Showing posts from April, 2011

The Australian Sugar Paradox: Aussies Get Fatter and Fatter Despite Decreasing Sugar Consumption

Those of you who follow the publications in the field of nutrition in general and the issue of carbohydrate (over-)feeding, in particular, will be familiar with the fact that sucrose consumption in the US, Europe and Australia has been decreasing over the last 30 years (US: -23%; UK: -19%; AUS: -23%). At the same time, however, the amount of fructose US citizens consume in the form of syrups and high fructose corn syrup, in particular, increased by +23%. And people are becoming more and more aware that this very shift from a readily oxidized form of sugar to a sugar (fructose) that must be processed into triglycerides by the liver, before eventually being available as a substrate, could well be at the heart of the exponential increase in the number of overweight and severely overweight individuals in the US. The "Australian Paradox": Despite decreasing sugar consumption these two may soon be the only normal weight inhabitants of the Australian Continent. The "Aust

Exogenous Leptin Works! At Least in Already "Normal" Weight Exercise Junkies - 19% Body Fat Reduction in 10 Weeks on Metreleptin

In view of the promising results from early rodent studies it came as a surprise that leptin, a "16 kDa protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism" ( Wikipedia ), turned out to be ineffective in obese patients, even if it was administered at very high doses. A recent Harvard study ( Brinkoetter. 2011 ) published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology & Metabolism on April, 19th, does yet show that leptin does very well working its magic, if a patient's leptin receptors have not been desensitized by years of overeating. Figure 1: Leptin induced reduction in body fat percentage (reminder: notice the difference between a 19% reduction in the total amount of body fat and a 19% reduction in body fat percentage ) in amenorrheic women with hypoleptinemia after 10w and 19m, respectively (data adapted from Brinkoetter. 2011 ) Investigating both short- (group 1: 10 weeks) as

Teaching New Tricks to an Old Dog: Erythropoietin (Epo) "Doping" to Treat the Metabolic Syndrome!?

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the molecular structure of EPO ( Wikipedia ) Have you ever wondered, why there are no obese competitive bicyclists? Because of the enormous calorie expenditure on "The Tour" and similar events? Well, according to the results of a recent study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda ( Foskett. 2011 ), one of the "supplements" many of these athletes have been found to (ab-)use, may factor in the equation, as well. Foskett et al. followed up on the results of recent studies which suggest a role of Erythropoietin (Epo) signaling in the regulation of body weight, fat mass, and glucose metabolism ( Hojman. 2009 / Katz. 2010 ). They fed a group of mice the standard hypercaloric (5240 kcal/kg) "high fat" diet containing 60 kcal% fat to induce what researchers consider a good model for the metabolic syndrome, i.e. so-called "diet induced obesity" (DIO) in their lab

XS® Energy Drink Practically Useless for Athletes: Not Even eXtra Small Improvements in Exercise Performance

XS Energy Drink. 0 sugar, only 83mg caffeine. Probably tasty, but not ergogenic. If you believe the marketing campaigns of supplement manufacturers (and, of lately energy drink producers), performance - just as about everything in our society - is for sale (in this case at the local GNC). You, as a regular visitor to the SuppVersity are yet aware that supplements, if they do work at all, usually provide a rather minute performance increase that - and here is where the magic happens - may nevertheless decide a head-to-head finish in your favor. It is thus very expedient that XSBlast refers to this X-tra S-mall advantage of their product line in their company name already... wait! You think they imply "XS" as in eXceSs? Well, I guess in the end it does not really matter, because their XS® Energy Drink, a mixture of 83mg caffeine, 1.5 g taurine, 6.0 mg Vitamin B6, 294 µg Vitamin B12, 10 mg Vitamin B5, 20 mg Vitamin B3, 24mg Sodium, 25mg Potassium, as well as undisclosed amo

Human Data! Fish Oil During Lactation Reduces Cognitive Capacity at Age 7. Impairements in Processing Speed and Working Memory.

