Friday, January 11, 2013

Science Round-Up Seconds: "Tomatorade(R)" or Why Tomato Juice is the Better Intra- & Postworkout Beverage. Up to 90% B12 Deficiency in Vegetarians & Vegans. Aluminum in Your Testes? Not With Vitamin E & Zinc.

Can't find "Tomatorade(R)", at your local supplement store, yet (surprising, right ;-)? The guys over @ SimplyRecipes have an easy and tweakable recipe describing how you can make your own "Tomatorade" or however you want to call it (photo by SimplyRecipes).
If you listened live to yesterday's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up on Super Human Radio, you will probably have noticed that due to the technical problems and my teacherly tendency to talk for hours, Carl Lanore and I did not cover all the topics (click here do download the podcast if you haven't already done so)... but hey, that leaves more stuff for today, doesn't it?

I guess I will best package the newsitems into three servings, starting out with the one I like best, namely my Tomatorade(R) aka plain tomato juice news... but before I do so, I must thank Maxim Okhrimenko who corrected the statement I made about vodka in Russian babies' tea or other beverages. Normal Russians don't this. I actually did not intend to make that sound like "common practice" - sorry if it got across like that.

My sincere apologies for promoting prejudices like that. From a science perspective you could even argue that the Brits came up with the idea. In the 1850s William Woodward "invented" a concoction of dill seed oil, sodium bicarbonate and alcohol, called it "gripe water" and sold it as a soothing remedy for gastrointestinal troubles (Agarwal. 2000).

Tomatorade(R) - Tomato Juice turns out to be the ideal periworkout carb drink

What's LDH and CPK? While the former stands for lactate dehydrogenase and the latter is identical to CK, which is creatine kinase, both are considered markers of muscular exertion (LDH) and damage (CK) due to exercise. Very high levels of LDH occur for example in hemolytic situations, i.e. at times your red blood cells disintergrate or after a major trauma to a muscle (incl. a myocardial infarction), the same is true for CK, for which most laboratories will analyses tissue specific isoforms with CK-MB being the one that's indicating muscle damage from the minor DOMS after a leg workout to full rhabdomyolysis.
I know many of you will probably be shuddering, right now. "Carbohydrate drinks? I don't care if it's Tomato- or Gatorade, I don't want any of them." Still, what would you say, if I told you that "Tomatorade(R)", which consists of nothing else but 100% tomato juice could not just replenish your muscle glycogen levels, but would also reduce and even normalize LDH and CPK levels? Allow you to regenerate faster, train more frequently and eventually increase your performance and muscle gains- specifically if you are into weight lifting or other anaerobic activities? I see, now, I got you interested.

According to a paper that is going to be published in the next issue of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, the administration of tomato juice instead of a commercial exercise beverage to 9 out of 15 anaerobically trained athletes (11 men, 4 women) with elevated LDH (>300mg/dl) and CPK(>210mg/dl) baseline levels (as the scientists have it a clearcut sign of "endothelial dysfunction through oxidative stress" (Tsitsimpikou . 2013)) returned the LHD ad CPK levels back into the normal range in the course of the two months study period.
Figure 1: Effects of two month on an isocaloric amount tomato juice (here jovially called "Tomatorade(R)" ;-) vs. the regular carbohydrate workout drink the subjects usually consumed during and after their workouts (Tsitsimpikou. 2013)
Moreover, the consumption of vitamin, mineral and polyphenol-laden superdrink, in place of the athletes regular carbohydrate drink (the scientists made sure that the energy content was identical) also reduced the highly health relevant markers of whole body inflammation, homocysteine and C-reactive protein (CRP; see figure 1) - whether the mainly lycopene induced reductions in homocystein is actually protecting against endothelial damage or not, is yet still (or I should say, again) a matter of scientific debate (cf. Xaplanteris. 2012).

Brief update:  Just got a question from Sofeen on facebook about simply eating tomatoes. Now, you would have to eat plenty of them to see the effect, but in essence it should work. Nevertheless, when I contemplated the question I came up with an even better alternative: Tomato paste! When Tomatorade(R) is the carb beverage, then the paste would be one of those fancy carb gels - a gel, by the way, which has a 2.5x higher bioavailability for lycopene than you would get from regular tomatoes (Gärtner. 1997).

