Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oleic Acid Modulates Gut Bacteria and Induces Weight Loss on HFD Diet. Wondertoothpaste w/ 32 Herbals Promises Cancer Protection. 2% Cholesterol Diet Bad For the Testes.

While Adelfo did not have the time to write a whole update, he still send me some current progress pics, I am allowed to publish. I guess you would agree that the his "carboholism" has not done signficicant damage to his physique, won't you? If  you want to know more about his current workouts click here. For some info on his diet check out this post or simply go through all of his recent and not so recent guestgposts, here.
Just in case you have not already figured it out based on the longish, 3-item title title and the absence of a "Plus: Sneak Preview on the SuppVersity Science Round-Up" at the end: There is no SuppVersity Science Round-Up, today: When I emailed him yesterday to say that I would not make it in time to the show today, it turned out that Carl was just about to let me know that he would not be in the studio and we would be doing the next installment of the Science RoundUp next week - strange coincidence, right? Anyway, now you can blame whomever you want for not being able to listen to my catastrophic German accent today ;-)

That being said, I guess some of you may have thought that there would be an update from Adelfo Cerame Jr. today. Unfortunately, that's not the case either. What I have to offer today is nothing more, but also nothing less than two impressive progress pics of our common friend and a triplet of news that I had lying around here for you to educate yourself in Carl's and my radio and Adelfo's blog absence. Judged by the huge interest the "Saturated Fatty Acids Cause Post-Prandial Endotoxemia" post generated the other day, I suppose many of you will like the first one best. Don't fret about the rest, though, but take it as a generous giveaway ;-)

Oleic acid supplementation prevents obesity by modulating gut flora

With 60-80% olive oil is one of the best sources of oleic acid. And the additional polyphenols make it an even better choice as a staple of your diet (read more about the polyphenol content of regular and extra virgine olive oil, here at the SuppVersity); also don't forget macadamia oil, which has >60% oleic acid
(Mujico. 2013) Once again, we are back to Saturday's post on the influence of different fatty acids on the gut microbiome and and your health. Today, we are yet not talking about pigs and saturated fats, but about rats and oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, which has - at least according to this recent study by scientists from Spain and Brazil the ability to prevent the formation of an obese phenotype in response to high fat feeding via its obviously beneficial effect on the composition of the gut bacteria.
"Consumption of a HFD induced changes in the faecal microbiota (an increase in all the tested groups of Firmicutes, as well as the order Enterobacteriales, and a decrease in Bifidobacterium spp. and the phylum Bacteroidetes), which were associated with the appearance of an obese phenotype.
Correlation analysis revealed that body weight correlated positively with the phylum Firmicutes and clostridial cluster XIVa, and negatively with the phylum Bacteroidetes. Supplementation of the HFD with S1 counteracted HFD-induced gut dysbiosis, together with an improvement in body weight." (Mujico. 2013).
In that supplement group 1 (S1) denotes the administration of an oleic acid-derived compound at 1500 mg/kg per day, which did - much contrary to supplement group 2 (S2), a fish oil based n-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA, 3000 mg/kg per day) do an awesome job as far as the decrease in weight gain is concerned (see figure 2).
Figure 1: Bacterial composition of the feces at the end of the supplementation period (Mujico.2013).
Interestingly, the most notable change in the gut microbiome in response to oleic acid supplementation was an increase in bifidobacteria and bacteroidetes (as mentioned in the quotation above the latter was significantly correlated with the reduced obesity), the otherwise often hailed amount of lactobacilli, on the other hand, did increase only in the fish oil group and it did, as the data in figure 1 goes to show you not have any ameliorative effect on the weight. Moreover, the rodents who received the high fat diet in conjunction with the oleic acid had by far the highest count of total faecal bacteria.

Figure 2: Weight development of the pre-fattened rodents in week 0-7 of the supplementation phase (Mujico. 2013)
Bottom line: Now despite the fact that all that sounds great and more than promising, you should keep two things in mind: (a) you are (hopefully) not over-consuming a diet that's both high in fat and carbohydrates (which is the standard HFD in rodent experiments) and (b) it still remains to be seen if and to which degree results from a rodent model can be transferred into the human reality. Still, maybe the benefits of the Mediterranean which is per se high in oleic acid (way higher than it is in omega-3, by the way) are actually related to it's effects on the gut microbiome and not to it's direct effect on the fatty acid composition of either the blood lipids or the cell membranes as we have long been speculating.

