Showing posts from August, 2010

No Effect of L-Carnitine on Fat Loss or Body Composition in Obese Women

After last weeks "bad" news on L-Cartinine L-Tartrate the supplement industry, which is still promoting various kinds of l-carnitines as fat loss aids, just received another beating. In a double-blind randomized placebo study Villani et al. (Villani. 2010) investigated the effects of 8 weeks of 2g/day l-carnitine supplementation on body composition, resting energy expenditure (REE) and substrate utilization of 18 premenopausal  women walking @60-70% of their maximum heart rate 4x a week: Figure 1: Chemical structure of L-Carnitine (HMBD v2.5) For the subjects who completed the study (15 P, 13 L-C), no significant changes in mean total body mass (TBM), fat mass FM, and resting lipid utilization occurred over time, nor were there any significant differences between groups for any variable. Conversely REE increased significantly for all subjects, but no between group differences existed . Five of the L-C group experienced nausea or diarrhea and consequently did

Endurance Athletes Benefit from Anti-Oxidant Supplementation (Vitamin E, Vitamin C & beta-carotene)

Lately, the discussion about the benefits of anti-oxidants has taken a turn. Studies and reviews have questioned the use or necessity of supplemental anti-oxidants to athletes diets and some have even claimed that overt use of anti-inflammatory supplements would reduce training success. In a recent study Acquilo et al. (Acquilo. 2010) have supplemented 18 amateur trained male athletes randomly with placebo or a mix of antioxidants (vitamin E, 500 mg/d; vitamin C, 1 g/d; and b -carotene, 30 mg/d) in the course of their usual training and competition season. The scientists found that Exercise decreased antioxidant defenses in the placebo group but not in the antioxidant-supplemented group . No changes were found in the number of erythrocytes, hematocrit, or hemoglobin concentration, or in values of serum iron parameters, after taking the antioxidant cocktail for 3 months, in spite of the exercise completed. The placebo group showed a high oxidative stress index, and decrea

L-Ornithine HCL as an Ammonia-Buffer for Hard Training Athletes

Figure 1: Chemical structure of L-ornithine (HMDB v2.5) Habitual readers of the SuppVersity will be familiar with the ergogenic effects of l-ornithine . A recent study by Demura et al. ( Demura. 2010 ) verified the immediate effect of l-ornithine supplementation on ammonia and glutamate metabolism. In their 14 healthy young volunteers, who trained regularly , the scientists observed significant increases in plasma ammonia and glutamate upon supplementation of 0.1.g/kg body weight before the subjects conducted incremental exhaustive ergometer bicycle exercises. Interpreting their results as follows, although the ingestion of L-ornithine hydrochloride before the exercise cannot be expected to improve performance, it does increase the ability to buffer ammonia, both during and after exercise , Demura et al. are yet reluctant to postulate a direct effect on exercise performance.Such an effect has however already been reported in the 2008 study by Sugino et al. , I already referre

Do Your Sperm a Favor: Eat Salmon not Soy!

In a recent investigation Brazilian scientists (Moraes. 2010) found that vitamin E from salmon, but not soy oil, has beneficial effects on sperm motality and resistance to cooling to 17° respectively 5°. The scientists supplemented twenty-four Dalboar 85 boars with three different amounts of antioxidants (150, 300 and 450 vitamin E mg/kg) from one of the sources and conducted a few standard tests at 24h, 48h, and 72h after the supplementation: Salmon oil increased the vigor in both temperatures evaluated after 24 and 48 hours. The occurence of total morphological abnormalities was higher in the semen of animals fed soybean oil and cooled at 17ºC while in the lowest cooling temperature (5ºC) there was no difference among animals under supplementation. [...] Salmon oil improves the sperm characteristics of the boar semen cooled at 17 and 5ºC from 24 to 48 hours. "No soy boy!". The good old BB-saying holds true no matter how hard animal rights activists are pushing to get me

No Short Term Effect on Energy Expenditure by Consumption of Green Tea Extract (Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate)

Figure 1: EGCG molecule ( HMDB v2.5 ) Lonac et al. ( Lonac. 2010 ) recently investigated the effect of supplemental Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate - better known as Green Tea Extract - on resting metabolic rate (RMR) and the thermic effect of feeding (TEF). Marketed as effective weight loss tools, it was to be expected that these extract increase one or the other and thus contribute to a greater overall energy expenditure, BUT this is not what the scientists found. According to their results, the consumption of 7x135 mg/capsule EGCG had no "thermogenic" effect , whatsoever: Contrary to our hypothesis, RMR was not greater ( P = 0.10) following consumption of EGCG (6,740 ± 373 kJ/day) compared with placebo (6,971 ± 352). Similarly, the area under the TEF response curve (Δ energy expenditure) was also unaffected by EGCG (246,808 ± 23,748 vs. 243,270 ± 22,177 kJ; P = 0.88). EGCG had no effect on respiratory exchange ratio at rest ( P = 0.29) or throughout the TEF measu

Don't Blame Your Parents for Getting Fat: N-3 Fatty Acids May Save You!

