|Image 1 (Coloribus): Unquestionably a great add, but the (Ex-)Marlboro man would be better off with a piece of liver than a carrot ;-)|
Retinoic acid (not beta carotene!) can protect smokers from lung cancerIn 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)|
|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.|
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.|
- 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.
|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.|
Cooling trained muscles appears do decrease regenerationSoon 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)|
[...] 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.
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
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).
Image 5: Adding ibuprofen on top of exercise will make your gut look like a riddle screen.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.
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).
Image 6: No, this certainly does not look as if the conjugated linolic acid would work in horses as it does in mice ;-)
- 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.
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.
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)
- 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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