Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Short Notice: Worst Transfat Offenders Cookies & Co + Cinnamophilin For Joints + Tomato Powder Battles Cancer Like Aspirin + Creatine Protects Cell Walls + Carboholism Starts in the Womb, Intermittent Fasting Helps... + More!

Image 1 ( They may look cute and harmless, but they are just one of the many incarnations of the worst transfatty acids offenders in the diets of the "average American" cake, cookie and pastry lovers. Believe it or not: Some of them manage to eat almost 100g of the proatherogenic fats per day (!)
Saturday and therefore time for a handful of "On Short Notice" news. We've got some ground to cover, today, so let's get started right away: We will start out by taking a look at the joint-healing / -protective effects of cinnamophilin, a compound from the roots of the cinnamomum trees. We will reconsider the importance of adiponectin for the non-obese physical culturist, switch from aspirin to tomato powder as our cancer prevention "drug" of choice and re-appreciate the newly discovered cell-protective value of a supplement 90% of you are probably already taking: creatine! Once we are done with that we revisit the potential connection between chronically low blood glucose, chronic catecholamine over-expression and the chronic fatigue syndrome. We will then take a look at how high carb diets and intermittent fasting of pregnant rats program the orexin A expression in the brains of their offspring and how that can predispose them to become obese.

During a brief water-break we will discard the idea of hyperhydration as idiotic and decide against carrying another kg of water weight around for the rest of this installment of "On Short Notice". Eventually we will reject pulses as a new staple diet food due to their potential to damage our gut mucosa and their strange gender-specific effects on insulin release and shake our heads over the average and not so average American's daily trans-fatty acid intake, which borders - in some cases - the 100g (!) ceiling of unhealthy absurdity.
  • Image 2: I must admit that I am not 100% sure if you would see similar benefits from regular cinnamon, not just because it is probably not from Cinnamomum philippinense, but also because the active ingredieant cinnamophilin has originally been extracted from the roots of the tree, not it's bark, which is what regular cinnamon is made from - it is obviously likely that some, yet probably lower amounts, would also be contained in the bark and a teaspoon of regular cinnamon probably won't hurt, anyway (cf. Wu. 1994 and Lu. 2012)
    Do your joints a favor and dig up some cinnamomum roots. While I am honestly not sure if cinnamophilin content of regular cinnamon (-bark) vs. Cinnamomum philippinense (nor whether this stuff is even in the bark, which is the raw material for "regular" cinnamon - a paper by Wu would suggest that it is extracted from the roots; cf. Wu. 1994), as it was used in a recently published study from College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, will be sufficient, it is relatively certain that the anti-inflammatory effects of this highly lipophilic antioxidant and free radical-scavenging agent, which has also been shown to inhibit thromboxane synthase and the thromboxane A2 receptor (means it will reduce unwanted blood clots; Yu. 1994), to block Na+ and Ca2+ inward currents in rat cardiac cells (means it helps to protect the contractile function of your heart; Su. 1999), and to reduce brain infarction and protect against transient focal cerebral ischemia (rodent studies by Lee. 2005 & 2009), would silence any ongoing joint inflammation.
    And while Ju et al. can only speculate about the exact mechanism it appears to involve the modulation of NF-κB or ERK/p38 MAPK downregulation and/or suppresion of p-c-Jun pathways. Since both are involved in the etiology of other inflammatory, degenerative diseases, as well, it appears almost certain that there will soon be more exciting applications for yet another medicinal component from your kitchen cupboard.
  • Adipokines are not necessarily your friend - not even adpinonectin: Despite being the latest and (supposedly) greatest of the powerful cytokines that are released from your body fat, may keep you healthy when you are fat, it's negative correlation Pisto et al. observed in an epidemiological cross-sectional study involving 54 normotensive, non-smoking men with normal OGTT, clearly suggests that increasing adiponectin expression probably ain't the best way to get big and buffed (Pisto. 2012). Rather than that, you better diet and work out till you are big and buffed and wait for adiponectin (and leptin, which was by the way not significantly correlated with muscle size after adjustment for total adiposity) to fall in place.
