Friday, October 6, 2017

New Form of Chromium Boosts Protein-Induced Increase in Protein Synthesis Even W/ High Intakes | Plus: Novel Whey Isolate W/ Increased Potency (20:27) - #ISSN17 Special IV/IV

The "Crispy Cauliflower Pizza (low-carb, high protein, high fiber, gluten-free)" from Honey What's Cooking will 26g of protein to what can become >4g protein/kg per day for 2 years without triggering measurable ill health effects on kidney, liver, or bone (Ellerbroeck 2017).
Even with this final installment of the #ISSN'17 series, I haven't addressed all the interesting presentations the results of which have been abstracted in the Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo. If you're into going right to the source, I'd thus suggest you (re-)visit the long list of presentations at the JISSN website.

With Anya Ellerbroek, Corey Peacock, Tobin Silver, and Jose Antonio's presentation of the results of their 2-year follow-up to the previously discussed high protein study/-ies (more), I have in fact saved one of the most relevant presentations for this last installment of the series. To complement it, I've selected 3x1+2x1 studies dealing with ways to get the most of (lower) protein intakes: the use of a novel chromium supplement and a novel way to produce an allegedly 'enhanced' whey protein isolate (ioProtein™).
High-protein diets are much safer than some 'experts' say, but there are things to consider...

Practical Protein Oxidation 101

5x More Than the FDA Allows!

More Protein ≠ More Satiety

Satiety: Casein > Whey? Wrong!

Protein Timing DOES Matter!

High Protein not a Health Threat
The question that has to be answered now is obvious: Are amylopectin-chromium and the novel whey protein isolate also worth the extra bucks they're certainly going to cost you compared to classic whey protein? This SuppVersity article will hopefully help you make up your mind.
  • Rodent data supports hypothesis that amylopectin/chromium complex promotes the protein-induced increase in skeletal muscle protein synthesis (Komorowski 2017a).

    For quite some time chromium was all the rage within the fitness community. In view of the lack of results supplement consumers saw and with the insulin scare of the early 2000s the pro-insulinogenic trace-mineral disappeared more or less from the list of TOP-selling fitness supplements, though. I guess this may change in the future. After all, the rodent study Komorowski et al (2017a) presented at the latest #ISSN is a follow-up on a previous human study by Ziegenfuss et al. (2017) with similar results, which has the potential to repopularize chromium or, rather, the patented amylopectin/chromium complex (ACr; Velositol®)
    Table 1: Overview of the study groups in Komorowski et al's amylopectin/chromium complex study.
    In said study, young (8-week old) male Wistar rats (250-300 g) were randomized into nine groups (n=8 in each group | see Table 1). All groups had to run on a treadmill at the same speed of 26 m/min for 2 hours and were then fed protein or water according to their assigned group.
Warning - the studies discussed in this series are not yet peer-reviewed and published! Since the write-up is based on abstracts, only. I cannot discuss and scrutinize the results with the same degree of detail and healthy skepticism you're used to from other SuppVersity articles.
  • Approximately one hour later, rats were injected with a bolus dose (250 mg/kg body weight, 25 g/L) of labeled phenylalanine, and ten minutes later, muscle tissue samples were taken to measure the fractional rate of protein synthesis (FSR).
    Figure 1: Relative change in fractional protein synthesis rate (% Change over Exercise | Komorowski 2017a).
    The results show two things (1) protein + exercise per se increases MPS compared to the exercise alone (p<0.05), and (2) all WP plus ACr groups (VI, VII, VIII and IX) increased MPS over their corresponding WP only groups (Fig. 1; p<0.05) - in short: regardless of how much protein the rodents were fed, the ACr supplement always added to the effect.

    What the study does not tell us - at least not the abstract - is how exactly these improvements came about, but it backs recent data from a human study

