Saturday, July 7, 2012

On Short Notice: EPO Reduces Mitochondrial Biogenesis, Excess Zinc Raises BP + Impairs Insulin Clearance, ALA + UDCA "Cure" NAFDL, Earthing, Estrogen & Your Heart ...

Image 1: 2h of earthing would certainly solve this problem just as they seem to reduce the risk of developing blood clots,  by the way (see below)
I thought I could try something new today and just give you a brief research update on stuff that would otherwise not necessarily make it to the SuppVersity, because it is not really worth writing a whole blogpost on it. Please make sure you let me know whether or not you like this format. I am open to comments of all sorts and suggestions on whether to continue posting things like this; on the respective frequency; on whether or not you want stuff in more detail and so on and so forth... You know that I am writing this blog for no-one else, but YOU, so take this chance and give me some feedback to allow me to tailor things even more to your demands. But enough of that, let's get to the studies for today :-)

EPO treatment reduces mitochondrial biogenesis...  fast twitch-muscle fibers, only! Vladimir E. Martinez-Bello and his colleagues from Spain and France (yeah, the Tour de France has just begun ;-) have found that after no more than 3-weeks of thrice weekly subcutaneous administration of 300IU of rHuEpo, the expression of PGC-1α, mTFA and cytochrome c in the fast-twitch muscles of the gastrocnemius were significantly reduced (Martinez-Bello. 2012).
Figure 1: Changes in haemoglobin, haematocrit, and reticulocytes (colored large graph) and expression of enzymes involved in the mitochondrial biogenesis pathway in gastrocnemius muscle (black-and-white small graph) before and after 21 days of rHuEpo or saline administration (Martinez-Bello.2012)
If you take a look at figure 1 you could certainly argue that this is a simple consequence of the increase in haemoglobin, haematocrit and the rediculocyte count and the subsequently increased oxygen delivery to the target muscle. Unfortunately, that does not really make sense, since that should be all the more important for the highly oxygen-depended slow twitch muscles in the soleus, where the expression of neither of the three enzymes changed. So, as Martinez-Bello et al. say "further studies are needed to address and clarify this issue as well as to establish accurate biological mechanisms". This may also explain the fact that the treatment did not ellicit any changes in maximal aerobic performance, something you would actually expect as a mechanistic consequence of the EPO-induced increase in oxygen transport.

Too much zinc can increase blood pressure by compromising kidney function 

You already know that the long-term ingestion of high doses of zinc can set you up for insulin resistance and diabetes (cf. "Zinc: 15mg Are Plenty - After 120 Days Rodents on Diets Containing 2xRDA of Zinc Develop Metabolic Syndrome"). According to another recent study from the Health Science Center, Saitama Medical University in Japan (Kasai. 2012), excessive zinc intake can reduce renal function and thus indirectly elevate in blood pressure.
Figure 2: As you can see, the compromised kindey function did not just lead to profound increases in blood pressure, it also reduced the insulin clearance by >20% and > 40% (based on Kasai. 2012)
And if you take a closer look at the effects the diets that contained 10x (for humans 10x above normal is "only" 150mg/day, something I have in face seen as a recommendation for "natural testosterone bosting" on some of the boards) and 40x the normal amount had on insulin clearance within after no more than 4-weeks, it becomes clear that in addition to the previously mentioned increased nutrient absorption the inability to clear insulin from the blood may have been an additional factor which contributed to the progression of insulin resistance, Tenaja et al. observed in their study (see "Zinc: 15mg Are Plenty"; Taneja. 2012)

400mg of ALA + 300mg of UDCA + diet = good bye NAFLD

Pretty impressive data comes from a recent human trial on non-pharmacological interventions in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Gianturco. 2012). As the data in figure 3 goes to show the combined effects of a colorically reduced diet (1,200kcal/day for women, 1,500kcal/day for men) with a macronutrient ratio of 26% fat (5% polyunsaturated, 14% monounsaturated, and 7% saturated), 25% protein, and 49 % carbohydrates, 400mg of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and 300mg of ursodeoxycholic acid, a bile acid that is also known as ursodiol, led to profound  improvements in all markers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Figure 3: Changes in characteristic markers of liver health after 12 months on a hypocaloric diet with and without supplementation of ALA and/or UDCA (Gianturco. 2012)
What is particularly remarkable, though, is the fact that these pronounced improvement took place in the absence of significant weight loss changes in blood glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR or triglycerides. In other words: It was not a side effect of improved weight loss, increased insulin sensitivity or the restoration of a healthy fatty acid metabolism. And what's best about all it: The treatment was side effect free!

