Saturday, April 13, 2013

True Or False: Alpha Lipoic Acid Promotes Creatine Uptake. Using Non-Stick Teflon Pans Causes Colorectal Cancer. Locusts, Beetles & Moths Can Easily Compete With Whey

As a SuppVersity reader you already know that eggs are not going to give you cancer (learn more about eggs), but with the recent Facebook News on the correlation between non-stick pans and colorectal cancer in a Greek study, the question is, whether this changes, when you prepare your eggs in a Teflon coated pan.
Since the really interesting news are a bit slow these days and you've got your weekly serving of short-news yesterday, already I thought it would be nice if I tackled one of the "True or False" suggestions I have - as promised - started to collect and file for future episodes, mix that with two things I just had on my mind and serve the gray-matter enhancing mixture as an extraordinary installment of "True or False".

I am, by the way, still open for suggestions, although I suppose I should come up with a better way to submit them... well, I guess that's something to keep in mind for the re-design, which is slowly but steadily progressing.

Apropos, any other suggestions (aside from a better archive, which is already on the list) you believe could make the SuppVersity even better, are highly appreciated :-)

Alpha lipoic acid increases creatine uptake

True. The only human study I know of which investigated the effect of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) on the efficiacy of creatine supplementation shows that the addition of 1g of alpha lipoic acid to the baseline 20g/day + 100g/day sucrose supplement the 16 male subjects (18-32 y) in the 2003 study from the Department of Human Kinetics at the St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada received in the course of a 5-day loading phase lead to a significantly faster increase in phosphocreatine and total creatine in the skelatal muscle of the vastus lateralis muscle (Burke. 2003)

It is however about questionable how relevant this effect actually is, after all the whole notion of the benefits, let alone the necessity of a "loading phase" has been revised over the past decade. Outside of scenarios, where the immediate supercompensation of the PCr stores is of utmost importance the use of ALA as a to promote creatine uptake is thusly probably unwarranted.
Figure 1: Relative 10th-rib fat depth, 10th-rib longissimus muscle area and intramuscular fat in pigs finished on diets containing 24g/day of creatine, 600mg of alpha lipoic acid or a combination of both; data expressed relative to unsupplemented control (Berg. 2003)
As far as its effects on body composition and metabolic health are concerned the data in figure 1 clearly shows that the additional provision of alpha lipoic acid must not necessarily translate into visible (muscle size & body fat) or unvisible (intramuscular fat) improvements - especially during a bulk. This is at least what the higher body fat and lower muscle size of the pigs in the the 2003 study by Berg et al. would suggest (Berg. 2003; it should be said, though, that the differences did not reach statistical significance!).

Bottom line: There is hardly any dietary supplement, where the good old saying "never change a winning team" is so to the point as with the good old creatine monohydrate. Whether it is one of the bazillion "advanced creatine formulas" or the myriad of different supplementation protocols or uptake promoters, time and again the simple, the "boring", yet proven and effective chronic ingestion 3-5g of creatine monohydrate per day produced equal or, as it was / still is the case of the die hard supplement scam creatine ethyl esther (CEE; learn more), even superior results.

 The Teflon coating of non-stick pans will give you cancer

False. While the average American carries 4–5ppb of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the potentially carcinogenic synthetic perfluorinated carboxylic acid and fluorosurfactant that's used in the production process of teflon pans & co is not the main, most likely not even a source of the PFAO in your blood.
Coffee-Chile-Cocoa Rubbed Sirloin, Creamed Kale (recipe) - The perfect way to eat your red meats and avoid potentially carcinogenic effects of more than well-done meats? Or is it enough if you drink an Espresso afterwards? Lot's of additional questions and a handful of answers in previous SuppVersity posts.
"[T]he coated cookware tested here do not appear to be a significant source of PFOA which will migrate due to cookware’s low µg/kg initial residual level of PFOA. Furthermore, an extreme heating test (abusive) of the cookware did not appear to increase the residual amount of PFOA in the cookware. That is, additional PFOA does not appear to form during the normal use or misuse of these products.

[...]  This conclusion also assumes that all cookware has the same highest initial concentration of PFOA. In fact, a number of cookware items had at least ten times less PFOA. [...] Eventually because the cookware is a repeat use item, the amount of PFOA in cookware should approach zero provided that no PFOA is generated over time." (Begley. 2005)
Much more likely candidates for PFOA in your blood are papers with fluorochemical coatings/additives such as popcorn bags which emit a 100x higher amount of fluorochemical (e.g. PFOA) than even high PFOA cookware at 175°C during its first use.
Figure 2: Serum fluorochemical levels in Greeks with and without cancer (Vassiliadou. 2013)
And while the Kontou study, which spiked my interest in this topic (Kontou. 2013), showed correlation between colorectal cancer patients and the use of non-stick cooking ware. Another study, likewise done in Greece, shows that there is no correlation between cancer and the serum PFOA levels in Greek citizens (Vassiliadou. 2010; see figure 2).

Which confounding factors? The fact that you tend to overheat and burn the foods (learn more), when you don't have to clean the mess later on, for example, or the simple correlation that exists between the use of non-stick pans and the frequency of fried food consumption which has repeatedly been shown to increase the risk of colorectal cancer (e.g. Miller. 2013).
Bottom line: In view of the current scientific evidence wrt to the total amount of potentially carcinogenic fluorochemicals leeching from non-stick coated cookware, I want to reemphasize my previously voiced hypotheses that the use of non-sick cookware was associated with an increased risk of colorecteral cancer in a recently published study from Greece is probably the result of confounding factors as those I mentioned in the original facebook post and in the box on the right.