    In view of the fact that the study didn't assess potential underlying mechanisms, it is unlikely that the full text will allow us to make conclusive statements about the underlying mechanism. Otherwise, I would have waited for the full-text to be written, to pass peer-review and to be published in what I suspect is going to be the Journal of the ISSN. The same journal, in which Ziegenfuss et al. argued in their previously referenced study that the observed benefits could be ...
    • Figure 2: Mean ± SD post-treatment fractional synthesis rates using plasma precursor enrichment values for WPACr and WP 4 h after the administration of 6g of protein with and without ACr. The within-trial change (4 h post-treatment FSR vs. baseline FSR data) for FSR was p = 0.0004 for WPACr vs. p = 0.23 for WP. In addition, independent t-test comparing post-treatment FSR between trials was p = 0.045. (Ziegenfuss 2017).
      a result of chromium's ability to favorably alter insulin metabolism - more specifically, its ability to increase the internalization of insulin and markedly increase leucine uptake Evans and Bowman observed in cultured rat skeletal muscle cells (Evans 1992)
    • a result of the previously alluded to significant increase in insulin production as it has been previously observed in by Cefalu et al. (2002) and potential downstream effects via p-AKT/m-TOR and/or a reduction in amino acid catabolism (incl. serum AA, which would then be available for FSR - would be interested to see effects on net protein synthesis, too)
    Further studies will be necessary to confirm these or identify other potential mechanisms, but as of now new study by Komorowski et al. adds practically relevant evidence (to the results presented by Ziegenfuss et al.) that adding the human equivalent of 2 g of the amylopectin-chromium complex (WPACr | that's ~150mcg chromium-III by the way) may have beneficial effects on protein synthesis even if the baseline protein intake is high (Ziegenfuss administered 'only' 6g of whey protein, while the study at hand used human equivalents of up to 40g in their rodent study).
"2 grams, isn't that madness?" -- Notes on dosing and safety: Concerns about potential toxicities of chromium picolinate lack substantial scientific evidence. Data from studies using >200µcg chromium from ~1.7mg of CrPic per day in the long-run is yet missing (Suksomboon 2014). Since no real long-term safety data exists for amylopectin-chromium, safety is thus, at least as of now, not a reason to switch from ~1.7mg of CrPic to 3.2mg of ACr (note: you need more ACr to get to the often-used ~200mcg elemental chromium, because amylopectin is a significantly heavier molecule than the classic chelator picolinate).
  • With two other studies that were presented at #ISSN17 reporting similar effects with BCAA (Komorowski 2017b) and pea protein (Komorowski 2017c) instead of whey, respectively, it seems as if the effects are not protein-dependent (although PEA and whey are not different enough in terms of their anabolic to say that for sure | learn more). A comparison that's not yet there, but warranted, are direct head-to-head comparisons of amylopectin-bonded chromium to the classic picolinate-bound form of chromium.
  • Proprietary processed whey protein isolate (redux) as effective as regular whey at lower dosages - practical usefulness? At least questionable (Campbell 2017).

    While I don't know why one would want to buy an expensive new whey protein to safe 7g of whey per serving, Campbell's et al's study investigating the effects of two different types of whey protein dietary supplements (standard whey protein isolate [Standard WPI] vs. a reduced volume of a proprietary processed whey protein isolate [Novel WPI] - ioProtein™) on body composition. Still made it into the ISSN17 special. Why? Well, it's one of the rare long-term comparisons of novel supplements that don't rely on potentially confusing markers of protein synthesis, but actually measured the gains of resistance-trained males in response to an 8-week resistance-training program (#PracticallyRelevantStudyDesign ;-).

    The participants in this double-blinded study, N=32 resistance-trained males (22.2±4.3 years; 177.3±7.8 cm; 77.6±12.6 kg), were matched according to fat-free mass and then randomly assigned to consume either 27g of regular whey protein isolate or the novel WPI plus 7 g maltodextrin to match the volume of the Standard WPI serving size. The protein had to be consumed "bro-style" immediately (do not shower, ingest protein right away... just kiddin' ;-) after each resistance training session (4x/week), which consisted of two lower-body and two upper-body workouts/week for 8 weeks.
Why would anyone need yet another form of whey protein (isolate)? While "protein optimization" sounds nice, its practical use may not be immediately obvious. In all fairness, I should thus tell you that Plasma Nutrition's ioProtein™, the protein from the (sponsored) Campbell study, wasn't designed to maximize the muscle gains of the average fitness enthusiast. Rather than that, corresponding products target dieters and the elderly or other populations who are at risk of protein malnutrition - with "potential applications [in the production of] reduced calorie protein" and functional foods which "help that part of the population – like seniors – who have difficulty taking in large amounts of food" (Chris Flynn-Rozanski on the product website).
  • At baseline and following 8-weeks of training, participants were assessed for body composition (FFM, dry lean mass [DLM], fat mass [FM], and body fat percentage [BF%]). Data were analyzed via a 2-factor [2x2] between-subjects repeated measures ANOVA and pre to post changes within each group by a paired-samples t-test.
    Figure 3: Abs. (kg) changes in fat free and dry lean mass over the course of the 8-week study (Campbell 2017).
    I guess it's not surprising that "no differences existed between the two groups for body composition measures at baseline" - with a significant effect for time for FFM (p<0.001) and DLM (p=0.05), but no group x time interactions, we cannot, in the absence of a no-protein group, even tell if the protein had any effect at all.