Figure 1: Chemical Structure of Alpha-Linolic Acid ( HMDB v2.5 ) It has been assumed that bad dietary habits of mothers-to-be increase the risk of their offspring to become obese. As Oosting et al. ( Oosting. 2010 ) report the consumption of a diet high in n-3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCP) may well prevent you from this fate, even if your mother was a fast food maniac: A n-3 LCP-rich diet during postnatal life not only reduced fat accumulation by approximately 30% during the WSD [western diet = high fat, high carb] challenge from PN42 to 98 (p<0.001), but also led to a healthier plasma lipid profile, healthier plasma glucose homeostasis and less hypertrophic adipocytes compared to CTRL. This study shows that postnatal nutrition has programming effects on adult body composition and metabolic homeostasis. Additionally, it emphasizes that moderate alterations in fat quality during early postnatal life considerably affect adult metabolic health. Well, t

Prepare for the Winter: Get your Supply of Vitamin D Supplements

Figure 1: In Great Britain Vitamin D3 supplementation appears indicated at least in the winter month A recent study by researchers ( Webb. 2010 ) from the School of Earth Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester highlight the importance of maintaining "late-summer 25-OH(D3) levels" throughout the winter month. In their investigation among 125 white Caucasians aged 20-60 years in Greater Manchester they found: Dietary vitamin D remained low in all seasons (median 3.27 mug/day, range 2.76-4.15) while personal UV exposure levels were high in spring and summer, low in autumn and negligible in winter . Mean 25(OH)D levels were maximal in September (28.4 ng/mL; 28% optimal, zero deficient (< 5 ng/mL)), and minimal in February (18.3 ng/mL; 7% optimal, 5% deficient). A February 25(OH)D level of 20ng/mL was achieved following an average late summer level of 30.4 (25.6 to 35.2) and 34.9 (27.9 to 41.9) ng/mL in women and men, respecti

Want to Relieve Insulin Resistance? Eat your Blueberries!

Scientists from the Center for the Study of Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the Louisiana State University have found that bioactives in blueberries improve Insulin Sensitivity in Obese, Insulin-Resistant Men and Women . The researchers measured inflammatory biomarkers and adiposity of 32 obese, nondiabetic, and insulin-resistant men and women and found that after 6 weeks of supplementation with either a smoothie containing 22.5 g blueberry bioactives (blueberry group, n = 15) or a smoothie of equal nutritional value without added blueberry bioactives (placebo group, n = 17) twice daily, The mean change in insulin sensitivity improved more in the blueberry group (1.7 ± 0.5 mg·kg FFM–1·min–1) than in the placebo group (0.4 ± 0.4 mg·kg FFM–1·min–1) (P = 0.04). Insulin sensitivity was enhanced in the blueberry group at the end of the study without significant changes in adiposity , energy intake, and inflammatory biomarkers. Being e

Arginine Supplementation For Endurance and Intensity

A few days ago, my collegues from the Dutch version of Ergo-Log reported on an older study (Esporte. 2007) which showed improvements in strength in a group of subjects supplemented with 3g of arginine per day. Now, a more recent study by Bailey et al. (Bailey. 2010) investigated the effect of 6g arginine mixed in a beverage that was consumed 1 hour before the completion of "a series of 'step' moderate-intensity and severe-intensity exercise bouts". The scientists found that... Figure 1: Chemical structure of l-Arginine ( HMBD v2.5 ) Plasma [nitrite] was significantly greater following L-arginine consumption compared to placebo (ARG: 331 ± 198 vs. PLA: 159 ± 102 nM; P<0.05) and systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced (ARG: 123 ± 3 vs. PLA: 131 ± 5 mmHg; P<0.01). The steady-state VO2 during moderate-intensity exercise was reduced by 7% in the ARG condition (ARG: 1.48 ± 0.12 vs. PLA: 1.59 ± 0.14 L /min; P<0.05). During severe-intensity exercise,

Eggs & Whey: Building Muscle and Losing Fat with Protein Sources Which Are High in Leucine

Eisenmann et al. report on the effects net effect of feeding rats with different protein sources on changes in body composition and muscle mass: Leu content of the meals increased muscle weights and was inversely correlated with bodyfat and these outcomes were associated with greater phosphorylation [=sign of "muscle anabolism"] of 4E-BP1 and S6K and MPS in animals fed egg and whey. With egg and whey protein having the highest amount of leucine among the standard protein (wheat, soy, egg, or whey with 6.8, 8.0, 8.8, and 10.9% leucine) sources of a typical fitness oriented diet, my take on the leucine craze is that the need or possible benefit of additional dietary leucine still has to be established. If you are interest in the arguments pro/against supplementation of leucine in isolation, I suggest you visit my "Leucine Thread" on the Mind&Muscle Bulletin Board .