Yet although I suspect that it's really about eating too much "burnt" foods (if the stuff burns in a sticking pan it will remain in the pan and not be eaten!) is the best explanation I cannot exclude that something else than the fluorochemical that the could be responsible for the observations in the Kontou study.

Whey was yesterday, maggots, locusts & co are the future

*Yamyoll* As in the case of meat, it may be a good idea not to panfry your insects for too long; see "True or False" item on Teflon pans and burnt meats above
True. It may sound disgusting, but from what I gather it (a) isn't and (b) is pretty realistic that we are going to see more and more insect proteins in our food-chain in the future. So why shouldn't he protein powder of the future also be an "insect protein isloate"?

I mean, ISI sounds much cooler than WPI, as in whey protein isolate...Well, not so much for the whey was yesterday, as I believe it will take at least a couple of day for whey to be overtaken by insect protein (isolates?), but the current scientific evidence clearly suggests that insect protein is not only a nutritionally complete protein source, but offers similar if not superior additional health benefits as whey.

You don't believe a word I am saying? You want examples? While there are no controlled trials with insect protein isolates (ISI) + resistance training as of yet, there is good evidence that ISIs would be competitive.
    The insect protein cheat sheet: Grass hoppers are the chicken (high protein, low fat; 362–427kcal per 100g), beetles the eggs (high protein, high fat; 410–574kcal) and butterflies and moths the meats (high protein medium fat content; 293–762kcal) of insect nutrition.
  • high digestibility -- insect protein is of high quality and has a high digestibility (77-98%; cf. Verkerk. 2007)
  • high protein content  -- 0-75 g/100g of the dry weight of most of the critters is pure protein (Verkerk. 2007)
  • high essential amino acid content -- the concentration of essential amino acids ranges from 46-96% of the nutritional profile (Verkerk. 2007)
  • ACE inhibition -- just like whey protein hydrolysates, insect protein hydrolysates have been shown to contain enzymes that can reduce blood pressure (Vercruysse. 2005 & 2010) 
Aside from simply eating insect proteins, various proteins and cell lines have already been tested for the manufacturing of vaccines and functional molecules (Altmann. 1999; Drugmand. 2012).

Table 1: EAA content of various insect proteins (Verkerk. 2007) and a a standard whey protein concentrate (Met+Cys, Phe+Tyr not measured individually)
Bottom line:  As so often, it appears as if we were once again racing the tortoise. Whenever we think we have invented the "optimal" *put whatever you like here* it doesn't take long until we realize that nature has already been there or has topped our latest invention millions of years ago, already.

Allegedly, nature's way of "inventing" things may not comply to the strict standards of natural science, but still, insect proteins are only one example for the unexploited bio-ressources that slumber in the Brazilian rain forests and also and even more so the deepest dephts of the oceans.

That's it for today and since it's Saturday, I guess I will have to close this post with the obligatory reminder of the SuppVersity Facebook News you can find at ... why you should go there? Well,... maybe you want to learn the latest about how...
    Days ago the carnitine in them was bad for our heart, now it saves the lives of patients with heart disease?
  • TV watching "dissolves" the trunk muscles of adolescents, so that each hour/day costs them ~20lbs of muscle power (read more)
  • being "somewhat diabetic" is not just "somewhat of a problem", but will effectively increase your risk of cardiovascular disease (read more)
  • carnitine in red meat saves not threatens lives, those of people with heart disease, to be precise (read more)
Just don't forget that sitting in front of the computer or with your shiny iPhone on the sofa is not going to (re-)build your trunk musculature either and the fact that you did not have junkfood today is not an excuse to skip on your workout ;-) Have a nice weekend!

  • Altmann F, Staudacher E, Wilson IB, März L. Insect cells as hosts for the expression of recombinant glycoproteins. Glycoconj J. 1999 Feb;16(2):109-23.
  • Begley TH, White K, Honigfort P, Twaroski ML, Neches R, Walker RA. Perfluorochemicals: potential sources of and migration from food packaging. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Oct;22(10):1023-31. 
  • Berg EP, Maddock KR, Linville ML. Creatine monohydrate supplemented in swine finishing diets and fresh pork quality: III. Evaluating the cumulative effect of creatine monohydrate and alpha-lipoic acid. J Anim Sci. 2003 Oct;81(10):2469-74.
  • Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA, Candow DG. Effect of alpha-lipoic acid combined with creatine monohydrate on human skeletal muscle creatine and phosphagen concentration. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Sep;13(3):294-302.
  • Drugmand JC, Schneider YJ, Agathos SN. Insect cells as factories for biomanufacturing. Biotechnol Adv. 2012 Sep-Oct;30(5):1140-57.
  • Miller PE, Lazarus P, Lesko SM, Cross AJ, Sinha R, Laio J, Zhu J, Harper G, Muscat JE, Hartman TJ. Meat-related compounds and colorectal cancer risk by anatomical subsite. Nutr Cancer. 2013 Feb;65(2):202-26.
  • Vassiliadou I, Costopoulou D, Ferderigou A, Leondiadis L. Levels of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in blood samples from different groups of adults living in Greece. Chemosphere. 2010 Aug;80(10):1199-206. 
  • Vercruysse L, Smagghe G, Herregods G, Van Camp J. ACE inhibitory activity in enzymatic hydrolysates of insect protein. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jun 29;53(13):5207-11.
  • Vercruysse L, Van Camp J, Morel N, Rougé P, Herregods G, Smagghe G. Ala-Val-Phe and Val-Phe: ACE inhibitory peptides derived from insect protein with antihypertensive activity in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Peptides. 2010 Mar;31(3):482-8.
  • Verkerk MC, Tramper J, van Trijp JC, Martens DE. Insect cells for human food. Biotechnol Adv. 2007 Mar-Apr;25(2):198-202.