Science Round-Up Seconds: How Colostrum Turns the Oxidative Downsides of Endurance Exercise into Benefits and Why Cacao is so Much More Than Just Delicious

Looking for a delicious and more creative way than colostrum powered chocolate milk to combine today's seconds? What about Linda Wagner's Chocolate Cherry Bomb Smoothie with Colostrum, Caco, Maca, Acai, almond milk & more?
By now you will probably have listened to yesterday's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up either via the Super Human Network live stream, or after downloading the podcast (the Round-Up starts in the 2nd hour) that has now been available for ~20h. In case you did not have the chance to listen live or listen to the podcast, but have a vested interest in erectile (dys-)function, optimal testosterone levels, the connection between testosterone, DHT, estrogen, insulin resistance, obesity, the health of your liver and longevity or you are simply eager to learn more about the latest research on high intensity interval training, steady state cardio,  everyday activity and the fallacy of the "exercise just makes you hungry hypothesis" (additional suggested read: "Dr. Oz Was Right: Exercise Does not Just Make You Hungry") and their effects on your metabolic health, conditioning and physique there is no way, you want to miss listening to this show, either before or after you devour this week's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up Seconds.
  • Colostrum supplementation blunts exercise induced reduction in endogenous anti-oxidants and potentiates its beneficial effects (Appukutty. 2012) --Published on November 22, this paper by Appukutty et al. is only the latest in a long line of articles on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of colostrum as an ergogenic aid (suggested read: "Ask Dr. Andro: Are Colostrum and Milk Healthy Muscle Builders?). We will get to these differences in a minute, but let's first take a look at the effects the provision of 50mg/kg body weight (human equivalent: 2.4mg/kg) had on the total antioxidant status, lipid oxidation, xanthine oxidase and super oxide dismutase levels in treadmill exercised (30min per day) mice.
    Figure 1: Relative levels of total antioxidants, xanthine oxidase and super oxide dismutase in supplemented (COL), exercised (EX) and exercised + supplemented (EX + COL) mice expressed relative to sedentary non-supplemented control (Appukutty. 2012)
    It's not difficult to see that the effects of the colostrum supplement go beyond the mere amelioration of the exercise induced decrease in total anti-oxidant enzymes and super oxide dismutase levels. The human equivalent of only 2.4mg/kg body weight per day did - after 14 days of supplementation the total antioxidant status in the exercised + supplemented rodents was already 5% greater, after 21 days whopping 11% greater than in the supplement only group.

    In view of the previously reported benefits of supplemental colostrum you could certainly argue that the obvious parallels to the difference between "training" and "overtraining", with the former having promotive and the latter having compromising effects on the endogenous anti-oxidant system of your body are no coincidence. In view of the about as many studies which found no or at least no significant factually or potentially ergogenic effects in response to supplemental "beast milk", we still have to answer the question I invoked in the introductory paragraph of this sub/item of today's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up Seconds: "How come it works in some, but by no means all studies?" The answer could actually be way more straight forward than you think and reads "Simply because he scientists used different supplements!"

    Even the dairy industry has realized that the way they feed their cows and post-process their colostrum, before they eventually feed it to their offspring, renders almost 60% of the maternal colostrum from US dairy farms "inadequate" so that "a large number of calves are at risk of failure of passive transfer or bacterial infections, or both." (Morrill. 2012)

    Not all colostrum is made the same and the beneficial effects of each and every individual product - specifically with respect to the integrity of the intestinal wall - will necessarily depend on its bacteria content and the latter depends on the feed the cows receive as well as the processing the colostrum undergoes.
    If you do still remember my post on the etiology of exericse-induced increased intestinal permeablity and the beneficial effects 'intact' colostrum has on the integrity of the gut you just have to put two and two together and you have your explanation: Just like the efficacy of any artificial supplement depends on he chemicals the producer puts into it, the effectiveness of a food supplement will vary due do both natural (e.g. seasonal, feed dependent, stress andhealth related...) and 'unnatural' fluctuations in its ingredient profile. Heat treatment, which is applied to almost all commercially available colostrum supplements, for example, may leave most of the IgG content intact, but it will reduce not just the total count, but also the diversity of the microbiota in colostrum (only the heat resistant bacteria, mostly gram-positive, will survive; cf. Hayes. 2012) 
  • Study shows, cacao phenols protect your gut from inflammation, but there is much more cacao can do for you (Rodríguez-Ramiro. 2012) -- As a recent paper by scientists from the Ciudad Universitaria in Madrid (Spain) goes to show you, colostrum and bacteria are not the only naturally occuring supplements that are good for your gut health. Cacao has just been shown to do a pretty decent job, as well.

