Researchers at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in the UK recently conducted a study to understand whether probiotic supplementation can deter insulin resistance induced by human dietary habits. As a part of the study, 17 healthy adults were assigned randomly to either a control group or a group which received probiotic supplementation. The probiotic group was given a milk-based probiotic drink twice a day for four weeks, while the control group wasn’t given anything. All of the test subjects were instructed to consume a diet which was high in fat (65% of total energy consumed) and high in energy (50% more than usual) for a week. The results surprised the researchers. The average body control group was a staggering 50% more than the probiotic group. Their glucose AUC values went up by 10% and their overall insulin sensitivity was reduced by 27%. The probiotic group, on the other hand, maintained normal insulin sensitivity pre and post-meals.This study supports the idea that probiotic supplementation is helpful for preventing metabolic diseases caused due to dietary habits, such as insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
“Dude, drink your protein before sleeping.” Very few times, Real Science agrees with “Bro-Science” This is one of those exceptional instances. And we give you a clear reason with hard facts below. Research has shown for years that taking protein at bed-time can increase muscle growth rates. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition tried to see if protein at night also enhances the muscle adaptive response to resistance exercise training.The study covered 44 men over 3 months. They took casein (27g) at bedtime after about 4 hours of resistance training and results showed that the skeletal muscle strength actually increased as compared to placebo. Specifically, leg extension and leg press strength increased by 23% and 25% respectively and the size of the thigh muscles increased by almost 50% (8.4 cm2 versus 4.8 cm2 as compared to placebo)! We say – Aah the humble night-time casein. Need more incentive to take it faithfully?
Symptoms associated with gastrointestinal (GI) distress (e.g., cramping, diarrhoea, nausea, and abdominal pain) are estimated to occur in 25%–90% of endurance athletes, and are often cited as reasons for non-completion. A study by researchers in UK have reported that chronic supplementation with a combination of four probiotic strains, prebiotic fibres and antioxidants can help protect triathletes from detrimental effects of GI stress. Researchers enrolled 30 recreational athletes who were randomly assigned to either a placebo, probiotic/prebiotic or probiotic/prebiotic/antioxidant combination. Plasma endotoxin units and GI permeability were assessed at baseline, pre-race and six days post-race. The results showed that endotoxin levels were significantly reduced in probiotic, prebiotic plus antioxidant group both pre and 6 days post-race. The placebo group did not show any changes in endotoxin levels whereas the probiotic/prebiotic group showed reduced levels only 6 days after race. The study concluded that Chronic multistrain pro/prebiotic supplementation during periods of endurance training may provide individual support to minimise GI symptoms through maintenance of intestinal permeability. The inclusion of an antioxidant strategy (e.g., a-lipoic acid/N-acetyl carnitine) may confer additive benefits via reductions in training-related endotoxin unit levels.
A long-term prospective study in initially healthy men, found that multivitamin use for =20 y was associated with a lower risk of major CVD events. Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm), and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health studied 18,530 male physicians aged =40 y from the Physicians’ Health Study I cohort who were free of CVD and cancer at baseline (1982).The researchers found a 44% reduction in major CVD event risk in men who were multivitamin users for at least 20 years. Vitamins and minerals may be impacting on a number of potential mechanisms that protect heart health, said the researchers, including protecting low-density lipoproteins from oxidative damage, boosting homocysteine metabolism, and reducing endothelial dysfunction.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has been proven to work as a powerful antioxidant and an insulin mimicker which improves the disposal of glucose into skeletal muscle. Creatine, on the other hand, is a highly effective ergogenic which increases strength and improves skeletal muscle performance when consumed in higher doses. It is common knowledge that creatine uptake depends on the insulin-stimulated glucose disposal into muscle via intake of carbohydrates. Since ALA has been shown to create a similar glucose disposal independent of insulin stimulation, researchers at St. Francis Xavier University decided to investigate the effects of ALA on creatine uptake and skeletal muscle. their findings were published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.As a part of this study, 16 subjects were asked to ingest 20g of creatine monohydrate by itself or in combination with 100g sucrose/ 100g sucrose + 1000 mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid for 6 days. All three groups of test subjects showed a marked increase in overall creatine concentration, with the ALA group showing a significantly greater increase. It was found that ALA improved insulin action and increased glucose uptake by a staggering 55%!As a result of this study, we can conclude that if you’re looking for better anaerobic and strength performance, combining your creatine intake with ALA can improve your total muscle creatine content as compared to ingesting creatine by itself or with sucrose.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body. It is essential not only for bone health, but also for regulating the heartbeat, conducting nerve impulses and stimulating hormone secretions. Supplementation with calcium is required in most individuals as dietary calcium absorption is inefficient in body. And in order for the supplemental calcium to be effective, it must be in a bioavailable form. It has been previously demonstrated that calcium in the form of calcium citrate malate (a mixture of calcium, citric acid and malic acid), is better-absorbed and more bioavailable than the calcium carbonate form. But to determine if this difference in absorption would result in differences in bone development, a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition compared the effects of Calcium citrate malate with Calcium carbonate on bone development in weaning female rats. In the study, rats were fed either Calcium citrate malate or Calcium carbonate at 0.3 or 0.6% dietary Calcium for 4 or 12 weeks. At 4 weeks, the rats fed with Calcium citrate malate had 23-25% more trabecular bone than rats fed Calcium carbonate. By the 12th week, the difference was even greater i.e. 44-47% more trabecular bone in calcium citrate malate fed rats. It is concluded that because of high bioavailability, Calcium from calcium citrate malate lead to better bone development than calcium from Calcium carbonate. So, before buying your calcium supplement, ensure that you are taking the best form of calcium. This will not only benefit your bones, but will also save you from spending money on a type of calcium supplement that is not going to work well.
