Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fighting Body Fat W/ Green Tomatoes; Fasting, Exercise & Cognitive Performance; Potassium Citrate & Coconut Oil Strengthen the Bone; 25mg Clomid Double Testosterone

Image of the week: Golf-ball sized tumors from GMO corn and a >100% increase in mortality in female rodents are the results of the (at least in Europe) much debated study by Gilles-Eric Séralini et al. (Séralini. 2012)
I must admit that I got somewhat bored with writing the same, or at least very similar introductions time and again. So I decided to start each and every installment of On Short Notice with either a picture or a figure that impressed, amused, enraged or, as in this case, shocked me, when I hit on it. The image you see on the right shows the rodents from the French GMO corn study that made the news earlier this week. Females, to be precise. With golf-ball sized mammary gland tumors. Nasty and the result of a life on a 22% GMO or 22% GMO + Round-Up diet ... yeah, you read me right: 22% was enough. In fact, "the rate of mortality [...] reach[ed] a threshold at the lowest (11%) or intermediate (22%) amounts of GM maize" (Séralini. 2012), already, and that irrespective of whether the corn was or wasn't treated with round-up.

Quite a difference to the previous 13 week rodent study, which was obviously enough for the officials to allow the Frankenfood to be sold as "save for human consumption". But enough of those nasty tumors and pre-mature deaths and on to a short collection of recent science news from the world of health, nutrition, supplementation and medication (exercise news will follow in a couple of days, don't worry ;-)

Red Tomatoes Are Good, But Green Ones Could Be Even Better - For weight Loss, At Least That's the simple message the results from a soon-to-be-published study on the AMPK- and PPAR-gamma mediated anti-obesity effects of 20 g/kg diet of red vs. green tomato water extracts (extraction took place at room temperature for 1h; Choi. 2012).

Figure 1: Significant benefits on weight gain, epididimal (=visceral) and liver fat were observed only with the dehydrotomatine, α-tomatine, trigonelline rich green tomato extract (based on Choi. 2012).
While both, the red (RTE) and green tomato extracts (GTE) did ameliorate the weight gain and fat accumulation of male C57BL/6 mice who received the RTE and GTE enriched chow after they had been pre-fattened on a "high fat diet" for 4-weeks, only the green tomato extract with its higher dehydrotomatine, α-tomatine and trigonelline extract had statistically significant effects on total body weight and visceral fat gain (see figure 1).

If you take a closer look at the photos of the rodents (small picture in figure 1), you will probably agree that judged by their physique the mice in the HFD + GTE appear to be the leanest. Now, it given the fact that "high" amounts of dietary fat and fatty livers are not exactly conducive to rodent health, the image may be misleading; and still, the fact that the purported "high fat" diet, had 4g more protein, 17g more fat and 23g less carbs per 100g, than the regular chow and thus a macronutrient composition of 24g / 41g / 24g makes me wonder if the control mice on the "healthy" low fat rodent chow would not have seen similar benefits from a few mg of GTE per day ;-)

As far as the underlying mechanisms are concerned the additional in-vitro experiments, Choi et al. conducted revealed that the anti-obesity effects were probably the result of concomitant increases of p-AMPK (to normal = control levels) and a profound suppression of the pro-adipogenic (=fat storage promoting) proteins PPAR-gamma, C/EBP-alpha and perillipin in the adipose tissue of the GTE treated animals. And with tomatine turning out to be the most potent (-80%) inhibitor of fat accumulation (vs. -10% for trigonelline), we eill probably soon see the first stanardized green tomato extracts being sold as dietary supplement. I mean, you all know how it works these days: If there is a single rodent study showing benefits, people will be willing to pay for it and since demand determines supply, it won't take long until you see the first 2xGTE based "fat burner" (featuring GTE as in green tea extract and GTE as in green tomato extract ;-) hit the shelves.