Glucose Intolerance in Obese Rats Due to High Carb Not High Fat Diet

While common wisdom tells us that a high carbohydrate + high fat diet will make us fat and sick. A new study by Fleur et al. ( Fleur. 2010 ) indicates that a free-choice high-fat high-sugar diet induces glucose intolerance in absence of obesity. Also, rats fed a high-fat (low carb) diet avoided the negative effects on insulin tolerance despite similar comparable body weight gains: Interestingly, the HF [=high fat] diet did not affect glucose metabolism , whereas the HFHS [=high fat, high sugar] diet resulted in hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and in glucose intolerance because of a diminished insulin response. The researchers conclude... these results suggest that not only obesity or total caloric intake, but the diet content also is crucial for the glucose intolerance that we observed in rats on the HFHS diet. This is just another of a handful of studies published in the course of the last months which argue against the high-fat = diabetes theory, many people (including pra

Cortisol Lowering Effect of Moderate Intensity Resistance and Aerobic Exercise Training

In the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise a group of American scientists ( Jaggers. 2010 ) report on the beneficial effects of participation in a moderate intensity resistance aerobic followed by 30 minutes of walking/jogging/cycling (depend on their fitness level) on the treadmill or bike: The EX group showed a significant decrease in resting CORT at wake (p = 0.04) and +2 hours (p = 0.04) following the 6 week intervention. The area under the curve (AUC) was calculated by applying Simpson's 1/3 rule using the three time points in which saliva was collected (Wake, +1 hr, +2 hr). The EX group showed a significant decrease in AUC (p = 0.04) compared to the CON group which showed no change. Even if you are completely healthy (the individuals in the study were HIV positive), you may well benefit from some moderate exercise by reducing cortisol levels, improving sleep qualities and reap all the positive health effects the former entail.

Rat Study Suggests: Hypertrophy Oriented Training Has to Be Strenous

In their contribution to the Georgia World Congress Schoepe et al. ( Schoepe. 2010 ) pose the question: "DOES EXERCISE ALWAYS CAUSE PHYSIOLOGICAL HYPERTROPHY?" While you would just have to have a look at the average gym-goer to answer with an unrefutable "NO!", the scientists' results are nevertheless of interest - especially for those who do not make progress in the gym. Schoepe et al. investigated the effects of a 10-weeks incremental training protocol on rat running on a 10% or 16% incline. Interestingly, the scientists found that only in the 16% incline group marked changes in skeletal muscle size and metabolism occurred, while the 10% incline group stagnated: Within ten weeks animals trained with 16% incline developed hypertrophy (LVPWD: 1,6±0,1 vs. 2,4±0,1mm; p<0,05) with normal function (Ejection fraction: 75,2±2,5 vs. 75,6±2,1%; n.s.). However, after 6 weeks there was a temporary impairment in contractile function (EF: 74,5±1,67 vs. 65,8±2,3%; p

mTOR/MAPK Hypertrophy Signaling in Muscle Greater After 5x10 RM Than After 15x1 RM

A study by Hulmi et al. ( Hulmi. 2010 ) confirms conventional wisdom that doing 5 sets of 10 reps is a better way to trigger muscle growth than a rather strength oriented approach consisting of doing 15 sets of 1 repetition. Instead of measuring increase in fiber size, the scientists rather focussed on the gene-transcription triggered by the two training regimens and found: Western blotting results revealed that no changes were seen in the controls, but the phosphorylation (p) of p70S6K, p85S6K, rpS6, and MAPKs p38Alpha and p38Gamma were increased after both REs. However, the increase in p-p70S6K, p-rpS6 and p-p38Gamma were larger after HRE . p-Erk1 and p-Erk2 MAPKs increased only after HRE . While scientists are still figuring out the exact mechanism that triggers / drives muscle growth it is contemporarily accepted that mTOR/MAPK-signaling are the major players in an adaptation process  at the end of which hypertrophy is the well deserved reward for all the strenuous in the

Time To Say Good Bye! Mr. Average 1975 is Out-Of-Date.

A recent article in Nature ( Later. 2010 ) emphasizes the need for a new "Reference Man" for men (and women). The authors studied the body composition of 208 healthy Caucasian men and women and found [...] compared with Reference Man [from 1975], great differences in body composition were found. Men and women of the study population were heavier, taller and had more FM, MM and higher masses of brain, heart and spleen . These differences did not depend on age. Relationships between body weight and body composition were investigated by general linear regression models, whereby deviations in FM, MM and heart mass disappeared, whereas differences in brain and spleen mass persisted. Interestingly, while you may be fatter than your parents and/or grand-parents you also carry more muscle and more neurons, i.e. you have a heavier brain. So make wise use of the latter to lose the fat and make the best of the early 21st century ;o)

Cable Curls: Elastic Straps on Pulleys Increase Exercise Intensity

Scientists from the Laboratory of Physiology, European University Miguel de Cervantes in Spain ( Garcia-Lopez. 2010 ) studied the effect of elastic straps (instead of the standard cables) attached to a cable pulley on the intensity and mechanics of cable curls. While they did not measure muscle stimulation via EMG, their conclusion that the increasing resistance that resulted from modification of the pulley would lead to a greater activition of the target muscle appears sensible: With a more uniformly distributed external resistance, a greater average muscle tension could have been achieved throughout the range of movement, leading to greater fatigue that could explain the lower number of maximal repetitions achieved. If we remind ourselves of the bro-scientific wisdom that concentration curls, which are characterized by maximal torque at full contraction, is the way to go for cannon-ball biceps development, the use of elastic straps on cable pulleys could well improve your biceps

Chronic L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation Increases Exercise Induced Carbohydrate Oxidation in Men

Figure 1: Molecular structure of L-Carnitine ( HMBD v2.5 ) Carnitine supplementation is commonly advertised as a means to shift substrate metabolism from carbohydrate to fat. A new study by Abramowicz and  Galloway indicates that - at least for L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) - the opposite is the case. Carbohydrate oxidation was significantly increased in following chronic supplementation 93.8 g/hr vs. placebo 78. This shift in substrate metabolism was not observed in the female subjects, though. From a more general perspective the result that "No effects on fat oxidation or hematological responses were noted in either gender group." may well be of greater importance to the average gym-rat tempted to invest his hard-earned money into colorfully marketed carnitine products .

