On Short Notice: Retinoic Acid vs. Lung Cancer / Metabolic Effect of Fats in Cerebral Fluid / Nucleotid Supplements Instead of Icepacks // Ibuprofen & Leaky Gut / Fish Oil Enema & Colitis / Fructose, Glut-5 & Obesity + More!

Image 1 (Coloribus): Unquestionably a great add, but the (Ex-)Marlboro man would be better off with a piece of liver than a carrot ;-)
Just as I promised I am pumping out another set of "short notice" items. To make sure not to be confused with what I have once heard someone call a "pubmed warrior", I did however spike today's episode with three longer items and saved a couple of mini-items for the next week. I hope you enjoy the ride and don't forget to copy "Fatfree" who asked for more in-depth info on TUDCA after reading last Saturday's installment of this series (see "Testosterone - 12% Drop With 75g Glucose? Low T3 Syndrome - Can TUDCA Help?"). If there is more information that would make a longer post worthwhile and I find the topic interesting enough to spent the time on doing the research, I am always willing to comply with wishes like this :-)

Retinoic acid (not beta carotene!) can protect smokers from lung cancer

In a paper that has just been published in the Journal of Food Sciences, Xue et al. report that the epigenetic switches retinoic acid (active, real vitamin A) triggers in cancer cells of lung cells in cigarette-smoke exposed rodents does effectively counter the upregulation of the 120 mostly cell-differentiation and proliferation related genes scientists believe to be a causative factor in the etiology of lung cancer. This is particularly interesting, because supplementation with larger amounts of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene has been found to pose a serious health risk for smokers. With a passive smoke exposure equivalent to 80 nonfiltered commercial cigarettes the per day it is almost marvelous how effective the 10mg/kg bodyweight of all-trans retinoic acid were.
Figure 1: While all-trans-retinoic acid (left, bottom) appears to have potent anti-lung-cancer effects the β1-apocarotenoids our bodies produce from beta carotene could potentially negate these beneficial effects (see "Anti-Vitamin A Effects of Beta Carotene"); this would also explain why previous research has shown that beta-carotene supplements are potentially hazardous for for smokers (cf. Druesne-Pecollo. 2010)
I guess, the most studious among you will probably already know how the differing effects of vitamin A (real ATRA) and beta carotene come about, right? In my recent blogpost on the "Anti-Vitamin A Effects of Beta Carotene", I did actually provide a mechanistic explanation as the metabolic byproduct that arises from high dose beta carotene supplementation will block the retinoic acid receptor (similar to the way a SERM blocks the estrogen receptor) and thus inhibit the inhibitory effects of real vitamin A on the occurrence and progression of cancerous growth.

Image 2: Helicobacter pylori, ain't the reason you get lung cancer, but smoking will help him to prepare the breeding ground for gastric cancer.
Apropos lung cancer, a study by Koshiol et al. has recently refuted the claim that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections would increase the risk of lung cancer (Koshiol. 2012). Previous research from the German Center for Research of Ageing, on the other hand, found conclusive evidence that the combination of h. plyori and smoke increases the risk of gastric cancer by more than 600% (Brenner. 2002)! But don't worry, all-trans-retinoic acid can take care of that, as well. At least in the Petri dish, incubation of human gastric cancer cells with ATRA lead to immediate growth arrest (Zhang. 2005)... and did I mention it does the very same thing to pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and leukemia cells?
Implications: Regardless of whether you live with a chainsmoker, work in a bar or are stranded on a lonely island, where your campfire is the only source of smoke in your life, try to get your real vitamin A (=retinol) from fatty animal products and forget about beta carotene supplements (even if you brought some to your lonely island ;-). With fatty fish, a piece of liver every now and then, butter, eggs, etc. and large amounts of green leafy vegetables and a reasonable amount of whole fruits (no juices!) you are guaranteed not to fall short of any of these "vitamins A" (retinol and beta carotene) and the multitude of other potent carotenes that would be missing from your supplements anyway.