    Table 1: Nutritional content of the experimental diets the rodents were fed for 8 weeks with the carcinogen being injected in week 3 and 4 (Rodríguez-Ramiro. 2012)
    In an in-vivo the Spanish observed that a diet that was enriched with 12% cacao powder had astonishing anti-inflammatory effects in a rat model of azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon carcinogenesis. The rodents had been fed the 12% cacao diets (composition see table 1 to he right), for 8 weeks. In weeks three and four, the scientists injected the procarcinogenic drug azoyxymethane in order to induce intestinal inflammation that would potentially lead to the development of colon cancer.

    Compared to the animals on the regular chow, the rats in the cacao group exhibited highly significant decreases the nuclear levels of  NF-κB and the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes such as cyclo-oxygenase-2 and inducible NO synthase, all of which were profoundly upregulated in response to the AOM injections in their peers on the regular diet.

    In a subsequent in-vitro experiment on Caco-2 cells, the scientists were also able to confirm that cocoa the cacao polyphenols effectively down-regulate the levels of inflammatory markers induced by TNF-α by inhibiting NF-κB translocation and JNK phosphorylation.

    Now, it does not really appear feasible to eat a 12% cacao powder diet, right? Well, based on the data from table 1 the average food intake and body weigh of the rodents and some mathematical shenanigan, it's actually not difficult to calculate that the human equivalent dose, which would be 150g of cacao powder per day conains no more than 3g of polyphenols and could theoretically be achieved by supplementing with ~15g of chocamine every day. Ok, that would be hilariously expensive, but I assume you don't inject 3.25mg/kg azoyxymethane on a regular basis, right? Well, I guess this would mean that you won't need 15g of chocamine or 150g of cacoa powder to protect your gut either, right?

    Moreover, I suspect that most if not all of you will have heard or read about one of the dozens of epidemiological studies which show associations between very moderate intake of dark chocolate and cardiovascular, neuronal and metabolic health. Apropos "metabolic" did I mention that the animals in the cacao group were also 10% leaner than their peers on the regular - probably not a fair comparison with the differences in the macronutrient make-up but it would still be worth adding another bulletin point to a pretty impressive list of scientifically proven health-benefits of cacao consumption (or supplementation with respective extracts), which comprises among other things
      Guess how she got in shape? Right! The EDC Program ! EDC? Yeah: "The Female Weight-Loss EDC: The Fat Burning, Waist Reducing Synergy of Exercise, Diet and Dark Chocolate" - click here to  learn more
    • high antioxidant activity
    • improved insulin sensitivity, beta cell function & carbohydrate metabolism
    • improved HDL/LDL ratios
    • inhibition of detrimental byproducts of the arachidonic acid metabolism
    • induction of NO-mediated, endothelium-dependent relaxations
    • reduced incidence of stroke due to hypotensive effects
    • anti-CVD effects via TGF-β1 and decreased tendency of blood to clotting
    • local and systemic TNF-alpha modulation and VGEF suppression => anti-cancer efects
    • immune effects that can protect you from tooth decay
    • protection against UV radiation and rejuvenating effect if its applied to the skin
    • suppressive effect on fatty acid synthesis
    • increases in mitochondrial respiratio
    • ability to boost serotonine (5-HT), improve mood and lower appetite and cravings
    • [...]
    I am not intending to make an all-encompassing list, here. Instead I will conclude with the astonishing insight from one of the most recent meta analysis that the daily consumption of the polyphenol equivalent of 100g of dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cacao content; 500-1,000mg polyphenols) would prevent 85 cardiovascular events per 10,000 capita every year (Zomer. 2012).