Wondertoothpaste contains herbal overkill, is supposed to protect from oral cancer

(Chowdhury. 2013) If you are into "kitchen sink" approaches, you will probably love the toothpaste a group of scientist from the West Bengal University of Technology in India have just formulated. It does contain not one, not two and not three herbals, but alongside baking soda (teeth whitener), egg shell powder (calcium source), clove oil (sensitivity), glycerin (preservative), and other basic ingredients, but rather 32 ranging from popular and well-known stuff such as
    Choti elaichi (green cardamon) is - as exotic as it may sound actually still the most straight forward ingredient of the "kitchen sink" toothpaste. After all, it has a well established anti-microbial activity.
  • curcumin - as an anticarcinogen,
  • green tea - as free radical scavenger, and
  • echinacea - as an immune stimulant
to more exotic herbals such as
  • nayantara -as an anti-mitotic and anti-microtubule agent,
  • choti elaichi (green cardamon) - as a desinfectant for the oral cavity and
  • ajwain - usually used to prevent kidney stones, it's also supposed to have anti-cancer effects
I am not sure, whether I would be inclined to buy this toothpaste, but having the sentence "the toothpaste is theoretically as well as experimentally serve the basic properties of general toothpaste with an advantage of having the medicinal properties of 32herbs which makes it unique in its category" from the conclusion of the paper as a marketing argument would probably call peoples' attention. I mean, the kitchen sink, even caught mine ;-)

Excess dietary cholesterol is bad for your testes

Just to make sure you don't get scared hat all the healthy eggs you're eating would all of a sudden damage your testes. An egg has 0.4% cholesterol, so that it is 100% impossible to get the equivalent amount of cholesterol from eggs, even if you ate them all day. Plus, eggs have all your body needs to make best use of the cholesterol (learn more)
(Moustafa. 2012) --- While I would hope that most of you do know that all your hormones are eventually manufactured from  cholesterol and you would end up without any sex hormones, if you ate a cholesterol free diet and your body did not have the raw material it needs to manufacture its own cholesterol, a recent study from the Al-Azhar University in Cario, Egypt, clearly shows that having too much of it in your diet - in this case 2% - will lead to alterations in spermatogenesis and morphoogical changes in the epdididymal sturcture.

Interestingly, the provision of the essential amino acid methionine (0.5% of the diet) ameliorated some of the negative side effects (remember: methionine is the precursor to cysteine; learn more about the sulfur amino acids, here). Contrary to what common sense would dictate, this beneficial effect of methinonine was not dose dependent and decreased, when the dose was escalated to 2%.

  • Chowdhury, BR, Garai A, Deb M, Batthacharya S. Herbal toothpaste-A possible remedy for oral cancer. Journal of Natural Products. 2013; 6:44-55.
  • Mujico JR, Baccan GC, Gheorghe A, Díaz LE, Marcos A. Changes in gut microbiota due to supplemented fatty acids in diet-induced obese mice. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 10:1-10.
  • Moustafa NA, Elnga A. Effect of Cholesterol and /or Methionine on the Testis of Rats. The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2012; 49: 857-878.


  1. is Adelfo natural? LOL

    1. Yup! Thanks for the compliment by the way ;-)

    2. Adelfo,

      You are beasting!Good job man. I just wanted to ask if you now prefer a more moderate carb approach now that you've experimented with having more daily carbs? I follow Lean gains so I really cycle my carbs drastically but I am looking into following a more daily carb approach with just more overall calories on WO days. Any advice is appreciated. Keep up the fantastic work!

    3. as1459,

      Yes I prefer a more moderate approach to my carbohydrate intake, and even my overall food choices for that matter as oppose to last year where I was still in the process of getting over my phobia for carbohydrates. I have followed the leangains suggested protocol of caloric zigzagging (rest days = high fat/low carb, training days = high carb/low fat), but in my opinion its easier to just keep your macros the same throughout the week and just have 1 refeed day out of the week (or 2 depending) because no matter what caloric manipulation you try to do, in the end it's about the total amount of calories you consume.

    4. I agree with Adelfo. Also keep in mind that going super low-carb for one day probably won't accomplish anything if you refeed the next day. Ultimately it is calories and unless you go low-carb for maybe 3-4 days with some glycogen depleting training, I don't see the point to zig-zagging.

    5. Primalkid,

      I think that my above comment is my first actual reply but I have been lurking for sometime now. I have to say that I always look forward to reading your questions and responses. I am just trying to lose a couple of "vanity" pounds and dip into single digits. I suspect I am around 11%, I guess a refeed every 5th day would make more sense?

    6. To be honest, doing the whole LeanGains EOD feeding thing is over-rated. It works decently, but its by no means optimal for cutting or bulking. That said, I can't really give you advice without knowing anything about you.

      I can however say that the purpose of a re-feed is to be high-carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat, with the purpose of up-regulating hormones and metabolic rate which are often diminished in the face of caloric restriction.

      You are cutting and pretty lean. My short answer is to buy Lyle McDonald's book "The Ultimate Diet 2.0". I can vouch for its effectiveness. At least check out his articles at

      Relating back to what I said earlier though, I can't really tell you what to do without knowing you better. If you have more specific questions, I would be more than happy to answer them (if I can).

