Saturday, April 20, 2013

Size Does Matter! Mucuna Counters Estrogenic Assaults & Doubles Testosterone. High Hair Cortisol, CVD & Diabetes. Catabolic Laziness. Health & Obesity = Incompatible

While it may be debatable, whether and in which contexts size really matters, 20% of the women in a Dutch study state that they length of the best part of their partner was "important" (Franken.. 2002)
While the debate whether or not "size matters" is probably never going to end, researchers from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Mexico have now found that your male offspring could "fall short" if they are exposed to phthalates during pregnancy. For their study, the scientists had collected urine samples of 174 mothers-to-be and analyzed them for phthalate residues. Bustamante-Montes et al. did then correlate the phthalate content of the urine of those mothers who gave birth to male newborns (N=73) to their sons' best parts and found that "prenatal exposure to mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate exposure was associated with a reduced distance from the anus to anterior base of the penis (-0.2 mm/µg), reduced penile width (-0.04 mm/µg) and a reduced stretched penis length (-0.2 mm/µg).

Now, this SuppVersity Figure of the Week certainly sounds pretty funny, but if we go by the maximal phthalate levels in the study at hand, the boys with the highest exposure had a 36% "disadvantage" compared to Joe... ah well, maybe rather Juan Average ;-)

Enough of the saucy science! Let's get to the "serious" stuff!

I have, just as about every week compiled a colorful potpourri of news, but contrary to the last weeks, I am trying to keep things short and simple. I mean "short news" should be short and not shortened versions of the full articles you're served over the rest of the week, right?

  • Will the correlation between heart disease and diabetes risk and cortisol in scalp hair also hold for you? While it seems unlikely that the figures would be identical you can bet that highly elevated hair cortisol and thus chronically elevated systemic cortisol levels are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes irrespective of a person's age.
    Cortisol in scalp hair provide a pretty accurate image of heart disease and diabetes risk -- If you are trying to elucidate the diabetes risk of your grandma or grandpa a blood-draw may not even be necessary. According to the results of a soon-to-be-published study from the Netherlands, all you'd have to to is go to their bathroom and grab a hair from the brush or comb.

    If the cortisol level in the hair is high (>30.6 pg/mg hair), chances your grandparents' heart and pancreas are probably not in the best shape. With a +170% increased risk of cardiovascular disease and +220% increased risk to suffer from / develop type II diabetes, the correlations Manenschijn et al. observed underline the profound negative effects of chronically elevated cortisol levels (Manenschijn. 2013). 
  • The anti-catabolic effects of laziness -- At least in the elderly it takes no more than 2 weeks of reduced physical activity to reduce the already inferior (compared to young individuals) rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis.

    Katsu may be beneficial for people who don't tolerate hard workouts (learn more), but in a TV chair, it won't work - regardless of your age!
    Leigh Breen and his colleagues from the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) report in their latest paper that a 75% reduction in daily step count does not only hamper the postprandial insulin sensitivity (-43%) of healthy older adults (72±1 yr), it also increases the levels of TNF-α and CRP by ∼12 and 25%, the total amount of trunk fat by 7% and decreases the lean leg mass by ~4% and the postprandial muscle protein synthesis by a whopping 26% - somehow this reminds me of the good old saying "If you don't use it, you lose it!"
  • Healthy but obese? Not really... it's just a question of time until the ugly blubber will make you sick -- You know that I could go off the deep end, whenever I see headlines like "being fat is healthy" or "being fat does not mean that you are sick". A recent paper by a group of Spanish researchers does now clearly indicate that media messages like these are downright dangerous (Soriguer. 2013).

    The analysis of data from the Pizarra Study a large scale epidemiological study involving 1051 individuals representative of general population were whose health and body composition was evaluated in ~5 year intervals clearly shows that being "healthy but obese" is just an intermediate state which is associated with a 720% increased risk of developing diabetes within the next 11 years. 
  • Mucuna pruriens protects male fertility against estrogenic assaults & restores testosterone levels  -- I an interesting rodent experiment researchers from the Division of Endocrinology at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Drug Research Institute were able to show that oral supplementation with 300 mg/kg mucuna pruriens or 20 mg/kg BW of l-dopa (Singh. 2013). With the latter being the equivalent of the l-dopa content of Indian mucuna pruriens it is particularly interesting to see that only mucuna, but not l-dopa went far beyond restoring the testosterone levels after 2 weeks on an endocrine disrupting dose of 3mg/kg ethinyl estradiol - it almost tripled them!
    Figure 1: Testosterone, FSH and LH levels 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks into recovery; data expressed relative to non-estradiol-treated healthy control (Singh. 2013)
    According to the scientists the beneficial effects on sperm quality, LH, FSH and testosterone were brought about or at least accompanied by reductions in ROS level, the restoration of mitochondrial membrane potential, a normalization of apoptotic processes and an overall increase in the number of germ cells.

    If we assume the effects translate to human beings, a daily dose of 3-4g of mucuna (while this is the HED of the dose used in the study, but probably you'd need lower doses - after all you don't take estrogen, do you?) could protect you against the constant assault of environmental estrogens and come particularly handy, when you "messed up" your endocrine system with other compounds ;-)

That's it for today! It's Saturday and time to celebrate that spring is finally there. So after you've checked out the latest SuppVersity Facebook News you better switch off the computer and enjoy whatever spring activities you like best... ;-)

  • Breen L, Stokes KA, Churchward-Venne TA, Moore DR, Baker SK, Smith K, Atherton PJ, Phillips SM. Two weeks of reduced activity decreases leg lean mass and induces 'anabolic resistance' of myofibrillar protein synthesis in healthy elderly. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Francken AB, van de Wiel HB, van Driel MF, Weijmar Schultz WC. What importance do women attribute to the size of the penis? Eur Urol. 2002 Nov;42(5):426-31.
  • Bustamante-Montes LP, Hernandez-Valero MA,  Flores-Pimentel D, Garcıa-Fabila M, Amaya-Chavez A, Barr DB, Borja-Aburto VH. Prenatal exposure to phthalates is associated with decreased anogenital distance and penile size in male newborns. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. April 2013 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Manenschijn L, Schaap L, van Schoor NM, van der Pas S, Peeters GM, Lips P, Koper JW, van Rossum EF. High Long-Term Cortisol Levels, Measured in Scalp Hair, Are Associated With a History of Cardiovascular Disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Singh AP, Sarkar S, Tripathi M, Rajender S. Mucuna pruriens and its major constituent L-DOPA recover spermatogenic loss by combating ROS, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54655. 
  • Soriguer F, Gutiérrez-Repiso C, Rubio-Martín E, García-Fuentes E, Cruz Almaraz M, Colomo N, Esteva de Antonio I, Ruiz de Adana MS, Chaves FJ, Morcillo S, Valdés S, Rojo-Martínez G. Metabolically healthy but obese, a matter of time? Findings from the prospective Pizarra study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]