    No significant difference, but I'd still like to point out that the absolute gains were higher (p > 0.05, though) w/ 27g of classic whey isolate (+1.2kg vs. +0.7kg).

    The scientists paired samples t-test revealed a similar superiority of the standard WPI supplement with a significant increase in FFM over time in the Standard WPI group (p=0.001) and only a trend for significance in the Novel WPI group (p=0.082), respectively.

    To use this statistically non-significant differences to say that one was superior to the other isn't scientifically warranted, though. Plus: The 2nd ISSN17 presentation, which dealt with the strength increases the subjects experienced (Best 2017), also supports the producers' claims that their patented production technique yields whey protein isolates which are - at ~25% lower doses - as potent as regular whey isolate. 
More Evidence of a Ceiling Effect for Protein Synthesis at ~30g of Whey and/or 23g of Whey + 5g of Leucine in Young (and Old?) | Plus: mTOR is no Reliable Marker of MPS | more
Bottom line: Today's installment featured two, or rather five studies (three of them about ACr) which dealt with agents/processing methods that would improve the lean mass increase per gram of protein you consume.

Proven benefits of supplemental amylopectin-chromium or a volume reduced whey protein isolate compared to simply increasing the dosage of regular whey (or other forms of protein/AA mixes) have yet not been observed. Accordingly, we've got to ask the almost heretic question:
Who needs a protein amplifying chromium product and/or an "innovative" whey protein isolate?
Now, it's not as if a true "need" has ever been the main driver of supplement sales, but let's be honest: with the most important paper presented at #ISSN17 showing that there are no detrimental effects of 'too much protein' (>2.2g/kg per day on avg.; max. 4.0g/kg/d over two years | Ellerbroeck 2017) in your diet on kidney, liver, or bone health, the only really reasonable motivation to spend money on protein enhancers or enhanced proteins that don't add to the effect of simply consuming more regular protein seems to be obsolete... and to assume that any of the products would help you break through the "muscle full/ceiling" effect observed in previous studies, which investigated the effects of ever-increasing loads of protein on protein synthesis, are slim for chromium and even slimmer (IMHO) for the "innovative" whey protein isolate | Comment!
  • Best et al. (2017). "The effects of whey protein isolate vs. a reduced volume of a proprietary processed whey protein isolate supplementation in conjunction with resistance training on maximal strength in resistance trained males." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Campbell, et al. (2017). "The effects of whey protein isolate vs. a reduced volume of a proprietary processed whey protein isolate supplementation in conjunction with resistance training on body composition in resistance trained males." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Cefalu, W. T., Wang, Z. Q., Zhang, X. H., Baldor, L. C., & Russell, J. C. (2002). Oral chromium picolinate improves carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and enhances skeletal muscle Glut-4 translocation in obese, hyperinsulinemic (JCR-LA corpulent) rats. The Journal of nutrition, 132(6), 1107-1114.
  • Ellerbroeck, et al. (2017) "Two years on a high-protein diet: much ado about nothing." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Evans, G. W., & Bowman, T. D. (1992). Chromium picolinate increases membrane fluidity and rate of insulin internalization. Journal of inorganic biochemistry, 46(4), 243-250.
  • Komorowski, et al. (2017a) "The effect of the addition of an amylopectin/chromium complex to increasing doses of whey protein on muscle protein synthesis in rats." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Komorowski, et al. (2017b) "The effect of the addition of an amylopectin/chromium complex to branched-chain amino acids on muscle protein synthesis in rats." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Komorowski, et al. (2017c) "Muscle protein synthesis of pea protein is significantly enhanced with the addition of an amylopectin/chromium complex." Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo 2017.
  • Suksomboon, N., Poolsup, N., & Yuwanakorn, A. (2014). Systematic review and meta‐analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics, 39(3), 292-306.
  • Ziegenfuss, T. N., Lopez, H. L., Kedia, A., Habowski, S. M., Sandrock, J. E., Raub, B., ... & Ferrando, A. A. (2017). Effects of an amylopectin and chromium complex on the anabolic response to a suboptimal dose of whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 6.