Thursday, February 20, 2014

2-3g of Betaine Per Day Double Your IGF-1 & Reduce Your Body Fat-% By 19%!? Plus: Spermine Gets Fat Rodents Lean in 4 Weeks + 29 Common(!) High Spermine Foods.

They "take" spermine everyday!
This may not look like it, but today's SuppVersity post contains a hell lot of information about an amino acid you do know and a polyamine you probably don't know yet.

When you'll be done with the article, the latter will change and one or the other will probably start googling the words "spermine bulk powder" or "spermine buy" and thus disregard the advice I have to give in the bottom line of this fat loss-oriented compilation of short news right from the labs of international research teams...

Well, I guess before I start sounding even more pathetic, I will just begin with study #1 - the study that covers the amino acid you all know - betaine!
  • Double Your IGF-1 & Reduce Your Body Fat By 19% W/ Betaine!? I have to admit, the evidence I have to support this hilarious claim is not conclusive, but it's interesting. That's for sure.
➲ IMPORTANT REMINDER - This is "betaine" as in trimethylglycine aka TMG, not "betaine" as in betaine HCL, which may help you if you have serious problems with your digestive system, but is otherwise (i.e. for 99% of the healthy population) a complete waste of money and will have NO effect whatsoever on your IGF-1 and body fat levels.
  • The data was published in a not exactly totally recent paper from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. The subjects were pigs and the objective of the present study was, therefore, to evaluate the effect of betaine supplementation (at 0.125% of the total diet) on carcass quality, growth performance and changes in serum IGF-1 and TG concentrations of finishing pigs.
    Figure 1: Relative IGF-1 & triglyceride levels, as well as thickness of back fat (Lothong. 2013)
    Aside from the previously mentioned improvements in body fat and IGF-1, the pigs on the "high" betaine diet (my calculation would suggest that we are talking about a human equivalent of only 2-3g per day) did also lead to significant reductions in serum triglyceride and could thus also help people with high blood lipids. 
  • The Unknown Fat Loss Power of Spermine - You don't even know what spermine is? That's funny, 'cause you all have plenty of it in your body. It's after all a polyamine that's involved in cellular metabolism found in all eukaryotic cells.
➲ Additional Info: Spermine and allergies, heart disease & diabetes: According to Peulen et al. (1998) 5.02 nmol ml−1 of spermine is a critical value for the spermine content of human breast milk. If there is less spermine in it, the likelihood of your children developing allergies will increase. A high spermine / generally high polyamine intake has also been suggested to protect against heart disease (Soda. 2010) and help with diabetes (Jafarnejad. 2008).
  • On the other hand, if you google it, you will soon realize that not just you, but also we (as in we as humans) know relatively little about Aethylenimin, as Spermin has previously been called. Thus, it took me a brief excursion into the archives the scientific journals of the world to come up with some information about its distribution in the mammalian body (see Figure 2) and following information (Tabor. 1976).
    Figure 2: Spermidine content of various tissues (left; Tabor. 1976); effects of 4 weeks of spermidine supplementation on body weight (g) of pre-fattened (high fat group) mice (Sadasivan. 2014)
    With respect to its functions, Anthony E. Pegg, a researcher from the Pennsylvania State University writes in his latest review published in January 2014:
    Table 1: Spermine-rich foods (data in mg/100g calc. based on Nishimura et al. 2006)
    "Polyamines play important roles in cell physiology including effects on the structure of cellular macromolecules, gene expression, protein function, nucleic acid and protein synthesis, regulation of ion channels, and providing protection from oxidative damage.

    Vertebrates contain two polyamines, spermidine and spermine, as well as their precursor, the diamine putrescine. Although spermidine has an essential and unique role as the precursor of hypusine a post-translational modification of the elongation factor eIF5A, which is necessary for this protein to function in protein synthesis, no unique role for spermine has been identified unequivocally. The existence of a discrete spermine synthase enzyme that converts spermidine to spermine suggest that spermine must be needed and this is confirmed by studies with Gy mice and human patients with Snyder-Robinson syndrome in which spermine synthase is absent or greatly reduced. In both cases, this leads to a severe phenotype with multiple effects among which are intellectual disability, other neurological changes, hypotonia, and reduced growth of muscle and bone." (my emphasis in Pegg. 2014)
    In other words, we know that we know... well, very little ;-) What we do know from a very recent study that was conducted (red alert!) by scientists working for Connexios Life Sciences Private Limited and is about to be published in one of the future issues of European Journal of Pharmacology is that spermine has the ability to bring diet-induced obese rodents back to a normal weight within four weeks! At least if it's dosed at a human equivalent of ~60-75mg per day.

    Aside from the profound reduction in body weight (-24%), the Connexios researchers observed in their fattened up mice, the spermine treatment did also reduce the fasting blood glucose levels by -18%. The corresponding improvements in glucose metabolism came hand in hand with the increases in fatty acid oxidation that were responsible for the rapid loss of white adipose tissue mass. 
As SuppVersity reader you know that betaine's IGF boosting effects occur in humans as well | learn more
Bottom line: Contrary to the use of spermidine supplements, which is still pie in the sky, betaine aka TMG (trimethylglicine) is a readily available amino acid of which you, as an avid SuppVersity reader know that it has also been shown to increase size and strength gains in athletes (learn more), to sooth the negative inflammation in your adipose organs (learn more), to set the anabolic stage for muscle growth by increasing IGF-1 and decreasing cortisol (evidence, more evidence) and to have a mild yet possibly overblown effect on the purported cardiovascular disease (CVD) marker homocysteine (learn more).

If you asked me, my money would thus be on betaine, not spermine on the moment, if I had to bet which of those could make a valuable addition to your supplement routine. Why? That's a question you shouldn't be asking if this ain't your first visit to the SuppVersity. With one sponsored rodent study supporting its efficiacy, spermine may qualify as the "new go to supplement" for the supplement industry, but for you as a critical thinker, it will obviously take independent human trials before you throw your money at Connexios and possible copycats.
References:
  • Jafarnejad, A., et al. "Effect of spermine on lipid profile and HDL functionality in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat model." Life sciences 82.5 (2008): 301-307.
  • Lothong, Muttarin, Pornchalit Assavacheep, and Kittipong Tachampa. "Effects of Dietary Betaine Supplementation on Growth Performance, Carcass Quality and Serum IGF-1 and Triglyceride of Finishing Pigs." (2013). 
  • Nishimura, Kazuhiro, et al. "Decrease in polyamines with aging and their ingestion from food and drink." Journal of biochemistry 139.1 (2006): 81-90.
  • Pegg, Anthony E. "The function of spermine." IUBMB life (2014). 
  • Soda, Kuniyasu. "Polyamine intake, dietary pattern, and cardiovascular disease." Medical hypotheses 75.3 (2010): 299-301. 
  • Sadasivan, SK et al. "Exogenous administration of Q2 spermine results in improved glucose utilization and decrease in bodyweight of mice." European Journal of Pharmacology (2014). Accepted article.
  • Tabor, Celia White, and Herbert Tabor. "1, 4-Diaminobutane (putrescine), spermidine, and spermine." Annual review of biochemistry 45.1 (1976): 285-306.