Vitamin B12 defieciency is rampant among vegetarians and (even more) vegans

I have previously pointed out that unless you are at least lacto-ovo-vegetarian, which means that you eat dairy products and eggs, you are going to have a very hard time building and maintaining the physique of your dreams. As a recent meta-analysis and review study by Pawlak et al. suggests, not being the leanest and most muscular on stage should yet actually be your least concern.

Suggested Read: "Want B12 But Hate Meat? Drink Milk!" Even some of the more advanced supplements cannot compete.
According to the data the researchers from different US institutions collected, the deficiency rates for "normal" vegetarians are
  • 62% among  pregnant  women,
  • between  25% and almost 86% among children,
  • 21–41% among adolescents, and
  • 11–90% among the elderly
Even higher rates, bordering the 90%+ range, when they were measured by holo-transcobalamin II essays were reported for vegans (adults). On top of that the scientists did not find any confounding factors,:
"The main finding of this review is that vegetarians  develop  B12 depletion or deficiency  regardless  of demographic  characteristics,  place of residency,  age, or type of vegetarian  diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12." (Pawlak. 2013)
As preferable dietary sources the researchers suggest, the aforementioned dairy products and eggs:
  • milk, which contains between 0.3 and 0.4 mg/100 g of B12, with an absorption rate of about 65%.
  • the B12 content of cheese or cottage cheese ranges from 20 to 60% that of milk.
  • the amount of B12 in a whole egg is between 0.9 and 1.4 mg/100g
Unfortunately, the amount of B12 is profoundly reduced during the heating process. For milk the B12 loss amounts to up to 30-50%, when you boil it and I bet you won't be much better off with hard boiled (yolks = hard) eggs.

If you avoid meat not for ethical reasons, but because you are afraid it's bad for you, read the "Meat-Ology" post
The scientists also point out that the vegan myth that your body a great ability to store B12 and it would take years if not decades for them to be depleted:
"Studies do not support the position that it takes up to 20 or 30 years to develop a deficiency.7 According to Donaldson, 47% of the sample developed a deficiency, and most of these individuals had adhered to a raw vegan diet for between 23 and 49 months or about 2–4 years. In a study conducted by Herrmann et al.66% of German participants who had adhered to a vegetarian diet for at least 2 years were found to be B12 deficient." (Pawlak. 2013)
Since the whole problem is further increased by the lack of hydrochloric acid (low-to-no intrinsic factor production, which is necessary for the absorption of B12), low iron induced damage to the gut mucosa and subsequent nutrient malabsorptions, I'd suggest that all of you who insist on following a vegetarian life-style go, have their levels checked and get some B12 injections if you are where Pawlak et al. believe you are: Rock bottom.

Protect your testes, rescue your sperm and testosterone production

A recently published paper has taken yet another look at ways to prevent testicular damage / toxicity subsequent to heavy metal exposure. Other than usual, the "suspect" is yet not lead, but rather aluminum, which was administered in toxic doses to male albino rodents.
Figure 2: Relative levels of testosterone, FSH, LH and prolactin in aluminum (50mg/kg) treated male albino rats after the administration of zinc, vitamin E or both; data expressed relative to healthy (non-Al intoxicated) control (Rawy. 2013)
As the data in figure 2 goes to show you, the Saudi-Arabian researchers were able to counter much of the detrimental effects on testicular morphology, spermatogenesis and hormone production by administering either zinc sulfate or vitamin E alone or in conjunction at human equivalent doses of 8mg/kg zinc sulfate (I may remind you that these were 8mg/kg of zinc sulfate, not of elemental zinc, so that we are talking about ~1.8mg/kg elemental zinc) and 2.4mg/kg vitamin E (~1,200-1,500IU), respectively.