Ephedrine: New Study Confirms Metabolic Effects of Forbidden "Weight Loss"-Drug

Its August 2010, years after Ephedra has been banned from the supplement marked, the words "ephedrine" and "ECA" can still be heard, whenever people chat about weight loss supplements. A new study by Napolitano et al. ( Napolitano. 2010 ) may explain why this is the case. Stated simply: Ephedrine works! But its effects on the basal metabolic rate is much less pronounced than some nostalgics would have it. Figure 1: Mean differences and standard deviations of differences between measures of fat, carbohydrate, and protein oxidation, made overnight and over 23 hours, and repeated after a 24-hour or 14-day interval. Untreated (placebo) subjects, n = 6. ( While the overall difference in energy expenditure appears negligible (+45.55kcal on the first day; +32.48kcal on day 14), it is interesting that there is a shift in substrate metabolism from carbohydrates to fatty acids within the 24 hour window after 3x15mg/day ephedrine administration. The net effect of eph

Vitamin C Against Infections? For Men Only!

Researchers ( Constantini. 2010 ) from the University medical center in Jerusalem found that contrary to popular believe, vitamin C will not help ward off the common cold in swimmers. Interestingly, they did observe a positive effect on severity and duration of infection in males, only: The duration of respiratory infections was 22% shorter in vitamin C group, but the difference was not statistically significant. However, we found a significant interaction between vitamin C effect and sex, so that vitamin C shortened the duration of infections in male swimmers by 47% (95% CI: -80% to -14%), but had no effect on female swimmers (difference in duration: +17%; 95% CI: -38% to +71%). The effect of vitamin C on the severity of URIs was also different between male and female swimmers, so that vitamin C was beneficial for males, but not for females. Hitherto, the scientists have no explanation for the observed gender bias. It could however have contributed to the equivocal  results o

Nitrate Supplementation Lowers Blood Pressure and Exercise O2 Costs

The hype around creatine and amino acid nitrates already calmed down. For many costumers (me included) real world results could not keep up with the promises made in glossy adverts. A recent study by Vanhatalo et al. (Vanhatalo. 2010 ) does yet show that nitrate supplementation can in fact influence physical responses to endurance exercise: The exercise protocol (two moderate-intensity step tests followed by a ramp test) was repeated 2.5 hours following first ingestion (0.5 L) and after 5 and 15 days of BR and PL. Plasma [nitrite](Baseline: 454 ± 81 nM) was significantly elevated (+39% at 2.5 h post; +25% at 5 days; +46% at 15 days; P<0.05) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (baseline: 127 ± 6 and 72 ± 5 mmHg, respectively) were reduced by ~4% throughout the BR supplementation period (P<0.05). Compared to PL, the steady-state O2 during moderate exercise was reduced by ~4% after 2.5 hours and remained similarly reduced after 5 and 15 days of BR (P<0.05). [...] Thes

Pardoxical: L-tryptophan Supplementation Increases Time to Exhaustion

Molecular structure of l-tryptophan ( HMDB v2.5 ) In view of the generally accepted paradigm that BCAA supplementation exerts its beneficial effects on exercise performance partly via counteracting the rise of tryptophan levels ( Castell. 1999 ) it appears highly counter-intuitive that L-tryptophan supplementation can decrease fatigue perception during an aerobic exercise with supramaximal intercalated anaerobic bouts in young healthy men ( Javierre. 2010 ). Notwithstanding, Javierre et. al. found that supplementation of the serotonine precursor l-tryptophan increased time to exhaustion in consecutive submaximal exercise on a cycle ergometer at 50% of the participants respective VO2max for 10 min: The total exercise time was 49.4% greater after receiving L-tryptophan than after receiving the placebo. A lower rate of perceived exertion was exhibited by the group while on tryptophan although the differences from the control group were not statistically significant. No differe

Afraid of Prostate Cancer? All Your Vitamins Won't Help You!

Lately, you learned at the SuppVersity that Broccoli has preventive effect against prostate cancer , now a new report by Beilby ( Belby. 2010 ) reviews the results of previous studies (cf. figure 1) which suggest that folate, beta crotene, vitamin A and vitamin E might be beneficial, as well. Table 1: Baseline characteristics of cases and controls ( Belby. 2010. Table 1 )  The results of their survey is however disillusioning: we report null associations for serum concentrations of β-carotene vitamin A and vitamin E , and subsequent development of prostate cancer. Before you throw away all those pills now, remember that "null association" means that it won't hurt you either ;-)

Clenbuterol as Libido Booster? Not really...

