Friday, November 9, 2012

Science Round Up Seconds: 30-60% More Testosterone w/ 2.5g D-Aspartic Acid in Fertility Trial and Nicotine Amplifies Cardiotoxic Effects of ECA. Plus: Data on DHEA & Estrogen & Breast Cancer, Fermented Teas, AMPK, AKT & Co

DAA is probably not going to hurt your heart, but it's more likely to father a child than to build those abs. Ephedrine & Caffeine on the other hand, could help you get there, but esp. if you are also smoking you are increasing the risk that the kids you fathered using DAA will soon be without their begetter.
I guess most of all will have listened to the podcast of yesterday's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round Up already. If you didn't you have been missing Carl and me discuss new on the pro-carcinogenic effects of aspartame, the never-ending story of the fattening artificial sweeteners, the benefits of oat beta-glucans for weightloss, -maintenance and gut health, the way sorghum proanthocyanidins can lower the GI of carbohydrates and make them less susceptible to enzymatic breakdown in the small intestine, and more.

Actually this more, i.e. the news on DHEA, its metabolits and their proliferative effect on breast cancer cells, as well as the information about the beneficial effects of fermented teas on blood glucose management, reminded me of the fact that as how like the SuppVersity Science Round Up is a very good place discuss and explain things, but not exactly the place to present detailed data. Therefore, I decided to prelude the Seconds by adding a couple of graphs which illustrate what has been said on the last show. Thus, you can look at the figures while listening to the podcast.

Supportive material for the DHEA and fermented tea news

For this first installment of the Seconds I did, you guessed it, pick the aformentioned news on DHEA and the different fermented teas (see figure 1) that are  based on studies by Miller (2012) and Yamashita  (2012), respectively.
Effect of 7 days of oolong tea, black tea, pu-erh tea, instead of water on Δglucose AUC (left), AMPK, AKT and PI3K expression in skeletal muscle  of male mice (Yamashita. 2012)Effect of estradiol (E2), DHEA and its metabolits 7-OXO,  androstenediol, and androstenedione on breast cancer cell proliferation (based on Miller 2012)
So much for the additions to visuals for the podcast, let's get to the new stuff... or actually the seconds. Of course, the seconds ;-)

  • How to brew your own sodium d-aspartic acid The best thing about this study actually is that the scientists disclose how you can easily make your own PH stable sodium-d-aspartate from the cheap stuff you buy at your favorite bulk supplier: Take 2.66 g of D-aspartic acid neutralize it with 0.46 g of NaOH in 10 ml distilled water and you get a final pH of 6.5 - 7-0 - that's it, you are good to go.
    New study on d-aspartic acid confirms - 30-60% increase in testosterone and LH in infertile men (D’Aniello. 2012) Despite the fact that this is a non-sponsored study by researchers from the Hospital “S. Luca” in Vallo della Lucania, Italy, I am about as 'unpsyched' about the data the scientists present, as I am about the real world results of d-aspartic acid (DAA) supplementation in young weight training men.

    It's already telling that D'Aniello et al. mention the increase in testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) only as an aside and consider it as a "save", or I guess you better say "tolerable" side effect of a treatment  that did effectively double the amount of D-aspartic acid in the seminal plasma and did thus (at least the scientists belive in a mechanism here) increase the fertility in both, patients with reduced sperm motility and sperm count, and those who suffered only from reduced motility.

    The actual 'success rate' in terms of pregnancy rates after 2-3 months of treatment with 2.66g/day of DAA per day was however not exactly really earth-shattering, either. Of the patients with both low sperm count and sperm motility (oligo-asthenozoospermia) 4% fathered a child; of those who suffered 'only' from a low sperm motility (asthenozoospermia) 33% eventually managed to become daddy.

    Without baseline testosterone levels, of which I would not be surprised if they had been rock bottom (both oligo-asthenozoospermia and asthenozoospermia usually go hand in hand with increased oxidation and that in turn is associated with low testosterone and suppressed LH levels), this study is however about as worthless in terms of the purported ergogenic effects of DAA, as all previous human trials. That said, you could obviously mix yourself the above concussion in case you and your significant other are planning to start a new or to expand your existing family in the near future. I guess, it's unlikely that it's going to hurt.

