet, Methyl Donors and DNA Methylation: Interactions between Dietary Folate, Methionine and Choline. American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 0022-3166/02. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/132.8.2333S Shulpekova, Y., Nechaev, V., Kardasheva, S., et al. (2021). The Concept of Folic Acid in Health and Disease. Molecules, 26, 3731. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123731 Williams, J.D., Jacobson, E., Kim, H., Kim, M., and Jacobson, M.K. (2012). Folate in Skin Cancer Prevention. Subcellular Biochemistry, 56: 181–197. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2199-9_10 Niknamian, S., and Zaminpira, S. (2016). Synthetic Folic Acid Supplementation during Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Neonatal Jaundice in Newborns. Journal of Multidisciplinary Engineering Science and Technology, 3:12. https://doi.org/10.7243/2052-434X-6-1
Protocol: Avoid fluoride dental treatments, fluoridated water, and drinks made from fluoridated water.
What it does: Prevents melatonin disruption, may reduce child's later risk of autism and other developmental and neurodegenerative disorders
Research: Malin, A., Bose, S., Busgang, S., et al. (2019). Fluoride exposure and sleep patterns among older adolescents in the United States: a cross-sectional study of NHANES 2015–2016. Environmental Health, 18:106. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-019-0546-7 Russ, T., Killin, L., Hannah, J., et al. (2019). Aluminium and fluoride in drinking water in relation to later dementia risk. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 216, 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2018.287 Strunecka, A and Strunecky, O. (2019). Chronic Fluoride Exposure and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 3431. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183431
Protocol: Prefer solar and food-based Vitamin D over supplemental D2 & D3.
What it does: Supports all levels of health, supports liver health, reduces strain on cardiovascular system, prevents rickets, may help prevent newborn jaundice
Research: Cardwell, G., Bornman, J., James, A., et al. (2018). A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D. Nutrients, 10, 1498. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101498 Demer, L., Hsu, J., Tintut, Y. (2018). Steroid Hormone Vitamin D: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation Research, 122, 1576-1585. https://doi.org/10.1161/circresaha.118.311585 Huang, J., Zhao, Q., Li, J. et al (2021). Correlation between neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and vitamin D levels: A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 16(5): e0251584. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251584 Lehmann, U., Gjessing, H., Hirche, F., et al. (2015). Efficacy of fish intake on vitamin D status: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102, 837–47. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.105395 Mead, M. (2008). Schmid, A., Walther, B. (2013). Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116, 161-167. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.116-a160 Natural Vitamin D Content in Animal Products. American Society for Nutrition: Advanced Nutrition, 4, 453–462. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.113.003780
Protocol: Limit or eliminate energy-efficient lights and use incandescent or natural light (sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, candlelight) instead.
What it does: Reduces melatonin disruption, reduces inflammation, improves sleep, may help your baby develop their circadian rhythm more quickly after birth, may help the whole family avoid depression, and may help the newborn avoid a plethora of modern disease including metabolic, behavioral, psychological, cardiovascular, immune diseases and cancers
Research: Cain, S., McGlashan, E., Vidafar, P., et al. (2020). Evening home lighting adversely impacts the circadian system and sleep. Nature Research Scientific Reports, 10, 19110. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75622-4 Hatori, M., Gronfier, C., Van Gelder, R., Bernstein, P., et al. (2017). Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies. npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, 3:9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41514-017-0010-2 Hsu, C. and Tain, Y. (2020). Light and Circadian Signaling Pathway in Pregnancy: Programming of Adult Health and Disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21, 2232. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062232 Wong, S., Wright, K., Spencer, R. et al (2022). Development of the circadian system in early life: maternal and environmental factors. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 41:22. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40101-022-00294-0
Protocol: Observe the quarters of the day through an open window, doorway, or best of all, from outdoors.