Regardless of whether you are low-carbing or not, eggs could literally give you a head-start in the morning (click here to learn more about the good "bad" eggs)
Breakfast Counters Mental Fatique, Exercise curbs appetite - Regardless of Whether You "Break the Fast" or Not! That's what a group of researchers from Korea found, when they analyzed the effects of consuming or omitting breakfast on the physical and mental fatique, as well as the cognitive task performance, mood and appetite ratings of twelve healthy male participants during and after four different test conditions:
  • no breakfast and rest, 
  • breakfast and rest, 
  • no breakfast and exercise and
  • breakfast and exercise
On each of the four test days the participants went through the 'same' routine that consisted of "breakfast (or continued fast), a 2 h rest, an exercise (treadmill run at 60% VO2max to expend ~710 kcal) or an equivalent rest period, a liquid snack, a 90 min rest period and finally an ad libitum lunch" (Veasey. 2012).

As I already mentioned in the title of this item, the mental fatigue ratings were significantly higher during the fasted compare to the fed trials. Correspondingly consuming breakfast prior to resting increased speed on a Rapid Visual Information Processing task (RVIP) - an effect that was not observed, when the breakfast was supplied after the exercise. The treadmill exercise lead to a significant reduction in hunger ratings during and even temporarily after the exercise, irrespective of whether or not the subjects had had breakfast. The effect was however more pronounced in the fed condition.

Recent UK study says: Children learn better w/ breakfast The findings of a study that used an online questionnaire + test system to establish a connection between breakfast consumption and cognitive performance in 1386 children aged between 6 and 16 years, from schools throughout the UK, appears to confirm previous laboratory studies, suggesting that breakfast can help maintain attention and memory during the morning (Wesnes. 2012).
Now, though all this clearly suggests that skipping breakfast was a very bad idea, I would like to remind you of the "priming" or "programming" effect I have outlined in my recent post on "breaking the fast". Against that background, the scientists' conclusion that "consuming breakfast before exercise decreased mental fatigue ratings following cognitive task completion and exercise reversed the detrimental effects of breakfast consumption on RVIP reaction time" would have to be confirmed in a group of habitual "non-breakfast eaters", whose circadian rhythm is adapted to running on stored fuel in the morning, before we ascribe general validity to it.

Potassium Citrate: Could the "Best Calcium Supplement" Contain No Calcium, At All? Usually the reason doctors will prescribe or tell people to take calcium supplements is that they are afraid their patients would otherwise pee out their bones - literally! Unfortunately, that does not reduce but will often rather exasperate the urinary excretion of calcium and thus belongs to the realms of counterproductive or at least incomplete text-book knowledge, which stands in contrast to a handful of studies of which the average physician usually has not heard, before (Harrington. 2003; Karp. 2009; Marangella. 2004, Sakhaee 2005; Taylor. 2010).

Figure 2: Changes in urinary calcium and calcium balance (mg/day), as well as serum parathyroid levels (PHT in pg/dl) after 6 months on 650mg calcium citrate (placebo) with or without 60 or 90mmol potassium citrate
The latter probably won't change with the soon-to-be-published paper that deals with the effects of potassium citrate supplementation on calcium balance in older men and women. And that despite the fact that the results could be of relevance for anyone following a high protein, high fat or SAD diet, as well - especially if he is like Adelfo's client Mr. C and "does not like his vegetables" ;-) After all, the main mechanism by which the administration of 60 or 90 mmol of potassium citrate improved the calcium balance of the subjects who had a low baseline calcium intake and a high phosporus load (556/1338 in the female and 618 / 1410 in the male subject) and a potassium intake 10-15% below the RDA of 3,500mg was the "complete neutraliz[ation]" of the dietary acid load, which can be a serious problem with far-reaching metabolic ramifications not just for the elderly (Mosele. 2012).

In the study at hand, the alkalizing effect of the potassium supplement went hand in hand with increases in urinary potassium (42.0 in the low and  67.3 mmol/day in the high dose arm) and profound decreases in urinary calcium loss. In conjunction with the elevated calcium intake from 630mg of supplemental calcium citrate, all subjects (placebo included) received, this induced a shift from a negative into a positive calcium balance and corresponding decreases in PTH, the hormone that will not just leach calcium out of the bones to keep your serum calcium levels steady (see figure 2), but has also been found to be associated with increased body fat levels (interestingly specifically fat and not other anthropometric markers like body weight!) and metabolic syndrome (Snider. 2005; Hjelmesaeth. 2009)

