Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Practical Implications of Recent Studies: Sour & Bitter Curb Cravings for Sweet & Salty | 30min 3x / Week Min. Training | Masturbation + Abstinence Boost Testosterone by ~50%

The "Curb the cravings w/ sour and bitter foods"-implication is just one out of three science-based hypothesis on potential practical implications of recent studies.
This could be the first part of a new SuppVersity article series. Not one that's published on a regular, like weekly, basis. Rather one that will appear from time to time - out of the blue, or the depth of my forehead - to cast a spotlight on potential applications of recent scientific findings.

I can already tell you that not all of them will eventually work - that's how hypothesis work: You formulate them based on the existing evidence, only to realize that you were completely missing the boat, when you argued that eating sour and bitter foods will help you shut down your junk food cravings... which reminds me: Let's not lose additional time and get right to implication numero uno which is, ...
  • Implication 1: If you are always ravenous, eat bitter or sour to stop the cravings -- As with all the tips in this first installment of what could become a regular if you signal me that you like the idea of hypothesizing about potential practical applications of the results of recent studies, you got to be careful about the real world effects of the "sour" and "bitter" taste ligand induced production of the "satiety hormone" cholecystokinin (CCK) researchers from the Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology in Japan observed in isolated gut cells (Miyata. 2014).

    Scheme of the regional gustatory preferences nested within the 10,000 taste buds distributed on the human tongue (Slavkin. 1999)
    In view of the fact that neither sucrose (sweet taste) nor NaCl (salty) or MSG (umami) had similar effects it does not appear totally unlikely that this tip will actually work... I mean, sweet, salty and umami? That's exactly the "taste" of the SAD diet - the same diet that has spread the obesity epidemic right from its US epicenter all around the world over the past decades.

    And before I forget to mention it: There are "tastebuds" all over your body. The tongue is just one of them | learn more.
  • Implication 2: You don't have to move mountains, but 30 minutes x three times a week is the minimal volume x frequency prescription to see significant health benefits from structured physical activity aka "exercise" -- To come to this conclusion I did not even have to come up with extra hypotheses. Actually Heather J. A. Foulds and colleagues, who have recently reviewed the existing literature to elucidate "the relationship between exercise volume and intensity and health benefits" and the results,... well, the results are actually what the tip already said: 
    "In healthy active individuals, a physical activity program of at least 30 min in duration for three sessions/per week is associated with consistent improvements in health status." (Foulds. 2014).
     The scientists also found that upping the intensity from brisk waling to jogging is associated with an additional increase in cardiovascular health benefits. If that's exactly the best thing for your knees is anyone's guess, though. 
  • Implication 3: If you believe in the power of testosterone and want to perform your best at a meet next week, masturbate today! -- According to researchers from the Department of Life Science, at the Hangzhou Normal College in China, the serum testosterone concentrations of their 28 volunteers changed significantly in response to ejaculation at the end of a period of abstinence. While, the fluctuations of testosterone levels from the 2nd to 5th day of abstinence were minimal, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline ( P < 0.01) on day 7 (Jiang. 2003). 

    The scientists are careful to point out that "[e]jaculation is the precondition and beginning of the special periodic serum testosterone level variations", though. In other words: Years of abstinence are not going to have a similar effect, as a 7-14 day rhythm would have... what? You willingly pass on maxing out your testosterone levels by cyclic abstinence? Well, I can understand that ;-)
Table 1: Methodological issues in sexuality research with testosterone and other androgens in humans, and suggested practices for addressing them (van Anders. 2014) - just in case you plan to test, whether implication #3 works ;-)
Mini-Summary: Alright, the things you learned today are "potential",... well, the increase in testosterone mentioned in the last of three tips is going to be very real, but the implications, i.e. potential performance increases probably not. The benefits of regular activity, even if it's only 30 minutes thrice a day, on the other hand, is beyond doubt.

Unfortunately, that's something of which I am not sure that you can say it about the satiating effects of sour and bitter foods. Ok, you probably won't overeat on bitter green tea leaves, but it still requires more self-control than many people apparently have, not to put away the green tea leaves you may be snacking on in front of your TV and replace them with a mix of chocolate, and chips: sweet, salty, and 100% non-satiating - just the way we like it.
  • Foulds, Heather JA, et al. "Exercise volume and intensity: a dose–response relationship with health benefits." European Journal of Applied Physiology (2014): 1-9.
  • Jiang, Ming, et al. "A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men." Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE A 4.2 (2003): 236-240.
  • Miyata, Mutsuki, et al. "Effect of five taste ligands on the release of CCK from an enteroendocrinecell line, STC-1." Biomedical Research 35.2 (2014): 171-176.
  • Slavkin, Harold C. "Toward'molecular gastronomy,'or what's in a taste?." Journal of the American Dental Association 130 (1999): 1497-1500. 
  • van Anders, Sari M., Katherine L. Goldey, and Sarah N. Bell. "Measurement of testosterone in human sexuality research: Methodological considerations." Archives of sexual behavior 43.2 (2014): 231-250.