|Image 1: You may already have read it on the SuppVersity Facebook Wall; "Sacrificing sleep in order to study won't improve your college grades..." it could however easily whack your circadian rhythm and give you headaches. If those turn into a migraine, you may be happy to have read about beneficial effects of magnesium on the incidence of these crippling and painful attacks (see last item in this installment of "On Short Notice" ).|
Although more of an ergogenic, Gynostemma penthaphylum (aka Jiagulan) is probably a more promising strategy to get in better shape. If it allows you to train harder, it will also allow you to make better use of potential systemic health effects of exercised induced heat shock protein expression... and just in case all that was so much information that you are having a headache once you have arrived at the end of this blogpost, a 500mg dose of magnesium could help you reduce the incidence of migraine attacks by more than 60% whether additional 500mg of carnitine make this treatment even more effective does yet remain to be elucidated!
- Do your liver and body antioxidant system a favor and add a couple of red onions to your diet! That's the straight forward take home message from a recently conducted study by a group of Korean scientists (Lee. 2012). The researchers had investigated the effect of red onion on the total activity of antioxidant enzymes in 18-week-old Sprague-Dawley rats. To this ends the rodent had been kept on a diet enriched with red onion peel, flesh or both (all pulverized and mixed into the standard chow for a total content of 5g per 100g) for for weeks.
The results, (a) a significant increase in plasma SOD activity in the red onion peel and red onion (peel + flesh) groups, (b) a significantly higher GPX (enzyme that recycles glutathione) activity in the in the red onion flesh group and (c) a general tendency towards higher catalase and ORAC activity in the livers and profoundly reduced liver malondialdehyde (=marker of lipid peroxidation) levels in the red onion groups provide an in vivo (allegedly only "in rodent vivo" ;-) confirmation of the in vitro data in figure 1 which is - as usual - to be treated with caution before respective experiments in complex, real organisms confirm that they are more than artifacts of the respective essay.
Figure 1: The red onions outperformed easily outperformed their uncolored white brethren and cousin, white onions and garlic, in the in vitro dish and had profound antioxidant boosting effects in the in vivo study (Lee. 2012).
- Low iron (ferritin) associated with obesity in adolescents, but simple eating more iron probably won't solve either the iron deficiency, nor the (central) obesity. That's at least what the results of a recent investigation in normal and fat Greek kids would suggest, after all the fat kids did already consume more iron in their diets than their lean age-mates (Moschonis. 2012).What makes this study worth mentioning is the (as usual hasty) conclusion that iron must be a bad guy, when just its mismanagement (probably as a result of adiposity induced liver problems, or, as a handful of older and recent studies would suggest vitamin A deficiency; e.g. Arruda. 2009; Citelli. 2012; Yohsikawa. 2012) is a problem - so don't get fooled, donating blood every other week won't lean healthy people out, it will just drain them out.
Sodium caprate opens tight junctions of the gut and let's berberine in. The consequence is an amplification of the hypoglycemic effects of berberine (Lv. 2012), but at the same time it is likely to amplify the effects of whatever you else put into your mouth or the critters that live in your stomach are pooping out - I guess it should be obvious that I am referring to the LPS assault from your gut microbiome, here and that the potential increase in lipopolysaccharide could well outweigh (in a negative sense) the benefits you would see from an increased bioavailability (~1.5-2.3 fold; cf. Lv. 2010) of berberine.
Figure 2: Sodium caprate won't "open" the tight gut junctions for berberine, only, but also for all sorts of other, mostly unwanted junk - self-induced temporary leaky gut so to say!Against that background I am really not sure how sensible the use of sodium caprate or other "tight junction openers" of natural or pharamacological origin really is. But hey, that's just me - maybe you are less cautious... if there are not yet any products like that on the market, it probably won't be long until the first "enhanced" berberine appear in the line-ups of the large "health supplement" vendors on the Internet.