Is the dosage used in the study already dangerously high? No. 90mmol K-citrate are usually tolerated without problems (this assumes that you have healthy kidneys!), but must be spread across the day and are best ingested with food.
In view of what you've learned about the role of phosphorus in calcium and vitamin D metabolism ("Phosphor, Calcium and Vitamin D"), as well as the potential pitfalls of becoming overtly acidic (scroll down to figure 3) and what you can do to stay on the alkaline side of things, it is probably not necessary I remind you of the fact that you can avoid running into problems in the first place by simply eating a balanced whole foods diet without tons of grainy junk (whole or not) and convenience "foods". If you do that, the use of supplements should be unnecessary and could, if consumed in excess, have serious side effects, which range from gastrointestinal distress over low blood pressure, muscular warkness and dehydration (due to a low sodium : potassium ratio), up to cardiac arrhythmias and - in the worst case - sudden cardiac arrest.

25mg Clomiphene Citrate Still a Good Choice For Non Testosterone Based TRT (or Restart) ... and as if that was not already enough, it will also maintain your bone health, when your testosterone can't do the job for you, or help you and your significant other if you have problems conceiving (see box "Clomiphene citrate?", below; Da Ros. 2012)

Clomiphene citrate? For those of you who have no idea, what clomiphene citrate aka "clomid" is: It's a SERM = selective estrogen receptor modulator - basically a molecule that looks and behaves similar to estrogen, but has only insignificant estrogenic effects, when it binds to the estrogen receptor. Originally developed for the treatment of breast cancer, SERMs have caught some attention within the bodybuilding community as the goto drug to "restart" the HPTA after the use of androgens. This works simply because estrogen, the last hormone in the steroid cascade has the most pronounced suppressive effect on steroid production. As soon as the respective receptors in the brain are blocked and the brain tricked to believe that there is almost no estrogen floating around it will ramp up the hormonal production again and the sex hormone levels will rise. Obviously, this does not work for former performance enhancing drug users, only, but also for men in whom the HPTA or testosterone production is suppressed for other reasons. And as if that was not astonishing enough, clomid has also been used with some success as a fertility drug for women (Zadehmodares. 2012).
In a prospective study the results of which have been published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology Carlos Teodósio Da Ros and Márcio Augosto Averbeck were able to show that the (in bodybuilding circles probably laughed at) dosage of 25mg/day clomiphene citrate increased the testosterone levels of 125 men with hypogonadism and low libido (mean age was 62 years) from Serum T levels ranged from 309 ng/dL at baseline to 642 ng/dL within no more than 3 months.

What about the side effects? Well, the only ones the scientists observed were improvements in the
post-treatment Quality of Life (QoL) scores
. Total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting plasma glucose and prolactin did, if anything, improve (!) - statistically significant was yet only the -5% reduction in total cholesterol.

No serious adverse events were recorded. And if it were not for the absence of statistically significant improvements in sexual performance in the 26 men who had already passed the 71y age mark - you could probably say: "It worked like a charm" ;-)

Curried Carrot Soup w/ coconut oil ( - I doubt the chef who came up with this recipe was aware of a recent study by Conlon et al. which showed that coconut oil can increase carotenoid accumulation in tissue & serum of gerbils by up to 900%(!) over safflower control
Virgin Coconut Oil For Everything - Including Bone Strength! Sounds hilarious, but is true: Researchers from the Pharmacology Department at the Faculty of Medicine of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Lumpur, Malaysia, have found that the addition of 8g /100g virgin coconut oil (VCO) to the diets of the ovariectomized rats (this is the standard rodent model of menopause), was more effective than calcium supplements in preventing the menopausal bone loss.

While calcium only prevented the reduction in trabecular separation but failed to increase the bone volume and trabecular number, the rodents in the VCO group had a significantly greater bone volume and trabecular number than the ovariectomized non-supplemented controls, as well.