Supplemental fish oil: Panacea or rat poison? Well, I know you all love your fish oil. And you probably know I don't ;-) And this is why I am "happy" (yes, I am biased, here) to report the unfortunate results of a Danish study ( Cheatham. 2011 ), which investigated the effects of moderate dose fish oil supplementation @ 1.5 g/d n-3 LCPUFA (vs. olive oil as placebo) during the first 4 months of lactation on the cognitive performance of 98 children. The data was obtained at the age of seven by a combination of an "age-appropriate Stroop task , and the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire ". The results were quite unequivocal: [...] analyses including all participants revealed the speed of processing scores were predicted by maternal n-3 LCPUFA intake during the intervention period ( negative relation ) and maternal education (positive relation). Stroop scores indicative of working memory and inhibitory control wer

Epigenetics - From Mother to Child: Retinoid X Receptor-α Methylation "May Explain >25% of the Variance in Childhood Adiposity"

A few blogposts "ago", I reported the negative influences maternal (over-)nutrition may have on the unborn child . A recent study ( Godfrey. 2011 ) from the University of Southampton provides insights into which detrimental genetic switches underlie a disadvantageous pre-natal metabolic programming, the consequences of which may well be one of the myriad of factors contributing to the global increase in (childhood) obesity. Figure 1: Rise in childhood obesity from 1963-2008 (from ) Godfrey et al. analyzed the methylation status (if a gene is methylated it is turned off) of several genes in the cord blood of newborns from two independent cohorts (cohort 1: 68 samples; cohort 2: 31 samples) and found that [i]n cohort 1, retinoid X receptor-α (RXRA) chr9:136355885+ and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) chr7:150315553+ methylation had independent associations with sex-adjusted childhood fat mass (exponentiated regression coefficient [β] 17% per SD change i

Exaggerated mTOR Response in Patients With Metabolic Syndrome. Does it Blunt AMPK-Mediated Improved Insulin Action after Exercise Training?

You've heard about it in several blogposts within the last week: mTOR, the short form of "mammalian target of rapamycin" and main regulator of muscle protein synthesis. Hitherto, mTOR has always been one of the good guys - getting enough protein, leucine in particular to increase your mTOR-response is the latest advice for building muscle, which is perpetuated all over the Internet. But what if I told you that a research group from the Quillen College of Medicine at the East Tennessee State University in Johnson City just published a paper ( Layne. 2011 ) that shows that exactly this mTOR-response which is paradoxically exaggerated in patients with metabolic syndrome blunts the AMPK-mediated benefits exercise is supposed to have on insulin sensitivity. Figure 1: mTOR signaling cascade ( Wikipedia . Author: Charles Betz) The scientists had 10 subjects with the metabolic syndrome (MS) and 9 sedentary controls participate in an 8 week resistance exercise program wit

BCAA Ward Off Body Fat Gain on Hypercaloric High Fat Diet: Branch-Chained Amino Acid Feeding Triggers Favorable Metabolic Changes in Diet-Induced Obese Mice.

When it comes to BCAA products, stick to the basics. There is a reason nature has them in the 2:1:1 ratio. Science is more and more beginning to realize that the oversimplified "calories in vs. calories out" concept is hardly able to explain weight gain and loss in the ever-increasing number of obese individuals throughout the world. The findings of a relatively recent study from Oita University , Japan ( Arakava. 2011 ) underline the importance of a paradigm-shift in nutritional counseling from dietary advice that is based on caloric value towards concepts accounting for the different signaling cascades various macro- (protein, fats, carbohydrates) and micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, etc.) trigger. What the scientists found was that mice, who were fed a hypercaloric high fat (45%) diet for 6 weeks, gained significantly less weight, if their drinking water was enriched with BCAA s in the course of the last 2 weeks. The BCAA-treated group gained al

Binging Counter-Indicated Not Even, but Especially in Pregnancy: Excessive Gestational Weight Gain Associated With Higher Body Fat in Infants