Now while that's it as far as today's Seconds are concerned, tomorrow is Saturday and in case you are into those shorter news items, you better make sure to come back for another installment of On Short Notice. And just in case you have not done so already, I would also suggest that you take a peek at the following recent Facebook news:
    Older tomato news: The dehydrotomatine, α-tomatineand trigonelline from green tomatoes has fat burning effects (read more).
  • Galactooligosaccharides increase bifido bacteria content in obese patients and result in positive effects on the immune response, and insulin, total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations (read more). 
  • Women with brittle bones cannot squat? False! They must squat, recent study says (read more)
  • The fries a mother eats during pregnancy predispose her kids to become obese and develop metabolic syndrome syndrome - at least if the oil was (as it almost always is) oxidized during the heating process (read more).
  • The Zinc equation: For every doubling in Zn intake, the difference in Zn serum or plasma concentration is 6% - this assumes zinc intakes in the normal range of <30mg/day (read more).
As usually there will be more for you to read in the course of the next 24 hours - so just "like" the SuppVersity Facebook page to make sure you are not missing out on anything important ;-)

  • Agarwal KN, Gupta A, Pushkarna R, Bhargava SK, Faridi MM, Prabhu MK. The gripe water story.J R Soc Med.2000;93:172-174.
  • Gärtner C, Stahl W, Sies H. Lycopene is more bioavailable from tomato paste than from fresh tomatoes. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jul;66(1):116-22.
  • Pawlak R, Parrott SJ, Raj S, Cullum-Dugan, D Lucus, D. How prevalent is vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians? Nutrition Reviews. 2 JAN 2013 [epub ahead of print]
  • Rawy SM, Seif Al Nassr FM. Zinc sulphate and vitamin E alleviate reproductive toxicity caused by aluminium sulphate in male albino rats. Toxicol Ind Health. 2013 Jan 2.
  • Tsitsimpikou C, Kioukia-Fougia N, Tsarouhas K, Stamatopoulos P, Rentoukas E, Koudounakos A, Papalexis P, Liesivuori J, Jamurtas A. Administration of tomato juice ameliorates lactate dehydrogenase and creatinine kinase responses to anaerobic training. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jan 3.
  • Xaplanteris P, Vlachopoulos C, Pietri P, Terentes-Printzios D, Kardara D, Alexopoulos N, Aznaouridis K, Miliou A, Stefanadis C. Tomato paste supplementation improves endothelial dynamics and reduces plasma total oxidative status in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012 May;32(5):390-4.


  1. Adel, what about V-8? If I replace one of my bananas with 3 cups of V-8 (equivalent carbs) would that work?

    1. I am not sure I get the context here?

    2. V-8 is a tomato juice sold in the U.S., but it also has celery juice, carrot juice, and parsley juice. Mostly tomato though. 2-3 cups is about 25g of carbs with like 6g of fiber and the rest is sugar (from the veggies, non added).

      Since I eat 2 bananas with my whey PWO, would you recommend that I only eat 1 banana and replace the other with some tomato juice (Or in my case, V-8)? Or does it honestly not matter?

    3. ah, now I got it! I was not familiar with V-8. Didn't you mention you were trying to gain some weight? Why don't you just drink the V-8 intra-workout? I guess the salt and minerals would make it an excellent intra-workout beverage.

      If you feel that's too much, I guess I would take one banana out of the equation, although I do realize more and more that there is a lot more leeway on those post-workout carb intakes than I previously thought.

    4. I am trying to gain weight, yes, and drinking one inta-workout is actually a really good idea. Unfortunately for me, I don't do inta-workout anything because I prefer just getting in-and-out of the gym. Lift hard, heavy, and go home.

      I'm curious as to your post-workout leeway carbs though? What did you used to think and how has it changed?

    5. I was so bamboozeled by the whole low carb scam that I used to believe that you MUST end up being a fat slob, if you had one of those weight gainers after every workout with say 100g of different sugars in it. This may be true, if you are still fat and at the gym in irregular intervals, sitting around most of the time and doing a couple of bench presses and biceps curls to show off. If you train really hard, you body sucks those carbs away like nothing, you usually start to sweet (while without it you'd feel cold after an intense leg workout), and there is no way you can tell the next day that you maybe had an addition 400kcal of "pure sugar" after your workout.

    6. Yep I have been there. I even had a stint where I would fast after working out because I read something on that he did it on occasion, which is absolutely ridiculous. Suffice to say, it will be hard to get me to deviate from my new PWO staple: 2 bananas and a scoop of Strawberry flavored WheyNatural.

    7. Hey Prof Andro, I am glad to hear that you have changed your mind about post workout carbs. What about intra though? I like to have some pepto pro with say waxy maize hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate during my workout... I was contemplating switching to pepto pro during and perhaps WM HDP with whey PWO but I guess I am majoring in the minors here :)

    8. They have their place, but honestly most people don't need intra-workout carbs/protein/supplements.

      As for WM HDP, you may want to avoid taking it with whey since it is metabolized in SFA in the colon, which then enter the bloodstream to meet up with the huge insulin spike from the Whey.