On ultra-short notice
Image 2: It may be debatable whether or not running around in the dark is the ideal form of aerobic exercise, in terms of it's effects on your hemoglobin, platelet, etc. counts it does yet not make a difference when you train.
  • Your blood does not mind, when you train - Time of the day has no effect on impact of maximal aerobic exercise on haematological parameters (hemoglobin, platelets, erythrocytes, and leukocytes) immediately after, and two hours after the exercise (Shahidi. 2012)
  • "Earthing" could help reduce blood clotting - A "groundbreaking" *rofl* study by Chevalier et al. reveals that 2h of sitting quietly in a room grounded with conductive patches on the soles of your feet and palms of their hands (patches must be connected to stainless-steel rod inserted in the earth outdoors) you can reduce the zeta potential (charge of your red blood cells) and thus reduce their potential to form blood clots (Chevalier. 2012)
  • Sunscreen from within? Coffee could hold the answer! - Although this is exclusively based on epidemiological data, it's interesting that Song et al. report that an increased caffeine intake appears to protect to against Basal cell carcinoma of the skin (Song. 2012). Men and women who consumed more than 3 cups/d had the lowest risk (10% and 21% lower than people who consumed only 1 cup or less). And while caffeine from other dietary sources (tea, cola, and chocolate) had similar effects, there were no benefits associated with the consumption of decaffeinated coffee.
  • Estrogens protect against cardiac hypertrophy - If you are a friend of OTC or pharmacological estrogen eradication, you should be aware that the results of a recent study from the University of Colorado suggest that estrogen has preventive effects against pathological hypertrophy of the heart (Haines. 2012). And while this could explain why some of the non-aromatising anabolic steroids have more pronounced cardiovascular side-effects it should be mentioned that the study was conducted on female aromatase knockout mice and does therefore not necessarily translate 1:1 to humans, let alone men... the 2x increase in cardiac hypertrophy, on the other hand, is so pronounced that I would think twice whether or not it really is necessary to rid yourself from as much estrogen as possible, after all it appears to play an important role in skeletal muscle growth and repair, as well - see "Intermittent Thoughts on Building Muscle: Estrogen, Friend or Foe of Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy?"

  1. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Delany RM. Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity-a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul 3.
  2. Gianturco Y, Troisi G, Bellomo A, Bernardini S, D’Ottavio E, Formosa V, Lo Iacono C, Verrusio W, Marigliano B, Marigliano, V. Impact of combined therapy with alpha-lipoic and ursodeoxycolic acid on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: double-blind, randomized clinical trial of efficacy and safety . Hepatol Int. 2012 Jul 3.
  3. Haines C, Harvey P, Leinwand LA. Estrogens Mediate Cardiac Hypertrophy in a Stimulus-Dependent Manner. Endocrinology. 2012 Jul 3.
  4. Martinez-Bello VE, Sanchis-Gomar F, Romagnoli M, Derbre F, Gomez-Cabrera MC, Viña J. Three weeks of erythropoietin treatment hampers skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis in rats. J Physiol Biochem. 2012 May 25.
  5. Kasai M, Miyazaki T, Takenaka T, Yanagisawa H, Suzuki H. Excessive Zinc Intake Increases Systemic Blood Pressure and Reduces Renal Blood Flow via Kidney Angiotensin II in Rats. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Jul 4.
  6. Shahidi F, Alhosseini SLN, Kandi YNMP.  The Effect of a Maximal Aerobic Exercise Session in the Morning and Afternoon on Certain Hematological Factors in Young Athletes. Annals of Biological Research, 2012, 3 (6):2703-2707
  7. Song F, Qureshi AA, Han J. Increased caffeine intake is associated with reduced risk of Basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Cancer Res. 2012 Jul 1;72(13):3282-9.
  8. Taneja SK, Jain M, Mandal R, Megha K. Excessive zinc in diet induces leptin resistance in Wistar rat through increased uptake of nutrients at intestinal level. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012 Jun 8.