  • Image 3: Tomato(powder)'s aspirin-like anti-cancer effects could be another reason for the health benefits of the so-called Mediterranean Diet
    Tomato powder mimics aspirins cancer protective effects At least in the gastrointestinal tract the COX-2 inhibition of tomato powder appears to exert similar protective effects against colorectal cancer (Tuzcu. 2012); and in view of the fact that the rodents in the Turkish study were fed a 5% enriched chow you would however not even have to consume tons of it - 90g or 1.14g/kg body weight would suffice ;-) If that's still more than you want or can stomach, just eat more tomatoes and/or (even better) tomato paste, which is quasi the water-containing version of the dry extract.
    And if you can't do tons of either, don't forget: Just like all the bad junk that may not be a problem if you ingested just junk A and maybe junk B, from time to time, becomes really nasty once C, D, E, etc. join the assault, it may be the pound of tomatoes you ate over the course of the last 2 weeks that helped you to avoid that the literal last straw that would otherwise not have broken the camel's but your back.
  • Figure 1 : Lipid vesicle permabilization after exposure to melittin + (1) NaCl , (2) 100 mM DMBG), (3) Creatine, or (4) PCr (Tokarska-Schlattne. 2012).
    (Phospho-)Creatine protects lipids in cell walls! In their latest paper a group of French and Swiss researchers report that they demonstrated for the first time that phosphocreatine (PCr), the explosive power, short-term energy substrate you are trying to increase, when you are taking creatine (monohydrate or whatever else), is more than just an energy source (Tokarska-Schlattne. 2012). As the data in the figure 1 shows, it has direct protective effects on the lipid fraction of your cells as well. And while this observation does not make creatine a bit more effective, it does provide another piece to the puzzle that explains why it is also useful in so many sports-unrelated areas such myopathies and a plethora of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Constant subphysiological glycemia (= hypoglycemia without symptoms) could be the reason that you centrally fatigue, after all the constant elevation of epinephrine and glucagon, Ana María Arbeláez and her colleagues observed in a cleverly conducted study, where they limited the glucose levels in 8 healthy human volunteers to 65 mg/dL (3.6 mmol/L) for two hours showed a constant elevation of epinephrine and glucagon (Arbeláez. 2012). That the latter will only work for so long hardly suffice to keep you functioning normal (by no means optimal) should be clear... So how do you prevent that? Don't overtrain, don't undereat, don't eat only protein and don't be f***ing scared of eating as much carbs and fats, as you need to fuel an active lifestyle (Arbeláez. 2012).
  • Figure 2: Orexin A expression in the PvNP in the offstring of rat dams on different pregnancy diets
    You have the choice: Obese or normal kids? It all depends on the way you eat during pregnancy, at least that is the result of a soon-to-be-published study in Brain Research (, which found that compared to the normal pregnancy diet, a diet with an extra load of carbohydrates lead to a lower body weight at birth, but increased orexin A expression in the parvocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus (PvNP) which predisposed the rat pubs of the high carb dams to gain weight at a faster rate and catch-up and overtake the rodents from the control group after no more than 9 weeks.
    Another 10 weeks later, the rodents born to rats in the high carb group were already the heaviest of the four experimental groups and still as hungry as before.
    Now that alone would not necessarily make a SuppVersity news, if the scientists had not, without even noticing made a (imho) very relevant discovery. In addition to the group with free access to normal chow, they had another group which mimicked the time-restricted feeding pattern in the high fat and high carb groups, who received their chow only within a fixed 6h window, which would essentially equate to intermittent fasting; and while I doubt that the results reach statistical significance, it is still quite telling that the pubs born to the intermittently fastest (IF) rats on the regular diets, were normal weight at birth, had the lowest orexin A (hunger signal expressed in the brain) expression in the PvNP and were subsequently the lightest at the 19 week weight in...
