Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vitamin A Regrows Liver Tissue. Polydextrose Makes Dieting a Breeze. Exercise Blunts Negative Effects of High Fructose Diet. Diabetes Precipitates Female Sexual Dysfunction.

I did miss my own 1000-posts jubilee!
This week it's pretty easy to find the SuppVersity figure of the week. It's 1011 and that's the number of individual posts this "blog" currently holds. Actually, the very moment I hit the "publish" button on this one, it's going to be 1012 (see image on the right). I guess, I should have 'celebrated' that twelve posts before, but you know how I am, it's about the quality, not the quantity and though I am aware that the latter is unquestionably fluctuating, I would hope that each of you has found one or two 'pearls' - I mean, if you didn't why are you coming back regularly, then?

Apropos regularly, it's Saturday and thus about time for a couple of "On Short Notice" items. So let's not waste any time flattering and get to the science news business:

Vitamin A essential for liver regeneration. Plus: β-carotene and cancer even in non-smokers

So much for the vitamin A vs. D antagonism - in fact, one can't go without the other: Vitamin A & D synergize against liver cancer and increase survival rates by more then 75% (read more)
(Blaner 2013) -- Other than SuppVersity readers, the average slef-proclaimed health-conscious citizen probably thinks of (false) horror stories about vitamin A laden polar bear livers killing a handful of ravenous arctic explorers. The fact that the active form of vitamin A is actually one of the most important hormone-like substances in your body that's essential for the maturation process of stem cells, on the other had, got lost at least since vitamin D the supposed vitamin A antagonist became all the rage in the past decade. Scientists from the Coumbia University in New York and the Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, are now going to publish a paper that should remind everyone (including the science community) that the contemporary black and white painting on D & A may well impair the progress we make in our understanding of our own physiology.

Missing half your liver? Not a problem if you got enough "liver building" vitamin A ;-)

In a mouse model which has been genetically modified so that the rodents weren't able to store adequate levels of retinoids  (yeah, there is a whole family of "vitamins A") in the liver, showed a delayed and incomplete regenerative response to partial hepatectomy (cutting away parts of the liver; PHE). As the scientists point out,
"[t]he requirement for proper retinoic acid signaling to allow for normal liver regeneration is underscored by studies of hepatocyte-specific RXRα-null mice [mice lacking the retinoid receptor]. When RXRα is ablated there is reduced hepatocyte lifespan, which is accompanied by premature hepatocyte death and the appearance of necrotic areas. RXRα ablation also results in delayed hepatocyte proliferation following PHE." (Blaner 2013)
At first sight this observation goes again the often cited liver-toxicity of vitamin A. In view of nature's favorite dose-response curve, which is bell-shaped and indicates that bad things (often similar or even identical ones) happen in both deficiency and toxicity states, it's only logical, though. Plus, similar effects have been observed for wound-healing decades ago (Gerber. 1982) and Ehrlich and Hunt report in a 1968 paper in the Annals of Surgery that the administration of vitamin A blunts the negative effects on cortisol on wound healing and appears to be necessary for optimal tissue regeneration (Ehrlich. 1968).

So, another good reason to pop vitamin A supplements?

Supplementation with very high doses of isolated beta-carotene could in fact induce a state of "vitamin A resistance" in response to the formation of a metabolite that blocks the RXR receptor just like a SERM like clomiphene citrate block the estrogen receptor (read more).
For a healthy person living on a paleo-esque diet supplements should not be necessary. The amount of vitamin A and its pre-cursor beta-carotene you get from a whole-foods diet is usually adequate, even if you don't consume liver or organ meat on a regular basis. The use of what you will generally get, when you go to a healthfood store and buy a "vitamin A" supplement, i.e. a high dose beta carotene, only, product is probably counter-indicated not just for smokers, where it appears to increase the risk of lung cancer development, but also in normal healthy individuals who usually get plenty of beta-carotene from the myriad of fortified foods your local supermarket has to offer - after all, one of the most recent meta-analyses showed that 20-30mg/day increase everyone's risk of lung cancer development by 16% and that of stomach cancer by 34% (Druesne-Pecollo. 2010).

Polydextrose has non-noticeable, but significant satiety effects

(Astbury. 2013) -- I know the headline sounds confusing, but basically that's the long and short of the results, Astbury, Taylor and MacDonald present in their most recent isse in the British Journal of Nutrition. The scientists fed 12 male and 9 female healthy university students (mean age 23.2y; BMI 22.3kg/m²) who had consumed identical breakfasts at 8:00am with isocaloric (210kcal) "preload" mid-morning snacks at 10:45am and 90min before they had a pasta-based test meal, of which they were supposed to eat as much as it would take to feel comfortably full.
Figure 1: Food intake (in kcal) after mid-morning snack with different amounts of polydextrose (left); caloric intake on the subsequent meals of the day (right; Astbury. 2013)
As the data in figure 1 indicates, the consumption of the liquid preload which contained either 0, 6.3, 12 or 21g of the sweet tasting polysaccharide that reaches the colon largely undigested, where 50% of the polydextrose molecules will be fermented to yield CO2 and volatile SCFA such as propionate and butyrate and the rest will be excreted intact in the feces lead to dose-dependent reductions in the amount of food that was consumed in the subsequent meal.