A recent study conducted by a group of researchers from New York ( Hull. 2011 ) found that excessive gestational weight gain in already overweight women had detrimental consequences on the body composition of their offspring: [I]nfants from obese mothers had greater percent fat (%fat) and FM than offspring from normal and overweight mothers. Within the excessive group, infants from normal mothers had less %fat and FM than infants from overweight and obese mothers. This is alarming news, especially if one takes into consideration the results of Conan et al. from Harvard ( Conan. 2010 ) who found that "birth weight [and I would suppose body fat even more so] is significantly associated with incident AF [arterial fibration]" in later life. Figure 1: Infant body fat [%] in formerly normal, overweight and obese women with either appropriate of excessive gestational weight gain These results should remind mothers-to-be that the good old saying "you are what you eat&q

BodyRx Show #018 – The High Cost of Low Energy and High Intensity Training.

Despite me not being able to make it to the round-table at the end of the show, this is the best BodyRX Radio ever - tune in and listen as the rest of the team discusses the potential downsides of low carbohydrate diets and high intensity resistance training, the timing of carbohydrate intake , and the merits of pre-performance energy enhancing supplements  Guests: Dr. Greg Haff (left), Robb Wolff (middle), Rob Regish (right) Our distinguished guests for this episode are  Dr. Greg Haff , interviewed about his research on peri-workout carbohydrate supplementation by Dr. Scott Connelly and Robb Wolf ( The Paleo Solution ) and Rob Regish ( The Blueprint ), who discuss their approaches to goal-specific carbohydrate modulation with former Bodybuilding competitor and supplement expert Vince Andrich Don't miss out on this one! Download the podcast .

High School Athletes on Dope? Not Really, But Roughly 1/3 Uses "Performance Enhancing Supplements"

"Don't you take those steroids!" Does this remind you of your mother, when, back in high school, you bought your first tub of creatine monohydrate ? Recent doping "scandals" have, yet again, raised the awareness, or should I say panicky fear of parents and coaches that their children and wards are going to be delinquent, when they save their allowances for a shopping spree at the local GNC. Accordingly, many of them will not be happy to hear that a recent study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research ( Piattolly. 2011 ) found that "[a]lmost a third [32.2%] of the high school sample surveyed reported using nutritional or performance enhancement supplements." Figure 1: Type of performance enhancing supplement used by high school athletes (data adapted from Piattolly. 2011 ) Interestingly, of those 32.2% of the young athletes that reported using supplements, the majority were male (87%) and in the age group of 15-17 year-ol

More Than Protein Anabolic: Post-Workout Protein Supplementation Up-Regulates Muscle Glycogen (Re-)Synthesis, As Well.

As an avid reader of the SuppVersity, you already knew that post-workout protein supplementation increases protein synthesis via mTOR-signaling and increased AKT-phosphorylation . A study ( Hara. 2011 ) published in the scientific journal Metabolism , only one week ago, has now established that the addition of protein to a post workout carbohydrate supplement led to s ignificant increases in the rate of muscle glycogen re-synthesis , as well. Figure 1: Influence of added protein (C+P, whey isolate) over carbohydrate only (CHO) supplementation on muscle glycogen 90 minutes after exhausting exercise (data adapted from Hara. 2011 ) After a 3-hour swimming test, which was intended to completely deplete the rats muscle glycogen stores, the researchers fed their rats " either 0.9 g carbohydrate per kilogram body mass for the CHO group or 0.9 g carbohydrate + 0.3 g protein per kilogram body mass for the C+P groups". Just to set this into perspective, this would translate in

Is Most of Our Science False? A Radio Lesson (12PM EST) on Biases, False Positives and Reading Between the Lines of Scientific Studies

Just in case you got nothing else to do: Tune in live and listen to me @ Carl Lenore's Super Human Radio to learn whether or not Mr Ioannidis from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston is right and ... Most Published Research Findings Are False!? Update: Episode steht zum Download bereit! Listen live to SHR @ 12:00PM ET For those interested in the original study , here is the link . Ah, and don't worry! I will try my best to make it more palatable ;-) Update: Episode steht zum Download bereit!