Figure 1: Chemical structure of clenbuterol ( R )-Isomer (top) and ( S )-Isomer (bottom) ( ) In a 1989 study Benilla (Benilla. 1989) found an astonishing effect of low (0.01mg/kg) / high (0.1mg/kg) dose clenbuterol administration to rats. Interestingly, the beta-agonistic effect of Clenbuterol increased or decreased sexual activity depending on former activity levels . For sexually vigorous rats Clenbuterol decreased the sexual activity significantly, while formerly sluggish rats on a low dose clenbuterol regimen (0.01mg/kg/day) suddenly became "serial lovers" with an increase in mount latency from a sluggish 580.3s to a horny 99.5s. Their pharmacologically improved mount latency is however is still longer than that of untreated, sexually vigorous rats (61.5s). Similarly, their postejaculation interval (462s) is still 32% above that of their naturally ruttish fellows. Bottom line: Do not try to use Clenbuterol as a Viagra replacement AND pleas

Anti-Androgenic Effect of ATD

A few month ago a study by Svensson ( Svensson. 2010 ) caused quite a fuss in the supplement world. The scientist had injected huge amounts of ATD into his laboratory rats and found that "the aromatase inhibitor 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione (ATD; 60 mg/kg/day s.c.) decreased behavioral disinhibition in testosterone-treated rats (without affecting accessory sex organ weights)". In view of the huge dosage, I simply ignored the results of that study until I recently stumbled across a whole bunch of papers which support the notion that ATD is in fact anti-androgenic, in that it does reduce testosterone receptor binding in the brain ( Kaplan. 1989 ). The negative effect of ATD administration on mating behavior and success (2x ejaculation) in testosterone treaded rats is alarming (cf. figure 1): Figure 1: Effect of ATD supplementation on sexual performance of hypogonadal rats treated with testosterone + propylene glycol (T+PG), testosterone + ATD (T+ATD) or ATD alone.

Decreased Catecholamine Release in Obese Individuals: Another Weight Loss Obstacle

Jabbour et. al. ( Jabbour. 2010 ) found that the exercise induced stress response in obese individuals is significantly reduced. The amount of catecholamines released in the course of 6 x 6sec maximal sprints with 2 min of passive rest between each repetition, was significantly lower in the 11 normal-weight adolescent boys compared to their 9 obese (body fat: 31.0 +/- 3.0%) and 11 overweight (body fat: 24.0 +/- 1.9%) age-mates: Maximal epinephrine concentration was significantly (p<0.05) higher in lean vs. obese and was negatively correlated to body fat percentage (r=-0.60, p<0.05). Maximal norepinephrine values were higher in lean vs. overweight and obese and a negative relationship was found between maximal norepinephrine concentration and body fat percentage (r=-0.60, p<0.05). Maximal lactate concentration was higher in lean vs. overweight and obese (14.7 +/- 3.3, 10.4 +/- 2.7 and 10.2 +/- 2.5 mmol.l-1 in lean, overweight and obese respectively). In view of the fa

Impressive Blood Work on Brassaiopsis glomerulata, i.e. DS Triazole. Less Test Boosting Than ATD, Though

Figure 1: Driven Sports new aromatase inhibitor Triazole This is no typical SuppVersity stuff, because it is an N=1 sponsored "investigation" (meaning: take it with a grain of skepticism) into the effect of a dietary supplement. Nevertheless, I find it interesting enough to post the results a tester of Driven Sports new aromatase inhibitor Triazole posted on a thread of mine on the BB.COM board : Total Test went from 625 to 1032. Free Test went from 74.9 to 148.1. I'm posting from my phone, so I will have to post a copy of the results when I can scan them tonight. __________________ Driven Sports Rep If these values aren't fake ( update: scans have been posted here ) this equals an impressive rise of about 65% in total testosterone (less significant in view of muscle gains) and an even more important rise of 98% in free testosterone . Although you certainly won't see similar gains as on an AAS-cycle, the l

Taurine Increases Fatty Acid Oxidation During Aerobic Exercise

Figure 1: Molecular structure of L-Taurine (HMDB v2.5) Regular readers of the this blog, will already be acquainted with the various beneficial health-/performance-effects of taurine . A new study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism ( Rutherford. 2010 ) reveals that supplementation with 1.66 g of taurine before 1 hr before cycling at 66.5% ± 1.9% VO2max for 90 min, which was followed immediately by a time trial (doing 5 kJ of work/kg body mass as fast as possible), resulted in in a 16% increase (5 g, ~84 kJ; p < .05) in total fat oxidation over the 90-min exercise period compared with CON and PL. In view of the fact, that shifting exercise metabolism from carbohydrate to fatty acid oxidation is desirable not only for dieters, but for endurance athletes as well (even a lean marathon runner has much more energy stored as fat reserves than in his glycogen reservoirs), dieters and athletes may well benefit from pre-exercise suppleme