The scientists speculate that the beneficial effects the coconut oil had on the bone-structure of the estrogen deficient rodents was most likely due its high amount of saturated fats, particularly the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). At least in my humble opinion the the additional biologically active components like vitamins and polyphenols, probably played an almost as important role. At least, that's what their antiallergenic, antiatherogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antithrombotic, cardioprotective, and vasodilatory effects would suggest - I mean, why don't we simply add antiosteoperotic to that list ;-)

Hungry for more news? Visit the SuppVersity on Facebook!
That's it for today, but there will be more in the days to come... more short news and an article I have promised to write looooong ago. So stay tuned and don't forget to check out the SuppVersity Facebook page for a couple of even shorter news-items on the bone-obesity connection, the potential downsides to chronic high dose glutamine supplementation, why total LDL cholesterol number and even LDL particle size could be less important than we have thought and much, much more ;-)

  • Choi KM, Lee YS, Shin DM, Lee S, Yoo KS, Lee MK, Lee JH, Kim SY, Lee YM, Hong JT, Yun YP, Yoo HS. Green tomato extract attenuates high-fat-diet-induced obesity through activation of the AMPK pathway in C57BL/6 mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Sep 10. pii: S0955-2863(12)00184-2.
  • Conlon LE, King RD, Moran NE, Erdman JW Jr. Coconut Oil Enhances Tomato Carotenoid Tissue Accumulation Compared to Safflower Oil in the Mongolian Gerbil ( Meriones unguiculatus ). J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 16.
  • Da Ros CT, Averbeck MA. Twenty-five milligrams of clomiphene citrate presents positive effect on treatment of male testosterone deficiency - a prospective study. Int Braz J Urol. 2012 Jul;38(4):512-8.
  • Harrington M, Cashman KD. High salt intake appears to increase bone resorption in postmenopausal women but high potassium intake ameliorates this adverse effect. Nutr Rev. 2003 May;61(5 Pt 1):179-83. 
  • Hayatullina Z, Muhammad N, Mohamed N, Soelaiman IN. Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Prevents Bone Loss in Osteoporosis Rat Model. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012; 237236: 8 pages.
  • Hjelmesaeth J, Hofsø D, Aasheim ET, Jenssen T, Moan J, Hager H, Røislien J, Bollerslev J. Parathyroid hormone, but not vitamin D, is associated with the metabolic syndrome in morbidly obese women and men: a cross-sectional study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009 Feb 3;8:7.
  • Karp HJ, Ketola ME, Lamberg-Allardt CJ. Acute effects of calcium carbonate, calcium citrate and potassium citrate on markers of calcium and bone metabolism in young women. Br J Nutr. 2009 Nov;102(9):1341-7. 
  • Marangella M, Di Stefano M, Casalis S, Berutti S, D'Amelio P, Isaia GC. Effects of potassium citrate supplementation on bone metabolism. Calcif Tissue Int. 2004 Apr;74(4):330-5.
  • Moseley K, Weaver C, Appel L, Sebastian A, Sellmeyer DE. Potassium citrate supplementation results in sustained improvement in calcium balance in older men and women. J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Sep 18.
  • Sakhaee K, Maalouf NM, Abrams SA, Pak CY. Effects of potassium alkali and calcium supplementation on bone turnover in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jun;90(6):3528-33. 
  • Séralini GE, Clair E, Mesnage R, Gress S, Defarge N, Malatestab M, Hennequin D, de Vendômois JS. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2012. Ahead of print.
  • Snijder MB, van Dam RM, Visser M, Deeg DJ, Dekker JM, Bouter LM, Seidell JC, Lips P. Adiposity in relation to vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone levels: a population-based study in older men and women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jul;90(7):4119-23.
  • Taylor EN, Stampfer MJ, Mount DB, Curhan GC. DASH-style diet and 24-hour urine composition. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Dec;5(12):2315-22. 
  • Veaseay RC, Gonazalez JT, Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Stevenson CS. Breakfast consumption and exercise interact to affect appetite, cognitive performance and mood later in the day. Appetite 59 (2012) 618–638.
  • Wesnes KA, Pincock C, Scholey A. Breakfast is associated with enhanced cognitive function in schoolchildren. An internet based study. Appetite. 2012 Aug 15;59(3):646-649.
  • Zadehmodares S, Niyakan M, Sharafy SA, Yazdi MH, Jahed F. Comparison of treatment outcomes of infertile women by clomiphene citrate and letrozole with gonadotropins underwent intrauterine insemination. Acta Med Iran. 2012;50(1):18-20.