There’s a lot of research coming out which supports the role that gut microflora play in obesity and metabolic diseases. In 2005, a team led by Jeffrey Gordon at Washington University conducted a study which showed that obese mice had more Firmicutes and less Bacteroidetes when compared to lean mice. A year later, they showed that humans display similar gut microflora levels – obese people have markedly different levels of different gut microflora than lean people. In addition, obese people who started losing weight had their gut microflora revert to the levels found in a lean person. It could reasonably be surmised that gut microflora have a role to play in obesity. More recently, Science Translational Medicine published a paper which showed that probiotic bacteria intake impacted many metabolic pathways, especially the ones which were related to carbohydrate metabolism. In 2015, a study showed that a daily dose of 30 grams of L-glutamine significantly reduced the ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes in obese people. This ratio is a good benchmark to go by for obesity, the researchers said. L-glutamine supplementation significantly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn led to an anti-inflammatory and protective effect on the gut since the bacteria was modulated. This study also suggests that by changing the bacterial composition in the gut, L-glutamine could have some significant applications for weight management.
Resveratrol has long been used by people as a reason to drink wine. A quick Google search and you can throw out fancy words like “resveratrol” and “antioxidants” to justify your slurred speech after you’ve downed the 7th glass of wine.Resveratrol, for the uninitiated, is a compound found in grapes which has been shown to help extend the lifespan and prevent diabetes in mice, and greatly increase endurance in several animal studies.At The Scripps Research Institute, scientists believe they have finally discovered how exactly resveratrol works so the controversy around it can be put to rest. According to their studies, resveratrol triggers an evolutionary stress response in human cells.Resveratrol, scientists say, binds the enzyme tyrrs and snatches and activates PARP-1, a protein which is associated with a major stress response and the process of DNA repair and life-extension.In addition, resveratrol activates a whole bunch of other protective genes, including the one responsible for longevity and tumor suppression.The scientists say that these positive benefits can be achieved simply by consuming a standard resveratrol supplement.
Obesity, and its subsequent health hazards which include diabetes, heart disease are worldwide medical problems. Dietary changes and exercise are the two pillars of weight management. Foods with a low glycemic index may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as their complications. As an alternative to a low glycemic index diet, there is a growing body of research into products that slow the absorption of carbohydrates through the inhibition of enzymes responsible for their digestion.
The common White Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) Extract has been shown to inhibit the carbohydrate digestive enzyme alpha-amylase in numerous clinical studies. Recently, a 4-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study were conducted and published in The Journal Of Alternative Therapies In Health And Medicine.25 healthy subjects consumed 1000 mg of a proprietary fractioned white bean extract or an identical placebo twice a day before meals in conjunction with a multi-component weight-loss program, including diet, exercise, and behavioral intervention. The subjects were stratified by total dietary carbohydrate intake. This probative analysis revealed that the tertile of subjects who had consumed the most carbohydrates demonstrated significant reductions in both weight (8.7lbs vs 1.7lbs) and waist size (3.3 inches vs 1.3 inches) compared with placebo subjects in the same tertile of carbohydrate intake. Experiments conducted with the White Bean Extract, an alpha-amylase inhibitor, indicate that it reduces the rate of absorption of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the GI of foods. This may prevent or delay the digestion of complex carbohydrates, potentially resulting in weight loss.