    Don't get me wrong I am with you with respect to the absurdity of cost-analyses when we are talking about health, but that's unfortunately the way the health business is operating and therefore I won't simply ignore the 50,000$, which is the saving the scientists estimate for every saved life and the corresponding 40$ of which Zomer et al. suggest that they should be spent "per person per year could be devoted to advertising, educational campaigns, or potentially subsidisation of dark chocolate in this high risk population." (Zomer. 2012)

That's  it for this week - at least as far as the SuppVersity Science Round-Up goes

Since Maxim asked "And what about garlic?", here is an addendum summarizing what I maybe did not get across very well at the end of the show, when I was flabbergast that the show was already over: The researchers took 20 male non-athletes (aged 22-26 years, body fat 16-20% and VO2max 38-42 ml/kg/min) randomized them to 700mg garlic or dextrose control  for 14 days and had them work out at 75% VO2max on the treadmill for 30 minutes at the end of the intervention period. Afterwards they analyzed the blood samples and found that (a)the 14 day supplementation alone reduced the basal triglyceride and increased the high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL) increase (P<0.05) and (b) increased the beneficial effects of the exercise bout on acute reductions in LDL and triglycerides (Zekril. 2012)
I hope you enjoyed listening to the show (click here to download the podcast in case you still haven't done so) and satisfied your cravings for more with this installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up Seconds: In case you haven't I suggest you browse over to the SuppVersity Facebook Wall and check out the latest news on
  • The connection between MS an impaired blood-brain barrier: A leaky brain and the intrusion of fibrinogen (a coagulation protein from the blood) could be the cause of multiple sclerosis (read more)
  • Fishing for Omega-3s in Milk: One cup of fish oil enhanced milk yields 432mg of DHA + EPA... and it does not taste or smell fishy (read  more)
  • Heart disease may begin even before you are born: Prenatal stress will turn the "probably" before "develop heart disease" into a "most likely" (read more)
When you are done with that and still hungry for more, you may want to check out my, as well as Patrick Arnold's, Kurtis Frank's ( and Willem Koert's ( contributions to a round-table discussion on the more or less recent ban of DMAA (aka geranium oil) in Australia - I have been so busy that I totally forgot about having done the respective interview weeks ago. Sorry for letting you know so late ;-)

  • Appukutty M, Radhakrishnan AK, Ramasamy K, Ramasamy R, Abdul Majeed AB, Ismail MN, Safii NS, Poh KB, Chinna K, Haleagrahara N. Colostrum supplementation protects against exercise - induced oxidative stress in the skeletal muscle in mice. BMC Res Notes. 2012 Nov 22;5(1):649.
  • Hayes MM, Hughes TA, Greene AK. Bacterial diversity in dried colostrum and whey sold as nutraceutical products. J Food Sci. 2012 Jul;77(7):M359-63.
  • Morrill KM, Conrad E, Lago A, Campbell J, Quigley J, Tyler H. Nationwide evaluation of quality and composition of colostrum on dairy farms in the United States. J Dairy Sci. 2012 Jul;95(7):3997-4005.  
  • Rodríguez-Ramiro I, Ramos S, López-Oliva E, Agis-Torres A, Bravo L, Goya L, Martín MA. Cocoa polyphenols prevent inflammation in the colon of azoxymethane-treated rats and in TNF-α-stimulated Caco-2 cells. Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 28:1-10. 
  • Zekri1 R, Jafari A, Dehghan G.  The concurrent effect of one bout aerobic exercise and short-term garlic supplementation on the lipids profile in male non-athletes. J Shahrekord Univ Med Sci. 2012; 14 (5) :34-41
  • Zomer E, Owen A, Magliano DJ, Liew D, Reid CM. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption as prevention therapy in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: best case scenario analysis using a Markov model. BMJ. 2012 May 30;344:e3657.
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