Type of fatty acids in cerebral fluid determine metabolic rate

Image 3: Assuming that the fatty acids you eat also float around in your brain peanut oil (1-2.5% C:24) is the worst edible oil for anyone who is concerned about his overnight energy expenditure.
A study that has just been published on PLos ONE provides astonishing insights into how long chain fatty acids (saturated fats) in your cerebral fluid could (we are dealing with observational human data from a metabolic ward study, here) slow down your fat loss or even make you gain weight by decreasing overnight energy expenditure. With correlations in the range of -0.6, lignoceric acid (C24:0, as in peanut oil) and Cerotic acid (C26:0; as in beeswax) are by far the worst offenders, as far as overnight energy expenditure are concerned; and though the design of the study did not allow for any conclusions on the underlying mechanisms, the fatty acid induced suppression of the nocturnal surge in growth hormone could be one potential and at least in my humble opinion not very far-fetched cause for this effect. Interestingly, things look completely different for the plasma levels of these fatty acids, which showed the exact opposite +0.6 correlation with 24h energy expenditure. Other noteworthy results were
  • significant correlations of the mono-unsaturated fatty acids palmitoleic and oleic acid in the cerebrospinal fluid with higher rates of fatty acid oxidation (relative to carbs, not total) and 
  • significant correlations of the omega-6 fatty acids linoleic (18:2n6), dihomo-g-linolenic acid (20:3n6) and arachidonic acid (20:4n6), the omega-3 fatty acids linolic acid and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, C22:5n3) and the omega-9 fatty acid mead acid (C20:3n9) with better glucose clearance.
And no, the much-lauded fish-oil, i.e. the EPA and/or DHA content of the cerebrospinal fluid, had no significant effect on glucose tolerance. A result, by the way, which reminds me of another study I came across recently:  In their four day supplementation trial Miller et al. observed vast differences between the incorporation of EPA and DPA (docosapentaenoic acid, the one that did correlate - weaker than the omega-6s, though - with improved glucose tolerance) into plasma and red blood cell lipids subsequent to the oral provision of 8g/day of each to ten healthy women. Their observations and the respective alterations in EPA and DHA in the DPA supplementation group Miller and his colleagues concluded that DPA could serve as a reservoir of the major long-chain n-3 fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) in humans - exciting stuff and probably something you will read more about, here at the SuppVersity in the future.
Image 4: The data would support the use of MUFA and omega-6 laden olive and high MUFA macadamia oils, if we know how their consumption effects the fatty acid flux in our brains.
Implications: Due to our lack of knowledge about the ultimate determinants of cerebrospinal fluid fatty acid composition it is hard to say if these results do imply that you better focus on MUFAs in view of their beneficial effect on both glucose clearance and respiratory quotient - and still the usefulness of MUFA and omega-6 laden olive oils, which have time and again been shown to produce all sorts of favorable changes in glucose, fat and overall energy metabolism would support the notion that there is a direct or indirect downstream effect of higher intakes of the respective fats, their occurrence in our cerebrospinal fluid and their downstream metabolic effects.