What it does: Sets circadian rhythm, improves sleep, regulates blood pressure, improves metabolism, supports liver health, improves skin health
Research: Barolet, D., Christiaens, F., Hamblin, M. (2016). Infrared and skin: Friend or foe. Journal of Photochemistry & Photobiology, B: Biology, 155, 78-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2015.12.014 Fleury, N., Geldenhuys, S., and Gorman, S. (2016). Sun Exposure and Its Effects on Human Health: Mechanisms through Which Sun Exposure Could Reduce the Risk of Developing Obesity and Cardiometabolic Dysfunction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13, 999. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100999 Gorman, S., Black, L., Feelisch, M., et al. (2015). Can Skin Exposure to Sunlight Prevent Liver Inflammation? Nutrients, 7, 3219-3239. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053219 Roenneberg, T. and Merrow, M. (2007). Entrainment of the Human Circadian Clock. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, Volume LXXII. https://doi.org/10.1101/sqb.2007.72.043
Protocol: Spend 1 minute up to 3+ hours earthing in nature.
What it does: Reduces inflammation, reduces oxidative stress, reduces blood pressure, improves immune response
Research: Bak, A., Roszkowski, K. (2013). Oxidative stress in pregnant women. Archives of Perinatal Medicine, 19(3), 150-155. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258433445 Brandão Tenório Fragoso, M., Costa Ferreira, R., Cristina dos Santos Tenório, M., et al (2021). Biomarkers of Inflammation and Redox Imbalance in Umbilical Cord in Pregnancies with and without Preeclampsia and Consequent Perinatal Outcomes. Hindawi Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9970627 Koniver, L. (2022). Practical applications of grounding to support health. Biomedical Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bj.2022.12.001 Sinatra ST et al. (2022), Grounding: The universal anti-inflammatory remedy. Biomedical Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bj.2022.12.002 Toboła-Wróbel, K., Pietryga, M., Dydowicz, P., et al. (2020). Association of Oxidative Stress on Pregnancy. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2020, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/6398520
Protocol: Spend 10-14 hours per night in complete darkness, or with no light brighter than the full moon or a single candle flame.
What it does: Sets circadian rhythm, improves mental health, facilitates sleep, supports melatonin circulation, facilitates optimal placental development, reduces risk of preeclampsia, reduces risk of iugr, reduces risk of preterm delivery, makes contractions stronger and labor less painful
Research: Alachkar, A., Lee, J., Asthana, K., et al. (2022). The hidden link between circadian entropy and mental health disorders. Translational Psychiatry, 12:281. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-022-02028-3 Reiter, R., Tan, D., Korkmaz, A., et al. (2013). Melatonin and stable circadian rhythms optimize maternal, placental, and fetal physiology. Human Reproduction Update, 20:2, 293-307. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmt054 Walker, W., Walton, J., DeVries, C, Nelson, R. (2020). Circadian rhythm disruption and mental health. Translational Psychiatry, 10:28. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0694-0
Protocol: Fast from carbohydrates when it is dark outside (fat/protein foods ok if needed, stay in dim environment while eating).
What it does: Entrains circadian rhythm, supports autophagy which in turn supports embryonic and placental development, reduces the likelihood of preeclampsia and iugr, reduces likelihood of metabolic disorders in the mother and the child after birth
Research: Froy, O. (2010). Metabolism and Circadian Rhythms—Implications for Obesity. Endocrine Reviews, 31, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2009-0014 Lopez-Minguez, J., Gomez-Abellan, P., Garaulet, M. (2016). Circadian rhythms, food timing and obesity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 75, 501-511. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0029665116000628 Ma, D., Li, S., Molusky, M., and Lin, J. (2012). Circadian autophagy rhythm: a link between clock and metabolism? Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 23(7):319-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2012.03.004 Nakashima, A., Tsuda, S., Kusabiraki, T. et al (2019). Current Understanding of Autophagy in Pregnancy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20, 2342. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092342
I know that’s a lot of research, but I thought it was important to share so that you could find more information and evidence about the aspects of the protocol that most relate to you and your family’s unique situation. If you are (or become) a paid subscriber, you are welcome to start a chat with any questions!