    9. Primal, I wanted to utilise WM HDP along with milk isolate, milk, spinach, coconut milk and a banana post workout to feed my body after a tough session. I might not do it though because whey/milk/egg protein tend to make me depressed, I suppose I have enough protein in my diet (150-170 gms every day).
      I was contemplating pepto pro intra on its own to enhance recovery but a)not sure if it can deliver the results I am after b)I used in the past and noticed that if slightly affects my mood as well (much less than whey/egg/milk protein though).

    10. Well then it seems that you have your answer =D

      Since I believe in a whole foods approach whenever feasible, my personal PWO suggestion is to not waste money on WM HDP. Honestly, bananas or tomato juice would be the best. I personally eat two bananas after each workout. They have the ideal 2:1 glucose:fructose ratio and are loaded with potassium and B-vitamins.

      As for the protein, you don't need milk/egg proteins. Perhaps cook a steak and eat that when you finish lifting. I wouldn't sacrifice mood for the sake of adhering to conventional BB tradition.

      The purpose of the workout is to create a catabolic environment that your body MUST recover from. Drinking something to try and prevent this is absurd. Also, if it screws with your mood then don't do it.

      Just my $0.02

    11. I'm not so sure taking WM-HDP with whey would be an issue, as I believe that WM-HDP lowers insulin response (as does taking fat with any meal.) I would think the SFA release would be somewhat slow and sustained, after insulin had subsided. This is conjecture on my part, probably not the best website to make such unverified comments! Whole foods still rule of course.

    12. I got four samples of casein protein today which happens to be the only protein I haven't tried [at least not on its own] so I am going to see if it affects my mood but I am not pinning my hopes on that. It's just that it would be nice to have some convenient food on the go and when you eat clean 3500 cals is A LOT OF food. I just run the maths on my cals intake and I was surprised to see how little cals I've been getting (around 2500 on a GOOD workout day), which is probably why my t levels are so low. My current (recovery) dietary split is 200P/350C/140F on workout days and 200P/150C/180F on non workout days. I am 94 kg and about 12% BF.

      I already have some WM HDP left from the time when I bought VPX Carbonx [it is all Prof Andro's fault! :)) and I am not sure what to do with it, it's probably an overkill to add to my casein shakes.

    13. While I know very little about brain chemistry, it seems reasonable that a slower release of aminos from casein would effect you less, however you seem not to have had much luck with milk protein which is 80% casein. I wonder if it's related to composition, digestion speed, or the manufacturing process. You could also try beef, hemp, pea and rice powders. Let us know if you find something that works for you.

    14. Hemp, pea, and rice powders are crap. Don't waste your money.

    15. pea is actually quite nice. I used the LG Pea protein back in the day (got it pretty cheap) for some time. It works and tastes... well, ok :-)

      There is nothing to say about the AA profile. Rice is crap, true, hemp depends on the processing. I have some questions about how much of the bioactive and potentially estrogenic stuff is left in there (similar to soy); it probably also tastes like crap.

      That said, are you sure your brain problems are not a result of low blood sugar? I would have my whey with sugar, not WM HDP - specifically after a workout. You may want to get yourself a cheap glucometer (~25 Euro over here + 50 test stripes) and do some testing - there is nothing effecting brain function more than hypoglycemia

    16. How much tomato juice were the people in the study consuming?

  2. Thats it I'll start to mix my whey protein with tomato juice.

    1. with neutral whey you could make a bloody mary style protein shake (w/out the alcohol obviously)

      30g neutral whey
      3 oz tomato juice
      2 shots red hot sauce
      2 shots green hot sauce
      1 dash Worcestershire sauce
      0.5 oz lemon juice
      1 pinch salt
      1 pinch peppers
      1 stalk celery

      tadaa! Postworkout goodness!

  3. Is it possible the reduction in inflammation associated with the tomato juice could also blunt the adaptive response to exercise?

    1. I would not say it is impossible, but the parameters measured in the study at hand are unlikely to do anything but harm

  4. So this sounds like a perfect, albeit gross, think to chug down at half-time during a rugby game.

  5. Would I be missing out on m(any) of the benefits if I used a Tomato Powder (spray dried) instead?

    Only because long term it would be far cheaper to buy the powder in bulk and then mix myself.