Cooling trained muscles appears do decrease regeneration

Soon to be published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research are the results of a randomized cross-over study into the effects 15 minutes of icing applied 0h, 3h, 24h, 48h and 72h after an intense eccentric arm workout with 6 sets of elbow extension performed at 85% maximum of the voluntary maximal load had on the subjective as well as measurable (inflammatory cytokines, creatine kinase (CK-MB), hemoglobin and oxygenation were assessed) regeneration of 11 young male college baseball players (Tseng. 2012).
Figure 2: Inflammatory cytokines, creatine kinase and visual analgue scale data on subjective perception of fatigue at different timepoints before and after the eccentric arm workout (data adaptedm from Treng. 2012)
As you can see from the data in figure 2 the icing did have a somewhat bizarre effect on the inflammatory and subjective indexes of muscular regeneration. While...
[...] significant change in the levels of IL-1β, IL-8, and IL-1 were observed following the muscle-damaging eccentric exercise in either the control or topical cooling conditions and no differences in these cytokines were found between the control and cooling trials throughout the 72 h observation period (data not shown in figure 2, Tseng. 2012).
The levels of the pro-anabolic cytokine IL-12 (Argile. 2001), TNF-α, and IL-6 were significantly lower 24h after the workout (see figure 2, left; p < 0.05). There were yet no significant differences at other time-points ant both the CK-MB, as well as the fatique score (figure 2, right) suggest that the overall regenerative capacity was compromised by the repeated cooling of the strained musculature.
Image 4: If you use a 41°C hot bath 48h before a workout to "pre-generate", you don't even need to ask yourself whether or not the results of the study at hand conclusively imply that icepacks are detrimental and their use after workouts has to be avoided at all costs.
Although I must admit that this is not a settled case for me, until we understand the unexpected dip in IL-12, TNF-α, and IL-6 after 24h and its relation to the obvious increase in muscle damage (CK) and corresponding fatigue levels, it would appear prudent not to make use of an icepack as your regenerative means of choice.

Instead, I would suggest you follow the example of the young lady on the left and take "pregenerative" measures by taking a 41°C hot bath 48h before a strenuous workout. As you will probably remember from my previous article on the Touchberry study (read full story based on Touchberry. 2012) this will not just keep the damage at bay, but may also help you on your quest to a more muscular physique. And if you want to do your immune system a favor, check out the on very short notice item about RNA + DNA precursor supplementation further down...