Juice Plus: Less Oxidative Stress No Increase in Performance

Fruits in a pill!? No panacea, after all. Its always nice to see studies done on real world supplements, such as the one published by Goldfarb ( Goldfarb. 2010 ) in the latest issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise . Over a period of 28 days prior to a bout of excentric exercise (and for the following four days) the scientists supplemented forty one (18-35 yrs) healthy volunteers randomly with either a placebo (P) or 6 caps of Fruit Juice Plus (FJC) per day. After all subjects had completed 4 sets of 12 repetitions of eccentric elbow flexion with their non-dominant arm blood samples were taken. While FJC had n o measurable effect on exercise performance, muscle soreness , range of motion (ROM), maximal isometric force (MIF) of the elbow flexors, creatine kinase (CK), and lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH), ... there was a significant time and time by treatment effect for plasma protein carbonyls (PC) and malondialdehyde (MDA) . PC and MDA increased over time

Estrogen and the Male Athlete: Why Not to Avoid it at All Costs

If we believe in what supplement producers tell us, estrogen is to be avoided at all cost, to maximize strength and lean mass gains in male gymrats and competitive bodybuilders. Science on the other hand portrays a more diverse picture of the function/role of estrogen in muscle metabolism. In a recent review Enns & Tidus ( Enns. 2010 ) write: In skeletal muscle, studies with animals have demonstrated that sex and estrogen may potentially influence muscle contractile properties and attenuate indices of post-exercise muscle damage , including the release of creatine kinase into the bloodstream and activity of the intramuscular lysosomal acid hydrolase, beta-glucuronidase. ( Enns. 2010 ) They also highlight that estrogen has also been shown to play a significant role in stimulating muscle repair and regenerative processes , including the activation and proliferation of satellite cells . ( Enns. 2010 ) The proliferation of satellite cells is however what most bodybuilders

Going Vegan? Better Get Some B-12 Lozenges

While my personal credo is: "Man is made for eating meat." I respect everyone who - for ethical or whatever reasons - refuses to do so. In spite of that, a recent study by Gilsing ( Gilsing. 2010 ) found that vegetarians and vegans even more so, have a high risk of being vitamin B12 deficient. In their conclusion on the evaluation of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study, the scientists write: the results from this study show that vegetarians and vegans have much lower concentrations of serum vitamin B12 but higher concentrations of folate in comparison with omnivores. Mean serum vitamin B12 was not associated with the duration of adherence to a vegetarian or vegan diet, which may indicate that mechanisms that maintain circulating concentrations of vitamin B12 are upregulated in vegetarians and vegans. Further research into the health effects of vitamin B12 deficiency and depletion in vegans and vegetarians is warranted , and vegetarians and vegans should ensure a regular i

Non-Negligable Loss of Minerals & Trace Elements With Sweat in Healthy Boxers

Turkish scientists ( Saraymen. 2010 ) analyzed the sweat of 21 male cross-country boxers and found only a minor loss of trace elements copper , zinc and iron . As my plot of the study results as percentages of the recommended daily allowances (RDA) shows, the loss in magnesium , as well as the chromium are much more pronounced: Figure 1: Loss of minerals and trace elements in 1L of sweat expressed as percentages of the RDA Other than magnesium which is one of the commonest dietary supplements and is consumed in more than adequate amounts by most physically active adults (Hickson. 1986, 1987, 1986; Worme. 1990), studies suggest that chromium intake is rather on the lower end of the range: Recent analyses of self-selected diets in the United States indicate that nutritionally balanced diets contain variable amounts of chromium ranging from 1.2–1.4 ng Cr/MJ (5–6 µg/1000 kcal) (8) to 3.6 ng Cr/MJ (57) based on the foods consumed. Other reported daily intakes of chromium in diets

High GI Foods Will Make You and Your Children Fat

Recently, Italien scientists ( Barba. 2010 ) published findings from an investigation on the effects of glycemic index (GI) on body fat distribution in children. Although the glycemic index (GI) scare has ebbed off lately, the results of that study show that you should still be monitoring your sources of carbohydrate carefully: GI was directly associated with age, waist and BMI z-scores, energy, fibre and carbohydrate intake ( r : from 0.080 to 0.238, P  < 0.001), and negatively with fat intake ( r : −0.060, P  < 0.0001). [...] GI was associated with BMI and waist z -scores independently of age, sex, parental overweight/obesity, parental education, and energy intake, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre and GL residuals. Table 1. Characteristics of the population: comparison across glycaemic index quartiles. ( Barba. 2010 ) In particular, GI was the sole nutritional factor among those under investigation, significantly associated with waist circumference . Controlling f

Low Carb or Low Fat Equally Effective in Weight Loss, BUT Only Low Carb Favorably Changes in Cardovascular Disease

A paper by Foster ( Foster. 2010 ) in the Annals of Internal Medicine reviews the outcomes of a 2-years dietary intervention employing low carb vs. low fat diets. Fig. 1: Predicted absolute mean change in body weight for participants in the low-fat and low-carbohydrate diet groups, based on a random-effects linear model. ( Foster. 2010. Fig.2 ) The interesting result, which is also clearly visible in the data shown in Fig. 1 was that there were no differences in weight, body composition, or bone mineral density between the groups at any time point . ( Foster. 2010 ) Although the low carb dieters reported overall more side effects (esp. in the course of the first 6 months) the low carb diet delivered favorable changes in cardivascular disease which have not been observed in the group of the low-fat dieters: During the first 6 months, the low-carbohydrate diet group had greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and very-low-density lipoprotein