      Oh, and I appreciate the kind words. I just try to give my $0.02 where appropriate and help answer some simpler questions that people pose. Adel already does so much great work, I feel like I can help him out by taking some of the load off his shoulders. Plus, often times I have to do some (re-)reading so I learn too =D

    7. thanks Primalkid, I really can use your help here. If this were technically possible, I would already have made you a "moderator" or whatever you may call this here... I honestly hope that I am able to get the switch to another system done in the first quart of the year still ;-) but back to the topic.

      I would not refeed to often. It's simply not so damn necessary if you don't cut your carbs back too much. Once a week is fine, when you are dieting hard.

      Up to now, neither I nor Primalkid have an idea what exactly you are doing (not even where you are coming from, 'cause to be honest 11% body fat is nothing I can work with, unless you told me you got the value with method X). That said, give us rundown of a workout and non-workout day - including foods, activity, supplements and sleep. It's always best to start from where you are and apply tweek after tweak instead of starting all over (at least in the case of someone who appears not to have done everything wrong, I mean otherwise you would still be obese)

    8. At the moment I'm around 154 lbs, 5'7". I had a Dexascan that was 11%, the bodpod was 9%. I really want to be around 160 lbs and 10% bf. I figured it was better to lean out more and then do a nice and slow bulk. I workout 3 days a week with a upper/lower split, ABA followed by BAB and so on. I'm 32, married with a kiddo and another on the way. Work 9-5, usually get around 7 hours of sleep a night. Off days I'm at 80F, 150p and 100 carbs. WO days I'm at 60F, 150p and 300-330 carbs.

      Right now I just don't have the musculature I am looking for. I guess those are my stats and goals in a nutshell!!! Thanks for all of the help. Much appreciated.

    9. Okay, so my understanding is that you want to "cut" and become leaner before starting a bulk. This is smart because the leaner you are, the more insulin sensitive you become (in general, there are exceptions). The more insulin sensitive you are, the better nutrient partitioning you will have when you over-eat (bulk).

      Based on that, let's start with protein. Everyday you should aim to get 1.5 g/lb. lean body mass (LBM), which for you works out to around 200g or 800 Cal.

      The amount of carbohydrates comes next. It is my personal opinion that you should aim to spend most of your week in a glycogen depleted state for physiological reasons beyond the scope of this advice. That said, you will also need to re-feed weekly to up-regulate hormones, etc. The practical minimum for carbs is 50 - 100g depending on how well you function in ketosis. This works out to an additional 200-400 Calories/day that should come from fibrous vegetable sources. I will get to the refeed detail later.

      As for fat, it should make up the remainder of your calories.

      For your weekly refeed, it should follow your last workout of the week, and you should aim to consume (totally ball-parking this btw) 550g of Carbs. Yes, today is a day you will be above maintenance calories. You should also reduce protein to 1g/lb. LBM (140g), and keep fat intake minimal, probably below 50g, less is better. Furthermore, you would benefit more if you changed this to a full-body workout. Each set will consist of 6-12 reps (70% - 85% 1RM) to elicit a greater growth stimulus, you should stop one rep short of failure to avoid excessive neural fatigue, and take about a one minute rest between sets. Training the entire body ensures that the incoming carbs will be stored at a maximal rate in all muscle groups. This should be about a 20-set workout, and you should be done within an hour. So your new workout would be ABX weekly.

      I'm not going to address calories because that is up to you. Personally, I would shoot for a 20% deficit across all days except the re-feed.

    10. Thanks for your guidance. I'm going to play around with the numbers and start today. I'm always questioning whether or not to figure in calories from veggies (broccoli, kale, asp, Brussels, onions) as I eat a lot of veggies daily on top of making my own juices. I always feel like they contribute calories so why not count them but people also say to not sweat the details. Thoughts? Thanks again!

    11. I personally don't count my veggies unless I am cutting and watching carbs. Since you want to keep carbs lower, I would recommend you count them or at least keep track of them. Especially when juicing, you can get a lot of calories without realizing it.

    12. PK,

      Thanks again for all of your help. I am going to take your guidelines and run through them for at least a month, assess and make adjustments only as necessary. I am highly aware of the calories added by juicing, normally I only juice greens and not fruit, and I don't ever consume more than 1 juice daily. I like to eat my calories, not drink them.

      When you are really dialing in the numbers do you count the fiber content of food? Or do you take Carbs minus Fiber = Net carbs? Thanks!