Set to Be Obese!? Dopamine Turns Out to Be Another Major Player in the Neurological Orchestra of Obesity

As I promised, I am trying my best to keep up with current research on the neurological aspects of obesity, I also talked about on Carl Lenore's Super Human Radio on March 31, 2011 . While the focus of the previously mentioned study was on the less well-known relationship between inhibitory and excitatory neurons in the hypothalamus, the major player scientists from the University Medical Center at Leiden in the Netherlands studied is a rather famous one: Dopamine. Figure 1: Basal glucose & insulin levels in DIO & DR mice after 2 weeks on placebo (P), bromocriptine (B) or haloperidol (H) (data adapted from de Leeuw van Weenen. 2011 ) What de Leeuw van Weenen et al ( de Leeuw van Weenen. 2011 ) found in the same diet induced obesity [DIO] mouse model Ravussin ( Ravussin. 2011 )had used in his study (cf. Follow Up on Set-Point Theories: Could Royal Jelly Help With Obesity / Diet Induced Structural Brain Changes? ) were altered dopaminergic transmission exaggerated basa

Leucine the Natural Anabolic: Roughly 10% Higher Strength Gains, Improved Body Composition and Fat Loss in Previously Untrained Men Receiving 4g of Supplemental Leucine a Day

These days it is hard to visit any bodybuilding or fitness related website without noticing a blogpost, news-item, article or product recommendation about leucine supplementation . The studies on its (in vitro) effect on mTOR-signaling , AKT- phosphorylation and all the other exotically named indicators of ongoing muscle protein syntheses appear to be ubiquitous. What is yet more important, i.e. the practical outcome of leucine supplementation, is much less talked about and thus I am happy to report the results of a study conducted by researchers at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education of the Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom ( Ispoglou. 2011 ). Figure 1: Increase in 5-RM Strength by leucine supplementation in the course of a 12 weeks strength training program (adopted from Ispoglou. 2011 ). Unfortunately, yet in view of costs and practicability expectedly, the 26 subjects (age 28.5 ± 8.2 y, body mass index 24.9 ± 4.2 kg/m²) of the 12-week study wer

Vanadium for Type II Diabetes!? Beneficial Effect of Trace Element on Blood Glucose Management in Rat Model.

Some of you may remember that vanadium has once been hailed as nutrient repartitioner (it has been shown to increase glucose uptake into muscle tissue via GLUT4-receptors) in the fitness & bodybuilding community. After reports on possible toxicity issues, which were - at least in parts - based on reports of people who dosed according to the common "more helps more" mentality of our society, vanadium supplements, stand-alone or larger doses as part of micronutrient blends, have disappeared from the market. Science, on the other hand has not given up on this promising, yet non-benign "medication". A recent study ( Kurt. 2011 ) published in the journal Biometals underlines that the effects of vanadium, which was named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility, Vanadis, do in fact border on those of a pharmaceutical drug. After treating rats with streptozotocin and thus inducing a metabolic profile that is generally considered an appropriate model f

Vitamin(S!) E, The Whole Picture: Delta Tocopherol a Rising Star in Cancer Protection

Those of you who have attentively followed my dissertation on fish oil (cf. SHR: ProfDrAndro talking on the Pros & Cons of Fish Oil ) may remember that - as an aside - I mentioned that not alpha-tocopherol , which is what supplement companies add to their fish oils, but delta-tocopherol would be the anti-oxidant of choice to protect the highly oxidizable oil from going rancid. Figure 1: Toco-8 , one of the few tocotrienol products on the market A very recent report ( Li. 2011 ) on findings of scientists from The State University of New Jersey is only one out of a whole line studies that imply that the real health value of "vitamin E" (we should better start writing "the vitamins E") does not lie in one, but in the combination of the tocopherols (alpha, gamma, delta) and the naturally ocuring tocotrienols , of which both the delta-tocopherol, as well as the group of tocotrienols have long been overlooked in the course of what one should probably call th

I-Force Dexaprine Ingredient Write-Up.

