Thursday, November 28, 2013

On Short Notice: Nucleotide Supplementation Increases Performance & Fortifies Immune Response. Plus: Oleic Acid Increases, SFA Lowers E2, Testosterone & DHT Binding

Are nucleotides a useful supplements for intensity maniacs and can olive oil reduce your free testosterone levels?
If you have been visiting the SuppVersity for a while now, you were probably surprised to see that the "Short News" (aka "On Short Notice") are back. The reason, I changed my mind and reintroduced this assembly of short news items is that I realized that there is an intemediate category of news and infos between the very short Facebook news that (a) disappear in the oblivion of the SuppVersity Facebook Wall, (b) don't allow me to post graphics that would illustrate the study results and (c) still take some time to write and the detailed analysis in the "original" SuppVersity articles.

So, if you disagree and can give me a good reason why I should not post news compilations like the one at hand more regularly, speak now or forever hold your peace ;-)

Nucliotide supplementation counters immune suppressive effects of exercise

(Ostojic. 2013) - I think I mentioned a similar study a couple of weeks ago in the SuppVersity Facebook News, but since this most recent investigation into the ergogenic effects of the small organic nitrogen-based combinations of a five-carbon sugar and a phosphate group that
  • form the building blocks of nucleic acids, such as DNA and RNA, and 
  • participate in cellular signaling and metabolism
deals with in young, healthy, fit men and their response to the provision of a supplement that looks similar to something you are probably goint to see on the market pretty soon, I thought it may be interesting enough to make it into this "news" article-format.
Figure 1: Illustration of the molecular structure of nuleotides (Sadava. 2000)
The supplement we are talking about is a combination of different nucleotides, i.e. cytidine 5′-monophosphate, uridine 5′-monophosphate, guanosine 5′-mono-phosphate and adenosine 5′-mono-phosphate from partially purified (90%) germinated barley seeds extracted during sporulation and the reason it's worth knowing what was in it, because it was able to ...
  • Want a quick performance fix? Use sodium bicarbonate | learn more
    significantly increase time to exhaustion (+7%)
  • ramp up serum levels of immunoglobulin A and
  • elevate the NKC cytotoxic activity
in the blood of the 14 recreationally active participants (age 22; BMI 24kg/m²; body fat 11%) who participated in a standardized incremental exercise test on the treadmill ("Run till you drop") after taking 50mg/day of this product for 2 weeks.

Oleic Acid Increases E2, Testosterone & DHT Binding

Not from Greece, the land of olive oil and eve's cheese, but from Spain comes a study that links Oleic acid, the mono-unsaturated fat from Olive oil to increases in SHBG. The researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona analyzed the lab reports and nutrition data of a total of 315 men and observed that
"SHBG serum levels were significantly higher in subjects using olive oil for cooking in comparison with subjects using sunflower oil. The SHBG levels correlated positively with MUFA (p < 0.001) and negatively with saturated fatty acids (p = 0.003)." (Sáez-López. 2013)
Based on multiple regression analysis of the data, the scientists calculated that the amount of MUFA in the subjects' diets accounted for 20.4% of SHBG variance. Despite the fact that this means that your MUFA intake determines "only" 20% your SHBG levels, the data in Figure 1 (left), clearly indicates that these 20% show pretty significant correlations with important health markers.
Figure 2: Correlation between SHBG levels and BMI, MUFA intake (in % total fat) and fasting blood glucose - left; correlation between phospholipid MUFA and SFA content and SHBG - right (Sáez-López. 2013)
In order to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, the scientists conduced an additional in-vitro study, in the course of which Sáez-López were able to confirm that oleoyl-CoA, a metabolite that's produced, when oleic acid is metabolized, downregulates PPAR-γ in the liver (HepG2 cells).

As a SuppVersity veteran, you'll know that any reduction in PPAR-gamma in the adipose tissue will result in a decreased propensity of fat storage (read up on it). In the liver, PPAR-gamma is  responsible for the production of SHBG, as well. In view of the fact that SHBG binds and deactivates* androgens and estrogens (*this is not essentially correct for all tissues!), your MUFA intake could thus be one of the set-screws that determine the level of unbound sex-steroids in your blood.
With 60-80% olive oil is one of the best sources of oleic acid and this is not a reason to stop consuming it - irrespective of T-binding (read more)
Bottom Line: Based on the currently available evidence it appears as if nucleotide supplements could have a future as immune and performance booster for intense training athletes.

Despite the fact that it is unlikely that there will be any side effects, (a) the increased immune activity, which could be a problem for people with auto-immune disease and (b) the non-existence of scientific evidence to support their long-time efficacy (and safety), I would wait and see how things develop before investing significant amounts of money in supplemental RNA / DNA precursor.

Something very similar is true for results of the Sáez-López study that investigated the "SHBG raising" effects of oleic acid. In view of the negative association between SHBG levels BMI and fasting blood glucose, which have, by the way, been observed in previous studies: Phillips & Gerald, for example, observed a significant negative correlation between SHBG and the waist / hip ratio in 55 obese men aged 21 to 70 (Philips. 1993). And while SHBG binds testosterone the small change will not render all your testosterone useless, so that you don't have to be afraid of sudden olive oil induced anti-virility effects ;-)

  • Ostojic, Sergej M., Kemal Idrizovic, and Marko D. Stojanovic. "Sublingual Nucleotides Prolong Run Time to Exhaustion in Young Physically Active Men." Nutrients 5.11 (2013): 4776-4785.
  • Phillips, Gerald B. "Relationship between serum sex hormones and the glucose-insulin-lipid defect in men with obesity." Metabolism 42.1 (1993): 116-120.
  • Sadava, D. et al. Life: The Science of Biology, 9th ed. 2009
  • Sáez‐López, Cristina, et al. "Oleic acid increases hepatic sex hormone binding globulin production in men." Molecular nutrition & food research (2013).