    I still wouldn't suggest you start to fast intermittently, just because you notice you are pregnant, after all we don't know whether or how this translates to humans and if the pubs of the IF-dams were not simply undermuscled and therefore exhibited a lower body weight.
  • Image 4: As long as you got a couple of tables with water, sugary electrolyte bevarages, or even better salted coconut water along the roadside, you don't need to carry another 2lbs of water weight with you on your 1/2 marathon races.
    If you want to carry another kilo of useless weight around in the heat, go on and practice hyperhydration, otherwise you better stick to a bottle of water with some salt and sugar in it on your next 18km TT run in the heat (and cold). This is the actually not very surprising take home message of a recently conducted randomized cross-over trial from the University of Sherbrooke, in Canada, in the course of which Pierre-Yves Gigou and his colleagues investigated the effects of hyperhydration (=water loading) with 26 mL/kg bodyweight of a 130 mmol/L sodium solution before four successive 4.5 km blocks alternating between 2.5 km at 1% and 2 km at 6% gradient on a treadmill (Gigou. 2012).
    For the well-trained triathletes in the study, it did not make a difference whatsoever, as long as they could guzzle away their 500ml of gatorade during the 80-90min of running they were fine.
  • Are pulses superfoods, for women only or simply not suitable for daily consumption? It appears that similar to their nasty brethren, the soybeans, yellow peas, chickpeas, navy beans and lentils have the potential to become e hip diet food that could do more harm than good, especially to its male consumers. In a recently conducted study, a group of researchers from the University of Toronto found that pulses can help both men and women lose weight without prescribed caloric restriction (Mollar. 2012).
    Image 5: Pulsing of protein is something you are familiar with, but what about eating pulses.. yeah, we are talking about yellow peas, chickpeas, navy beans and lentils; that stuff your grandma maybe told your patents to eat from time to time. Are they the good twin of the evil soy bean?
    Contrary to the subjects in the calorically restricted "control" arm (-500kcal/day) of the study, the overweight or obese (mean BMI 32.8 kg/m²) adults in the pulse group, who were provided with a whopping dose of five cups of pulses per week (on average 896 g/week), had reduced their energy intake ad-libitum to about the same level as their peers "involuntarily" and accordingly seen similar reductions in body weight, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (statistical significance for intergroup differences were non-significant, i.e.  p >> 0.05, for all). At the end of the 8 week period there were however a couple of unwanted side-effects: While the minimal increase in HDL form the pulses would certainly count as a plus, increasing  C-peptide levels already suggest that there appears to be a problem with the glucose management in the pulse-eaters.
    And in fact, while the average female participants insulin AUC (the area under the insulin curve is a measure for the total amount of insulin the pancreas spills out in response to an oral glucose tolerance test, as it was performed in the study at hand) did go down by 13.9%, there was a profound increase (27.3 % in males) in the male pulse eaters.
    Figure 3 ( Daily consumption of pulses appears appears to entail the risk of developing leaky gut.
    And even the women would have been better off (at least from a glucose tolerance perspective) without their yellow peas, chickpeas, navy beans and lentils - on the classic diet, they lost the same amount of weight and improved their insulin response by 24.2% and thus still 19.4% more than the men (the men had a reduction of -4.8 % in insulin AUC) and 10.3% more than with the pulse diet. I am therefore not convinced whether the scientists' euphoric conclusion that the "frequent consumption of pulses in an ad libitum diet reduced risk factors of the MetSyn [metabolic syndrome] and these effects were equivalent, and in some instances stronger, than counselling for dietary energy reduction" is not a little too optimistic - and that despite the fact that the HOMA-IR Mollar et al. reference as their indicator of improved insulin sensitivity suggests that they may be right...