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids for heart, brain and joint health are well documented. If you didn’t have enough of a reason to start supplementing them already, new studies are showing that they can help you lose fat too! In a recent study published in Journal Scientific Reports, Dec 2015; researchers at Kyoto University found that mice who ate fish oil supplements gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to their non-fish oil eating mice counterparts. Additionally, the study revealed that fish oil supplements caused an activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) via UPC1, forcing white fat cells (white adipose tissue or WAT which stores calories and contributes to obesity) to transform into beige fat cells (created by the “browning” of white fat). The researchers concluded that it was this transformation of WAT to beige fat that caused an increase in fat burning. To summarize, fish oil intake enhances energy utilization by inducing UCP1 in beige fat cells, pushing them to burn stored fat. It’s probably time to get yourself some fish oil.
Green tea has loads of benefits and is consumed regularly by a lot of people. But how much of a difference do those 2-4 cups you drink per day really make? Polyphenols are the active ingredient in green tea; the largest one being EGCG (epigallocatechin Gallate). Regular green tea contains around 30-40% of polyphenols. Black tea, for comparison, contains 3-10% polyphenols. Guess how much an elite green tea extract supplement has? 98%. That’s right – 98% polyphenols. Recently, the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study in their journal which looked at the effects of green tea extracts. As a part of the study, 14 men were assigned to receive either a placebo or a green tea extract supplement for four weeks. Over these four weeks, the test subjects were asked to perform one hour of cycling three times a week. The test results showed that in the green tea extract group, body fat was reduced by 1.63%, oxidation rates increased by around 25% and overall, a 10.9% increase in performance was observed while covering long distances.The researchers theorize that EGCG may improve exercise performance by modulating cellular signaling pathways, thereby leading to an increased efficiency in substrate use.These findings are very promising for folks looking to reap the benefits of green tea extract for their exercise performance.The researchers recommend consuming a capsulated green tea extract supplement instead of the amount of green tea you would need to consume to reap similar benefits (6-7 cups.).This finding is particularly relevant because there’s a wide variety of catechin content depending upon which green tea brand you choose. If your brand is lacking, even 6-7 cups per day might have you falling short of the benefits that can be provided by the capsulated green tea extract. Note: The average cup of green tea contains 70-80 mg of EGCG.
Preserving muscle mass while losing fat is a perennial problem. This year, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study which attempted to solve this conundrum. Researchers tried to see how a supplement which had high quantities of whey protein, leucine and vitamin D would help for preserving muscle mass in older adults who were trying to lose weight. The study involved 80 older adult participants, all of whom were obese.The test subjects were put on a 13-week weight loss program which involved a hypocaloric diet (a deficit of 600 kcal/d) and regular exercise three days per week. The test subjects were randomly assigned to a control group or the aforementioned whey protein, leucine and vitamin D-rich supplement. After 13 weeks, it was observed that the control group lost more weight and body fat, but the supplement group not only preserved their existing muscle mass, but also increased it. The study concluded that a high whey protein, leucine and vitamin D-rich supplement is able to help obese adults preserve muscle mass when they’re trying to lose weight.
Now, this will make you feel good. Those yellow softgels that were popped when younger (adolescence or midlife), even if it was only three times a week, reduced the risk of heart diseases in later years. So, Icelandic researchers reviewed the diet of a whopping 3326 women between the age group 66-96 years. This AGES-Reykjavik Study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition reported that coronary heart disease was detected in just 7.9% (234) of the women and 67% of the participants had high intakes of fish liver oil in both adolescence and midlife. But the same could not be said for eating fish as a part of a meal at 2 portions a week- it had no such impact.
“High quality weight loss” translates to – loss of body fat accompanied with preservation of muscle mass.In other words, fatloss without any muscle loss.A high protein diet is a given when your goal is to lose fat, but would the TYPE of protein itself affect the QUALITY of the fatloss you achieve? The answer is yes. Published recently in the Journal of Nutrition, a study looked at how the consumption of different sources of proteins – soy or whey – during a 14-day low-calorie diet affected the rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis (process for maintenance of muscle) and lipolysis (process for loss of fat).This first-of-its-kind study showed that twice-daily consumption of whey protein attenuated the decline in postprandial rates of MPS (myofibrillar protein synthesis) after weight loss, which may be of importance in the preservation of lean mass during longer-term weight loss interventions.
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