    1. I would have to check that ... looks like you wouldn't, no. At least it's still better than lycopene supplements ;-)

  6. Would a small amount of fruit to increase palatability example being pineapple juice increase or hinder the effects?

    1. First off, I can't see how a pineapple + tomato juice combo would taste good. But my guess is that it won't hinder or enhance the effects.

    2. he only thing I could see blunting this effect is something that hinders the absorption of the lycopene and I don't think that the pineapple will do that - though, I must say that I am not sure it's the ideal combination (tastewise) - check out the bloody mary recipe that's a "tomoto combo"

  7. Does anybody know how to get their hands on Galactooligosaccharide here in the US? Its odd that the only source, Jarrow, was discontinued. Maybe there is some sort of embargo preventing its sale here.

    1. Does it have to be Galacto? Wouldn't any Oligosaccharide do? If so, check out Questbars.

    2. "Galactooligosaccharides are selectively fermented by colonic bacteria that do not produce gas and therefore, they do not contribute to flatulence and gastrointestinal discomfort, when taken at the recommended dose" (Wikipedia), unlike inulin and FOS, which can produce legendary farts. Also, in theory at least, selectively culturing non-gas producing bifido should lessen your gas in general.

      This is also the specific type of oligo that's found in human breast milk, so a good argument can be made that its most complimentary to the human colonic flora.

      Btw, Jarrow discontinued their GOS product back in 2011 because of salmonella contamination, then i guess they just gave up on it all together.

    3. I can confirm about inulin and lactulose flatulence. Duck and cover.

    4. maybe it was part of the June/July FDA recall

      Food Safety Recall (FDA Enforcement Report): Corn Products International, Inc. (Westchester, IL) recalls Purimune galactooligosaccharide powder derived from milk lactose (20kg/44.1-lb plastic bags; Product code 113001-156; Lot Nos. 0000117369, 0000117370 and 0000117371; Manufactured by Corn Products Korea, Inc., Icheon-City, Korea), because the product was found to be contaminated with Salmonella. Customers were notified of the recall by telephone on May 10th and May 15th-16th, 2012. The recalled product was distributed to Arizona, California, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, and Washington, as well as to Canada (Ontario and Quebec, only), Czech Republic, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    5. I found FOS just messed with my digestive "rhythm" and gave me distension. The studies I saw at the time were more in favour of GOS, but I couldn't find a source. I just stick with vegetables now - they're more colourful.

    6. How much tomato juice were the people in the study consuming?

    7. undisclosed and variable amount. They just used it as their intra-workout beverage instead of their regular Gatorades & co

  8. That's weird that you are so sure about vegans having such low b12 and being unable to attain the physique they desire.
    Been a vegan for 8 years and was a vegetarian for 10 years prior to that. I am currently 207 lbs with pretty low body fat and am a heavy lifter in the gym, actually one of the stronger guys in my gym with a bench of 405 (4 plates per side). Can't squat to save my life though

    I guess nobody told my body that was impossible for a vegan.
    I should say I get my blood tests done every year and at 42 years old am happy to say have never had a deficiency. Actually my whole family is vegan/vegetarian and we all play sports pretty regularly.
    My wife is a road cyclist and rides almost 300 km's a week with guys her age and had no problems keeping up.
    I would think if their was such a weakness as you allude to our diet it would become quickly evident.

    1. The fact that you literally can't obtain essential nutrients such as B12 without supplementation is evidence enough that a vegan diet is unsustainable. Sure your blood tests come back fine, but that is because you supplement. Period. Try eliminating all that and just sticking to food, and you will suffer greatly.

    2. Not to mention that a growing infant human cannot survive on a vegan diet. Searching google for "vegan baby died" yields no less than 48,000,000 results lmao

    3. If your vegan for moral reasons i can kinda get that. But the people who claim its more 'natural', well that argument just doesnt make sense as the only way to be reasonably healthy is to take loads of sups. Even then to be a healthy vegan is much harder being a healthy omnivore... I'm sure its possible for some people to succeed on a vegan diet, just like there are some people who can run 100m in under 11 seconds. I person can just be an outlier. But if you look at top athletes you will struggle to find any vegans. All the vegans I know have very suboptimal health. either week or over weight.