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.