50% energy availability, a source of SCFA, tasty & easy to process - perfect diet 'food'?

With only 50% energy availability and 50% being fermented to short chain fatty acids (SFCA),  the 89% dextrose, 10% sorbitol & 1% percent citric acid molecule, polydextrose could actually be a better choice for dieters than WMHDP (learn more about the SCFA based fat burning effects of resistant starches and how to make fat burning pancakes)
Interestingly, the reduced energy intake was not brought about by a consciously noticeable reduction in either fullness, hunger or desire to eat in response to the test meal (the scientists assessed that by questionnaires). And despite the fact that the effect was only transient, it's actually good and important news that the men and women did not accommodate for the 12-23% (male participants) and 6-18% (female participants) reduction in energy intake on the subsequent meal.

If that worked with every meal and you could achieve a ~20% reduction in energy intake, this alone should help you shed some weight pretty effortlessly. And as if that was not enough, already the polydextrose drinks was even more palatable than the sugary original; with the highest polydextrose content being perceived as most "creamy" - bon appetit ;-)

Even shorter news - "On real short notice", so to say  ;-)

I am well aware that what began as short news has as of late turned into a bunch of regular news - well, almost. So I decided to try and cut the last two items in today's installment short, in order to have them fit into what you would actually expect from a "on short notice" ;-)
  • Exercise nullifies bad effects of high fructose diet (Moraes-Silva. 2013) -- A paper by scientists from the University of Sao Paulo puts the "lack of exercise / insuficient activity" hypothesis of obesity back on the radar. Even with an otherwise highly detrimental liquid fructose overload of 100g/l in their drinking water, the rodents in the study Moraes-Silva et al. conducted, did have normal (within statistical limits) glucose tolerance, blood pressure and heart disease risk as the rodents in the sedentary and the exercised control groups.
    Figure 2: Regular exercise maintains insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular disease risk and blood pressure even in the presence of pathologically high liquid fructose ingestion (Moraes-Silva. 2013)
    The regular treadmill running also blunted the autonomic dysfunction that was characterized by "an approximate 50% decrease in baroreflex sensitivity and 24% in HR variability", as well as increases in sympathovagal balance (140%) and renal sympathetic nerve activity (45%). Now you tell me "it's all about diet", only. Let alone: "Exercise just makes you hungry!"
  • Diabetes and female sexual dysfunction correlate (Pontiroli. 2013) -- We already know that diabetes is a, if not the #1 risk factor for male sexual dysfunction, these days. Now a recent meta-analysis that's going to be published in one of the future issues of The Journal of Sexual Medicine found a 150% increase in sexual dysfunction in type II diabetes. Whether or not this was related to the higher depression rates in diabetic women cannot be said. What is certain, though, is that the BMI was a positive predictor of the effect size. In other words, the negative impact on sexual function increased with the degree of adiposity.

    Additional read for those women who feel it's their husband's performance that's to blame for their anorgasmia: "Pedalium murex Linn. fruits more effective than sildenafil in the long run and increases testosterone by 125%" (read more)
Now that's it for today, but I am now going out on a limb and promise another serving of short news with a focus on exercise early next week - something like the previous "Health & Exercise"- or the "Get Lean & Stay Lean" quickies and for once I can even tell you about one news that's definitely going to be in there - something about working out with and without breakfast.

The obligatory reminder: In the mean time I'd suggest you devour the latest SuppVersity Facebook News @ As usual they will receive a couple of updates way before the next official SuppVersity post is going to see the light of the day. Let's see, some of the most recent news are even remotely related to the On Short Notice items of today:
  • Penis pumps - Scientists believe they are going to make a revival as a means of penile rehabilitation after surgery for prostate cancer (read more)
  • Stress renders cancer immortal - What has just been observed in a rodent model of prostate cancer could have important implications for other cancers, as well (read more)
  • PDE5 inhibitor for him, PDE-4 inhibitor for her? Study suggests: PDE-4 inhibitors could improve female sexual function (read more)
  • Goose liver for the liver - When it's high in selenium goose liver could protect your liver from the assault of excessive alcohol consumption (read more)
As promised, there will be more. So in case you have not done so already,  you best like the SuppVersity right now so that the latest news will always appear in your news-feed.... ah, and about all that geeky science reading, don't forget that there is more to life than dieting and working out ;-)

  • Astbury NM, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Polydextrose results in a dose-dependent reduction in ad libitum energy intake at a subsequent test meal. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 23:1-9.
  • 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.
  • Ehrlich HP, Hunt TK. Effects of cortisone and vitamin A on wound healing. Ann Surg. 1968 Mar;167(3):324-8.
  • Gerber LE, Erdman JW Jr. Effect of dietary retinyl acetate, beta-carotene and retinoic acid on wound healing in rats. J Nutr. 1982 Aug;112(8):1555-64.
  • Moraes-Silva IC, Mostarda CT, Moreira ED, Silva KA, Dos Santos F, De Angelis K, Farah VD, Irigoyen MC. Preventive role of exercise training in autonomic, hemodynamic and metabolic parameters in rats under high risk of metabolic syndrome development. J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jan 17.
  • Pontiroli AE, Cortelazzi D, and Morabito A. Female Sexual Dysfunction and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Sex Med. 2013 [e-pub ahead of print]