Figure 1: I-Force Nutrition's newest fat burner Dexaprine Just received an email from the marketing guys @I-Force Nutrition informing me that "Dexaprine is finally here...". Well, to be honest, I had not been waiting for it, but the email intrigued me and I would like to give you a brief rundown on the ingredients, which are "guaranteed to give you more energy, increased appetite suppression, and insane mood enhancement than you have ever experienced!" - I don't know about you, but I think I have heard similar claims before ;-) Ok, here we go: One bottle of Dexaprine, which is 39.99 ( pre-order offer @ I-Force webshop) has 60 servings (serving size 1 capsule) of the "thermogenic powerhouse" (I love these advertisment guys) @ 600mg of the following ingredients Thermophoric Amine Mood Enhancing Complex , which is basically just synephrine (from citrus aurantium ) + geranamine (which is also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, 4-methyl-2-hexylami

Algae Cake: Delicious & Healthy!? Wait Until You Learn that it is a Waste Product of Biofuel Production

Despite the Fukushima disaster and the possible contamination of seafood and algae from the pacific ocean, seaweed still has a very good reputation among the health & longevity "experts" (especially those who happen to sell respective supplements). Figure 1: Algae cake (left) and differently processed algae (right); pictures as they appear on homepage of Dr V Sivasubramanian And though I do not want to argue that there are l ots of studies that indicate beneficial effects of eating whole algae or supplementing with certain constituents , I must say that I was somewhat puzzled, when I read about the "terrific" idea, a group of Indian scientists ( Singh. 2011 ) has recently come up with. They want to use algal cake (basically a waste product of the production of biofuel from algae) as ... [...] extremely valuable, high protein by-product of our system that will be used for the production of nutritional food additives, vitamin supplements, animal/fish feed

Save Our Children: No more "Obeldickses" - Lifestyle Intervention, Not Rigorous Dieting Key to Solving Childhood Obesity

What is good for adults cannot be bad for children!? Right so in the case of turning a sedentary life upside down: Changing the lifestyle, i.e. eating and exercise habits of overweight children (8 year olds) produced profound and above all persistent (>12 month) i mprovements in body weight, fat mass, waist circumference, and blood pressure ! In a recent report ( Schaefer. 2011 ) on what the German scientists felicitously called the "Obeldicks" program (with reference to the obese Gaul from the famous comic book series),  Schaefer et. al. report the results of a large scale intervention program with 76 obese children and their parents . The program was based on three-pillar-strategy: physical activity training,  nutrition education,  and behavior counseling  And the beneficial and more importantly lasting (>12 month follow up) effects it had on the participants should make it pretty clear that in a society, where pathological eating & movement patterns (driv

Fukushima & You: Understand What's Going On & How to Protect Yourself.

I am back on SHR - this time talking about a very serious topic: The meltdown at the nuclear power plant(s) in Fukushima. "What the Fukushima Is Going On?" Update: Download Podcast Listen live @ 9:00AM AM/12:00PM ET Tune in live and listen to some solid background info that will help you understand what's going on in Japan, California and the rest of the world.

Calorie Restriction vs. Exercise for Optimal Body Composition? Exercise Preserves Muscle Tissue and Prevents Metabolic Downregulation.

Those of you who listened to my comments on set points and reasonable weight loss on Super Human Radio , will already know that - other than Gary Taubes, for example - I am a huge advocate of exercise, when it comes to weight loss, -maintenance and overall improvements in body composition. Data from a recently published study ( Soare. 2011 ), despite being evaluated from an anti-aging perspective, confirms the adequacy of approaching your body composition goals, by dietary modifications and exercise induced increases in energy expenditure, instead of just "eating less calories". In their study, Soare et al compared 24 subjects who had been on a calorically restricted diet (CR, 1769±348 kcal/d) for an average of 6 years to 24 age- and sex-matched sedentary individuals (control, WD, 2302±668 kcal/d) and 24 body fat-matched exercise-trained (EX, 2798±760 kcal/d) volunteers, who were eating Western diets. Figure 1: Total body weight, lean mass & fat mass in send

TARFU: LaBrada Nutrition Financed Study Finds no Effect of Super Charge Xtreme N.O. on Training Induced Increases in Muscle Size. Minor Effects on 1RM Max.