Protect Your Testes! Beware of These Plants and Plant Products

According to a very recent review from D'Cruz et. al. ( D'Cruz. 2010 ) you better avoid the following 15 plants and plant products, if you are interested in maintaining testicular health: Figure 1: Plants and plant products that influence sperm production and testicular health ( D'Cruz. 2010 ) Figure 1 also hints at the pathways by which popular plant extracts such as   Juniperus phoenicia L.  - Axis Labs Xtrac t, Prolab Cuts II , Universal Animal Cuts X2 , and others Piper longum - Controlled Labs Red Acid , Man Scorch , Xedra Cut , many more Tinospora cardifolia   - LG Natadrol, cf. write-up @SuppVersity ,  Garcinia cambogia (HCA) - original Hydroxycut, Bioshape , Cheaters Relief and others   Bulbine Natalensis -  Anabolic Designs Bullk , I-Force Tropinol influence testicular health. The previous list may well be continued, but I decided to pick those compounds a supplement fan is most likely to consume. So check the labels if you want to father kids in the

Rat Study Suggests Increased Selenium Requirements in Athletes

Calcium and magnesium , zinc and maybe chromium those are the top sellers among minerals and trace-minerals. Others, such as selenium are likely to be overlooked by the average fitness maniac, who says to him/herself "Selenium? Its in my multi, anyway!" Yet, a recent study published in Biological Trace Element Research ( Akil. 2010 ) reports well measurable effects of selenium supplementation to rats on an exhaustive exercise regimen. The scientists measured the impact of acute swimming exercise on erythrocyte-reduced glutathione ( GSH ), serum glutathione peroxidase ( GPx ) and superoxide dismutase ( SOD ), and plasma malondialdehyde ( MDA ) and lactate levels of the animals and found: Results of the study indicate that the increase in free radical production and lactate levels due to acute swimming exercise in rats might be offset by selenium supplementation . Selenium supplementation may be important in that it supports the an

Lycium chinense: Another Anti-Lipidaemic Herb

I must admit that I start to believe that if scientists are only clever enough, they will be able to find a lipid lowering effect for any herb. Nevertheless, it is likely that one or another supplement producer reads the study by Kang and spiked its newest "fat burner" with Lycium chinese (USP Labs would be my first guess). If this happens you, as a regular visitor of the SuppVersity will certainly be the only one to explain what this plant extract could be good for. At least in rats fed a high-fat diet, the addition of 5% and 10% Lycium chinese to their food coincided with a lowering of body weight and levels of serum triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol. Furthermore the Chinese herb appears to have profound antioxidant effects, as indicated by the rise in liver GSH levels the scientists observed. If you do however ask me, whether this is a necassary addition to fat burners, I would say no! Or would you be willing to replace 5% or 10% or your food intake with a nas

Brassaiopsis glomerulata: Novel Natural Aromatse Inhibitor in Driven Sports Triazole

Figure 1: Chemical structure of selected components of Brassaiopsis glumerulata ( Balunas. 2009 ) Now, that the craze about USPs Pink Magic is just abating, a new purported supplement blockbusters from Driven Sports , called Triazole , is already on it's way to the market shelves. It must have been a 2009 study by Bulanas ( Balunas. 2009 ) which inspired Matthew Cahill and his team to include pZole , a propietary extract of Brassaiopsis glumerulata , in the formula of what they advertise as "the Estrogenic Equalizer". In fact, the results of the aforementioned study are promising. Out of the 13 components the scientists isolated from this shrub of family Araliaceae , no. 9, 10 and 12 (cf. figure 2) appear to be promising candidates for over-the-counter aromatase inhibitor of the year. Figure 2: Aromatase activitity after preparation of hormone-independent human breast cancer cells that overexpress aromatase with selected component from  Brassaiopsis gl

Cystoseira Canariensis: Alleged Myostatin-Binding Supplement Ineffective

Darrin S. Willoughby ( Willoughby. 2010 ) did us all a favor, when he studied the effect of 1200mg/day Cystoseira canariensis , which is marketed as a myostatin-binding supplement, on muscle gains in the course of a 12 week heavy resistance training regime. Obviously the participants gained a significant amount of muscle mass, BUT... [...] after training, total body mass, fat-free mass, muscle strength, thigh volume/mass, and serum myostatin and FLRG increased for both groups ( P < 0.05); however, there were no differences between groups ( P > 0.05). Another case, where a daily visit at the SuppVersity makes you cash money - or wouldn't you have been inclined to believe in the promises of superhuman muscle gains and to invest a ton of money into this new wonder-supplement? No? Well, than you must be a daily visitor ;-)