On Very Short Notice

  • Image 5: Adding ibuprofen on top of exercise will make your gut look like a riddle screen.
    Ibuprofen makes an exercise-induced leaky gut even leakier - The use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen has long been implicated in the etiology of all sorts of gastrointestinal problems ranging from benign gastroinstestinal distress, over gastrointestinal bleading, ulcers etc. to all sorts of cancers. Researchers from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands have now found that the way by which ibuprofen aggravates the exercise-induced small intestinal injury and induces an even more pronounced gut barrier dysfunction in healthy individuals than exercise alone, may not just contribute to the occurrence of the aforementioned pathologies, but also precipitate to systemic diseases. After all, it opens up the doors to pathogens and toxins, which would otherwise be blocked by an intact intestinal barrier (van Wijck. 2012).
    N-acetyl-L-cystein (NAC) a potent natural anti-inflammatory which has also  been shown to reduce exercise induced inflammation (see "NAC Improves Markers of Oxidative Stress Induced by High Intensity Exercise") and glutamine (in the dos Santos study a HED of "only" 3-5g/day), on the other hand, exert protective effects on the integrity of the intestinal barrier (Sun. 2002; dos Santos. 2010).
  • Fish oil enema ameliorates colitis - When administered intra-rectally at a human equivalent dose of  ~13ml, fish oil effectively ameliorated the mucosal damage in experimentally induced ulcerative colitis in rat; flax oil and the corn oil control, on the other hand, did not prevent the increase in colonic weight / /length ratio and the associated histological changes 24h after Aisha Mohamed Dugani, Ahlam Elhelawi and Aisha Edrah had administered 1ml of 4% acetic acid to induce the colic (Mohamed Dugani. 2012). These results stand in line with general colon-protective effects of fish oil, observed in other studies and it's likely that they are a direct consequence of its non-negligible anti-inflammatory effect - which does not change my assessment that healthy physical culturists should not take more than max. 2g of supplemental fish oil per. The evidence supporting any beneficial effects on non-insulin-resistant, non-obese, non-hypertriglyceremic individuals is simply non-existent.
  • Image 6: No, this certainly does not look as if the conjugated linolic acid would work in horses as it does in mice ;-)
    Species specific effects of CLA: Horse don't lose weight, either - You will probably remember my recent post on the adipose tissue destroying effects of CLA (cf. "CLA Destroys Body Fat") in rodents, as well as my remarks that - if we discard potential underdosing as a contributing factor - it would appear that the beneficial effects of CLA we see in rodent studies is highly species specific. Now, Headley et al. have published the results of a study that investigated the effects of 0.05% CLA enriched chow on horses. Similar to what we see in humans, the conjugated linoleic acid had no effect on the body composition of the animals. Interestingly though, the mixture of three CLA isomers used in the study (cis-9, trans-11 + trans-10, cis-12 + and trans-9, trans-11; usually we have only the latter two in significant amounts) led to a statistically significant reduction of the potentially pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid in the blood of the horses. This spiked the interest of Headley et al. as it could turn out that this would render CLA (this specific isomer mix, I should say) as an agent that could have beneficial effects on the progression of joint disease, which is - in parts - driven by C20:4 (chemical name for arachidonic acid).
  • Towards a better understanding of why fructose is making us fat - Using in-vitro studies and a genetically engineered Glut5 -/- mouse model (these mice lack the glut-5 receptor which is responsible for the uptake of fructose), Li Du and Anthony P. Heaney were able to show that the preferential expression of Glut5 in developing adipocytes and the corresponding adipogenic (=promoting the creating of new fat cells) effects of fructose could well explain why fructose, which can no longer be taken up by mature fat cells, has been shown time and again to be way more fattening than its pro-insulinogenic cousin glucose (Du. 2012). Put simply, you could say: Increased serum levels of fructose require a) the conversion of fructose to triglycerides of glucose in the liver or b) the proliferation of adipose tissue so that the developing new fat cells can take the superfluous fructose up. If you consume too much of so that your liver is already working overtime, it is no wonder that your healthy high-fructose corn-syrup fat-free breakfast cereals are making you fatter and fatter. 
  • Figure 3: Effects of incremental treadmill running on selected markers of immune activity before and after 2 weeks of sublingual treadmill running in 38 healthy young men nucleotid supplementation (Ostojic. 2012)
    Supplement with RNA and DNA building blocks protects from immune-suppressive effects of exercise - The effects Sergej M Ostojic and Milos Obrenovic observed in response to a 14-day sublingual nucleotide supplementation regimen were basically what common wisdom tells you, you should see as a result of glutamine supplementation (Ostojic. 2012): The RNA and DNA precursors did not just ameliorated the dreaded immune-suppressive effects of a standardized cardio workout on a treadmill, they effectively boosted natural killer cells count and cytotoxic activity as well as salivary immunoglobulins and lactoferrin (cf. figure 3); so profoundly, though, that I am not 100% sure this is a good thing - at least not for people with auto-immune issues.
  • Don't stress yourself if you want to recover as fast as possible! That's the take home message of a recently published study by two researchers from the Nothern Illiniois University and the University of Texas at Austin, who correlated measures of perceived psychological stress with physical data on exercise recovery and found a surprisingly linear relationship between perceived stress, on the one hand, and phyical recovery as measured by maximal isometric force, on the other hand, in 31 undergraduate resistance training students (Stults-Kolehmainen. 2012). So, mark my words: Don't overstress about making everything right (this includes having the optimal workout and nutrition plan and thinking about whether or not you should add in another 0.5g BCAA pre-workout or not), if you don't want to sabotage your training success.
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  • dos Santos RG, Viana ML, Generoso SV, Arantes RE, Davisson Correia MI, Cardoso VN. Glutamine supplementation decreases intestinal permeability and preserves gut mucosa integrity in an experimental mouse model. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2010 Jul-Aug;34(4):408-13.
  • Druesne-Pecollo N, Latino-Martel P, Norat T, Barrandon E, Bertrais S, Galan P, Hercberg S. Beta-carotene supplementation and cancer risk: a systematic review and metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Int J Cancer. 2010 Jul 1;127(1):172-84.
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    Muscular Recovery From Resistance Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Jun 8.
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  • Touchberry CD, Gupte AA, Bomhoff GL, Graham ZA, Geiger PC, Gallagher PM. Acute heat stress prior to downhill running may enhance skeletal muscle remodeling. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2012 May 17.
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Disclaimer:The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It is by no means intended as professional medical advice. Do not use any of the agents or freely available dietary supplements mentioned on this website without further consultation with your medical practitioner.