    Suggested read: All About the Role of Androgens & Co in Building Muscle
  • Putting an "N" as in "nicotine" into "EC" amplifies the negative effects of ephedrine and caffeine on your heart and may well be the reason for many of the (few) deadly side effects that occurred in the day before the ban (Brown. 2012) When a group of researchers from the Arkansas State University tried to get to the bottom of the (in some cases) fatal cardiovascular side-effects, which were the main reason for the FDA to pull ephedra-containing supplements from the market, Christopher E. Brown and his colleagues observed ...
    "[...] a synergistic effect on the rat cardiac morphology [...] as a result of intera tions between nicotine, caffeine, and Ephedra. The cardiotoxicity caused by combination dosing of Ephedra and caffeine has already been shown; however, the present study revealed an enhancement of cardiotoxicity when nicotine was administered in combination with Ephedra and caffeine." (Brown. 2012)
    The scientists had exposed male Sprague-Dawley rats to (1) synthetic combinations of nicotine (0.2 mg/kg/day), ephedrine (0–30 mg/kg/day), and/or caffeine (0–24 mg/kg/day) as well as (2) an extract from a caffeine-containing Ephedra supplement (Metabolife 356). The relatively high dose treatments were administered for only 3 days either in the full or half dose and with and without nicotine pre-treatment to model the effects of different dosing regimen on smokers and non-smokers.

    Figure 1: Light micrograph of representative nuclear pro-files (background, red = atypical, green = normal nuclei; my emphasis) and volume (%) of atypical cardiac cells in anterior left ventricle of the rodents (Brown. 2012)
    As far as the results go, a a brief glance on the exemplary data in figure 1 should actually suffice to see, that a baseline "N" + "EC"  stack (as in any smoker who would take ephedrine + caffeine to lose weight or psyche himself up) could eventually pave the way to the emergency room.

    While the data from the anterior left ventricle and anterior interventricular septum (not shown) would suggest that the identically dosed synthetic versions of caffeine and ephedrine were slightly more detrimental, than the herbal supplement  in which the Ephedra came from a standardized Ma Huang extract and part of the caffeine from Guarana, this effect was not present in either the posterior left or the anterior right or posterior right ventricle (data not shown).

    Apropos interventricular septum (IVS), with increases in atypical cardiac cell volume of up to 1.5% in the anterior IVS even without nicotine pre-treatment, the stout wall that separates the lower chambers was most susceptible to the effects of caffeine and ephedrine:
    "In the anterior section of this region, both caffeine + ephedrine combination as well as the multicomponent supplement Metabolife 356 resulted in larger numbers of atypical cells compared to water controls, in both saline- and nicotine-pretreated rats. However, only rats pretreated with nicotine responded negatively to supplements in the posterior region of the IVS. " (Brown. 2012)
    If you consider the high-pressure forces it must sustain for proper ejection volume to the arterial vasculature it should be obvious that "these changes to the ventricular tissue could be particularly detrimental to overall cardiovascular health" (Brown. 2012). Bad news? Why? At least you do now have another good reason to stop smoking... what, oh yeah, I forgot: This is irrelevant because Ephedra has been banned anyway ;-)
Bottom line: While I do have a couple of other Seconds I am a bit pressed on time, today. Don't worry sooner or later they will appear ither on the SuppVersity Facebook Wall, where I am posting at least half a dozen of exclusive links and mini-items, comments and more you won't find on So, I'd suggest you do now first listen to the podcast (if you have not already done so), then check out the latest SuppVersity Facebook News and when you are done with that wait till tomorrow for this weeks installment of On Short Notice.
  • Brown CE, Trauth SE, Grippo RS, Gurley BJ, Grippo AA. Combined Effects of Ephedrine-Containing Dietary Supplements, Caffeine, and Nicotine on Morphology and Ultrastructure of Rat Hearts. Journal of Caffeine Research. 2012; 2(3).
  • D’Aniello G, Ronsini S, Notari T, et al. D-Aspartate, a Key Element for the Improvement of Sperm Quality. Advances in Sexual Medicine, 2012, 2, 47-53.
  • Miller KKM, Al-Rayyan N, Ivanova MM, Mattingly KA, Ripp SL, Klinge CM, Prough RA. DHEA metabolites activate estrogen receptors alpha and beta. Sterespectivelyroids. November 01, 2012. Ahead of print.
  • Yamashita Y, Wang L, Tinshun Z, Nakamura T, Ashida H. Fermented Tea Improves Glucose Intolerance in Mice by Enhancing Translocation of Glucose Transporter 4 in Skeletal Muscle. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Nov 5.