    And before I forget it, the significant, but still meager improvements in LDL scientists from the University Saskatchevan report in another pulse diet study from the same supplement to the British Journal of Nutrition involving only elderly subjects would not convince me to eat 2x150g of beans, chickpeas, peas or lentils every day, either (Abeysekara. 2012) - why? Contrary to Whitlock et al. who are apparently not very concerned about the "abrasive" effect of pulses on the thickness of the mucosa in the gut (-25% in rodent experts; cf. Whitlock. 2012), I am not going to open up my "internal doors" to foreigners for a minuscule reduction in LDL, alleged improvements in glucose metabolism (see above) and some weightloss that comes about because you are so bloated that you become anorexic by twice let alone thrice daily pulse consumption.
  • Figure 5: Fat, TFA intake across age groups and sources (Kris-Etherton. 2012)
    Transfats (TFA): Cakes, cookies, pies and pastries are the worst offenders That's the unsurprising finding of the latest analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; data from 1999-2002; Kris-Etherton. 2012). Among the 16,669 individuals (age ≥3 years) the median TFA intake was 2.3 % of calories (5 g/day) with 0.9–4.5 % of energy (1.5–13.1 g/day) over different quintiles of intake. The mean (that's the arithmetic mean vs. just the value right in the middle, which is the median) TFA intake was 2.5 % of energy (6.1 g/day).
    The overall range of TFA intakes in the highest quintile was almost crazily broad and ranged from already health compromising 8.8 up to 92.4 g/day. In view of the fact that the lions-share of this shit (sorry, but I just can't find a better name for it) came from cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries, the easiest solution to the problem and a major relief to the future public health insurance system in the US would be to ban this junk from the supermarkets or at least require the use of TFA-free and heat-stable fats in their production... but I think we all know that this is not going to happen, anytime soon.
"What? That's it, already?" If that's what you are just thinking I suggest you take a detour to the SuppVersity Facebook Wall and check out how Citrulline may protect your brain from aging, how your heart might protect itself by becoming insulin resistant and many other recent news from the realms of exercise, nutrition and health science!

  • Arbeláez AM, Rutlin JR, Hershey T, Powers WJ, Videen TO, Cryer PE. Thalamic Activation During Slightly Subphysiological Glycemia in Humans. Diabetes Care. 2012 Aug 13.
  • Abeysekara S, Chilibeck PD, Vatanparast H, Zello GA. A pulse-based diet is effective for reducing total and LDL-cholesterol in older adults. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012; 108:S103-S110.
  • Beck B, Richy S, Archer ZA, Mercer JB. Early and persistent up-regulation of hypothalamic orexigenic peptides in rat offspring born to dams fed a high-carbohydrate supplement during gestation. Brain Research. 17 August 2012.
  • Gigou PY, Dion T, Asselin A, Berrigan F, Goulet EDB. Pre-Exercise Hyperhydration-Induced Bodyweight Gain Does Not Alter Prolonged Treadmill Running Time-Trial Performance in Warm Ambient Conditions. Nutrients. 2012; 4(8):949-966.
  • Kris-Etherton PM, Lefevre M, Mensink RP, Petersen B, Fleming J, Flickinger BD. Trans Fatty Acid Intakes and Food Sources in the U.S. Population: NHANES 1999-2002. Lipids. 2012 Aug 18.
  • Lu YC, Hsiao G, Lin KH, Hsieh MS, Jayakumar T, Wu TS, Sheu JR. Cinnamophilin Isolated from Cinnamomum philippinense Protects against Collagen Degradation in Human Chondrocytes. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug 18.
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  • Tuzcu M, Aslan A, Tuzcu Z, Yabas M, Bahcecioglu IH, Ozercan IH, Kucuk O, Sahin K. Tomato powder impedes the development of azoxymethane-induced colorectal cancer in rats through suppression of COX-2 expression via NF-κB and regulating Nrf2/HO-1 pathway. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Aug 1.
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