As mentioned in previous blogposts, I highly credit all supplement companies which - instead of just putting out untenable claims about the "steroid-like" effects of their products - spend a few bucks of their immense marketing budgets on research on how fantastic their products actually are. In the case of LaBrada Nutrition 's Super Charge Xtreme N.O. it does yet seem that it would have been wiser to do some research before formulating their new " NO booster ". Other than the guys over at LaBrada Nutrition probably have hoped or even expected, the study ( JSCR. 2011 ) that was published in the March issue of the well-known Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found no "significant improvements in LBM over the placebo drink" and only minor increases in bench press 1RM and squat power, which may well be attributed to CNS stimulation due to the hefty 450mg load of caffeine each serving of Super Charge Xtreme N.O. contains. Other than t

Beet Root Juice Supplementation Improves Exercise Performance. Nitrate Content of the Beets Decreases ATP Turnover in High Intensity Exercise.

Nitrates have long been decried as toxic and dangerous and I bet, before their latest appearance to the supplement market, none of you would even have remotely considered to consciously increase his/her dietary nitrate supply. Yet, recent scientific studies confirm that nitrate (in moderate doses) is not only safe, but also has, its effects on vasodilation aside, quantifiable effects on exercise performance. A group of scientists from the UK tried to find out the underlying mechanisms of the ergodicity of supplemental nitrate ( Baily. 2011 ). Following a six day supplementation period in the course of which seven males (aged 19-38 yr) consumed 500 mL per day of either nitrate-rich beetroot juice (~300mg nitrate content) or placebo (PL, with negligible nitrate content). What they observed is best described as a "tuning effect" that was observable both, in the course of high, as well as in the course of low intensity exercise training. During low intensity exercise ,

Taking a Week Off? Sudden 7-Day Exercise Cessation Perceived as a Strain by Highly Trained Athletes. Overtraining is the Culprit!

Did you ever decide to take a week off and felt like hell? Did you feel how the gym, a place of which, only two days before, you thought you would be happy not to see for at least a month, suddenly seemed to draw you in as a giant magnet? Yes? Then you are either an exercise addict or just a highly trained athlete (probably you are both), of whom a recent study ( Zeller. 2011 ) published in the Israel Medical Journal reports that exercise deprivation is associated with change in non-articular tenderness threshold and reduction in quality of life scores.  I already hear the exercise junkie within you jubilating: "24/7, 365 days a year! That's the way to go. That's my way." Before you do fall for this misunderstanding, you'd better thing about possible underlying reasons for the sudden tenderness and the decrease in perceived overall health (-4pts out of 100) the 26 asymptomatic healthy athletes who regularly exercise 6.75 ± 3.65 hours a week reported after the 7

Confusing Study Results: Saliva Testing "Adequate" For Free Testosterone, Yet Way Off For Cortisol!?

Many of us spend a fortune on "hormone optimization", but when it comes to actually testing our levels, most of us are pretty cheap: "200$ for labs? No way I rather buy another test booster for that money - won't hurt, I guess!" And even, if we finally decide to test our testosterone levels, we will usually choose the cheapest and most convenient testing method: saliva testing. But is this an adequate way of assessing one's hormonal status? Although these tests have been around forever, nobody appears to be sure how reliable they actually are. A recent study ( Caenegem. 2011 ) from the University Hospital of Ghent , Belgium, attempts to provide answers. The researchers tested two saliva collection methods, chewing on a cotton swab (Salivette, Sarstedt) and passive drooling on 30 healthy males with a median age of 27 years (range 19–65 years) and compared their findings against serum levels, which were measured on the same occasion. Here are their resu
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