    13. I love to help! In fact, I should be thanking you. Not only do your (and others) questions create a continual learning experience for me, but I like giving dietary advice. Sure the majority of people don't need to track their macros, etc. but its fun to find the ones that do and help them achieve their goals =)

      Now onto your question, I am actually going to back-peddle a bit and re-do my previous post. Counting the carbs in veggies is a choice that you need to make. I do it when I need to watch my carb intake (for instance, I usually do CKD when I cut because I find it most effective). However, I am currently bulking and I set my macros without reference to veggies (i.e. my daily carb intake is carbs I get from starches and any veggies are just a bonus). This way I KNOW that I am getting my set calories in, and since I am bulking the additional 100-200 calories from veggies doesn't matter. It makes things much easier for me because frankly weighing veggies gets annoying. So you have to assess your own psychological dieting limit and go with that.

      As for fiber, I ignore it and go with total carbs, bulking or cutting, doesn't matter. You see, fiber is NOT zero calorie. The majority is broken down in the colon by bacteria and enter your body as short-chained fatty acids. So while some fiber will pass through completely unchanged, most will donate about 2 Calories/gram. In all fairness though, this gets back to the psychological aspect. The less complicated you make dieting, the more likely you are to adhere to the diet and see results.

    14. Generally when I am really tracking my macros I like to count half of the fiber grams which works out ~roughly to your above calculations of ~2kcal. I don't want to get to OCD about it because I never want to shy away from eating my veggies!

      Although there's a vanity aspect to all of this my first priority is overall health and sanity. I am after all a dad, a husband, and a weekend warrior. Haha. I understand that everything is a guideline and you have to reassess and make adjustments. I can understand that there's so many factors at work here, digestion, genetics, sleep, stress, etc... It's so awesome to have a resource like suppversity to talk about fitness and nutrition.

    15. "It's so awesome to have a resource like suppversity to talk about finess and nutrition."

      I totally agree.

    16. First you start counting calories\glasses of water, then weighting stuff to grams, then weighting veggies, then calories start shape your day and behavior and then you are lost. Been there done that. Took me long time to recover.

      Roses are red, violets are blue,
      In Soviet Russia calories counting you!

    17. your comment Maxim reminds me of something I posted on Facebook earlier today

      Scientists confirm: Perfectionism paves the way to eating disorders.

      "While perfectionism is recognised as an important factor in eating disorders, the exact role of perfectionism in perceived body image has been difficult to pin down. Tracey Wade and Marika Tiggemann, from Flinders University, found that women who desired the lowest BMI and the smallest body size tended to be more concerned about making mistakes, and more worried about organisation and higher self doubt than everyone else."


    18. Just as an aside. I never got to see my sixpack, when I still gave a damn about differences in the <100kcal range and picked the 10% cheese over the 11% fat cheese. What was much worse, though: I wasted TONS of time thinking about useless stuff like that.

      Trust my word. What makes a difference is whether you eat a sausage or a steak. Not whether your steak has 250g of 300g or 18% vs. 22% fat.

    19. So true Adel. I want to add to this by saying if you are someone tracking their macros, don't sweat the small stuff. That is, count the main macro nutrient of the food, and ignore the other stuff. Count the protein from meat, dairy, eggs, etc. but not the residual amount found in a handful of nuts. Count the carbs in your starches but ignore the protein that comes with it. Same with fat, count the fats that come as a by-product of your meats and any added fats, but don't get caught up in the carbs or proteins.

      It makes things a lot easier.

    20. Everything being said is so true. I have taken to just focusing on a variety of whole foods. I want to be healthy both mentally and physically. I do tend to track things periodically when I have a specific focus but only for a short period. I try and go by "feel" the majority of the time. I really do appreciate everyone's help.

  2. I still don't understand why people like isolated substances. Forget olive oil, if you need some extra fat in your diet eat avocados or macadamia nuts. Those two, in addition to coconut meat are my added fat staples.

    1. yes my thinking exactly.

      Awhile ago I was experimenting with olive oil for weight loss after I learnt that if you drink it alone you get a massive spike in glp-1. 1.5 hours after drinking olive oil ( 70 grams ) in isolation you get an intense feeling in your stomach as if yove eaten a huge meal, which I attribute to the glp-1

      However about 3 weeks into the experiment of drinking the olive oil it started to induce the puking reflex and the taste got progressively worse. Now the idea of having any olive oil completely grosses me out. urrhh, an example of a learned response to a food i think.

      And yes I did lose weight.

      But my point is yeh, stick to whole foods.

    2. Try it mixed with lemon juice and herbs on a salad. That should solve the problem ;)

    3. The problem is downing 630 Calories of pure fat. That's disgusting and makes me gag just thinking about it lol

    4. while I do agree, oils are no "isolated substances", I mean you don't cook without oils or eat your salads without oil, do you?

    5. Actually, I do. Whenever I need to use something for cooking I use either coconut or grass-fed butter. As for salads, I actually use apple cider vinegar. It tastes great and gives the lettuce a little zing.

    6. wait. you cook with butter? But very low temperature, then? Otherwise that's a total mess.

    7. Ya, on occasion I use butter. Is that not common in Germany? In America it was number one before industrial oils made the seen.