Probiotic supplements don't cure everything - although many ads may give just this impression. In a recently published study, Swiss researchers were not able to show any beneficial effects of the patented L. casei Shirota strain on the increased gut permeability of 28 patients with metabolic syndrome (Leber. 2012). In the course of the three months study period, it rather exasperated the already elevated C-reactive protein levels, due to liposaccharide leakage through the leaky gut into the system and I bet the only reason that the conclusion states that the dosage may have been too low instead of "this is initial evidence that the use of L. casei Shirota is not useful if not counter-indicated in to treat gut permeability in patients with MetS", was the financial support by Yakult Europe the patent holder of L. casei Shirota ;-)
Image 2: Patented lactobacillus strains are all the rave, and probably big business... that does yet not mean that they work - regardless of whether they carry the name of famous Drs or not ;-)
- PPAR-gamma ablation leads to loss of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT). What may at first sound great could in fact be deadly. The recently published results of Chang et al. show quite clearly that non-tissue-specific blockade of the "fat builder" PPAR-gamma (cf. "Tangeritin, Natural Metformin from the Rind of Mandarin Oranges Hits the OFF-Switch on Diet Induced Obesity") is a dangerous undertaking. While keeping the differentiation and growth of body fat at bay, especially in the abdominal region, would be a good thing, the high rate of atherosclerosis among the mice from the laboratories of the University of Michigan confirms that "not all body fat is created evil" (Chang. 2012). And though it is very unlikely that this is going to happen from the use of one of the freely available herbs with anti-PPAR-gamma effects (e.g. tashinones from Salvia miltiorrhiza, or the previously cited tangeritin), it certainly is a good reminder of how fatal our constant black-and-white thinking can be, when it is injudiciously applied to such complex matters as our own body.
Gynostemma penthaphylum boosts endurance by ROS scavenging and multiplying skeletal muscle glycogen stores. Not yet another potent anti-oxidant was what I first thought,when I hit upon the soon-to-be published study from Shaanxi Normal University in Xi'an, China, but after taking a closer look it turned out that the way this century old adaptogen that goes by the name jiaogulanin TCM and is an herbaceous vine of the family Cucurbitaceae (cucumber or gourd family) indigenous to the southern reaches of China, northern Vietnam, southern Korea, and Japan, could actually make quite an exciting supplement (Chi. 2012). After all its high ROS(radical oxygen specimen) scavenging abilities are only part of what allowed the rodents in the study by Chi, Tang, Zhang & Zhang that had been treaded with isolated polysaccharides from this plant to go significantly longer during a standardized exercise performance test.
Image 4 (dracoherbs.com): Gynostemma penthaphylum is also known as Jiaogulan, is often mentioned in the same breath with ginseng in TCMThe more intruiging part of the performance boost, however came from the direct pro-gluconeogenic and glyocogen storage promoting effects of the alpha variety of the three Gynostemma penhaphylum polyssacharides the scientists had extracted. If similar effects would be seen in humans, GP would certainly make a valuable addition to the regimen of anyone who does not just perform 1-rep maxes day in and day out - and let's face it: In view of the fact that the glycogen can't be synthesized from nothing, it could also help to burn body fat, by it's repartitioning effects.
- After all, Jammes et al. observed a delayed, but significant elevation of non phosphorylated HSP25 and HSP70 in skeletal and respiratory muscles, kidney, and brain. Now, of HSP70, for example, it has long been known that it exerts cardio-protective effects (Martin. 1997). In addition to its anti-apoptotic effects, it does yet also contribute to the proteolysis (=protein breaking) that's a necessary part of the continuous clean-up processes that remove the "junk" and "clutter" (defect protein structures) from your body in order to keep everything functional (Lüders. 2000). Similarly, HSP25 (aka HSPB1) exerts both cytoprotective effects due to its ability to modulate reactive oxygen species and raise glutathione levels, as well as proteolytic effects and is working hand in hand with HSP70 by inhibiting protein aggregation and stabilizing partially denatured proteins, so that they can be refolded by the former. That the latter could be of particular importants in view of the neuroprotective effects of exercise is also supported by a couple of trials in which HSPB1, to be precise, its exogenous administration or endogenous overexpression, have been evaluated as treatment or preventive strategies in ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Huntington's, Parkinson's, Stroke and acute nerve injury (for an overview see table 3 in Brownell. 2012).
- So, if that sounds like you (I don't hope it does) magnesium should be the least you should take, the additional 500 mg/day L-carnitine is questionable - just as whether ALCAR may have provided greater benefits. Apropos, you do realize that this is neither transdermal nor any fancy chelated magnesium or at least magnesium citrate that did the trick? Yeah, right: The same "worthless" (put name of random nutrition guru, here) mg-oxide you find in the cheapest fizzy tablet from the supermarket did the trick!
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