Cool Training Techniques: Cryostimulation Improves Anaerobic Exercise Capacity

Are you training to gain strength? If so, you might be interested that Polish scientists ( Klimek. 2010 ) found that cryostimulation, i.e. short term exposure to -130°C, stimulates anaerobic exercise performance. In the male subjects, whole body cryostimulation caused a significant (P < 0.05) increase in relative values of peak power (11.1 vs. 11.9 W×kg-1). A significant (P < 0.05) increase in mean power (723.9 vs. 756.1 W) was also observed, as well as an i ncrease in total work (13.77 vs. 14.53 kJ) registered in the Wingate test after the whole body cryostimulation. Additionally, a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in time to reach peak power from 6.67 to 5.92 s in the post-cryogenic treatment test was registered. However, the changes in time to sustain peak power were not significant. Interestingly women did not benefit from the study protocol. While the scientists do not give a comprehensive explanation for the lack of effect on female athletes, I would suspect it is due t

The Wunderous Effects Of Creatine - Good for the Heart, but Strength Improvements are Restricted to Large Muscle Groups

Molecular structure of creatine ( HMDB v2.5 ) Recent research confirms: If you had to pick a single supplement, you'd better choose creatine . Two recent studies by Sanchez-Gonzales ( Sanchez-Gonzales. 2010 ) and Urbanski ( Urbanski. 2010 ) confirmed and expanded the already well-established ergogenic effects of creatine supplementation on performance, as well as on general health. In the latter context, the study by Sanchez-Gonzales may be of particular interest, as it found a significant reduction in, both, in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, as well as in blood pressure after an acute bout of isokinetic exercises: Resting measurements were not altered after Cr. Compared to placebo, Cr significantly (p < 0.05) attenuated the increase in systolic BP at PE5 (Pl: 14 ± 2.5 vs. Cr: 5.6 ± 2.3 mmHg) and PE15 (Pl: 10.6 ± 2.8 vs. Cr: 2.1 ± 2.6 mmHg), the increase in baPWV at PE5 (Pl: 1.6 ± 0.4 vs. Cr: -0.9 ± 0.4 m/s), and the increase in HR at PE15 (Pl: 2

L-Ornithine: Arginine's Overlooked Metabolic Child

Molecular structure of l-ornithine ( HMDB. V2.5 ) Ornithine is an amino acid produced in the urea cycle by the splitting off of urea from arginine. It is a central part of the urea cycle, which allows for the disposal of excess nitrogen. L-Ornithine is also a precursor of citrulline and arginine BUT hardly any of the self-proclaimed supplement gurus know about its proven effects on exercise performance. Almost two years ago, Sugino ( Sugino. 2008 ) published the results of a study which investigated the effect of 2mg or 6mg l-ornithine supplementation on 120min exercise performance on a cycle ergometer and found that oral L-ornithine administration promoted lipid metabolism and activated the urea cycle from serum triacylglycerol, ketone bodies, free fatty acids, and blood ammonia level changing. L-ornithine significantly attenuated the subjective feeling of fatigue (measured by visual analog scale at postrecovery) compared with postload (P < .01). [...] In the ph

Unstable Squatting = Dangerous Bogus

Some strength coaches like being different and advice their athletes to perform squats and similar exercises on instable grounds. A recent study by McBride found ( McBride. 2010 ) investigated the effect of absolute and relative loading on muscle activity during stable and unstable squatting and found: The  stable trials resulted in the same or a significantly higher value for Vastus lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF) and erector spinae (L1) muscle activity in comparison with the unstable trials for all twelve conditions. So if this exercise is not specific to your discipline, avoid squatting on unstable grounds at every cost. This might well keep you from being injured.

Further Evidence: Sunlight Alone is Insufficient to Rise Vitamin D Levels in Non-Western Immigrants

Wicherts ( Wicherts. 2010 ) published the results of an investigation into the effectiveness of a) sun exposure or b) supplementation with daily 800 IU or 100,000 IU once in three months on serum 25(OH)-D3 levels in 211 otherwise healthy non-western immigrant in the Netherlands.  As you can see in table 1, the initial high dose of 100.000 IU raised 25(OH)D levels significantly faster but to a lower extent than the 800 IU daily dosing: Table 1: Proportion (%) of participants with serum 25(OH)D<25, 25−50, 50−75, or >75 nmol/l at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months according to treatment group 800 IU/day, 100,000 IU/3 months or sunshine exposure ( Wicherts. 2010. Table 2 ) Otherwise, Wickerts' study confirms the results of earlier investigations, mean serum 25(OH)D increased to 53 nmol/l with 800 IU/day, to 50.5 nmol/l with 100,000 IU/3 months, and to 29.1 nmol/l with advised sunlight exposure. Though, even according to the "old&

Muscle Carnosine as a Determinant of Rowing Performance

Chemical structure of beta alanine (HMDB v2.5) It is no news to SuppVersity students that beta-alanine supplementation has been found to elevate exercise performance. Thus it is not the result that supplementation of 5g beta-alanine per day increased muscle carnosine content and exercise performance vs. placebo, but rather the inclusion of pre-supplementation values and respective rowing performance in the analysis, which is of interest in a recent study by Baguet ( Baguet. 2010 ). Even before intervention muscle carnosine levels and exercise performance were correlated , so that the scientists conclude: the positive correlation between baseline muscle carnosine levels and rowing performance and the positive correlation between changes in muscle carnosine and performance improvement suggest that muscle carnosine is a new determinant of rowing performance . In view of the recently reported antagonism of beta-alanine and taurine and the importance of the latter for
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